Published: June 26, 2001
Trade News from around the World
About 200 works of art smuggled then hidden in a Brooklyn, N.Y. apartment were returned June 22 to the Republic of Azerbaijan, prosecutors told AP. The prints and drawings by Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century Russian artists Shishkin, Lebedev, Larionov, Serov and Mahkovsky, were stolen in 1993 from the Azerbaijan Museum of Fine Arts in Baku, Azerbaijan, the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Manhattan said in a statement. The return of the works of art follows a civil interpleader action, which had to be taken to clear title of the stolen art, the DA said.
A Sixteenth Century painting stolen from the Italian embassy in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II was headed back to its rightful owners June 22 after hanging in the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts, for 46 years, writes Adam Gorlick of the Associated Press. “Spring Sowing,” painted by the Italian artist Jacopo da Ponte in 1567, was looted when the embassy in Warsaw closed during the war. The oil on canvas of life in a mountain village was on loan to the embassy from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. In return, the Italian museum has loaned “Two Hunting Dogs,” another painting by da Ponte, known as Il Bassano, to the Springfield gallery for a year. “From 1939 to 1945 we don’t know exactly where the painting was,” said Piero de Masi, consul general of Italy. “In central Europe at that time, everything whirled in such a cyclone that things just disappeared. Maybe a soldier picked it up and took it home. But anyone could have broken down the door and taken it.” Springfield paid M. Knoedler and Company $5,000 for the painting in 1955. The New York City dealer bought the painting from a Swiss dealer, the Lucerne Fine Art Company. Lucerne purchased it in 1945 from an elderly Swiss woman who claimed it had been in her family for years.
A painting of hell by Jan Brueghel the Elder, previously known only through copies produced by the artist’s workshop, will be offered at Sotheby’s London in July. The painting, “Aeneas and Sybil in the Underworld,” is expected to fetch $1.7 million to $2.2 million. The firm would not say who had consigned the work, according to the AP.
James Parker, 77, a curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for nearly 50 years, died of cancer June 20 at his home in Manhattan, reports AP. Best known for his creation of the Wrightsman rooms of Eighteenth Century French furniture, Parker joined the Met in 1951 as an assistant in the European sculpture and decorative arts. He broke a long family tradition by opting for the museum instead of the military.
After many years as managing director of Sotheby’s restoration, Colin Stair has taken over the lease on the Maple Avenue property and is not only continuing the restoration business but starting up an auction house as well. According to Stair, “The timing is perfect for this venture: Sotheby’s has decided to phase out its operations up here, and I knew that with our client base the demand for our expert services would continue. Additionally, Sotheby’s raised their minimum auction lot value which leaves a trove of antiques in the $100 to $20,000 range that I would be thrilled to auction.” Stair Galleries & Restorations, Inc. has been created with Sotheby’s knowledge and support. Stair intends to hold ten to 12 auctions per year. All of the merchandise will be stored and catalogued in Claverack and the sales will be held in the Hudson, New York area, because according to Stair, “It’s such a good fit with all the interest in art and antiques that Hudson generates.” Auction previews will be held two days prior to the sale at the auction site and catalogues with estimates will be available. Photographs of the auction rdf_Descriptions may be viewed on the company Web site, stairgalleries.com and catalogues may be downloaded free of charge. Stair is assembling a group of full and part time consultants to assist him, including Rupert Fennell, who was affiliated with Sotheby’s for many years. Also assisting is his wife Katrina, proprietor of K. Stair Antiques in Hudson, and his father, John Stair, who was responsible for bringing Sotheby’s to Claverack in the 1980s.
The Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (MOA), is the recipient of a Warhol Foundation $50,000 support grant for its upcoming exhibition “Fashion: The Greatest Show on Earth.” The exhibit examines the importance of the art/fashion phenomenon by incorporating clothing, video, performance, and design by leading couturiers and contemporary artists.
One of the most prominent public buildings in Huntington, N.Y., has received a new lease on life more than a century after its construction: The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building, better known to many as “the building with the cannon,” has been given to the Huntington Historical Society by the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association.
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