Two Rembrandts Discovered in U.K. Collection, Heidi Horten Jewelry Sale Sets Record, and More: Morning Links for May 15, 2023

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The Headlines

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A DOUBLE DISCOVERY. In July, Christie’s will offer a pair of Rembrandt portraits that have been in the same family for almost exactly two centuries, the Financial Times reports. Even more remarkably, scholars were not aware of the pieces until the auction house identified them while conducting an appraisal. (Can’t beat it when that happens.) The 1635 paintings depict a Dutch husband and wife, and while each one measures only about eight inches high, this is Rembrandt we are talking, so they are estimated to sell together for between £5 million and £8 million (about $6.2 million–$10 million). The sale represents a kind of homecoming for the picture, amazingly. They entered the unidentified U.K. family’s collection when an ancestor acquired them in 1824 . . . at Christie’s.

AESTHETIC JUDGMENT. A U.S. judge declined to toss two suits photographers filed against artist Richard Prince for using their images in his infamous “New Portraits,” Courthouse News Service reports. Prince had been trying to dismiss them. The artist has maintained that the works, which resemble large Instagram posts, are covered by fair use, a defense that he used with success (mostly) in an earlier case involving his “Canal Zone” series. Photogs Donald Graham and Eric McNatt have been pursuing their cases since 2016 and 2020, respectively. Issuing his ruling, Judge Sidney Stein wrote that the artist “indeed tested the boundary between appropriation art and copyright infringement.” That’s a statement you could almost imagine the renegade Prince taking as a compliment.

The Digest

Anton Vidokle, the founder of e-flux, has been named chief curator of the next Shanghai Biennale, which is slated to open in November. He said the show “will reflect on how artists have advanced our understanding of the relationship between life on earth and the cosmos.” [ArtReview]

Greece’s prime minster, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that he is wants to work out a “win-win” deal with the British Museum over the Parthenon marbles, while emphasizing that any such deal would not include the word “loan.” The issue has been “parked” in the run-up to Sunday’s  elections in Greece, he added. [The Associated Press]

The multipart Christie’s sale of collector Heidi Horten’s jewelry reached $196 million on Friday, setting a new record for a public auction of jewelry. Some have criticized the event because Horten’s late husband began building his wealth by acquiring businesses sold under duress by Jewish people in Nazi Germany. [Bloomberg]

The deal is done: Dan Snyder, who owns the Washington Commanders with his family, said he will sell the NFL team to a group that includes billionaire art collector Mitch Rales and NBA star Magic JohnsonApollo Global Management cofounder Josh Harris is leading the group of buyers. The price is said to be $6 billion. [Bloomberg]

The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin just put on view a Paul Cézanne painting it recently acquired—it’s the first to be displayed by a public museum in the country. It was purchased last year with the help of “a very generous private philanthropic donation” from an anonymous patron, according to the nation’s minister for arts. [The Irish Times]

ARTISTS IN PROFILE.Matthew Barney is in the New York Times on the occasion of a new video installation he’s showing at his (soon-to-be-vacated) studio in Queens, and Sarah Sze, who is about to debut an Artangel-commissioned piece in the abandoned Peckham Rye Station in London, is in the Guardian.

The Kicker

THE CHAMPION. For the Financial Times, writer Peter Aspdenpaid a visit to the London residence of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, whose art, furniture, and other belongings will be sold at Sotheby’s in September. Mercury left the place and its contents to his longtime best friend, Mary Austin, when he died from an AIDS-related disease in 1991, and she revealed that he sometimes had her bid for him at auction. It sounds like that was a lot of fun. “He never gave me a limit,” Austin explained. “He said, ‘I just want you to buy it,’ when he really wanted something.” [Financial Times]


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