Georgia O’Keeffe’s talented younger sister never got her siblings's full support.
Javier Pes, May 29, 2018
Georgia O’Keeffe had a show every year in New York. Her husband, the photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, helped her achieve this luxury, which no other female American artist enjoyed in the 1920s and ’30s, including O’Keeffe’s talented younger sister, Ida (although Stieglitz was also keen on his sister-in-law and her art).
“There was a bit of sibling rivalry,” says Sue Canterbury, associate curator of American art at the Dallas Museum of Art, who is organizing an exhibition that aims to give Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe (1889–1961) the credit she deserves as a significant artist in her own right. In Georiga’s opinion, “There was only room for one painter in the family,” Canterbury says.
American art history could have been very different if Stieglitz had promoted both Georgia and Ida’s work. But relations between the sisters became strained, thanks in part to Stieglitz’s roving eye. Canterbury says that there are some “racy letters” written by Stieglitz to Ida in the late 1920s. She also posed for him.
On the reverse of his photographs, which will feature in the Dallas show, are inscriptions that indicate that he would have liked a relationship of a more “intimate” nature. Ida was “outgoing, gregarious and fun—the different side of the coin to Georgia,” Canterbury tells artnet News. (There is no evidence that Ida took advantage of her brother-in-law’s advances.)
For the past four years, Canterbury has been hunting down Ida’s paintings, drawings, and prints for the exhibition “Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow.” The show, which is due to open in the fall, will include more than 40 never-before-seen and rarely-exhibited works by Georgia’s younger sister, including six of the artist’s seven lighthouse paintings.
Ida’s bold and increasingly abstract compositions featuring “dynamic symmetry” are quite unlike her older sister’s more celebrated paintings of buildings and landscapes. Canterbury hopes that the missing lighthouse in the series will emerge. “I know it’s out there,” she says, “but the trail has gone cold.”
Many of Ida O’Keeffe’s works are in private collections, which has made organizing the exhibition more of a challenge. The artist’s habit of tweaking titles as well as dates to works painted earlier in her career has increased the difficulties. One of her most accomplished works, Star Gazing in Texas(1938), which features a young woman bathed in moonlight, is now in the Dallas Museum’s collection. Acquired late last year, Ida O’Keeffe created the work, which includes a frame painted with stars, while teaching in San Antonio.
A graduate of Columbia University in 1932, Ida O’Keeffe, was a late starter as an artist and was never able to support herself by her art. She moved around a lot during the Great Depression for the short-term teaching posts that provided her main income. Practical and ingenious, she used an electric iron as a printing press to make her monotypes. She even found time to research and publish a book on Native Americans in 1934.
Georgia O’Keeffe famously stayed put in New Mexico and focused on her paintings. When she did travel, such as to Hawaii in 1938, it was at the expense of the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (later called Dole). There she painted what she liked, which did not include many pineapples, as the show “Visions of Hawaii,” now on at the New York Botanical Garden confirms (until October 23). There was only one exhibition that included work by the two O’Keeffes in their lifetimes, and it wasn’t organized by Stieglitz. For Georgia, “It was OK for Ida to paint but not exhibit,” says Canterbury.
Man who confessed to being drunk on vodka tore painting in three places on Friday evening
28th May 2018 05:12 GMT
A man who confessed to being drunk on vodka caused over 500,000 rubles ($8,000) in damage to one of Russia’s most famous paintings, Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan (1885) by Ilya Repin, at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow on 25 May.
The attack occurred as staff were preparing for the museum to close on Friday evening, when it has extended hours until 9 pm. Repin’s painting depicts Ivan the Terrible cradling his bloodied son, Tsarevich Ivan, after murdering him in 1581.
In a statement, the Tretyakov said the man burst into “the already empty I.E. Repin hall….and struck several blows with a metal security bowl against the glassed canvas” of the painting.
“The canvas has been torn in three spots in the central part of the work on the figure of the tsarevich,” although fortunately, according to the statement, “the most important part—the depiction of the faces and hands of the tsar and tsarevich—were not damaged.”
Russia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the assailant had been detained, but did not give his name. Subsequent media reports identified him as Igor Podporin, 37, from the city of Voronezh. In a video of his confession released by police later in the day, he said: “I came to see [the painting]. I came at eight in the evening, and then wanted to go to the canteen. I drank 100 grams of vodka. I don’t drink vodka and it overwhelmed me.”
Some reports suggested that Podporin objected to the painting’s content. Ivan the Terrible is a controversial figure in Russian history, and negative portrayal of tsars raises hackles as the 100th anniversary of the murder of Nicholas II and his family, who are canonised as saints in the Russian Orthodox Church, approaches in July. Both Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and President Vladimir Putin have said that Ivan the Terrible was far from awful and was target of a negative PR campaign by Western powers of his day. Putin said in 2017 that “we still don’t know whether he killed his son or not.” A monument honoring Ivan was put up in the city of Oryol in 2016 with local government support.
Vasily Boiko-Veliky, a dairy magnate who belongs to a breakaway fundamentalist Russian Orthodox group and believes Tsar Ivan made Russia great has waged a campaign in recent years to have the painting removed from the Tretyakov. In an interview with the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda he denounced Repin as “a Bolshevik” who wanted to sully the tsar and said he would pay for a lawyer for Podporin.
Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan was vandalised previously, in 1913, by a mentally ill iconographer. Repin was still alive and worked on its restoration. This time, said the Tretyakov, Russia’s best restorers are being called upon to consult on the painting, which has been taken down and removed from its damaged frame. Shards of glass have already been extracted from the painting.
By Scott Reyburn
May 14, 2018
It’s the art world’s equivalent of a man struck twice by lightning.
On Friday, the 1943 Pablo Picasso painting “Le Marin” (“The Sailor”), valued at $70 million, was “accidentally damaged” at the presale exhibition of Christie’s Tuesday evening auction of Impressionist and Modern art.
“After consultation with the consignor today, the painting has been withdrawn from Christie’s May 15 sale to allow the restoration process to begin,” the auction house said in a terse statement. “We have taken immediate measures to remedy the matter in partnership with our client. No further information is available at this time.”
The unnamed client of Christie’s had been identified by Bloomberg in April as the casino mogul Steve Wynn, who in February resigned as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts as a result of sexual misconduct allegations. In 2006, Mr. Wynn, who suffers from the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, accidentally put his elbow through the canvas of Picasso’s celebrated 1932 masterwork “Le Rêve,” which he had agreed to sell to the billionaire hedge fund collector Steven A. Cohen for $135 million. The painting was restored and was eventually sold to Mr. Cohen in 2013 for $155 million. It is currently on show in the exhibition “Picasso 1932: Love Fame Tragedy” at Tate Modern in London.
Christie’s has not divulged the precise nature of the damage to “Le Marin,” but following the mishap, the auction house said in an email that Picasso’s 1964 painting “Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil” (“Woman With a Cat Seated in an Armchair”), estimated at $22 million to $28 million, has also been withdrawn from the sale. This second Picasso had also been identified as being offered by Mr. Wynn. Like “Le Marin,” it had been guaranteed to sell courtesy of a third party.
Andy Warhol’s 1963 “Double Elvis (Ferus Type),” estimated at $30 million — identified by Bloomberg as Mr. Wynn’s third big-ticket consignment — will be sold by Christie’s, as scheduled, in its Thursday night contemporary sale, the auction house added in its email.
“These things happen,” Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s chief executive, said with a resigned smile, at Sunday’s depleted exhibition of Impressionist and Modern works. He declined to make any further comment.
By Robin Pogrebin and Scott Reyburn
May 14, 2018
At this point in the art market, it’s hard not to get inured to the superlatives: the most valuable private collection sold at auction (the Rockefeller sale last week at Christie’s); the highest price ever paid for a painting ($450 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” in November at Christie’s) and what Sotheby’s had confirmed was the highest estimate ever placed on a work at auction ($150 million for Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 painting, “Nu Couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche).”
The Modigliani barely made it past that figure Monday evening at Sotheby’s, selling for $157.2 million with fees at a sale that otherwise featured what many agreed were B+ offerings.
“You cannot find any more masterpieces,” said the dealer David Nahmad, adding of Sotheby’s, “Considering what they had, they did well.”
Although it was the highest auction price ever for a work sold at Sotheby’s, equally noteworthy is that the painting also carried the highest guarantee ever given by the company. This meant that the auction house was willing to assure a minimum price to the owner, potentially risking millions. Sotheby’s was able to offload that risk to a third party, who became the buyer at the auction.
The scale of the guarantee confirms that buyers can be secured in advance for trophy works. The results on Monday, the first night of the spring auctions, seemed to bear that out — although the Modigliani sold on one bid to the third party without any other buyer interest (despite valiant efforts by the auctioneer, Helena Newman, to bring in Patti Wong, the chairwoman of Sotheby’s Asia, who was working the phones).
“It cleared the mark painfully,” said Christian Ogier, a Paris dealer in Impressionist and modern art. “It’s difficult to get money out of China at the moment,” he added, referring to the absence of bidding on the Modigliani from Ms. Wong. “Everyone knew what was expected. The high guarantees break the dynamics of an auction, somehow.”
The overall atmosphere in the salesroom on Monday evening was muted, with few lots selling above their high estimates at a pace that, at times, felt glacial; 13 lots failed to sell. The only applause of the night was when the hammer came down on Jean Arp’s curvilinear sculpture “Ptolémée II” for $2.2 million with fees, selling to the dealer Eykyn Maclean in the room.
And the price of the Modigliani fell short of the last auction high for a work by the Italian modernist: $170.4 million for the more overtly sensual 1917-18 canvas, “Nu Couché,” which in 2015 sold at Christie’s to Liu Yiqian, a former taxi driver turned billionaire art collector.
Still, the $100 million club keeps adding more members, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose untitled painting sold for $110.5 million last year; Pablo Picasso, whose “Women of Algiers” sold for $179.4 million in 2015; and Andy Warhol, whose car crash painting sold for $105.4 million in 2013.
The Modigliani for sale on Monday was one of a celebrated series of nudes commissioned from by his Paris dealer Léopold Zborowski (for a stipend of 15 francs per day). The painting was consigned to Sotheby’s by the billionaire Irish horse breeder and art collector John Magnier, who had bought the work at auction in 2003 for $26.9 million, which at the time was a high for the artist.
The seller sought to capitalize on the painting’s recent inclusion in theModigliani retrospective that closed last month at Tate Modern in London, where it was featured on posters and on the cover of the catalog.
If a lot sells for the guarantee, the winning bidder becomes the owner. But if it exceeds the guarantee price, the guarantor earns a percentage of the surplus amount, a quick way to earn potentially millions of dollars. (The identity of the buyer of the Modigliani was not revealed.)
“In order to win the painting, they had to come up with a strong guarantee and a strong deal structure,” said Brett Gorvy, a former Christie’s executive who is now a private dealer, referring to Sotheby’s. “When you look at rest of their sale, it’s very O.K., but nothing exciting.”
“They needed that Modigliani, specifically going up against Rockefeller,” he added, recalling last week’s $833 million auction at Christie’s.
There are many art world professionals who bemoan the increasing trend toward guarantees, arguing that it takes the democratizating suspense out of the auction — only those who can commit large sums in advance can compete (sometimes that is the auction house itself). The result is that the biggest lots have essentially been presold, without publicly available information about the financial terms of each deal.
“What drives some of these huge presale estimates is actually the negotiation that takes place with the prospective third-party guarantor, the sale before the sale,” said David Norman, an art adviser based in New York, who until 2016 was Sotheby’s vice chairman of Sotheby’s Americas and its co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art worldwide. “Basically $100 million is where one has to begin to price a truly great work by any of the major artists.”
Valuation increases of between four- and fivefold also characterized significant works by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso that had been acquired by their sellers back in the early 2000s.
Monet’s 1896 canvas, “Matinée sur la Seine,” had been bought by an unidentified American collector at auction for $5.7 million in 2000. At Sotheby’s, it was given a low estimate of $18 million and sold for $20.5 million to a telephone bid.
The sale of Picasso’s small 1932 head study of a dreaming Marie-Thérèse Walter, “Le Repos,” was timed to coincide with Tate Modern’s current blockbuster show, “Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy.” The owner had acquired the painting at auction in 2000 for $7.9 million. The painting sold for $36.9 million.
Sotheby’s total of $318.3 million from 45 lots exceeded the $173.8 million total for its Impressionist and modern sale last year, in which no work was valued at more than $30 million.
Before the auction, a cluster of protesters gathered outside the auction house’s York Avenue headquarters, objecting to the inclusion in the sale of works from the Berkshire Museum, in Pittsfield, Mass. In April, a Massachusetts judge ruled that the cash-strapped museum could proceed with its controversial plans to sell a much loved painting by Norman Rockwell and other artworks to fund its redevelopment.
Sotheby’s sale of Impressionist and modern works included works on paper by Francis Picabia and Henry Moore, the first works to be auctioned from the Berkshire Museum’s collection. Picabia’s 1914 abstract “Force comique” brought $1.1 million with fees, and Moore’s 1942 “Three Seated Women,” $300,000. Both works had formerly been owned by Massachusetts collectors.
That the Modigliani failed to generate the excitement Sotheby’s had hoped cast something of a pall over the evening. “There was only one winner — the seller,” said Alan Hobart, the director of the London-based Pyms Gallery, who thought Sotheby’s priced the painting too ambitiously. “They’re testing the market too hard. They have to be careful.”
Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 painting, “Nu Couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche),” which sold for $157.2 million at Sotheby’s
Henry Moore’s “Three Seated Women” (1942), sold for $300,000, with fees, by the financially strapped Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass. The long dispute over the proposed sale of dozens of works ended last month with a judge’s decision to allow the sale.CreditSotheby’s
Pablo Picasso's "Le Repos," from 1932, sold at Sotheby's for $36.9 million.Credit2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, via Sotheby’s
Francis Picabia’s “Force Comique” (1914) sold for $1,119,000, also from the Berkshire Museum to benefit the financially strapped institution.CreditSotheby's
By Robin Pogrebin
Brooklyn-based painter Iris Scott (previously) eschews brushes and palette knives in favor of using the most traditional art tools of all time: her fingers. Her color-saturated canvases of thick oil paint capture shaking wet dogs, dreamy urban cityscapes, and serene outdoor scenes. “There’s nothing between me and the paint, I feel all the tiny nuances,” says Scott. “I can manipulate thick paint with my fingers in ways brushes never could.” The physicality of using her digits brings a unique sense of motion to each piece and when coupled with nearly 100 colors for a single artwork, it’s no surprise to discover how entrancing each canvas becomes.Scott has original works available through Adelman Fine Art and at UGallery and you can follow her works in progress on Facebook and Instagram. She also just published an instructional book titled A Finger Painting Weekend