Published: October 24, 2000
Trade News from Around the World
Using digital cameras and processing techniques – as well as ultraviolet and infrared filters developed for medicine and space research – two teams of scientists (from Hopkins and the Rochester Institute of Technology) have deciphered five pages of the only known copy of a 2,300-year-old Greek text by the mathematician Archimedes. According to the Associated Press, the scientists hope to complete a translation of the 174-page treatise, “On Floating Bodies,” by next September. Scholars believe the treatise was copied by a scribe in the Tenth Century from Archimedes’ original Greek scrolls, written in the third century B.C. It was erased about 200 years later by a monk who reused the parchment for a prayer book, creating a twice-used parchment book known as a “palimpsest.” In the Twelfth Century, parchment – scraped and dried animal skins – was rare and costly, and Archimedes’ works were in less demand. An anonymous buyer purchased it at a 1998 auction for $2 million, and entrusted it to a Baltimore gallery.
Premierdealers.com, an affiliate of International Fine Arts Expositions (IFAE), Stuart, Fla., will launch the Dallas International Art and Antique Fair in Texas on November 2 and on the Internet on November 3. The show will be the first “true” virtual art and antiques fair, according to the firm, because Web users can view the event in cyberspace during the show’s run. “Dallas will be a beta test site for us,” said David J. Lester, president of the IFAE and its affiliate, “as we intend to offer all of our forthcoming Palm Beach fairs on the Internet.” Virtual viewers will be able to enjoy a streaming pictorial view of each exhibitor stand in the fair, with individual works of art highlighted and enlarged. Prospective Web buyers can email or telephone dealers in their booths with questions or price negotiations.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., on October 19 reached an agreement that allows it to keep an Eighteenth Century Italian painting, “The Adoration of the Magi,” by Corrado Giaquinto, that was improperly sold in France during the Nazi occupation. According to the Associated Press, the MFA said it had reached a deal with the heirs of the former owner, Federico Gentili di Giuseppe, describing it as a “part purchase, part donation settlement.” It gave no details. The painting belonged to Gentili di Giuseppe, a Jewish resident of France who died of natural causes in 1940. His estate was auctioned off the following year when the country was under Nazi occupation. A French court last year determined that Gentili di Giuseppe’s heirs were unfairly blocked from handling the estate because of the occupation. The Louvre in Paris returned five other artworks after the court decision. The museum said Gentili di Giuseppe’s heirs, who have connections to Boston and Harvard University, wanted to leave the painting with the Museum of Fine Arts “for the people of Boston and the world to enjoy.”
The Nantucket Historical Association’s Picturing Nantucket: An Art History of the Island with Paintings from the Nantucket Historical Association has been released. Edited by Michael A. Jehle, the association’s former curator and museums director, the book offers a history of the island’s cultural development with essays by Charlotte Emans Moore, Patricia Hills, Margaret Moore Booker and Jehle. A significant section of the book is devoted to the catalogue of Nantucket paintings, most of them in the association’s collection.
When the White House celebrates its bicentennial next month, organizers would love to display a historic painting of George Washington by N.C. Wyeth in front of a White House under construction and still covered in scaffolding. But the painting, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and painted in 1930, has vanished. The work was featured on Richard Nixon’s 1971 White House Christmas card and could be worth as much as $1 million. Wyeth, father of painter Andrew Wyeth and grandfather of artist Jamie Wyeth, was the only famous artist to paint a picture of the White House under construction, Hugh Sidey told the Associated Press. Sidney is a retired Time magazine Washington correspondent and now the president of the White House Historical Association, which is planning the bicentennial events.
In a lawsuit filed October 13, Mark Zaplin of Zaplin-Lambert Gallery, Santa Fe, N.M., asks a judge to determine the rights and interests of himself, the Gerald Peters Gallery and Ron Rakow and Denise DelBianco of Santa Barbara, Calif., in the ownership of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, “Early Spring Tree.” He also wants the court to clear up the ownership of a painting by artist Alfred Thompson Bricher. The lawsuit seeks up to $75,000 from Rakow and DelBianco for breach of contract. There was no listing for DelBianco in the Santa Barbara area. Rakow told the Associated Press on October 17 that he had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment on its specifics. According to the lawsuit, Zaplin, Peters, Rakow and DelBianco were in a partnership that owned the O’Keeffe painting and Zaplin and the Californians were in a partnership that owned the Bricher work. In July, Rakow and DelBianco, through a lawyer, demanded to be bought out. Zaplin sent them a check for $211,000 in August. Zaplin contends Peters attempted to negotiate a separate deal with the Californians in August but they never signed the paperwork.
The Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, N.Y., has received a $92,385 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C., to support its programs and operating costs. This is the second large grant which the museum has received from IMLS within the past two years. In 1999, IMLS awarded the Old Chatham site a grant of more than $33,000 for its recently completed Collections Storage Facility.
Online auctioneer eBay, San Jose, Calif., has set its eyes on TV audiences and is negotiating with major networks, including ABC, on a deal for a series that would allow viewers to bid on cars, jewelry and other rdf_Descriptions. If eBay succeeds in securing a daily TV show, it could become one of the most extensive ties between the online and on-screen worlds. The talks are in the early stages, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove told AP’s May Wong on October 17. How the television version of eBay would operate – whether, for example, viewers would be able to place orders by telephone and on the Internet – has yet to be determined.
The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s French Eighteenth Century porcelain from Sevres, Vincennes, Saint-Could, Chantilly and Villeroy-Mennecy, most of it bequeathed by J. Pierpont Morgan, has been catalogued for the first time in French Eighteenth-Century Porcelain at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Authors Linda H. Roth, the Charles C. and Eleanor Lamont Cunningham curator of European Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartofrd, Conn., and Clare le Corbeiller, emeritus curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, conducted archival research and technical examinations of more than 250 pieces.
Yahoo! Inc., New York City, is launching new initiatives on October 16 that protect purchases made on its auction and shopping sites, reports the Associated Press. The program is backed by insurance obtained from Lloyd’s of London, one of the industry’s leading insurance carriers. For its auction site, called auctions.yahoo.com, the protection targets transactions, whose closing price is above $25 and below $10,000, and is either paid for and not received, or “materially” different from what was described by the seller. Consumers will be protected for up to $250 with a $25 deduction. For those using direct payment, coverage goes up to $3,000. with a $25 deduction. The protection does not apply to those where the bidder or the seller has a negative rating, Yahoo! said.
Eppraisals.com will now offer in its weekly newsletter tips and information from Antique & Collectors Reproduction News, covering all areas of collecting. “We want to keep our customers from getting burned,” says Leslie Hindman, chairman of Eppraisals.com.
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