An Extremely Rare Hieronymus Bosch Painting Has Been Discovered—and the 9 Other Biggest Stories in Art This Week

Artsy Editorial
Feb 5, 2016 11:09PM


The number of surviving works by Hieronymus Bosch (only about 25 recognized panels are attributed to the Renaissance painter) went up by one on Monday, after the Bosch Research and Conservation Project attributed a small painting from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s collection to the Dutch artist. The Kansas City institution had kept the work, The Temptation of St. Anthony (c. 1500-10), in storage for years under the assumption that it had been painted by a follower or student. Now it will go on display for the first time at the Noordbrabants Museum’s exhibition “Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius,” set to open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the artist’s hometown, on February 13th. (via The New York Times)


Tefaf Maastricht, already the largest art fair in Europe, is about to get even bigger. After almost three decades in the Netherlands, the fair will make its American debut in New York this October, followed by a spring fair in May 2017. Both will host around 80 to 90 international exhibitors, in contrast to the 270 dealers on the roster for this year’s Maastricht edition. Tefaf New York Fall will take the place of the Armory’s fine art and antiques show and will emphasize works from throughout history, with dealers who specialize in ancient art to works from the 20th century. The spring edition, which will replace the fair Spring Masters, will focus on more recent art and design. (via The New York Times)


Tuesday’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Christie’s totaled £95.9 million—a respectable kick off to the annual auction calendar. Though a drop from last year’s equivalent sale, the figure was within range of the auction’s low estimate. Although these results don’t completely dispel fears of a bursting art market bubble in 2016, neither do they unambiguously confirm such predictions. The Sotheby’s auction in London the following day fell short of its low estimate by around £6.7 million— a 54% decrease from the prior year. (via Art Market Monitor, Artsy, and Bloomberg)


Mirroring a wider push in the art world to correct cultural and racial prejudices, this fall the College Board revamped their Advanced Placement art history curriculum to be less Western-centric. A group of teachers and professors selected 250 total works of art and architecture for the updated AP test, 35 percent of which come from “other artistic traditions” besides the West. The College Board also hopes the slimmed-down syllabus will allow for higher-quality art-historical analysis, rather than a focus on rote memorization. However, reorganizing the canon to include underrepresented artists won’t solve larger structural issues, including the small number of non-white students enrolled in AP art history classes in the first place—a racial divide that is symptomatic of the lack of diversity within museum staff across the country. (via The Atlantic)


The trial that sees Sotheby’s chairman Domenico De Sole and his wife Eleanore pitted against former Knoedler & Company director Ann Freedman continued this week, with expert witnesses taking the stand. The parties are facing off over a fake Rothko purchased from the gallery for $8.3 million. Jack Flam, a Robert Motherwell expert, testified Wednesday that his foundation had examined several of Knoedler’s purported Motherwell paintings and declared in 2007 that “they were probably fakes.” Former Knoedler librarian Edye Weissler spoke on Thursday, noting that Freedman had her research the history of “Mr. X,” the supposed Swiss collector who was credited as the owner of the fakes. Although Weissler—and provenance researcher Victoria Sears Goldman, who also took the stand—could not find conclusive ties between Mr. X and the respected collector David Herbert, they said the information was still disseminated to clients. Freedman is set to take the stand this upcoming Monday. (via ARTNews and artnet News)


Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, currently working on the Greek island of Lesbos, continues to explore Europe’s refugee crisis in his art—most recently by lying facedown on the beach to recreate the widely circulated photograph of a drowned Syrian infant who washed up on the shore after a boat carrying him to Greece capsized. Ai worked with the magazine India Today to stage the image, which was featured at the India Art Fair and will run in the publication alongside an interview with the artist. Ai has also been offered 14,000 lifejackets by the mayor of Lesbos, all discarded by refugees passing through the island, which will serve as the basis of a work he plans to construct in his Berlin studio. (via The Guardian and The Art Newspaper)


The standoff over Picasso’s plaster sculpture Bust of a Woman (1931) continues this week with the revelation that Larry Gagosian’s unidentified buyer is New York billionaire Leon Black. Additional details concerning the convoluted sale continue to emerge—according to Pelham Europe Ltd, which represent a member of Qatar’s royal family, it was sibling rivalry amongst the Picasso clan that led to the current confusion. In Pelham’s telling, the two children of Maya Widmaier Picasso (Picasso’s daughter and owner of the bust) each wanted the work sold to a different buyer. Her son, Olivier Widmaier Picasso, negotiated a deal between Maya and Pelham. But when Maya’s daughter, Diana Widmaier Picasso, found out about the sale she encouraged her mother to instead sell the work to Gagosian for a much higher price. (via Bloomberg)


This week, Italy revealed plans to form 10 new museums and archeological parks (although several of these so-called “new” museums will be the result of mergers between existing institutions) in what amounts to an extensive overhaul of its cultural landscape. The news comes from the country’s minister of cultural heritage, Dario Franceschini, who has said the move will allow Italy’s cultural departments to “speak with a singular voice to the public—to reduce time and bureaucratic costs.” Each proposed park or museum will be led by a new director, selected from an international pool of candidates. (via Artforum)


Art Basel will host galleries from Cuba, Tunisia, and Romania for the first time, according to the extensive list, released by the fair on Tuesday, that names the 287 exhibitors to be shown at the fair’s 47th edition. The mammoth contemporary art fair will run from June 16th through 19th this year in Basel, Switzerland, and two of its sectors—Statements, with a focus on emerging artists and galleries, and Features, which concentrates on curatorial projects—have swelled in number since 2015. Among the major historical works on display for Art Basel’s 2016 edition will be a recreation of Jannis Kounellis’s Da inventare sul posto (1972), which marries performance and visual art by arranging for a violinist to accompany a ballerina dancing alongside an abstract painting. (via the Observer)


During a state visit to France centered around economic issues, representatives of Iran signed a historic cultural agreement with the Louvre that maps out scientific visits, training sessions, exhibition swaps, and more to take place through 2019. The inaugural joint exhibition is set to open in spring 2018 at the Louvre’s satellite museum in northern France and will explore the 19th-century Qajar Dynasty, a historical period regarded with some controversy in contemporary Iran. The deal may also result in a team from the Louvre returning to the ancient dig site where the Code of Hammurabi was uncovered. (via The Art Newspaper)

Artsy Editorial