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Gallery Report: November 2008

Iacovleff painting, $61,688, Cowan’s

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A sanguine chalk drawing by Russian artist Alexandre Iacovleff, titled Le Pecheur, Capri, sold for $61,688 at a Fall Fine & Decorative Arts Auction held Oct. 17-19 by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. Also, a painting by American artist Howard Chandler Christy, titled Patriotic Civil War Memorial and showcasing both Union and Confederate troops along with Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, hammered for $38,775; and a fine Faberge cigarette case made by Michael Perchin brought $17,625. Prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s premium.

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Eureka! Treasure trove of Gold Rush art discovered

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Charles B. Gillespie’s iconic California Gold Rush artwork is no longer a family secret.

Historians are hailing the obscure 49er’s extensive collection of sketches and oil paintings after a descendant decided to put it up for sale this fall.

“This is an important archive, particularly the sketches, which are charming and historically significant,” Scott Shields, chief curator of the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Calif., said in an e-mail.

For decades, the pieces were tucked away in the home of Gillespie’s great-great grandson, Dick Rogers of Bowling Green, Ohio – virtually unknown to historians and others. Now, Rogers is working with a Reno dealer, Fred Holabird, to try to sell the collection intact to a museum in hopes the public can finally have a chance to view it.

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Jail sentence for Memphis antique gallery owner who cheated consignors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (ACNI) – The former owner of an antique gallery who pleaded guilty in August of bilking dealers and consignors out of more than $140,000 in merchandise has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay partial restitution.

Victoria A. Padgett, 59, former owner of Crump-Padgett Antique Gallery in Memphis, was sentenced Nov. 17 to one year in prison, which was suspended except for 30 days, followed by three years’ probation. Padgett was ordered to pay $4,472 in restitution to the state for unpaid sales tax that she collected but failed to remit from Aug. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2003.

“I’m happy that she has accepted guilt, to the extent that she accepted guilt, with her guilty plea. I’m happy that finally there was a determination that what she did was wrong,” said Steve Jones, assistant district attorney.
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Cleveland Museum of Art to return art to Italy

ROME (AP) – The Cleveland Museum of Art agreed Wednesday to return 14 ancient treasures ranging from Etruscan jewelry to a Medieval cross that authorities say were looted or stolen from Italy.

Italian Culture Ministry officials and the director of the Cleveland museum signed a deal in Rome to transfer the artifacts within three months in exchange for long-term loans of other treasures.

The agreement is the latest success in an Italian campaign to recover artifacts that survived for centuries only to be dug up by looters, smuggled out of the country and sold to prestigious museums across the world.

Similar deals have yielded the return of scores of pieces from museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in California and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Director Timothy Rub stressed that the Cleveland museum had not knowingly acquired or received looted items. He said they were bought or donated to the museum in the 1970s and 1980s.

The treasures to be returned from Cleveland are mostly a sampling of art produced by the Etruscans and by Greek-influenced cultures that dominated central and southern Italy before the rise of Rome.

The objects are “of great historical, artistic and archaeological interest,” Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said.

Among them are a pair of Etruscan silver bracelets from the 6th century B.C. and a bronze statue of a horned warrior, dated to the 9th-8th century B.C., which experts said is one of the finest remaining from a civilization that populated the island of Sardinia.

Most of the artifacts are elaborate and richly decorated pottery pieces from 5th to 4th century B.C. southern Italy.

They include vessels shaped as a donkey head, a pig and a duck as well as a 3-foot-tall vase attributed to the so-called painter of Darius – an artist named after one of his works which depicts the ancient Persian king.

The odd object in the group is a 14th century gold-plated processional cross stolen in the 1960s from a church near Siena, in Tuscany.

The artifacts were shown to have been looted mainly because photos and documents related to them turned up in raids conducted in the 1990s on the Swiss warehouses of antiquities dealers accused of controlling the flow of illegal art exports from Italy. The raids sparked what has turned into a worldwide hunt for Italy’s lost treasures.

The deal signed at the Culture Ministry came after nearly two years of negotiations that began when the museum contacted the Italians to check if Rome was seeking to recover any of its antiquities.

“When putting together a collection it is important that any museum acquire works ethically,” Rub said.

Bondi and Rub said the two sides had established a joint commission to determine within six months the provenance of two more contested pieces: a statue depicting Nike, the winged victory deity, and a bronze of the Greek god Apollo.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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43 timepieces stolen from Israel found in French bank vaults

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli police say a joint investigation with French colleagues has uncovered 43 watches and clocks stolen from a Jerusalem museum 25 years ago in a legendary heist.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the items were found in two French bank vaults. He says they will be transferred to Israel in the coming weeks.

French police officials did not immediately comment on the announcement Wednesday.
The items were among 106 timepieces worth millions of dollars that disappeared from the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem in 1983.

The theft was the costliest in Israel’s history. More than 40 other items were recovered before the latest discovery.

Israeli police traced the heist back to a notorious thief who fled the country and died in the U.S. in 2004.

 

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

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Britain’s Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, with the million-pound discovery behind her. Photo courtesy BBC.

Britain’s Antiques Roadshow reveals its first million-pound discovery

Britain’s Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, with the million-pound discovery behind her. Photo courtesy BBC.

Britain’s Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, with the million-pound discovery behind her. Photo courtesy BBC.

LONDON (ACNI) – BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow, the wildly popular British TV show that inspired its American counterpart on PBS Television, has aired a segment featuring its first-ever million-pound object. The Sunday, Nov. 17 edition of the program included an appraisal of an artwork by Antony Gormley OBE that was identified as the final model for a massive sculpture known as Angel of the North. Appraiser and art dealer Philip Mould valued the scale-model artwork at 1 million pounds (approximately US$1.5 million), making it the most valuable item ever brought in to Antiques Roadshow experts in Britain.

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Vienna Art Week

Fourth viennaartweek draws art experts to Nov. 17-23 series

Vienna Art Week

During viennaartweek, which is on now through Nov. 23, Vienna becomes a meeting point for international art insiders from all corners. Experts such as Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans-Ulrich Obrist from Serpentine Gallery in London, designer Alfredo Häberli from Switzerland, and Sir Norman Rosenthal, formerly with the Royal Academy of Arts in London, gather to discuss the future of the museum, the connection between art and the design market, and other current topics of importance.  

Many events and interactive visits are part of the week’s agenda. Daily at 7 p.m., a panel at the Museum of Modern Art Vienna offers insight into concepts of sculptural work. Among those participating are Helmut Draxler, Rachel Harrison, John Miller, Paulina Olowska and Franz West. Additionally, studio visits capture artists in their working environments, with Dorothee Golz, Peter Kogler, Sonja Gangl and Alois Mosbacher among this year’s featured artist participants.

Now in its fourth year, viennaartweek attracts international attention to the Viennese art scene. An important part of a vibrant international art community, artists are at its core. In this context, the two training schools, Academy of Fine Arts and University of Applied Arts Vienna, cover the symbiosis of art and knowledge, as well as explaining educational possibilities.

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Pastel-on-silk full-figure drawing by Elizabeth O'Neill Verner (S.C., 1883-1979), titled Jamie (est. $20,000-$30,000). Image courtesy Leland Little Auctions.

Leland Little’s Dec. 6-7 sale: two days, four sessions, 15 collections

Pastel-on-silk full-figure drawing by Elizabeth O'Neill Verner (S.C., 1883-1979), titled Jamie (est. $20,000-$30,000). Image courtesy Leland Little Auctions.

Pastel-on-silk full-figure drawing by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner (S.C., 1883-1979), titled Jamie (est. $20,000-$30,000). Image courtesy Leland Little Auctions.

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – About 15 prominent estates and collections, featuring a dazzling array of fine and decorative arts plus other items, will be sold in a two-day, four-session sale planned for Dec. 6-7 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. The sale – a Historic Hillsborough Auction – will be held at the Leland Little showroom, with real-time Internet bidding available.

“Our end-of-year, holiday cataloged sale is always a blockbuster, and this one will be no exception,” said the auction company’s owner, Leland Little. “We are proud to be able to represent these fine estates and collections…about 1,000 lots will cross the block. The assortment and quality are second to none. It should be fun.”

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Interior view of London gallery The Dairy, showing the current Banners of Persuasion exhibition of tapestries designed by leading contemporary artists, including Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk, Gary Hume and Kara Walker. Image courtesy Banners of Persuasion.

London Eye: November 2008

Interior view of London gallery The Dairy, showing the current Banners of Persuasion exhibition of tapestries designed by leading contemporary artists, including Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk, Gary Hume and Kara Walker. Image courtesy Banners of Persuasion.

Interior view of London gallery The Dairy, showing the current Banners of Persuasion exhibition of tapestries designed by leading contemporary artists, including Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk, Gary Hume and Kara Walker. Image courtesy Banners of Persuasion.

Christie’s decision to shut down lines of credit, even to its longest-standing and most trusted clients, was the main issue raised by dealers showing at the Winter Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia in London this month.

“I’ve had an account with Christie’s for twenty-five years,” said London-based specialist textiles dealer Joanna Booth, “but they never told us they were changing their policy on lines of credit. You only get this news when you come to [pay for and collect] your objects.”

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Police: two men took antique coins worth $69K from Pennsylvania shop

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) – Police say they have arrested two men accused of stealing $69,000 in antique coins from an Allentown dealer.

According to police, 27-year-old Shawn Robinson stole a tabletop display case from Hottel’s Coins at the Merchant Square Mall. It happened shortly before noon Sunday while the owner was helping other customers during an indoor flea market. The case was filled with rare and antique coins.

Authorities say Robinson ran from the building and hopped into a waiting car, driven by 26-year-old Allentown resident Troy Anderson.

 

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