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Andy Warhol’s 102-part painting “Shadows” is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The exhibition marks the first West Coast presentation of the monumental work, which was executed by the Pop art pioneer between 1978 and 1979. “Andy Warhol: Shadows” is organized by the work’s owner,  New York’s Dia Art Foundation, and coordinated by MOCA’s Senior Curator Bennett Simpson.

Warhol is best known for his appropriation of images from popular culture, including celebrity portraits, advertisements, and newspaper images, but in the last decade of his career, he began experimenting with abstraction. Warhol developed a fascination with shadows and in the late 1970s, they became subjects in their own right.

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This past March, the highest court in Germany for civil affairs ordered that 4,300 pre-World War II posters looted by Nazis were to be returned to Peter Sachs, a retired airline pilot. Sachs is the son of Hans Sachs, a Jewish dentist who fled Germany in 1938 after being arrested by Nazis and sentenced to the Saschsenhausen concentration camp.

The poster collection, worth more than $5.8 million, was previously kept at The Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. Sachs started his collection in the late 19th century at a young age and went on to publish a poster magazine called Das Plakat, found a society, and give lectures on the subject. Unique works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ludwig Hohlwein, Lucian Bernhard, and Jules Cheret are included in the collection.

At the time of its confiscation, Sachs’ collection was the largest of its kind. When the Gestapo seized the posters in 1938, Sachs was told that Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wanted the works for a new museum wing dedicated to “business” art. Sachs’ collection included advertisements for travel destinations and various products as well as propaganda and political posters.

When Sachs arrived in the U.S. with his wife and young son, he assumed that he would never see his collection again. In 1961 he accepted about $50,000 from the West German government, figuring the works had not survived the war. In 1966 when Sachs learned that some of his collection was still intact in East Berlin, he made contact with communist authorities in an attempt to get the posters loaned for exhibitions. He never succeeded.

After Sachs’ death, his son Peter fought a five-year legal battle for the return of his father’s posters after a government panel denied his claim in 2007. The court ultimately ruled that Sachs had never lost legal ownership of the post collection and that Peter, Sachs’ heir, had the right to possession.

Guernsey’s auction house will handle the collections’ sale in three intervals. The first auction is scheduled for January 18, 2013 and the second and third series will take place at six-month intervals. Guernsey’s hopes to find a single buyer for the collection and has been in talks with museums in Germany, Israel, and the U.S.  

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Concurrent Rockwell Kent (1882–1971) exhibitions will open at St. Lawrence’s University’s Richard F. Brush Art Gallery and Owen D. Young Library on October 15. An American painter, printmaker, illustrator, and writer, Kent spent most of his adult life living and working at Asgaard Farm in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. A prominent artist, author, activist, and adventurer, Kent was one of the most noted figures of his time.

The two St. Lawrence exhibitions will present key areas of Kent’s multi-faceted career as a painter and printmaker. A student of William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, Kent’s early paintings exhibit an impressionistic style and simple three-plane composition that anticipated his later, more modern inclinations to simplify his paintings’ compositions. A select group of books highlight Kent’s preeminence as one of the finest illustrators of his time. The prints and drawings on view show Kent’s mastery of chiaroscuro and his knack for reworking original imagery into everything from commercial greeting cards and advertisements to seals and pottery.

Rockwell Kent: The Once Most Popular Artist includes nearly 75 works spanning Kent’s entire artistic career as well as his varied endeavors into different mediums. Kent specialist, Scott R. Ferris, who will also give a lecture at the exhibitions opening on October 15, curated the show. The Once Most Popular Artist will be on view through December 14, 2012.

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