Top Art Stories: The international edition

Tobias Meyer leaves Sotheby’s after 20 years

This must be the most-talked about announcement in the art world following the November sales in New York. Bloomberg’s Katya Kazakina reported that Tobias Meyer’s high-profile departure is the result of very public actions by the activist investors of the publicly traded Sotheby’s. The article named Daniel Loeb’s of Third Point LLC, whose 9.24 percent stake as of Oct. 1 made it the largest shareholder in the New York-based auction house, as the principal force behind Meyer’s departure. Further in the article, Sergey Skaterschikov, founder of Skate’s Art Market Research expresses little surprise at the events. He is quoted as saying that “There is a clear understanding that it would be difficult for Ruprecht [chairman and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s -gi]to retain his key executives. There is a question about leadership at Sotheby’s. I don’t think it’s going to be an isolated incident.” Source: Bloomberg

International Art Industry Forum’s panel Art: Market + Infrastructure

On Wednesday, November 20th, the organizers of the International Art Industry Forum held a panel discussion titled “Art: Market + Infrastructure” presented by Mana Contemporary and Skate’s Art Market Research at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. Panelists for the first session were Jonathan Binstock, Senior Vice President and Senior Art Advisor at Citi Private Bank, Kelly Crow, staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal and Michael Moses, Co-CEO of Beautiful Asset Advisors, LLC. The panel was moderated by galleryIntell’s very own Chief Editor, Kristina Nazarevskaia. Amongst topics discussed were the trends in the current art market, art auctions, and art as an alternative asset for investors. Panelists for the second session were Shai Baitel, Vice President at Mana Contemporary, Katharine Earnhardt, Vice President of Business Development at Gurr Johns, Peter Hort, Attorney at The Law Offices of Peter Hort, and Boris Pevzner, CEO and Co-Founder of Collectrium. The second panel was moderated by Cristina Salmastrelli, Director of the Affordable Art Fair. The focus of this panel was the importance of physical and financial infrastructure for art storage as well as the importance of properly appraising and insuring art collections. Source: International Art Industry Forum

Sicily bans loans of major masterpieces

Among the 23 works recently banned by the semi-autonomous Sicilian government are major works by Caravaggio, Antonello da Messina, ancient Greek sculpture and a rare ensemble of Hellenistic silver that was returned to Sicily in 2010 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an earlier restitution agreement. Sergio Gelardi, the general director of Sicily’s culture administration cites a deepening financial crisis as the preeminent cause for enforcing this ruling. The government thus hopes to bring more of the loaned artworks back to their original institutions and draw more tourists (and their money) to the island’s cultural institutions. Also worth noting in the article are the loan fee structures that accompany museum loans. Source: The New York Times

Back to Munich for another installment of the Cornelius Gurlitt saga

The british newspaper also reports that the media-shy 80-year-old, is demanding to have the paintings back. According to Gurlitt, these works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Dix, and Beckman, to name a few, were his only “friends” and “only source of pleasure”. He has denied any claims of wrongdoing as he truly loved the paintings and said that the only instances when he sold a painting were when he had to pay his medical bills. German authorities have informed him that some of the paintings will be returned to him, while the rest will be returned to their proper owners. In an interview Mr. Gurlitt conveyed a deep sense of grief at being separated from the paintings and expressed an only the desire to continue living quietly with them by saying “When I’m dead, they can do with them what they want”.  Source: The Telegraph

Interesting to note that at this point no one, from the public prosecutor’s office to art experts to politicians, knows how many of the works rightfully belonged to Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius’ father. For a more personal view on the headline we recommend you read an article in Spiegel.

The $142 million Bacon triptych is going to Qatar

After Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold at a jaw-dropping $142 million at the Christie’s Post-War/Contemporary sale last week, there had been much speculation about the identity of the real buyer behind Bill Acquavella. It has been reported that Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, the sister of the Emir of Qatar paid the large sum for the triptych in order to enrich the Qatari art collection. She is the head of Qatar Museums Authority and has been zealously buying high profile works of art (estimated at $1 billion per year) in order to prepare the country for the 2022 World Cup. The Sheikha is also the buyer of another record breaking painting, Paul Cezanne’s “The Cardplayers”. At $250 million it holds the record for being the most expensive painting ever bought. These fabulous works of art will be showcased in the Qatar National Museum scheduled to open in 2016. Source: The Telegraph

More victims of Knoedler Gallery are made public

After months of headlines and assumed legal maneuvering in the halls of jurisprudence of Lower Manhattan, art dealer Glafira Rosales, who supplied dozens of forged Abstract Expressionist “masterpieces” to the famed Manhattan gallery has pleaded guilty to money laundering and tax evasion. The Upper East Side gallery that suddenly shut its doors in November of 2011 and its former director Ann Freedman currently face five lawsuits from various notable buyers including Domenico De Sole, chairman of Tom Ford International, and John D. Howard, C.E.O. of Irving Place Capital. Rosales and Knoedler victims includes two museums, various dealers, and several other high profile collectors. The Art Newspaper has compiled a list of victims who were previously unnamed. In an interesting side note the Armand Hammer Foundation reportedly holds a controlling interest in Knoedler Gallery. So many of the victims in the case may be looking to Michael Hammer, grandson of billionaire industrialist Armand Hammer for restitution. Here is hoping that they are all reimbursed for their loss. Source: The Art Newspaper

The Untitled “Pollock” supposedly dated to 1950 featured in this article slideshow was purchased by Knoedler gallery from Glafira Rosales $950,000 in 2001. The collector Pierre Legrange bought it in 2007 for $17 million.

This article ©galleryIntell. Featured image courtesy Sotheby’s International. Additional reporting by Neha Jambhekar