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THE FRUITS OF HIS LABOR. Records fell at the Artcurial auction house in Paris on Wednesday, with a 1761 Jean-Siméon Chardin still life, The Basket of Wild Strawberries, going for €24.4 million (about $26.9 million). That is the most ever paid for a work by the artist at auction, as well as the most ever paid for a French Old Master on the block, the Art Newspaper reports. (The previous top mark for the latter was the £17.1 million that was spent on a Fragonard at Bonhams in 2013.) The buyer of the Chardin, which had carried a €15 million high estimate, was New York dealer Adam Williams, according to TAN. Remarkably, it is Chardin’s only known depiction of strawberries.
ARTIST UPDATES. Lebohang Kganye, whose work will appear in South Africa’s Venice Biennale pavilion, was profiled by CNN. Christine Sun Kim, fresh off unveiling a massive mural at the Queens Museum in New York (“TIME OWES ME REST AGAIN,” it reads), chatted with the Guardian. Camille Norment, who has a solo show at Dia Chelsea in Manhattan, spoke with Cultured. And Michelle Stuart, who has an exhibition a few blocks away, at Galerie Lelong and Co., did a Q&A with Artnet News, She discussed bringing seeds from far-flung locales back to her studio to make work. “New York doesn’t give a shit,” Stuart said. “You can bring almost anything into New York.”
Sona Karakashian Johnston, a Baltimore Museum of Art curator for four decades, between 1970 and 2010, has died at 83. An expert on the American Impressionist artist Theodore Robinson, Johnston organized numerous shows of American and French art, ending her career as senior curator of painting and sculpture. [The Baltimore Sun]
Damien Hirst received £1.3 million (about $1.71 million) in government furlough aid during 2020, according to paperwork filed by his company. During that period, 63 people were reportedly laid off from his studios. [The Art Newspaper]
The international jury that will award prizes at the Venice Biennale in April is comprised of Adrienne Edwards (the co-curator of this year’s Whitney Biennial, who is serving as the panel’s president), Lorenzo Giusti (the director of GAMeC Bergamo in Italy), Julieta González (artistic director of Brazil’s Instituto Inhotim), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (artistic director of Berlin’s Savvy Contemporary), and Susanne Pfeffer (Museum MMK für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt). [Press Release/La Biennale]
Artist Lucy Raven, who has won plaudits for her seductive and incisive film installations, has joined Lisson Gallery. Raven will appear in the next Whitney Biennial in New York, which opens to the public on April 6. [ARTnews]
The Chicago Sun-Times has tapped writer and photographer Lee Bey to pen a monthly architecture column. “This is spectacular news—at last, some movement toward more rather than less journalistic architecture criticism,” veteran architecture critic Paul Goldberger said. [@PaulGoldberger/Twitter]
THE COMPUTER PROGRAMMER STEPHEN WILHITE, who invented the animated GIF in 1987, providing a platform for countless memes and artworks, has died at the age of 74, the New York Times reports. “I saw the format I wanted in my head and then I started programming,” he once told the paper. Wilhite received a lifetime achievement honor from the Webby Awards , but his invention’s fame far outmatched his own. His wife, Kathaleen Wilhite, said that a granddaughter once relayed his achievement to her computer teacher, who did not believe her, and so he penned a letter to the teacher to set the record straight. “Then he signed it Steve Wilhite and he said, ‘Google it,’ ” his wife explained. [The New York Times]