01 In one of the highest-priced private art deals ever, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin reportedly paid David Geffen’s foundation around $300 million for ’s Interchanged (1955) and around $200 million for Pollock’s Number 17A (1948).
This marks a record price for both Abstract Expressionist artists, and tops the previous record for a private sale—a $300 million purchase of Gauguin’s When Will You Marry (1892) supposedly made by the Qatar Museums. Both paintings have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago since last September. (via Bloomberg)
02 UNESCO is teaming up with the Italian government to create a task force charged with preserving heritage sites in combat zones across the globe.
The agreement, signed Tuesday, designates an initial 60-person group composed of conservation experts and members of an Italian police group focused on art crime. The group will serve to assist countries that are members of UNESCO in protecting their cultural sites and developing their conservation strategies. This comes as a direct result of an international meeting of 83 culture ministers in Milan last summer, where the group vowed to “condemn violence against world cultural heritage.” (via The Art Newspaper)
03 The fourth edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles, the West Coast version of the more established French fair, was called off on Monday by event organizers following poor sales at prior editions.
Set to open on April 29th, the event’s exhibitor list had become increasingly local—a trend which boded poorly for its long-term prospects. Reed Exhibitions, the company behind Paris Photo Los Angeles, said in a statement that sales “[were] not sufficient to support such a fair and to offer our exhibitors the best conditions of return on their investment.” Reed further announced that it is ending its bid to create an LA edition of their eminent Paris’s fair, FIAC, which was originally scheduled to open in 2015 before being delayed to 2016. (via The Art Newspaper)
04 Collectors from mainland China were particularly active in last week’s London auctions, a phenomenon that may be linked to government restrictions on how much money individuals can transfer out of the country.
The annual limit is $50,000, but as fears intensify about a drop in the value of the yuan, wealthy Chinese families are attempting to move money out of the country through different channels, including expensive purchases (which may offer an explanation for any increase in bidding from Chinese buyers). National policies regarding currency may be affecting the European art world, as well. Attempts to eliminate the €500 note—currently an effective way to store large amounts of cash outside a bank—may direct those looking for alternatives towards the art market
, particularly easily identifiable works valued between $5,000 and $50,000, according to the Art Market Monitor’s Marion Maneker. (via Art Market Monitor)
According to British photographer Dennis Morris, the work, titled John Lydon, Destroyed (1994) is too similar to his own 1977 photograph of Lydon. Though the photographer is still deciding whether to pursue legal action, the work was withdrawn from a recent Sotheby’s sale at the consigner’s request. This would not be the first time Morris and Peyton have tussled in court—in 2014, the photographer sued alleging that at least three of the artist’s works depicting Lydon and Sid Vicious infringed on his copyright. The two parties eventually settled. (via The Art Newspaper)