NEW RECORDS FOR 19TH CENTURY
Something must be happening in the market for 19th-century academic paintings -- they keep selling for record prices! Sotheby's New York sales of 19th-century paintings on May 7 and 8 sold for a total of over $21 million, the highest ever for an auction of 19th-century academic paintings. Over 15 new artists records were set, including:
Alfred Stevens, Le Salon du Peintre (1880), $1,652,500 (presale est. $1,500,000-$2,000,000).
Edwin Lord Weeks, The Arrival of Prince Humbert, the Rajah, at the Palace of Amber (1888), $1,157,500 (est. $400,000-$600,000).
Maurice Leloir, Voltaire's Last Visit to Paris (1878), $508,500 (est. $100,000-$150,000).
Eugene de Blaas, Awaiting the Return (ca. 1890s), $371,000 (est. $225,000-$275,000).
Etienne Pierre Theodore Rousseau, Edge of the Forest (1866), $299,500 (est. $250,000-$350,000).
Johan Barthold Jongkind, L'omnibus Faubourg Saint Jacques (1874), $294,000 (est. $70,000-$90,000).
Andre Gill, A set of four studies for Place de la Concorde (1787), $250,000 (est. $250,000-$350,000).
Julian Dupre, Returning to the Farm (1895), $211,500 (est. $120-$160,000).
Martin Rico y Ortega, Santa Mariqa Della Salute, Venice (ca. 1870s-80s), $200,500 (est. $200,000-$300,000).
Alexandre Serge, The Valley of Courtry, Seine-et-Marne (1870s), $101,500 (est. $60,000-$80,000).
Jacques Eugene Feyen, Oyster Gathering at Cancale (1874), $90,500 (est. $25,000-$35,000).
For its part, Christie's day sale of Impressionist and 19th-century art on May 6 set several new records for individual artists, too:
George Jakobides, Mother and Child (ca. 1870s), $464,500 (est. $200,000-$300,000).
Jean Francois Raffaelli, Man Having Just Painted his Fence, $464,500 (est. $30,000-$50,000).
Gaston La Touche, The Peonies (1889), $365,500 (est. $100,000-$150,000).
Francois Bonvin, The Winder (1861), $134,500 (est. $50,000-$70,000)
U.S. KIBOSHES CUBAN CIGAR SALE
The U.S. government won't allow Sotheby's to go ahead with a planned May 19 auction of Cuban cigars in Geneva, according to Reuters. Due to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, American-based companies need a license from the Treasury Department to sell Cuban goods. The 1,000-lot collection of Havanas, the property of U.S. cigar aficionado Sheldon Jacobs, was expected to fetch more than $500,000 total. But if you want Cigars and are in Geneva -- and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is among those expected to be there -- the British-based Christie's is holding a cigar auction on May 17.
CUT-RATE CORCORAN BIENNIAL
The 45th Corcoran Biennial, July 17-Sept. 28, 1998, won't feature new art but will instead present a survey of paintings acquired for the museum collection from past Biennials. The approximately 135 artists whose works will be on view range from Homer, Hopper and Cassatt to Joan Mitchell and Robert Mangold. The show is organized by Corcoran curators Linda Simmons, Terrie Sultan and Jack Cowart.
BOMB HOAX SHUTS UFFIZI
Hundreds of tourists were forced to evacuate the Uffizi Gallery in Florence on May 6 after an anonymous caller told police that a bomb was planted in the 16th-century building. No bomb was found. A week earlier a similar bomb hoax had emptied the Vatican Museums in Rome. The threats are thought to be linked to current Mafia trials involving a 1993 explosion in the Florentine museum.
ITALIAN COUNTS VAN GOGH FAKES
Italian art historian Antonio De Robertis says he has figured out which works by Vincent van Gogh are fakes by carefully examining the 686 letters the artist wrote to his brother Theo, in which he documented the bulk of his work "with the precision of a notary." Of the 2,125 works in the van Gogh catalogue, De Robertis says, 507 aren't mentioned. Among the 30 "definite" fakes are van Gogh's portrait at the Courtauld Institute in London and the Sunflowers bought at auction for $39 million by the Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance.
HOUSTON MFA COMMISSIONS TURRELL
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has commissioned James Turrell to create a site-specific light installation for the tunnel that will connect the new annex to the existing museum facility. Turrell has proposed one of his "Shallow Space Constructions," in which the walls of the tunnel become vessels for light, the museum says. Designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, the Audrey Jones Beck Building is slated to open March 2000.
CHICAGO SCULPTURE CONFERENCE
The 17th International Sculpture Conference, sponsored by the International Sculpture Center, rolls into Chicago on May 20-23, 1998, with dozens of panels and workshops and a May 20 keynote address by critic Dave Hickey at the opening celebration on Navy Pier. For more info visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COOPER-HEWITT DESIGN CENTER
New York's Cooper-Hewitt unveils its new Design Resource Center on June 4 with "Opening Our Doors: Selections from the Design Resource Center." The entire $20-million renovation goes on view in stages, with "Fountains: Splash and Spectacle" (June 9-Oct. 11) and "Under the Sun: An Outdoor Exhibition of Light" (June 21-Oct. 25).
ANDREA ROSEN, LUHRING AUGUSTINE TO CHELSEA Luhring Augustine and Andrea Rosen inaugurate their new gallery spaces at 525-531 West 24th Street on May 28, 1998. The 10,000-square-foot space, renovated by architect Richard Gluckman, has a 30-foot-high wood-planked ceiling. Opening at Rosen is "Raugh" by Andrea Zittel; at Luhring Augustine is a group show of new work by Rachel Whiteread, Pipilotti Rist, Tatsuo Miyajima, Christopher Wool,Paul McCarthy, Steve Wolfe, Albert Oehlen and Fiona Rae.
SOTHEBY'S TEACHES ART BUSINESS Sotheby's Institute in London, which is affiliated with the University of Manchester, is offering a new MA degree in art business starting in September 1998. The one-year course is designed "to create a new class of professionals in the art world who will not only understand finance, communication, information technology and business practices but also cultural and ethical issues relating to the buying and selling of works of art."
MOMA WEBSITE WINS AWARDS
The Museum of Modern Art's website, www.moma.org, was unanimously declared "best overall site" by a panel of judges at last month's Museums and the Web conference in Toronto. The MoMA site also received a "Silver Pencil Award" from the New York advertising trade organization The One Club for Art and Copy.
BUSTER CLEVELAND, 1943-1998 Buster Cleveland, 55, neo-Dada collage artist known for his comic parodies using the cover of Artforum magazine, died of cardiac arrest in Queens on May 6. In the 1970s he was involved with M.A.D. and B.A.D. (Mendocino Area Dadaists and Bay Area Dadaists), recreating original Kurt Schwitters sound poems and works by early Dadaists, and in 1980 and
'84 he co-directed two international Dada conferences. In the early '80s Cleveland relocated to New York, where he exhibited with Gracie Mansion Gallery.