S. I. Newhouse Art Could Make $144 M. at Auction—and More Art News – ARTnews.com

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The Headlines

MARKET MOVES. When the publishing giant S.I. Newhouse Jr. died in 2017, at the age of 89, there was speculation about what would become of his masterpiece-stocked art collection. Since then, advised by former Sotheby’s auctioneer Tobias Meyer, his estate has been selling works privately and at auction. (His Jeff Koons Rabbit, from 1986, made an artist-record $91 million at Christie’s, some may recall.) Now it is planning to send 16 pieces to the block at Christie’s in New York in May, Kelly Crow reports in the Wall Street Journal. The tranche—which includes a 1969 Francis Bacon self-portrait, a 1937 Picasso, and three major Jasper Johns pieces—is estimated to generate at least $144 million. There are still prime Johns examples in the collection, according to Alex Rotter, who is chairman of Christie’s 20/21 Art Departments. He told the Journal, “Si collected Johns in depth, but can we sell more than 10 Johns for $10 million apiece all at once? Absolutely not. So instead we’re selling a group that feels holistic and feels like Si.”

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A three-story brick building is seen from an angle. Its facade reads, "Bonhams Old Chelsea Auction Galleries" in large letters. An old car sits in front of it.

COURTROOM DISPATCHES. A man was sentenced by a court in Madrid to four years in prison for attempting to sell 15 fakes through the Setdart auction house there, the Guardian reports. The ersatz pieces included lithographs said to be by Edvard Munch and Saul Steinberg. (He had catholic taste, certainly.) Intriguingly, the defendant, identified as Guillermo CT, had also attempted to sell one genuine piece through the auction house, a David Hockney. Over in Fort Pierce, Florida, the Palm Beach dealer accused of peddling copies of Andy Warhol and Banksy pieces as the real deal pleaded guilty to a single count of money laundering, the Associated Press reports. Federal prosecutors will drop 16 more charges they had filed against Daniel Elie Bouaziz, who could be sentenced to up to a decade in prison at a May hearing.

The Digest

The Joan Mitchell Foundation hit Louis Vuitton with a cease and desist letter, accusing it of using paintings by Mitchell in handbag ads without its permission, Karen K. Ho reports. The foundation said that it had turned down requests from the fashion giant to reproduce the works. Louis Vuitton has declined to comment. [ARTnews]

The Venice Architecture Biennale detailed its 2023 edition, which opens in May. Its main show, “The Laboratory of the Future,” curated by architect Lesley Lokko, will have a 50/50 gender split, with more than half its 89 participants (Theaster Gates Studio among them) coming from Africa or its diaspora. There will be 63 national pavilions. [ArchDaily]

At the request of Yemen, the National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C., has agreed to hold temporarily 77 Yemeni cultural objects that were recovered by U.S. officials amid smuggling attempts. For more than eight years, the country has been the site of a war that has led to brutal humanitarian crises. [The Washington Post]

Earlier this month, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art bet on their respective city’s team to win the Super Bowl. The stakes: Having to loan a work to the other. Following Kansas City’s narrow win, the PMA will be sending Thomas Eakins’s ca. 1875 painting Sailing there. [KMBC News]

The American Academy of Arts and Letters voted in 19 new members on Tuesday, including choreographer and dancer Yvonne Rainer and artists Huma BhabhaArlene Shechet, and Shirin Neshat. Four honorary members were also named, including artist Cecilia Vicuña and director Francis Ford Coppola[Press Release and The Associated Press]

MARKET MAKERS. 032c hosted a roundtable with “young gallerists” about the intricacies of running their businesses. Robbie Fitzpatrick, who is based in Paris (and who used to operate Freedman Fitzpatrick in Los Angeles), said that “it’s not always easy to transition into a working relationship with an artist that you’re close friends with. Sometimes a little bit of distance is healthier.” Meanwhile, the Financial Times profiled Freddie Powell, who runs the Ginny on Frederick gallery in a tiny space in London that was once a sandwich shop.

The Kicker

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST. In 1982, the artist and sex activist Annie Sprinkle was working as a dominatrix and appearing in porn when the artist Alice Neel, then in her early 80s, asked to paint her portrait. (They had met through a mutual friend.) In the unforgettable painting that resulted, Sprinkle is topless, in leather and stockings, with her new labia piercing on prominent display. Talking to critic Jonathan Jones in the Guardian, Sprinkle (whose work with Beth Stephens was included in Documenta 14 in 2017) recalled what it was like to pose for Neel. “I would say it was an erotic experience,” she said. “Alice and I were making love through art. It was an artgasm! We were definitely flirting. By the end of each session we were super-full of love and joy.” If you want to see that picture in person, head to the Barbican in London, where it is on view in a Neel retrospective that runs through May 21. [The Guardian]

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