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The auction of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby's New York on Nov. 17 totaled $42.2 million, in an event that was much livelier than Sotheby's Impressionist sale the previous evening. Highlights from the 27-lot Morton G. Neumann Family Collection, being sold to help pay estate taxes, included Raymond Duchamp-Villon's lead Horse (1948) for $442,500 (est. $200,000-$300,000), Alberto Giacometti's totemic bronze Tete qui regarde (1927-28) for $640,400 (est. $350,000-$450,000) and Pablo Picasso's Cubist Femme Nue (1909) for $11 million (est. $10 million-$15 million), the sale's top lot. All of the works were recently removed from the National Gallery of Art, where they had been on extended loan. Richard Lindner's Untitled No. 1 (1962) sold for $464,500, an auction record for the artist.

Top lot among the contemporary works was Richard Diebenkorn's Horizon -- Ocean View (1959), from the Reader's Digest Collection, which sold for $3,962,500 (est. $1,500,000-$2,000,000), an auction record for the artist. Other remarkable artist's records in the sale included $189,500 for Charles Ray's Rotating Circle (1988), a nine-inch diameter, speedily rotating disc set flush with the wall, and $1,487,500 for Brice Marden's Yellows (1972). Still more records: $145,500 for a1993 Damien Hirst "dot" painting; $288,500 for Jeff Koons' String of Puppies (1988); and $376,500 for Martin Puryear's Endgame (1985).

Bombs of the night included the Pollocks and the Jasper Johns white numbers painting, all of which passed. See ArtNet's exclusive free current sales results for an illustrated report on the rest of the auction.

-- David Ebony

Ticket prices have soared to a new record for "Van Gogh's Van Goghs" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, opening Jan. 17, 1999. Ducats for the Dutchman are going for $17.50 on weekdays and $20 on weekends, a new all-time high record for museum admission. And to think, at the National Gallery of Art (to Jan. 3) admission is free!

The Metropolitan Museum opens "Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper, 1969-1993," Dec. 15, 1998-Mar. 21, 1999. The 54 works, acquired by the Met in 1995, are shown for the first time in an exhibition funded by Reba and Dave Williams. They range from Kiefer's staged self-portraits dressed in Nazi costumes from 1969 to symbolic and utopian landscapes and metaphorical illustrations of German literature.

American architect Daniel Liebeskind's £75-million avant-garde addition for London's 19th-century Victoria and Albert Museum has received official approval. Officially known as "The Spiral," the 12-story, 12,000-square-meter structure is to be positioned between the V&A's existing Victorian galleries in South Kensington. Says V&A head Alan Borg, "The inside of the Spiral will house a new type of gallery on four different levels." Not everyone likes the idea, however. The design has been dismissed as "a spiral of crumpled boxes" and has been rejected for National Lottery funding by the Millennium Commission.

Britain's Holocaust Education Trust is requesting that British museums check their collections for Nazi loot, according to a story in the Times of London by Dalya Alberge. Trust chair Lord Janner of Braunstone says that any artwork that is found to have been stolen by the Nazis should be returned to its original owners or their families. Barring that, such works should be sold for the benefit of organizations that care for Holocaust survivors.

The study, Nazi Looted Art: Britain and Post-War Restitution, also claims that the family of Gestapo head Heinrich Himmler was allowed to keep stolen art after the war, because Himmler committed suicide in captivity and was never formally convicted of war crimes.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has acquired 17 paintings and 84 prints by Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis and other members of the Pont-Aven school. Source of the part purchase, part gift is Swiss entrepreneur Samuel Josefowitz, who made his fortune with mail-order book and record clubs. He gets $30 million, $10 million to be raised by the museum and $20 million from the Lilly Endowment, a charity started by the Indianapolis-based drug company Eli Lilly and Co. Josefowitz is a member of the museum's extended body of 170-plus trustees; his son Paul Josefowitz publishes the journal Apollo. The acquisition is scheduled to go on view in Indianapolis next March.

Douglas Dreishpoon has been named curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y. He has been curator of collections at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, N.C., since 1995. The Albright-Knox has also named Claire Schneider as assistant curator.

The 5th annual Gramercy International Art Fair opens Dec. 4-6, 1998, at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Over 35 dealers are participating, including American Fine Arts (New York), Damasquine (Brussels), Espacio Minimo (Murcia), Jay Jopling/White Cube (London), and Zeno X (Antwerp). Admission is $10.

Anna Condo has published a limited edition book in tribute to the late Beat guru Allen Ginsberg. Titled AH Allen, the deluxe tome features original images, poems or anecdotes by 46 artists and writers, ranging from Edward Albee and Donald Baechler to Anne Waldman and Terry Winters. Publisher is A/C Editions and Artists for Naropa, a group formed to support the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colo. The edition of the 14 x 12 in., 96-page book is limited to 255 copies, each signed by 41 living contributors. Pub price is $5,000. For more info contact Ursus Books at (212) 772-8787.

Former Whitney Museum curator Thelma Golden has been hired by software magnate Peter Norton, according to a recent report in the New York Observer by Jeffrey Hogrefe. Norton has also resigned as a Whitney trustee (contrary to an earlier claim to ArtNet News by Whitney spokesperson Mary Haus that he was still on the board). Golden and fellow curator Elisabeth Sussman both resigned from the Whitney in early November after being demoted by the museum's new director, Maxwell "Mad Max" Anderson. Golden and Sussman were responsible for the Whitney's most influential exhibitions of recent years, "Black Male" and the 1993 Biennial, respectively. Golden was the museum's only black curator, and had been designated as organizer of the Whitney's next Biennial exhibition. Hogrefe also reports that Anderson is considering Marla Prather, the wife of real estate developer Mortimer Zuckerman, for a curatorial post.