The heirs of George Grosz, a famous Weimar period artist and relentless critic of the Nazis and German military establishment, filed suit in New York on Friday, April 10, 2009 against the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for refusing to return three artworks created by Grosz and left behind by him when he fled Germany in 1933 to avoid Nazi threats against his life. The artworks, Portrait of the Poet Max Herrmann-Neisse, Self-Portrait with Model, and Republican Automatons, were left behind in Germany with his Galerist Alfred Flechtheim. Eventually Flechtheim was also forced to flee Germany due to Nazi persecution and the artworks were lost after Flechtheim’s death.
In mid-May modern and contemporary art, design, art nouveau, silver, jewellery and watches will all have their day in the sun. During the Dorotheum Vienna’s 2nd auction week of this year, to be held from 11th till the 15th May 2009, all these categories will present selections of international standing and import.
Reminding us of the delights of the table of a bygone age, the silver auction on 11. May 2009 includes an ornamental tureen from Berlin dating to 1830 (€ 18.000 – 24.000) as well as a pair of four-armed candelabra from St. Petersburg (1856; € 30.000 – 35.000). Though perhaps less practical, a Hungarian coconut goblet of gilt silver dating to the second half of the 18th century would be a worthy addition to any treasure chamber (€ 10.000 – 15.000). In addition, this auction also features a particularly fine collection of Judaica, the second part of which will be put up for sale this autumn.
Paul Gauguin’s masterpiece, D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?) (1897–98, MFA), will leave its home at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), this spring to make its first trip to Asia. The occasion is the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the MFA’s sister museum, the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (N/BMFA), which opened to the public on April 17, 1999. The seminal work by renowned Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) has rarely traveled since it was purchased by the Museum in 1936. It serves as the centerpiece of Gauguin, an exhibition of 40 works organized by the MFA in collaboration with the N/BMFA, which will be on view from April 18–June 21 in Nagoya, after which it will travel to the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (MOMAT/Tokyo), where it will be on view from July 3–September 23. The exhibition, sponsored at both venues by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), will feature 20 of the rarest and most beautiful paintings, prints, and sculptural reliefs from the MFA’s extensive collection of works by Gauguin, as well as 20 loans from Japanese museums.
On December 1, the London museum Tate Britain launched a solemn ceremony of awarding of Turner prize. 44-year-old British artist Mark Leckey known for his video-installations became the new owner of the main award for the contribution to modern art.
Leckey was nominated for Turner’s award for two personal exhibitions in France and Germany where he presented the project Industrial Light and Magic which united video-art, sculpture and performance. Announcing the winner the jury council noted “the originality and great variety of visual forms” of his works. According to Mark Leckey the main subject of his work is the self-knowledge of a person of the 21st century which is in intensive information field”. “It is incredible! It is excellent to create something that can influence the British culture and become its part”, – the artist announced taking the award. Having won Leckey got ahead of three other nominees: sculptor Cathy Wilkes (Scotland), artist Runa Islam (Bangladesh) and Goshka Macuga (Poland) who specializes on installations. The winner of the award got a monetary prize at a rate of £25 000. There is information that many British critics are not satisfied with the jury’s decision. In their opinion, Mark Leckey’s works cannot be considered as an independent work of art as they include many adoptions of other artists.
The American billionaire, the patron of art and collector Eli Broad announced of his decision to construct his own museum of modern art in Los-Angeles. The new exhibition center is supposed to be built in Beverly-Hills and will include the whole Broad’s collection which totals more than 2000 works. Additional details of the project are not known yet. There’s only the information that the construction of a new museum will take no less than three years.
New York – On November 6, 46 works of impressionism and modernism were sold at Evening Sales at Christie’s Impressionists and Modern. The results are hardly satisfactory: the total number of lots exposed on the auctions was 85, and total $146 715 000 are below calculated $250 000 000.
The lowest results were at an average price segment affected by financial crisis most of al. Top lots, on the contrary were in great demand though many of them were sold more cheaply than the estimate.
Paris – On December 9, Artcurial auction house in France will hold the auction Modern Art. The auctions which will be held in Marcel Dassault hotel are to represent 465 works by the leading artists of the first half of the 20th century.
Graphic work Arletta by Kes van Dongen (1877−1968) is estimated at high €60 000–80 000. The portrait dated to 1931 is executed in ink, water colour and gouache. Below, to the right there is a date and the signature of the artist. This simple and at the same time very expressive female portrait relates to the late period of creativity of Kes van Dongen when the artist deviated from Fauvism to aesthetics of Art Deco.