Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Art World's Weekly Roundup

Claude Monet’s Falaises pres de Dieppe.
Art Round-Up for The Week of August 5, 2007
By Alex Starace

In a bit of an odd spat, art collector Andrew J. Hall is being forced to remove an Anselm Kiefer sculpture from his front yard in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The sculpture, Narrow Are the Vessels, is in no way offensive or odious to the community. Rather, Mr. Hall simply neglected to file for and receive permission to install the sculpture. Owing to the artwork’s substantial 80-foot, 6-ton size, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the piece could be classified as a structure and can therefore only be installed with the proper permit.

Mr. Hall was asked to formally file an application with the Fairfield Historic District Commission and await the results. If he chose not to file, the court ruled that he had thirty days to take away the artwork. So, in a fit of pique, he’s decided to remove Narrow Are the Vessels from his property and loan it, along with thirty Kiefer paintings, to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. The loan is expected to last a number of years. As Mr. Hall is quoted in The Art Newspaper: “Connecticut’s loss will be Massachusetts’ gain.” (The Art Newspaper)
Anselm Kiefer's Narrow Are the Vessels.
In a rather brazen move, four to five robbers entered the Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret in Nice, France, brandishing handguns. The robbers entered the museum on a Sunday afternoon during open hours. They were wearing masks and jumpsuits.

Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret, Nice, France.
Alfred Sisley’s Allee de peupliers de Moret.
Using the threat of force, they stole four paintings valued at approximately $1.4 million. Two of the stolen paintings were by Jan Bruegel: Allegorie de l’eau and Allegorie de la terre.

Interestingly, the other two stolen paintings (one by Monet and one by Sisley) had been previously lifted from the same museum in 1998. In that instance, both Claude Monet’s Falaises pres de Dieppe and Alfred Sisley’s Allee de peupliers de Moret were recovered a week later. The museum’s then-curator was soon after convicted in the heist. ( & (

Christie’s has raised its buying-fee for the second time this year, Carol Vogel of The New York Times reports. Beginning September 1st, buyers will be charged twenty-five percent, rather than twenty percent, on objects costing up to $20,000. Fees for purchases within more expensive brackets remain the same: twenty percent for bids landing between $20,000 and $500,000; twelve percent for any bid over that. (The New York Times)

NOT Van Gogh’s Head of a Man.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Head of a Man appears to no longer be Vincent Van Gogh’s. A team of experts from the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands have determined that the painting was likely not done by the Dutch master. The piece, owned by Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria, had been misattributed since the 1930s. Only recently had anyone thought to question its attribution.

Last August when Head of a Man was in a show at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh, many art critics pointed out that it did not have the characteristic style that marked all other of Van Gogh’s works during the same period. So, after the show closed, the painting was examined. The results have finally come in and the critics proved correct: an unknown contemporary of Van Gogh did the painting, though officials stress that whoever the painter was, he or she had no intent to create a forgery. The misattribution had been valued at $21 million. (Associated Press)

Lisa Dennison, the former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, has left her prestigious position for Sotheby’s. She had worked in various capacities at the Guggenheim since 1978. While a curator at the famed institution, she organized a retrospective of Francesco Clemente’s paintings in 1999, as well as a massive installation of Daniel Buren’s work in 2005.

But, after twenty-nine years, she decided it was time to move on. At her new position at Sotheby’s, she’ll work in international business development and attempt to boost the auction house’s disappointing sales numbers in postwar and contemporary art. (The New York Times)

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