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ART BASEL NEARS. If it feels like you were just hearing about the Swiss fair—or it feels like you were just in that tranquil city—you are not wrong. Last year the pandemic pushed the event to September from its usual June slot. Now it is returning to its regular place on the calendar for the first time since 2019, running June 16–19 with previews for the select June 14–15. Today it announced the 289 exhibitors who have signed on, Maximilíano Durón reports in ARTnews. The major-league players will all be there, joined by 19 new exhibitors, including two from Africa: Jahmek Contemporary Art, of Luanda, Angola, and OH Gallery, of Dakar, Senegal. One change: the fair’s Unlimited section, for large-scale productions, will now also host an “Unlimited Night” on Thursday (that is June 16).
AN EIGHT-FIGURE BUY. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has purchased a roundel from about 1500 by the Italian artist Gian Marco Cavalli for $23 million, the New York Times reports. The museum’s director, Max Hollein, termed it “an absolute masterpiece” in a statement, and Colin Moynihan, in the Times, notes that it is the priciest buy of Hollein’s still-young tenure (begun in 2018), and the second-priciest in Met history. Funds came from a bequest left by the late Met curator James David Draper —who was on staff when the museum vied for it in 2003—and other sources. The piece has had a complicated history since then, as Apollo details, having been acquired by Qatari royal Sheikh Saud al-Thani and then blocked from export by the U.K. Now it has found a home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where it will go on view in March.
An auction of 104 CryptoPunks as a single lot—estimated to fetch as much as $30 million—at Sotheby’s in New York was nixed shortly before its scheduled start last night by the pseudonymous consignor, who tweeted, “nvm, decided to hodl.” The house declined to comment on the reason for the withdrawal. [Artnet News]
Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology have discovered a roughly 1,800-year-old Roman mosaic in London that is the largest found in the capital city in at least a half-century. It once graced a dining room, it is believed. [CNN and The Art Newspaper]
Designer Raf Simons’s latest collection was inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. [AnOther]
A loft in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood that is the home of an unnamed former Navy SEAL was spotlighted by Architectural Digest. It includes artwork by Monica Kim Garza and Perle Fine, plus lanterns by Isamu Noguchi. [Architectural Digest]
FROM THE CRITICS’ DESKS: In the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Knight goes deep on the resurgence of interest in the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, whose Lucretia (circa 1627) was snapped up by the J. Paul Getty Museum last year. In the New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl writes on Hans Holbein the Younger, now the subject of a show at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, and Adam Gopnik weighs in on Florine Stettheimer, who just got a biography from Barbara Bloemink. Earlier this month, Alex Greenberger appraised the Stettheimer book for ARTnews.
RETURNING HOME. In 1974, a British officer took an 18th-century icon out of Cyprus amid Turkey’s invasion of the island. On Wednesday, the Associated Press reports, his son returned it to the Church of Cyprus, wanting to “do the right thing,” according to a law professor involved in the matter. The son, who has asked to remain anonymous, wrote in a letter: “If only this picture could talk. It would have a great tale to tell about its creation and the joy it has given to many generations of worshippers. It would also tell of the sorrows of the world, conflict and removal to another land for many years.” [AP]