Trade News from around the World
A painting has vanished from the Jewish Museum’s just-opened “Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections” exhibit in New York City, which consists mainly of works never before exhibited in this country. The disappearance was discovered on June 8, following a party in the museum the previous night, police Officer Chris Cottingham told the Associated Press. He said there were no signs of forced entry and no arrests had been made. Museum spokeswoman Anne Scher would not identify the missing painting because of the investigation. The New York Post reported that it was the 1914 “Study for ‘Over Vitebsk,'” with an estimated value of $1 million. The 8-by-10-inch oil painting shows a winter scene of Chagall’s home town of Vitebsk, Belarus, with the figure of an old man carrying a walking stick and beggar’s sack, who floats in the sky as if part of the landscape. The exhibit’s nearly 60 paintings and drawings are on loan from the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and other collections.
According to the Associated Press, two Seventeenth Century paintings likely taken by Soviet army troops at the end of World War II were handed back to the Dresden Art Gallery, Germany, on June 6. Dutch artist Melchior d’Hondecoeter’s “Resting Hen” and German Christoph Paudiss’ “Portrait of a Heyduck with a Tall Hat” were part of the Dresden gallery’s old masters collection until they vanished at the war’s end. The Paudiss painting was turned over to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder earlier this year by a Russian businessman who had bought the work at a Moscow art market in 1992. The German Embassy in Moscow received the d’Hondecoeter work in 1993, but only recently received permission to export it.
A three-panel folding screen, or room divider, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 6 feet wide, painted more than 100 years ago by American Impressionist Thomas Wilmer Dewing, is being sought by a Kansas City, Mo. family and an art historian. A female figure draped in white appears in three poses -one on each 2-foot-wide panel – set against a backdrop of blossoms. The screen’s rarity is heightened by its gilded frame, which was designed by Stanford White, a leading architect of the day. The last known owner of the piece was a Kansas City woman named Grace Hecker Beaham, who inherited it in 1928 from her father, a Detroit industrialist. Susan A. Hobbs, an art historian and Dewing expert from Alexandria, Va., hopes to account for the screen in a definitive catalog of Dewing’s work. The screen is the largest and most impressive of about 25 missing Dewings, Hobbs told AP.
The Mohegans, an eastern Connecticut Indian tribe which operates the Mohegan Sun Casino, has given $10 million toward the National Museum of the American Indian, a project that after 12 years still is $90 million and three years away from completion, according to Ken Maguire of the Associated Press. Congress authorized the museum in 1989 but construction has been delayed by fund-raising and design disputes. The museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, now is scheduled to open in 2004 and will be a center for performances, educational programs and exhibits of Indian art, history and culture. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, incoming chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, and museum officials recently met with the Mohegan Tribal Council as part of their drive to raise the final $100 million for the $219 million project. The donation by the Mohegan tribe is the largest since the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, also from Connecticut and also made wealthy by casino gambling, gave $10 million in 1994.
The US Attorney’s Office has dismissed criminal charges against William S. Yager, an upstate New York man accused of selling bogus paintings on eBay, because it needs more time to build its case. Prosecutors also want to determine if pursuing charges is “in the public interest,” the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Reynolds, who is based in Detroit, did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press seeking comment. According to court papers, a couple from Farmington Hills, Mich., sent $12,000 in cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of original paintings to Yager. The trades began after they bid on a Milton Avery painting listed on eBay. In turn, Yager sent the couple, whose name was not released, other paintings and drawings, including a work allegedly done by Edgar Degas and prominent American artists from the turn of the century including Avery, Robert Henri and Reginald Marsh. Sotheby’s New York declared the Degas a fake.
The New York Times’ Roberta Smith reports that Michael Sonnabend, 100, husband of the art dealer Ileana Sonnabend, has died at his home in Manhattan. “Mr. Sonnabend and Mrs. Sonnabend,” writes Smith, “married and moved to Europe, eventually opening a gallery in Paris that played a major role in introducing Pop Art and Minimalism to the Continent. He was often credited with encouraging his wife to take risks, including opening her gallery in SoHo in 1971. At one time the couple thought that Mr. Sonnabend would run the New York gallery while Mrs. Sonnabend oversaw their Paris establishment, but he soon found that the art business did not suit him.”
Artist and playwright Daniel L. Calabrese, 74, whose paintings hang in several Connecticut museums, including the Wadsworth Atheneum, died June 6 in Naugatuck, Conn, reports AP. As an artist, Calabrese had several exhibits in Connecticut. He sold his first painting at age 16 to the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury. His paintings are included in the collections of the Fogg Museum at Harvard, the Wadsworth in Hartford and the New Britain Museum of Art.
Paul C. Ha, the executive director of White Columns, New York’s oldest not-for-profit alternative art gallery, has been appointed deputy director for Programs Management and External Affairs at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn. He will assume this position on August 20.
An international design team of Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan, graphic designer Bruce Mau and landscape and interior designer Petra Blaisse will collaborate on in innovative approach to museum design for UCLA’s Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Calif. The plans propose a more inviting and functional center for exhibitors, public programs, films and special events. The planned enhancements realize Dr Armand Hammer’s original vision for the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center as a multi-disciplinary institution. The $25 million construction project is scheduled to begin in early 2002 and to be completed in early 2003.
After 40 years on 57th Street presenting exhibitions of contemporary American artists, the Fischbach Gallery has moved to the Chelsea art district at 210 Eleventh Avenue, between 24th and 25th streets, New York City. Calvert Wright of Spatial Discipline has designed the new gallery space that will open the last week of July.
N. Pendergast “Penny” Jones, antiques show manager, has decided to retire. In a letter she has mailed to the many exhibitors in her shows she noted that she had made “a difficult decision” and urged the dealers to “please stay in touch.” Jones started her career in the antiques show management business in 1975 when she took the Swickley, Pa. show. Over the years she has been involved in about twenty shows, all of them with the backing of one charity or another. In managing these shows she has traveled to many parts of the country including Louisville, Denver, where she took over from the late Henry Coger, Greensboro, N.C., and the popular holiday event in Old Greenwich, Conn. Her last show was at the end of April in Pittsburgh, Pa.
An online symposium, “The Modern/Postmodern Dialectic: American Art and Culture, 1965-2000,” will be on the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Web site October 1-14 and will be moderated by Maurice Berger, Senior fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, New School University, New York City. This online event will offer a continuation of “Defining American Modernism (1890-Present),” a symposium that will be at the new Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, July 12-14. Access www.okeeffemuseum.org/center/onlinesymposium.