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The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today that it will have a major exhibition about female Abstract Expressionists in summer 2016. Titled “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” the show will feature more than 50 works by 12 artists. Following its run at the DAM, the show will travel to the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Palm Springs Art Museum in California.

Abstract Expressionism has long been defined by its male adherents—including Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, and Barnett Newman, among others—whose fame greatly exceeds the women in the movement.

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A century after his birth, on Jan. 24, 1915, Robert Motherwell occupies a middle rung on the reputation ladder of Abstract Expressionists. The names Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still and possibly others would now come sooner to many people’s minds on the topic.

But through the long arc and productive prime of his career, Motherwell was as important as anyone in shaping the transformative artistic mode of the mid-20th century.

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While the National Gallery of Art’s East Building galleries are closed for renovations, the Modern masterpieces that usually reside within their walls have headed from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. “Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection” is currently on view at the de Young Museum and presents 46 paintings and sculptures by postwar masters, including Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. The show marks the first time that the Meyerhoff Collection has been exhibited outside of the greater Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas.

The exhibition is divided into three generational groupings, creating a sweeping view of American Modern art from the end of World War II through the close of the 20th century. Highlights from the show include Stella’s geometric canvas “Flin Flon IV” (1969), Johns’ haunting encaustic “Perilous Night” (1982), Lichtenstein’s Pop art gem “Painting with Statue of Liberty” (1983), and Barnett Newman’s “The Stations of a Cross” (1958-66), a series of paintings, widely considered to be the Abstract Expressionist artist’s most import work. The canvases will be displayed in their own intimate gallery so that they can be experienced as a single work, as the artist intended.

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Storm King Art Center, a sprawling sculpture park in New Windsor, New York, has acquired three contemporary works through major long-term loans. The sculptures include “Source” (1967) by American minimalist Tony Scott, “Royal Tide 1” (1960) by monochromatic master Louise Nevelson, and “Broken Obelisk” (1967) by Abstract Expressionist Barnett Newman.

Guests who enter through the Center’s Museum Hill entrance are greeted by “Source,” Smith’s monumental black painted-steel sculpture. First exhibited at Documenta IV in Kassel, Germany, in 1968, “Source” is among Smith’s most dynamic large-scale sculptures and exemplifies the painted black outdoor works for which he is best known.

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This fall, Christie’s Education, the academic arm of the well-known auction house, will offer a certificate course titled Collecting Contemporary Art at its facility in New York. Divided into seven evening sessions, the course will explore what drives the current trends in the contemporary art market. According to Christie’s, the course is ideal for art enthusiasts or collectors at all levels who are interested in learning more about art from the late 1980s to the present, as well as artistic strategies, collecting practices, the market, and the social and institutional networks that support the art.

The contemporary art market has become increasingly robust in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. Earlier this month, Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale netted $745 million, making it the most expensive auction in art market history. Prices for works by contemporary masters such as Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, and Jean-Michel Basquiat continue to climb as there is no shortage of hungry buyers with millions of dollars at their disposal. Christie’s Education seeks to make sense of the mind-bogglingly lucrative market through classes like “Defining Contemporary Art,” “Learning to Look,” and “Global Markets.”

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On Tuesday, May 13, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale in New York achieved a jaw-dropping $745 million -- the highest total for a single auction in art history. The sale exceeded the auction house’s results in November of $691.6 million as well as last May’s total of $495 million for postwar and contemporary artworks.

The auction, which carried a pre-sale estimate of approximately $500 million, was brimming with top-notch material. Out of the 72 lots offered, only four failed to find buyers. New auction records were set for a spate of high-selling artists, including Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Barnett Newman, and Frank Stella.

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Nan Rosenthal, a curator who helped bring the 20th century to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 76.

The cause was heart failure, her sister-in-law Wendy Mackenzie said.

Over three decades, Ms. Rosenthal organized exhibitions and oversaw the acquisition of contemporary art, first at the National Gallery, which she joined in 1985, and afterward at the Met, with which she was associated from 1993 until her retirement in 2008.

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The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has announced that it will donate its remarkable Harry Shunk and Shunk-Kender Photography Collection to five major institutions -- the Getty Research Institute, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Centre Pompidou, and the Tate. The collection includes approximately 200,000 black-and-white prints, color prints, negatives, contact sheets, color transparencies, and slides.

The Foundation’s donation is unique in that it will establish a consortium among the institutions that will both receive and share the materials. The collection of photographic material was shot by the late Harry Shunk and Janos Kender, and dates from approximately 1958 to 1973. Many of the images capture notable artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Robert Rauschenberg, Joan Miro, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Barnett Newman, and Alexander Calder.

The photographs were acquired by the Foundation between 2008 and 2012, several years after Shunk’s death. The Foundation went on to preserve, catalogue and digitize the works, eventually creating a free online archive.

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Thursday, 14 November 2013 18:31

Major Sale at Sotheby’s Sets Warhol Record

On November 13, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York realized an impressive $380,642,000 – the highest price achieved for any sale session in the auction house’s history. The 61-lot auction carried an estimate of $280.7 million to $394.1 million and saw records set for seven artists including Andy Warhol.

Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), the last of four in a series of the artist’s paintings depicting car crashes, sold for $105.4 million, shattering Warhol’s auction record of $71.7 million. The work, which is believed to have come from a private Swiss collection, has belonged to a number of important collectors including Bruno Bischofberger, Gian Enzo Sperone, the Saatchi Collection and Thomas Ammann.

Other highlights from the auction included Gerhard Richter’s large-scale A.B. Courbet, which sold to a telephone bidder for $26.5 million; Cy Twombly’s 24-piece Poems of the Sea, which garnered $21.7 million; Willem de Kooning’s Abstract Expressionist canvas Untitled V, which realized $24.8 million; and Barnett Newman’s abstract By Twos, which sold to dealer David Zwirner for $20.6 million.

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The founders of New York’s Dia Art Foundation are suing the organization and Sotheby’s to stop the auctioning of artworks they say were donated with the intention of keeping them readily available to the public. Heiner Friedrich and his ex-wife, Fariha Friedrich, who started the foundation in 1974 with art historian Helen Winkler, filed the suit in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan on November 7, 2013.

The sale, which is scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s on November 13 and 14, includes contemporary artworks by Barnett Newman, Cy Twombly and John Chamberlain – all of which the plantiffs claim were donated or loaned to Dia in the 1970s and 1980. The Friedrichs said in their complaint, “Dia’s proposed auction of the subject works would remove the works from public access and viewing in direct contravention of Dia’s entire intent and purpose and of plaintiffs’ arrangements and understandings with Dia.”

The Friederichs started Dia to help artists bring “visionary projects” to fruition and to make them available to the public. Heiner Friederich has not served on the foundation’s board since 1985; Fariha remains a trustee emeritus. They have asked for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the sale.  

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