Weekly Update – Art

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‘Why Beauty Matters’ by Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton is a British philosopher and writer who specializes in aesthetics and political philosophy.

In 2009, Scruton made a documentary film discussing the nature of beauty and how it applies to the world of art.

Scruton makes a case for why we need beauty in human life and the possibility that postmodern art has rejected the need for beauty. Going even further, he explains how beauty has been lost in not only the art world but in modern architecture as well.

Check out the movie on Vimeo – It’s a great way to spend an hour, in my opinion. And makes you think a little bit harder on the question of, “what is art?”

“I think we are losing beauty, and there is a danger that with it we will lose the meaning of life.” – Roger Scruton

Picasso Painting Recovered After Greek Museum Theft 10 Years Ago

A Picasso painting and a Mondrian landscape were recovered after being stolen from Greece’s National Gallery ten years ago.

When Greece was fighting its debt crisis of 2012, the museum drastically reduced its security staff, making the building especially vulnerable to thieves. Two burglars entered through an unlocked balcony entrance and took the Picasso and Mondrian canvases off the wall.

The works were recovered in the town of Keratera, near Attica, Greece. The paintings were recovered from a dry river bed, both wrapped in plastic.

Huge Results for Sotheby’s New York Auction Bring In Over $400 Million

A Banksy sold for $12 Million, and for the very first time, Sotheby’s accepted cryptocurrency as payment for a physical work of art. The original estimate was for $5 million.

It wasn’t the most expensive piece to sell at the Sotheby’s event in New York. A 1982 piece from Basquiat sold for $50 million.

Monet’s ‘Le Bassin aux nympheas’ sold for $70 million, making it one of the top five most expensive Monet paintings to ever sell at auction.

Sales totaled over $439 million for the contemporary art event. View all the results here.

LiveArt Platform Provides Control to Art Buying

A new peer-to-peer art buying platform is online, with numerous offerings already complete. LiveArt offers a platform with prequalified buyers, curated listings, and full payment facilitation.

LiveArt Market also allows sellers to list their artwork for sale anonymously. Verified buyers must request to view certain private listings and can only view once approved by sellers.

They offer fixed and transparent fees with multiple layers of security for payments and transactions.

New Book Details Napoleon and His Art Conquests Which Formed the Louvre

‘Napoleon: A Life Told in Gardens and Shadows’ is a new biography by Ruth Scurr from the University of Cambridge.

The thought-provoking book details Napoleon and his “revolutionary quest for knowledge.” Not only did Napoleon want to bring the world’s treasures back to Paris, but he wanted them specifically for the Louvre.

Although he pilfered over 600 paintings and sculptures from Italy alone, only half of those ever found their way back to Italy over the years.

Futura Shows Space-Themed Exhibition in Hong Kong

Graffiti artist Futura is opening a visual art exhibition, including a six-meter tall stainless steel spaceship.

The exhibit is on display in the Landmark Atrium in the Central District of Hong Kong.

Back in the 1980s, Futura gave himself a space-aged nickname while doing graffiti on the streets of New York City.

He credits artists like Basquiat for breaking down racial barriers, and Keith Haring, for redefining artistic expression on the streets of New York.

Prolific Art Collector and Businessman Bernard Arnault Ties for Richest Man in the World Title

Bernard Arnault passed Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world recently, as his business holdings added tens of billions of dollars to his net worth over the last year.

His luxury brand holding company, LVMH, has made Arnault worth roughly $186 billion.

Arnault is one of the most prominent fine art collectors in the world, owning works by Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Damien Hirst. The Louis Vuitton Foundation, a museum built by Arnault and LVMH in Paris, held the largest ever Jean-Michel Basquiat show displaying 120 works by the artist.

2020 Global Art Market Sales at $50 Billion

The ‘Art Market Report 2021’ by Art Basel and UBS reported global sales of $50 billion in 2020. That’s a 22% decline from 2019, where sales hit $64 billion.

The global pandemic was the primary cause for the drop last year, although 2020 was the second straight year of declining sales.

A few positive indicators from the report were online sales, which doubled from $6 billion in 2019 to over $12 billion in 2020.

Read the full report here

Greece Plans to Open Dozens of Shipwreck Sites to Visitors

Shipwrecks, World War II aircraft, and submerged ancient cities will be opened up to the public for recreational diving. The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced they would lift restrictions to drive tourism.

The Greek government established the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in 1976 to detect, research, and preserve the country’s underwater heritage.

This Is Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist’ on Netflix

A new series on Netflix details the biggest art heist in history. The four-part series covers the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery with never-before-seen crime scene photos and clues.

Nearly $500 million worth of art was stolen on St. Patrick’s day in 1990 at a museum in Boston, and the crime has never been solved.

A $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the art still remains unclaimed.

Da Vinci Drawing Heading to Christie’s Auction

A drawing by Leonardo da Vinci titled ‘Head of a Bear’ will be offered in the Exceptional Sale at Christie’s in London this summer. Estimates are for the drawing to sell for $11 to $17 million.

The drawing is 8″ x 8″ and was produced on paper using silverpoint around 1480. It’s one of only eight known da Vinci drawings remaining in private hands.

Four Part Interview Series Featuring Basquiat

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston curator Liz Munsell and writer Greg Tate curated a new exhibition titled “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.”

As part of the new exhibition, interviews were conducted with close friends and people in Basquiat’s inner circle during the 1980s.

Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.

A four-part series of interviews was recently published at ArtNews. The exhibition will be on view at the MFA Boston until July 25th.

Stolen Medieval Artifacts recovered in Italy

After missing for over 30 years, a large collection of 13th-century artifacts were recovered in Sicily. Police also found priceless chalices and a reliquary, which was a dedication to Saint Galgano.

The director of the Vatican Museums stated the recovery was of “unprecedented importance for the value of the objects.”

No estimates were given to the total value of the recovered artifacts.

Dead Sea Scrolls Discovery

A new study from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands released a statement on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The scrolls are believed to be some of the earliest biblical manuscripts. The research team suggests two main writers from the Jewish sect known as the Essenes.

The study is funded by the European Research Council, titled “The Hands that Wrote the Bible.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s feature on Vincent van Gogh is fascinating. Scroll through the collection of works by the man himself, and read a detailed essay discussing Van Gogh’s life and what influenced him to create.

At one point, Van Gogh checked himself into an asylum, fearing his mental health deteriorating. He went on to paint over 150 works over the next year during his stay.