The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie’s $450M Leonardo
Nov17

The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie’s $450M Leonardo

Last night, Christie’s auction house sold “Salvator Mundi,” which it claims is the last painting by Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, for an astounding, record-setting $400M (the final price was over $450M with fees). The sale was controversial for a couple of reasons: that mind-numbing number itself, but also the fact that there are a lot of questions — and serious doubts — about the painting’s authenticity, restoration, and provenance. One can therefore be forgiven for initially overlooking another elephant in the room — the identity of the seller. When there’s this much money involved, though, it usually pays to follow it, and here the money leads directly back to the Russian billionaire Dmitry E. Rybolovlev. Rybolovlev’s family trust sold the painting, through Christie’s, to an undisclosed buyer, but if his name sounds familiar for other reasons, that might be because in 2008 he paid (through a company he controlled) $95M to buy a Palm Beach mansion from Donald Trump. Or it could be that he’s also known for allegedly using his art collection to shield money from his wife, a bitter conflict brought to light in the Panama Papers. Or it could even be in connection with “Salvator Mundi” itself: Rybolovlev has been in a protracted legal battle involving Sotheby’s and “freeport king” Yves Bouvier over alleged overpayment in Rybolovlev’s purchase of the painting.   Source: The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie’s Controversial $450M...

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A Retrospective for a Painter Who Broke Away from Murals
Nov16

A Retrospective for a Painter Who Broke Away from Murals

Organized thematically, the exhibition includes over 60 works drawn from public and private collections. Since Almaraz oscillated between a variety of themes throughout his career, Fox opted to curate the show around five major subjects rather than the archetypal chronological arrangement. In this way Fox’s curatorial arrangement mimics the artist’s actual studio practice, while simultaneously providing viewers with deeply personal yet accessible wall texts that speak to the curator’s investment in paying homage to an artist whose contributions to the Los Angeles art community have been somewhat overlooked. Almaraz’s paintings are visually arresting canvases built up with dynamic brushstrokes, textured surfaces, and saturated colors that pulsate with energy. There is a Fauvist quality to his work evident in his jagged, expressive brushstrokes and penchant for garish colors. The star of the show is Almaraz’s four panel vista, “Echo Park Lake” (1982), the parts of which had not previously been reunited in over 30 years. Situated in the galleries devoted to the theme of “Los Angeles, Delirious and Edenic,” the tetraptych painting “Echo Park Lake” is a dreamy ode to one of the artist’s frequently painted and favorite parts of East LA. In this canvas, the connection to Claude Monet’s renderings of lily ponds is evident in its use of color to capture time. Source: A Retrospective for a Painter Who Broke Away from...

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An Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait
Oct24

An Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait

After a late start, Ms. Sherald is just taking off. The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired one of her pieces, as has the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Her work is currently featured in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s influential “Fictions” exhibition of emerging artists. And in May, she will open her first major solo show, at the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis. “A clear unspoken granted magic,” 2017, by Amy Sherald.CreditCourtesy of the Artist and Monique Meloche Gallery The Obama commission is likely to catapult her into another league. “There is going to be a spotlight on her,” said Paul Staiti, a professor at Mount Holyoke College who is an expert on portraiture. “She should fasten her seatbelt.” Source: The New York...

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American artist’s works focus on discrimination, occupation and plight of refugees
Sep25

American artist’s works focus on discrimination, occupation and plight of refugees

An art exhibition titled “Endangered land, People and Heritage” by American painter and Professor of Art History Jacqueline Taylor Basker was held at Bandak Art Gallery in Amman on Thursday. The event, held under the patronage of Amman’s Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh, marked her 10th anniversary in Jordan and the region.  “Since my arrival in 2007 I have become more aware of many important issues and this provided subject matter for my artwork,” Taylor Basker told The Jordan Times, adding that travelling to visit endangered archaeological sites with her students from New York Institute of Technology and German-Jordanian University made her very “concerned about endangered heritage”.  One of her inspirations for the paintings came from her frequent visits to Palestine and experiensing the Israeli occupation firsthand, she stressed.  “What really angered me is that it was my tax money that was funding Israeli terror against the Palestinians,” the painter underlined.  “If you are an artist concerned about political issues you cannot only sign petitions, make Facebook posts, go to meetings but you can make art to bring attention to humanitarian issues and injustices,”  Taylor Basker emphasised, stressing that despite her love for abstract art she is more driven by the political message her work conveys.  According to Taylor Basker, many times in the past, the great art of the world has been a response to war and injustice and it has an important role to play, since images can be very powerful, more than mere words.  Source:  Jordan...

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Maine artist makes what may be the world’s largest watercolor
Aug21

Maine artist makes what may be the world’s largest watercolor

Barbara Prey has a golden resume: a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s from Harvard and a Fulbright scholarship, which she used to study baroque art and architecture in Germany. One of her first jobs was drawing illustrations for the New Yorker. Her watercolors have been used for two White House Christmas cards, and her paintings are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Brooklyn Museum and hang in U.S. embassies around the world. But for all her accomplishments, Prey, who lives part of the year in Maine, has lacked an enthusiastic endorsement from a leading contemporary art museum. That changed recently, when the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams commissioned her to make what the museum believes is the largest existing watercolor painting. MASS MoCA, the country’s largest contemporary art museum, after its recent expansion, and a taste-maker in contemporary art since it opened in 1999, challenged Prey, a landscape painter in the tradition of Andrew Wyeth, to make a large-scale painting showing the museum’s new home in a former mill complex before a renovation and expansion added 120,000 square feet. The museum wanted to document the mill while the patina of the peeling paint and unfinished wood floors were intact. Source: Portland Press...

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Paul Gauguin at Art Institute of Chicago
Jul31

Paul Gauguin at Art Institute of Chicago

Gauguin was best known for his paintings of women in idyllic Tahitian settings. When Gauguin first traveled to Tahiti, he was dismayed to find that much of the local culture had been transformed by colonization. The works he created there are not historically accurate but rather his reimagining of what the island might have once been. He spent the first six years of his life in Peru and, as an adult, lived in Paris, Brittany, Martinique, Tahiti, and the Marquesas Islands. In every place, he absorbed — and reinvented — the local artistic and cultural traditions. Source: ‘BLOUIN...

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