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READY YOUR PADDLES. Christie’s has won the opportunity to offer 12 major works from the collection of the late art collector, philanthropist, and socialite Anne Hendricks Bass, Melanie Gerlis reports in her Financial Times column. With a $250 million-plus estimate, the works are slated to hit the block at the house’s big-league May sales in New York. The priciest among them is a 1961 Mark Rothko, Untitled (Shades of Red) , which carries an $80 million high estimate (and a guarantee). Bass died in 2020 at the age of 78; also selling from her collection are prime pieces by Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, including a posthumous 1927 cast of the latter’s famed Petite danseuse de quatorze ans that is expected to go for at least $20 million.
ASHTON HAWKINS, a pioneer in the field of art law who helped guide the Metropolitan Museum of Art as executive vice president and counsel to its trustees, has died at 84, the New York Times reports. Hawkins’s career at the Met spanned the heady years of 1969 to 2001, as it size and audience grew dramatically; Clay Risen writes that Hawkins could “be described as the chief curator of its vast collection of rich and powerful donors.” For about a decade beginning in 1985 he was involved with the Dia Center for the Arts, serving as chairman as it worked to regain its financial footing. The Met’s current counsel, Sharon Cott, told the Times of his work at the museum, “All the major gifts during his time were projects that he was intimately involved with and helped bring to fruition.”
Italian authorities are investigating Lanfranco Cirillo—the designer of a sprawling mansion on the Black Sea that some have linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin—for allegedly failing to pay some €50 million (about $55.8 million) in taxes. A February raid on an Italian villa owned by Cirillo resulted in the confiscation of paintings by Cézanne, Kandinsky, Picasso, and others. A lawyer for him has declined to comment. [The Art Newspaper]
The bust of a veiled woman dating back more than 2,000 years, said to have been stolen from a temple in Cyrene, Libya, was returned to the country by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. It had been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from an unnamed source until it was seized in February. [The New York Times]
Officials with Homeland Security in the United States said that they had seized 13 items—all but one from India—from an Ivy League university art gallery that they declined to name as part of an investigation of looted cultural materials. The objects are reportedly connected to dealer Subhash Kapoor, who has been accused of trafficking in looted artifacts. [NBC New York]
On April 1, the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, will once again stage its every-three-years project “State of the Art/Art of the State,” which invites any artist from the state to bring a piece to discuss with a curator and then display. Many hundreds of participants are expected. It was inspired by a similar initiative that the legendary curator Walter Hopps undertook. [PortCityDaily]
The children of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have donated her black robe, two of her collars, and other items to the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. [The Washington Post]
The Lower Manhattan apartment of Cassie Arison, a Carnival Cruise heir who co-founded AsPromised magazine, sports work by Dora Maar, George Condo, and Dan Flavin—the latter’s Untitled (to Donna 6), from 1971, to be exact. Have a look inside. [Architectural Digest]
THE AMERICAN TOURIST is not always a paragon of commendable behavior. But one with archaeology experience named Robbie Brown is being credited with finding a 5,000-year-old clay jug while on a hike in the West Bank, Newsweek reports. A spox for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that the cave where Brown found it had been surveyed a couple years ago but that the subsequent collapse of a section of earth exposed the piece. Another official with the group called on people “who discover artifacts to leave them in place and call us immediately so that we can maximize the archaeological information from the find.” [Newsweek]