Monday, 31 March 2008

Another Belgian in America

Last week, I went to see one of the most expensive paintings ever sold: 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I', by Gustav Klimt. The work hangs in the beautiful Neue Galerie, in New York. I was happy to see that Adele is flanked by two nice sculptures by George Minne, a Belgian Symbolist artist.

At the end of 2007, the New York Sun reported: "Exactly 100 years ago, Gustav Klimt's iconic portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, now enthroned in the Neue Galerie and possibly the most famous painting in New York, was exhibited in Vienna between two soulful and sinewy sculptures by the Belgian artist George Minne. Today, after a tumultuous century of world wars and totalitarian regimes, the two sculptures have turned up on the Upper East Side at the Neue Galerie. There, once again, they flank the ethereal Frau Bloch-Bauer. All three works had belonged to her family before they were confiscated by the Nazis. Two years ago, after the Klimt portrait was finally "restituted" to her descendants, they sold it to the Neue Galerie. Now they have donated these two sculptures."

Read the full story here.

Tintin in America

AFP reports: "Captain Haddock would have choked on his whisky: original artwork for a Tintin comic book fetched a record 764,200 euros (1.2 million dollars) at a Paris auction Saturday, organiser Artcurial said.

The 1932 oil painting, executed for the iconic cover of "Tintin in America" smashed the previous world record for an original comic book work. That was set in March 2007 when a drawing by artist Enki Bilal called Bleu Sang (Blue Blood) fetched 177,000 euros.

Judged a "museum piece" in Artcurial's auction catalogue, the painting by Tintin's Belgian creator Herge finally sold for 764,200 euros, including expenses. Total earnings for Saturday's one-off sale of 650 comic originals -- each of which had a starting price of 280,000 euros -- came to roughly 3.4 million euros, the gallery and auction house said."

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Good logic

'Salathé & White' is an interesting project of the artists Marcel Salathé and Anthony White. Some information from their website:

- The project:
"To sum up the project in one sentence: we auction our collaborative paintings and guarantee to buy them back at a specific price, indicated on the painting, upon safe return during a specific month, also indicated on the painting. Put differently: each painting is a bond or more precisely a zero coupon bond."

- Why?
"Here is the reasoning behind the first Salathé & White painting:
1. Everything is valued by the price someone is willing to pay. Art is no exception.
2. The longevity of a piece of art depends on its value, not its beauty. That's because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, while money is not.
3. The price someone is willing to pay is generally influenced by the price paid before.
4. Hence, the first price paid is crucial.
5. Ergo: the longevity of an artwork is crucially depending on the first price paid.

If you agree with this logic, that's because it is good logic.

If you disagree with this logic, that's because it is art."

Their second painting (see picture) was just auctioned on eBay and sold for no more than 960 dollars. A bargain.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Recession? What recession?

Artinfo reports on TEFAF.

Quote of the day: "If this is a recession, then long may it continue."

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Art etc.

Some art (market) news from around the world:
- Excitement at art fair in Maastricht
- Chinese art-buyers in overdrive
- The world's most popular museums - and the most visited exhibition
- UK art dealer becomes art philantropist

Fun with funds

Do you have some spare money you'd like to invest in art? Next to the Fine Art Fund, some new possibilities are popping up. The Vienna-based hedge fund company Sharpe Investments has an investment fund called Sharpe Art and an Italian fund manager is launching a new 150 million art fund, together with Simon De Pury.

"The art market did not suffer repercussions when the Internet bubble burst and it is doing extremely well today, even after the credit crunch," said Robert Tomei, chief executive of the Italian fund manager Advanced Capital, who is starting his third art fund.

The Tomei Advanced Capital Art Fund, run with the art dealer Simon de Pury of Phillips de Pury, will focus on contemporary art, photography and design and hopes to replicate the 20 percent annual returns he achieved with past funds.

Freudian times

Two important Lucian Freud exhibitions are held this year, one at each side of the Atlantic. In New York, the MoMa hosts 'Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings' (until March 10). Art Knowledge News reviews this show. In The Hague, you can go to an impressive retrospective:

Art's economic indicator

The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York holds its 2008 Biennial until June 1. Read the reviews by The New York Times ("And this year we have a Whitney show that takes lowered expectations — lessness, slowness, ephemerality, failure — as its theme.") and Artnet ("And indeed, the dominant sense you get is of things half-finished or things falling apart."). The NYT article also contains an interactive feature guiding you through the exposition.