News

  • Sotheby's and Christie's to Settle Antitrust Suit

    Auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's will each pay twenty million dollars to settle antitrust litigation related to a costly price-fixing scheme, Reuters reports. The agreement, which is subject to court approval, will settle the class-action lawsuit that sought damages through US courts related to auctions that took place between 1993 and 2000.

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  • States Consider Complete Defunding of Arts Councils

    State arts budgets are on the ropes all over the country, writes Ben Winters in In These Times. In the mid- to late ’90s, the states enjoyed healthy revenue streams and almost universally cut taxes and increased spending. Now, as the economy enters a second year of doldrums, arts budgets in Missouri, Arizona, New Jersey, and elsewhere may pay the price for the states' earlier optimism.

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  • Literati Petition to Halt Auction of Breton's Belongings

    Literary figures throughout the world have been adding their names to a petition to stop one of the largest auctions to be held in Paris for decades, reports Colin Gleadell in the Daily Telegraph. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Susan Sontag, and John Ashbery are among those who would like the French government to step in and rescue a twenty-million-pound (thirty-two-million-dollar) art and archive collection formed by the “Pope of Surrealism,” André Breton, before it goes under the hammer next month.

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  • No Finder's Fee for Recovery of Looted Art, Judge Rules

    A State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan has dismissed a lawsuit by a New York writer who sought almost seven million dollars in finder's fees for helping the family of the Parisian art dealer Paul Rosenberg recover paintings by Matisse, Monet, Léger, and Bonnard that had been stolen by the Nazis, writes Terry Pristin in the New York Times. The writer, Hector Feliciano, created an international sensation with his 1994 book, The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art, which focused attention on the missing artworks.

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  • Report Urges Abolition of European Union's Art Tax

    The European Union's “blinkered and restrictive bureaucracy” is seriously damaging the Continent's art market, according to a report to be published later this week, Will Bennett writes in the Daily Telegraph. An investigation into Value-Added Tax in the EU reveals a chaotic situation in what is supposed to be a free-trade area.

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  • Death of Bacon's Heir Leaves Status of Paintings in Doubt

    The artist Francis Bacon's longtime companion and muse, John Edwards, died in Thailand on March 5, throwing the ownership of the dozens of paintings he inherited after Bacon's death into uncertainty, writes Colin Blackstock in The Guardian. Edwards was the sole heir to Bacon's tangled fortune and was left an eleven-million-pound (eighteen-million-dollar) estate after the artist died in 1992.

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  • The Hague Tightens Purse Strings on Arts Funding

    The Dutch culture ministry spends 400 million dollars a year directly on the arts—about twenty-five dollars for every Dutch citizen, writes Andras Szanto in the New York Times. By comparison, the National Endowment for the Arts's budget is 115 million dollars, or forty cents for every American. But the situation in the Netherlands is changing; now, institutions must meet minimum targets for raising private revenues, or risk losing subsidies.

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  • PA Governor Safeguards State Arts Budget

    Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's decision this week to spare the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts from any budget reduction comes at a time when many states are considering slashing arts allocations or eliminating arts councils altogether, writes Caroline Abels in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This happened because we have a governor who understands how the arts play a role in economic development—that's the bottom line,” said Jenny Hershour, assistant executive director of Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, a Harrisburg lobbying group.

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  • Morgenthau Subpoenas Art Dealers Regarding Tax Evasion

    Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has begun scrutinizing the activities of New York art dealers as part of an ongoing tax-evasion probe, writes Holly Yeager in the Financial Times. The probe has resulted in charges against prominent collectors such as Dennis Kozlowski, former chairman of Tyco International, and Sam Waksal, founder and former chief executive of ImClone Systems. Morgenthau's prosecutors have been investigating records at galleries in New York and have subpoenas out to more than a dozen art dealers. While they have so far focused their attention on art buyers, Morgenthau

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  • Felix Landau, Major L.A. Art Dealer, Dies

    Felix Landau, a Los Angeles art dealer whose gallery was a prestigious showcase for modern and contemporary art in the 1960s, died February 17 at his home in Garches, France, of complications from diabetes, writes Suzanne Muchnic in the Los Angeles Times. Landau was seventy-eight. His eponymous gallery, which opened on La Cienega Boulevard in 1951, exhibited works by Henry Moore and California artists Sam Francis, Paul Wonner, William Dole, and Jack Zajac. The gallery didn't show Pop art, however. “I don't go for this fashion,” Landau told an interviewer in 1967. “It's a term as idiotic as

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  • Colin de Land, Pivotal Art Dealer, Dies at Forty-seven

    Colin de Land, the New York art dealer whose gallery was for nearly twenty years at the heart of a New York strain of conceptually based work, died on Sunday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital at the age of forty-seven, writes Roberta Smith in the New York Times. The cause was cancer, said Dennis Balk, an artist represented by de Land's gallery, American Fine Arts.

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  • Waksal Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion on Art Purchases

    Saying he knew that his actions had been wrong, Samuel D. Waksal pleaded guilty yesterday to evading sales tax on fifteen million dollars worth of contemporary art that he bought from a New York City gallery, write Constance L. Hays and Carol Vogel in the New York Times. People close to the case who know of Waksal's collection, which was displayed in his sprawling loft on Thompson Street in SoHo, identified the gallery owner as Larry Gagosian, who has offices in London and Los Angeles as well as Manhattan.

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