Here Comes the Flood

This week there will be flooding of sorts in Miami. The leaders of major art institutions, collectors, great talents and influencers in the art community will pour into Miami for Art Basel and the array of fairs that happen alongside it. As always, it will an extraordinary coming together that illustrates the depth, intelligence, creativity, and culture we collectively cherish. Precious works have been shipped to our docks and one-of-a kind shows are being staged for just a short week in South Florida, a region dealing with the real effects of climate change.

A Floral Arrangement Inspired by Picasso

A Floral Arrangement Inspired by Picasso

A number of factors conspired to lead me to “The Red Armchair” (1931), a painting by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). I had recently seen an exhibit of his sculptures at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, so he was on my mind. I’d also come across a white earthenware vessel, known as the Medusa vase, by ceramistFrances Palmer. The wriggly stripes she’d pinched into the clay and the looping handles recalled Picasso’s work in general and specifically the face…

Picasso Bust at Center of Custody Battle

Picasso Bust at Center of Custody Battle

The high-powered art dealer Larry Gagosian says he bought it. The royal family of Qatar says it bought the sculpture, too. And now they are facing off in court over who owns Picasso’s important plaster bust of his muse (and mistress) Marie-Thérèse Walter, a star of the Museum of Modern Art’s popular “Picasso Sculpture” show.

Peggy Guggenheim vs. today’s mega art collectors

A recent documentary about the celebrated collector Peggy Guggenheim has yielded fresh insights into her life and prompted a reassessment of how much the art world has changed since her heyday. Guggenheim died in 1979 at 81. For Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, the director Lisa Immordino Vreeland tracked down long-lost audiotapes of interviews that Guggenheim conducted in the 1970s with her official biographer, Jacqueline Bogard Weld. Notable for their subject’s clipped, sardonic replies, they form the revelatory backbone of the movie.

A Year of Highs and Corrections in the Art Market

In May, Picasso’s 1955 painting “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold at Christie’s in New York to an as-yet-unidentified telephone bidder for $179.4 million, a high for any artwork at auction. Led by that sale, Christie’s became the first auction house to sell more than$1 billion worth of art in a week, with a double bill that included 20th-century masterworks on one night and a selection of big-name contemporary pieces the next. Many of them were secured by the company’s policy of courting owners of valuable artworks with hefty guarantees and no commission fees.

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