Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA.

Nov. 20 auction of Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Roadster to benefit St. Jude’s

Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA.

Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA.

NEW YORK – In an exclusive offering featured in Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2008 holiday catalog, Mercedes-Benz is giving shoppers the chance to own a piece of history on Nov. 20 by bidding on a McLaren SLR Roadster­-among the last of this model built for the U.S. market. The starting bid on the car is set at $529,500, and all additional funds raised above this amount will be donated to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Thanks and Giving® campaign.

St. Jude’s is a world-renowned pediatric cancer research center, dedicated to finding cures for juvenile cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment over and above their own insurance coverage, if such coverage exists. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

The Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Roadster will be offered via an exclusive online auction on November 20, 2008, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST.  Interested parties are invited to place their bid at https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/17643.

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Image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.

No worries – art from MAD magazine’s NY archives fetches nearly $750,000

Image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.

Image courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.

DALLAS (AP) – The last batch of original art from MAD magazine’s New York archives sold Friday for a combined total of nearly $750,000.

The combined $746,516 was more than double presale estimates, said Greg Rohan, president of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries.

The collection was mostly made up of covers featuring the grinning Alfred E. Neuman, including the first one drawn by the late Norman Mingo for MAD’s issue No. 30 of December 1956, which sold for $203,150.

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Slow sales at New York art auctions may actually be healthy for the market

NEW YORK (AP) – The sagging demand for high-end art at the fall auctions could signal a return to saner prices in the market after the frenzied buying of the last few years.

Art experts say the lower prices and unsold works at Sotheby’s and Christie’s over the past two weeks may be a healthy development.

“The truth is that for serious collectors with vision and some cash, this is an opportune time to buy important works of art for more reasonable prices,” said Jo Backer Laird, a former general counsel at Christie’s, now with the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.

In contrast to previous years when it’s been standing room only, the auction houses had empty seats at their sales of impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art.

Many works failed to attract even a single buyer  among them, Francis Bacon’s Study for Self-Portrait, estimated at $40 million – or sold below their estimates.

Still, the picture wasn’t totally bleak. Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition sold for $60 million, setting a record for the artist and for any Russian artwork sold at auction.

And while prices were down 25 percent to 35 percent overall, according to art consultant David Nash, there were some very significant sales, including $20.8 million for Juan Gris’ Book, Pipe and Glasses and $18 million for Pablo Picasso’s Two Figures (Marie-Therese and her sister reading).

The fall auctions serve as a barometer of the art market because they attract buyers from all over the world. For the two-week period, Sotheby’s reported taking in a total of $411.5 million, under its low estimate of $688.4 million, and selling 448 lots out of 866. Christie’s reported a total of $374.5 million, below its $686.7 million low estimate. It sold 630 items out of 990.

To safeguard against risk, both houses lowered guarantees _ an undisclosed price promised to sellers whether their work sells or not.

“In light of the financial turmoil, Sotheby’s and Christie’s did a very good job of persuading sellers to recognize the climate in the market and put on much lower reserves than they had agreed to,” said Nash of the Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery. The reserve is the lowest undisclosed price the consignor agrees to sell a work.

He called the sales “quite encouraging” and said they demonstrated “there’s still quite an active market.”

Megan Fox Kelly, who runs a Madison Avenue art advisory firm, said the auction results marked a correction in price levels and collectors’ expectations rather than a “dramatic or disastrous downturn.”

“When a very sophisticated Yves Klein [see related article on this Web site] sells for $21 million and a beautiful John Currin draws excited bidding that pushed it past its high estimate, we see a level of strength in the market and a level of discernment and connoisseurship among collectors,” she said.

Prices have risen sharply for contemporary art over the past two years, with Bacon’s Triptych, 1976 selling for $86.2 million to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in May and a group of works by Damien Hirst fetching almost $200 million at a London auction in September.

According to Nash, that frenzied buying has kept away a number of serious collectors such as financier Eli Broad and Gap clothing founder Don Fisher, who have jumped back in and were seen at the recent auctions.

“I’m very impressed with the way the market has stabilized,” he said. “It’s at a lower level but it’s a real market.”

Nash said the number of buyers has shrunk considerably since last spring. Nonetheless, he noted that $470 million worth of impressionist and modern paintings changed hands at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. And while many prices were lower, “in a way this is a healthy development,” he said. “I think that the excesses of the last two years have really evaporated.”
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On the Net:
www.christies.com
www.sothebys.com

 

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

 

AP-CS-11-14-08 1505EST

Suzanne Weaver. Image courtesy Speed Art Museum.

Suzanne Weaver named Curator of Contemporary Art at Speed Museum

Suzanne Weaver. Image courtesy Speed Art Museum.

Suzanne Weaver. Image courtesy Speed Art Museum.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Speed Art Museum has appointed Suzanne Weaver to the post of Curator of Contemporary Art.

Weaver comes to the Speed from the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), where she has served as Associate Curator of Contemporary Art since 1995.  She will join the Speed’s staff in mid-January, 2009.  

Speed director Charles L. Venable said of the appointment, “Having known Suzanne for more than a decade, I am confident that she is an exceptionally good fit with the Speed’s ambitious plans for its contemporary art program. Over the next few years the museum hopes to enhance its collecting, exhibitions, and educational program in the field, while expanding the building to accommodate its growing collection of contemporary art.”

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Leland Little, second from left, and his staff celebrated breaking round for the new home of Leland Little Auctions & Estate Sales Ltd. in Hillsborough, N.C., in September.

Leland Little breaks ground on new custom-designed auction facility

Leland Little, second from left, and his staff celebrated breaking round for the new home of Leland Little Auctions & Estate Sales Ltd. in Hillsborough, N.C., in September.

Leland Little, second from left, and his staff celebrated breaking round for the new home of Leland Little Auctions & Estate Sales Ltd. in Hillsborough, N.C., in September.

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – Little Auctions & Estates Sales Ltd. will celebrate their 10th anniversary next year in a new state-of-the-art auction facility that is currently under construction.

The new facility is being built on a 2 1/2-acre site on the corner of State Highway 86 and Cornerstone Court, 15 miles northwest of Durham. “It’s still in Hillsborough proper, but we’ll have the convenience of being right off I-85,” said company owner Leland Little. For the past 10 years the company has been operating in an older commercial building at 246 S. Nash St. close to downtown Hillsborough.

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Image courtesy Sony / BMG Pictures.

Bid on film-premiere packages for Cadillac Records, starring Adrien Brody, Beyonce

Image courtesy Sony / BMG Pictures.

Image courtesy Sony / BMG Pictures.

Cadillac Records, the new film starring Adrien Brody and a stellar supporting cast that includes Beyoncé Knowles, chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists in 1950s Chicago. Co-produced by Sony Music Film, TriStar Pictures and Parkwood Pictures, Cadillac Records will premiere in Los Angeles on Nov. 24 and in New York City on Dec. 1 – and you’re invited!

Six VIP premiere packages are currently open for absentee bidding in an Internet-only auction through LiveAuctioneers.com, with all proceeds going to Phoenix House, a non-profit whose programs lend a helping hand to addicted adults and adolescents.

Three of the VIP auction lots are for the Nov. 24 premiere at the Egyptian Theater in LA; the other three lots are for the New York opening at the 19th Street East AMC Loew’s, on Dec. 1.

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Unexpected Joy, an early 1900s Russian icon, is expected to sell for more than $22,500 at Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer on Nov. 29. Image courtesy Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer.

Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer to present Russian works and Faberge Nov. 29

Unexpected Joy, an early 1900s Russian icon, is expected to sell for more than $22,500 at Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer on Nov. 29. Image courtesy Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer.

Unexpected Joy, an early 1900s Russian icon, is expected to sell for more than $22,500 at Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer on Nov. 29. Image courtesy Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer.

HEILBRONN, Germany – Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer will offer a rare and beloved icon at its sale of Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Paintings on Nov. 29. Known as Unexpected Joy, the icon is estimated to sell for in excess of $22,500. Created in Moscow, circa 1908-1917, the icon was previously sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1974.

On May 14 the Eastern Orthodox Church venerates the icon of the Mother of God, the Unexpected Joy. In the writings of St. Dimitri of Rostov is a narrative about a habitual sinner who unexpectedly experienced the joy of repentance before an icon of the Mother of God. This event, in which the sinner had a vision of Christ and the Blessed Virgin and conversed with them, became so beloved by the Russian people that an icon was drawn depicting it. The polychrome icon, about 14 1/2 by 12 1/2 inches, shows the sinner praying before an icon of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin.

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The original Shephard Fairey Obama poster, 4 x 6, on rag paper.

Smithsonian snags items to recreate Obama office

The original Shephard Fairey Obama poster, 4 x 6, on rag paper.

The original Shephard Fairey Obama poster, 4 x 6, on rag paper.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Curators at the Smithsonian Institution are wasting no time in collecting objects from President-elect Barack Obama’s historic campaign victory.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture scooped up maps, strategy boards and campaign literature from one of Obama’s campaign offices in northern Virginia shortly after the election. Curators on Wednesday thanked Obama’s Virginia staff for saving the items, which are often thrown away or taken as souvenirs after the campaign.

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Upstate NY museum’s antique bicycle collection sold for $4M

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – A collection of 400 antique bicycles owned by a suburban Buffalo museum is being sold to an overseas buyer for $4 million.

Carl Burgwardt, the owner of the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park, says he’s selling the collection after it wasn’t included plans to redevelop Buffalo’s Erie Canal Harbor area.

The plans call for museums at the downtown site, but the development agency hasn’t decided which ones to include.
Burgwardt says a confidentiality agreement with the buyer prevents him from discussing where the collection is going.

The collection ranges from a wooden two-wheeler made in 1817 to iconic Schwinn bicycles. Many of the older bikes were made by Buffalo factories that later shifted to automobile manufacturing in the early 20th century.
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Information from: The Buffalo News, http://www.buffalonews.com

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

AP-ES-11-12-08 1109EST  

Pair of Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, auctioned Oct. 25, 2008 for $3,250. Photo courtesy Sollo Rago.

Rago to debut REAL MODERN, auctions aimed at the young buyer

Pair of Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, auctioned Oct. 25, 2008 for $3,250. Photo courtesy Sollo Rago.

Pair of Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, auctioned Oct. 25, 2008 for $3,250. Photo courtesy Sollo Rago.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – Over the weekend of Feb. 14-15, 2009, Sollo Rago Modern Auctions will introduce REAL MODERN, its first auction for the young buyer who wants to furnish an apartment with style without breaking the bank. The sale will consist of a large selection of affordable furniture and decorative arts for home and office by leading designers of the 20th century.

“I want to introduce and educate young people to the benefits of purchasing at auction,” said John Sollo, who runs Sollo Rago Modern Auctions. “I want them to know that they can get original pieces from great designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Herman Miller and Gustav Stickley for far less money than they’d pay for later editions and imitations at Design Within Reach, West Elm, Crate and Barrel or even Ikea. What we sell is authentic and eco-friendly and what you buy today can be re-sold for good money.”

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