THE DECIDER now gets to even decide Provenance

October 1, 2007

Um…didn’t anyone notice the spectacular irony in this?!! Leonard Lauder, older brother of “RestitutionRonald, is now having his own Klimt demanded back from him. Better yet, the piece was sold to Leonard by Ronald’s long time mentor Serge Sabarsky. It was Sabarsky’s idea to persuade Ronald to open the Neue Galerie back in 1996, soon before he died. He is now immortalized with over-priced Sacher Torte at the museum’s Cafe Sabarsky. We also witness the re-emergence Shoah-Chaser Randol E. Schoenberg (you know, grandson of 12-tone Arnold), but this time, instead of helping the Lauders acquire Klimts, he’s shaking them down for one they already own. And even with all this fabulous Viennese Secession Incest that’s really not the story here.

No folks, what is really big news here is that now the THE DECIDER can decide about the provenance of a painter’s oeuvre. This may sound like a minor development, but if Schoenberg’s strategy works it could place certain anointed art historians (basically those who write the catalogue raisonne for a given painter) in position to pass judgments worth millions of dollars. Alfred Weidinger has tred into this uncharted territory with his compendium of Klimt’s entire oeuvre.

Just look at this case, for example. Klimt painted Blooming Meadows around 1904-5

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Suspect drips already flipped

April 25, 2007

The controversy over newly discovered works claiming to be by the world’s most expensive paint splatterer has gotten even more interesting. We reported a few months ago about the fallout from paint tests showing that a miraculous find of unknown Pollocks were fresher than his crash-test corpse. Now the IHT reports that Alex Matter, the owner of the trove of 32 small works found in his father’s storage locker might have already sold some of them (which should surprise nobody).
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Alex Matter with some possible Pollocks that he may or may not own anymore
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Cool Object of the Week: Kozma/Peche-istic parlor set

April 16, 2007

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Here’s a fascinating sitting room ensemble with it’s original 1920’s era upholstery.

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The set includes two armchairs

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and settee.
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Plot for da Vinci Code II revealed in Busted-up Boston Baptist

February 19, 2007

Marietta Cambareri, assistant curator of decorative arts and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, made the sort of discovery that folks in her business dream about: taking that backroom collection of shards and through the skills of her trade, turning it into a serious art object of wondrous benefit to scholarship, and…lest we not be blunt about it…turned an item of negative value (it had to be stored and insured without being enjoyed or even understood) to something now worth millions of dollars. Yeah I’m sure they really gave her a compensatory bonus for that one… NOT.

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attr. Giovanni Francesco Rustici St. John the Baptist, early 16th Century
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Christie’s is wooping Sotheby’s butt because of better management, financing, brownnosing

February 8, 2007

Both major auction houses have announced their year-end results for 2006, and, surprise, surprise, Christie’s did way better: $4.33 billion in sales, compared to $3.66 for Sotheby’s.

I point to the single clearest reason for Christie’s success, and it’s that the firm is run as a single-proprietor entity.
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Art Miser totally scoops Mainstream Media on that Rembrandt thing

February 7, 2007

Well, wouldn’t you know it, two days after I drew our readers attention to the problems inherent in the Rembrandt recently auctioned at Sotheby’s, then the IHT picks up the same story. The article describes the problems of Rembrandts on the market and specifically discusses the sale of St. James the Greater and how it had to overcome numerous technical difficulties in order to reach it’s modest sale price of $25.8 million. We are told the insightful observation that the piece had been offered at the 2006 European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht for $45 million. Nice try. What the article fails to notice, though, which Art Miser readers had an exclusive on, is the Footnote of Death.

When is a Rembrandt really a Rembrandt? [IHT]


Pollock surely could not have dripped this

February 6, 2007

Who better to strain the connoisseur’s fine balance of art and science than Jack the Dripper, the guy who didn’t even have a brushstroke. The NYT reports to us today on one of the most befuddling cases of art authentication plaguing the world’s currently most expensive painter.

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