Art Buzz May 9, 2012: Christie’s Record Making Contemporary Art Auction Takes $388.5 Million — Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961” Alone Sold for $87 Million

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

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Rothko Leads a Record Contemporary Art Sale

Source: NYT, 5-9-12

In a surge of bidding unprecedented in art market history, Christie’s Tuesday evening sale of contemporary art took in $388.5 million, the highest amount ever in that field.

Christie’s

Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961,” which sold for just under $87 million, had not appeared in the market for 45 years.

Christie’s

Yves Klein’s “FCI (Fire Color I),” which was completed in 1962 shortly before the French artist’s death, brought an astounding $36.48 million.

A world auction record was set for a work of contemporary art when Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow” painted in 1961 sold for just under $87 million. Christie’s estimate was $35 million to $45 million, plus the sale charge of more than 15 percent. Christopher Burge, who conducted the session with exceptional brio, brought down his hammer on the $77.5 million winning bid after one of the longest bidding matches yet witnessed in a contemporary art sale.

The Rothko had everything going for it. Acquired from Marlborough Fine Art in London in 1967 by David Pincus, one of the leading American collectors in the second half of the century, the picture, consigned from the connoisseur’s estate, had never appeared in the market during the intervening 45 years….READ MORE

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Art Buzz April 19, 2012: Girolamo Romano Painting Looted by Nazis Is Returned to Owner’s Heirs

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

ART NEWS

Painting Looted by Nazis Is Returned to Owner’s Heirs

Source: NYT, 4-19-12

A painting looted by the Nazis from its Jewish owner more than 70 years ago was returned to his heirs on Wednesday after being loaned to a Florida museum, Reuters reported.

The painting, ”Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue,” by the 16th-century Italian painter Girolamo Romano, was part of an exhibition on Baroque art that the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, Italy, had loaned to the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee last fall.

A tip from an employee at Christie’s auction house alerted Interpol investigators that the painting may have been stolen. Last year the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida ordered the Brogan museum to hold on to the painting until the ownership question could be sorted out. In November federal agents removed the painting from the museum….READ MORE

Art Buzz April 15, 2012: Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Renaissance Jewish prayer book in New York

ART & ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NEWS

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Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Jewish prayer book in New York

Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2012. 
On April 16-17, Christie’s New York will unveil a rare and splendid example of Renaissance Judaica, an illuminated manuscript Mahzor that will be included in the May 11, 2012 Books and Manuscripts auction at Christie’s Paris. Comprising over 400 pages, this illuminated manuscript on vellum is a festival prayer book written in Hebrew and was created in Tuscany, and probably Florence, circa 1490. Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000 (£360,000-530,000/€400,000-600,000).
The illuminating manuscript was purchased in Frankfurt before 1908 and was subsequently owned by Edmond Bicart-Sée. It has never been publicly exhibited and has remained in the possession of his descendants in Paris for over eighty years. This Mahzor, containing prayers for the entire liturgical year, is richly highlighted in gold with renaissance motifs and contains everyday customs, rituals and practices of Jewish life including daily prayers and blessings for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. The striking frontispiece of the Mahzor is in the characteristic style of Giovanni di Giuliano Boccardi, known as Boccardino il vecchio (1460-1529) – ‘one of the last representatives of the golden age of Florentine Renaissance Illumination.’ The Jewish community of Florence flourished in the 15th century, their position closely linked to the fortunes of the Medici. While there are other Hebrew manuscripts illuminated by Christian Florentines, this Mahzor is the only example we know illuminated by Boccardino. The coat-of-arms on the frontispiece is azure, a rampant lion or holding a flaming chalice and sun; the lion is flanked by a crescent moon and a sun or star, having some resemblance to the coat of arms of the Ambron family. Coats of arms used by Jewish families in Italy were inventions, often using traditional Jewish symbols and often variable, making certain identification difficult. The 16th century binding of the Mahzor has a central medallion with another coat-of-arms of two affronted rampant lions flanking a palm tree, combined elements featuring in the arms of a number of families in Italy, including the Tedesco/Tedeschi and Uzielli in Tuscany.