This Week’s 10 Most Important Art News Stories

Artsy Editorial
Sep 25, 2015 9:45PM

Catch up on the latest art news with our rundown of the 10 stories you need to know this week.

Van Gogh’s Landscape Under a Stormy Sky (1889). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.


A small oil painting that sold at auction in New Jersey for $870,000 (1,000 times its estimate) might be an early Rembrandt. The panel is thought to be the painter’s take on “Smell” in his series on the five senses, which would make it one of his earliest works. In other Rembrandt news, in order to acquire two Rembrandt portraits for the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch government has pledged half of the $180 million required for the purchase from French businessman Éric de Rothschild. (via The Art Newspaper, the New York Times)


Russian art collector Dmitry E. Rybolovlev has declared that he will return two Picasso paintings to the artist’s stepdaughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay. The two paintings were allegedly stolen from Hutin-Blay before eventually landing in the hands of dealer Yves Bouvier, who then sold them to Rybolovlev. Bouvier and Rybolovlev are currently locked in courtroom battles over accusations of fraud committed by Bouvier. (via the New York Times) 


Sotheby’s New York has revealed that one of Van Gogh’s late landscapes will be offered for auction on November 5th. Landscape Under a Stormy Sky (1889), painted a year before the artist’s death, is estimated to fetch $50–$70 million. Alongside Van Gogh, Picasso’s Nude With Crossed Legs (1903) will also be for sale, at an estimated $8–$12 million. (via The Art Newspaper)


Le Freeport, a luxury art storage facility in Luxembourg that offers high security and low taxes, is coming under scrutiny following Rybolovlev’s accusations that Bouvier’s sales have been fraudulent. Bouvier is one of the facility’s largest investors, and though the building has been open for a year, it remains largely empty. (via the Wall Street Journal) 


After a long series of legal proceedings, the J. Paul Getty Museum has acknowledged the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America as the rightful owner of eight pages from a 13th-century religious manuscript. The Getty bought the pages, which were separated at an unknown point from a manuscript that resides at Armenia’s Matenadaran institute, for $1 million in 1994. Church officials are in turn donating the pages to the Getty for preservation and public display. (via the New York Times)


Tate Modern still needs $45.5 million in order to complete its extensive ongoing renovations. Tate officials are confident that they can raise the money in time to finish in June 2016 as scheduled, unveiling a new 10-story wing with a roof terrace and a rehang of works by over 250 artists. (via BBC News) 


The lawsuit brought by Peggy Guggenheim’s descendants over control of the Venice museum that displays her collection was dismissed by a French appeals court on Wednesday. The lawsuit was the third challenge to the management of the collection by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, with the family citing Guggenheim’s wish that her collection remain intact and separated from recent acquisitions. (via the New York Times)


Adam Sheffer has been elected to serve as the Art Dealers Association of America’s (ADAA) new president. Sheffer, who is also a partner at Cheim & Read gallery, has served as the organization’s vice president since 2013 and chairman of its annual fair, the Art Show, since 2009. (via The Art Newspaper)


Independent Brussels has announced that Olivier Pesret and Liv Vaisberg will be joining the fair as co-directors, responsible for overseeing the fair’s European operations. The inaugural Brussels edition of the New York-based Independent fair is set for April 20th–23rd of next year. (via ARTnews)


Hauser & Wirth now has exclusive worldwide representation of the estate of Philip Guston. The estate was previously represented by the McKee Gallery, which closed earlier this year. Hauser & Wirth is already planning its first exhibition of the artist’s work for next year in New York, which is to be curated by Paul Schimmel. (via Hauser & Wirth)

In other news...


Christie’s has announced the upcoming sale and tour of the “largest cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond” to go to auction, which is estimated at $23–28 million. (via ARTnews)

L.A.’s Heart of Art gallery, a space dedicated to women, trans, and queer artists, will be shutting down and moving locations due to ongoing harassment and threats from the public. (via LAist)

In protest of Eli Broad’s investment in L.A. charter schools, several hundred teachers from the L.A. Unified School District stood outside the Broad museum on its opening day, chanting “You want art for the masses? Then fund more classes!” (via the L.A. Times)

The Musée d’Orsay was forced to push back the opening of its new exhibition “Splendor and Misery: Images of Prostitution 1850–1920,” because of a two-day strike by museum workers in outcry against plans to keep the museum open for seven days a week. (via the New York Times)  

Proceeds from the upcoming October 16th sale of Peter Doig’s Cabin Essence (1994), which is expected to fetch over $13 million at Christie’s London, will go to the World Justice Project. (via ARTnews)

SoHo non-profit Artists Space is set to close its Greene Street location for four months, while the construction of a penthouse expansion in their building leaves the space unable to host exhibitions. (via Artforum)

Tom Finkelpearl, New York City’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, has announced that he will be taking leave from his position due to a health issue. (via the New York Times)

An art critic at the London Evening Standard for over 30 years known for his controversial perspective, Brian Sewell died this week at the age of 84. (via The Art Newspaper)

Following the anti-Semitic defacement of Anish Kapoor’s Dirty Corner (2015) and a court ruling that the vandalism must be removed, the artist decided to cover the messages with gold leaf. (via BBC News)

Make your weekend plans with our preview of exhibitions on view in cities across the globe.

Artsy Editorial