Three works, estimated at more than $17 million, restituted to the heirs of Gaston Lévy will be sold at Sotheby’s in February. Lévy was sponsor of Paul Signac’s yearlong journey to paint 107 French ports. Two of Signac’s port paintings are among the works being sold: La Corne d’Or (The Golden Horn) estimated at $6.5–9.1 million, and Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris (Clichy Quay. Grey Weather), estimated at up to $775,000. The Clichy painting was found among the works hoarded by Cornelius Gurlitt and returned last year by the German government. The other Signac and Camille Pissarro’s Gelée blanche, jeune paysanne faisant du feu (White frost, young peasant building a fire), which Sotheby’s believes could make $10.4 million in February’s Impressionist and Modern auction, were in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and returned to the heirs in 2018.
Art Market Monitor
Poland seeks the return of 63,000 works of art looted during World War II but when it comes to scouring their own museums for works that rightfully belong to others, there’s commitment, according to Nina Siegal in the New York Times. “Seven Dutch works that researchers have identified as missing are held by one museum in Gdansk. Scholars say they suspect dozens more are in art institutions in other Polish cities where the Nazis stored cultural artifacts they had looted, or bought under dubious circumstances, from the Netherlands. ‘The Polish government wants to have as much as possible back,’ said Kamil Zeidler, a law professor at the University of Gdansk who has studied the issue, ‘but they don’t want to give anything back to others.’” An unpublished report identifies 81 works from Holland that appear to be in Polish museums, including Old Master paintings once owned by dealer Jacques Goudstikker.
The New York Times
Before David Hockney’s Portrait of the Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was sold for $90.3 million, the artist’s most famous pool image was A Bigger Splash (1967), which hangs in the permanent collection of the Tate Modern. On Friday, Sotheby’s announced it would be selling a slightly smaller version of the painting, The Splash (1966), in the London sales of contemporary art in February. The work previously set a record price just under $5 million for Hockney in 2006. This time around, The Splash is estimated at $26 million.
Art Market Monitor
Tullio Crali, a late disciple of Futurism whom Filippo Marinetti trusted to safeguard the future of the movement after his death, was the greatest painter of aeropittura, paintings that captured the “sensory drama of flight.” He has his first show of paintings in the U.K. at Estorick Collection in London. Here, Crali describes the feeling of learning to fly: “The surge of take-off, the powerful voice of the engines, the intransigence of the propeller, the surprise of feeling oneself suspended at one hundred, five hundred, a thousand metres above the ocean… everything was wondrous, and when I found myself back on the ground I felt as if I had been robbed.”
Taipei Dangdai opens for second edition with 99 galleries, “determined to show Taiwan off to the world,” according to the Financial Times. “Under the stewardship of curator Robin Peckham, who has joined founder Magnus Renfrew as co-director, an off-site public programme organised with the leading Taiwanese intellectual Chang Tieh-Chi will feature installations spread across city landmarks, exploring themes such as ecology, pop culture and the role of the Asian market.”
The Financial Times
The Outsider Art Fair opens its annual run January 16 in New York. The fair, which, according to Hyperallergic’s hyperaware preview, “is one event on the art-fair circuit that routinely serves up not merely art products but artistic expressions distinguished by a sense of urgency, authenticity, and resonance to spare. That’s probably due to the fact that genuine creators of art brut and outsider art produce their works not because they want to but because they have to; for such visionaries, making art is as essential as breathing. This year’s 28th edition of the fair, featuring nearly 70 exhibitors from the United States, South America, Europe, and East Asia, reflects the spread of research activity and ever-broadening interest in the outsider-art field. Fresh discoveries drive its specialized market, and its most serious collectors relish every newly unearthed biographical detail about the self-taught makers who are its focus.”
Scott Reyburn is concerned that British galleries might lose clients if dealers are required to follow anti-money-laundering protocols. The New York Times piece elides the broader problem that London’s property and financial markets have been a refuge for illicit money over the last several decades with the unproven fear that art is used in any meaningful way to launder money. The new regulations going into effect in the U.K. will be a burden to smaller galleries without the experienced staff to carry out AML protocols but the practices required are already standard at the international auction houses. Similar measures have already been put into place in U.S. luxury property markets.
The New York Times