“Amedeo Modigliani”

Sotheby’s achieves their highest total auction result ever

The Sotheby’s New York 4 November Impressionist and Modern Art sale has achieved the highest result for any auction in 270 years of their history, bringing in a total of $422.1 million. The three most expensive works of the sale were as follows: Giacometti’s Chariot, which sold for a staggering $101 million; Amedeo Modigliani’s totemic goddess Tête, which sold for $70.7 million, setting a new world record for the artist; and van Gogh’s Still Life, Vase with Daises and Poppies, selling to a private Asian collector for $61.8 million. Three works by Monet from a private American collection totalled $61.9 million, led by Alice Hoschedé au jardin, which achieved $33.7 million. Giacometti’s Chariot is the second sculpture in auction history to fetch over $100 million, and is the second-highest auction price for the artist, who’s L’homme qui marche I sold for $104.3 million at Sotheby’s London in 2010. Sotheby’s has lead the market for Impressionist and Modern Art for the past three years — something which has been made particularly clear not only with this landmark sale, but with their opening February Evening Sale that totalled $266.6 million, the highest total for any London...

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Ransom for a Modigliani

New York, 14 February 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Modigliani is really sparking controversy these days. The last to date is quite unexpected. A French art dealer is demanding financial compensation – a more elegant word for “ransom” – to disclose information concerning the origin of a Modigliani painting. Let us recall the extravagant episodes of this new affair dealing with the work titled Portrait of a Woman. On 12 February 2012, Asher Edelman, chairman of ArtAssure Ltd, serving as consultant in this new Modigliani case, released the elements of the complaint registered at the Supreme Court of the New York State by Edinburgh Investments Limited (EIL), current possessor of the portrait, against Sidney Tenoudji, son of a former owner. Michael D. Dingman, representative of EIL, purchased the painting in 1988 from a New York-based gallery for $1.44m. In 2010, he asked Sotheby’s to value the works of his collection for insurance. Now Sotheby’s experts expressed serious reservation as for the portrait’s authenticity, asking further research to be led concerning its origin. Indeed, not only did the market overflow with fake Modigliani paintings worldwide, but the Ambrogio Ceroni catalogue raisonné – a true reference – did not mention this portrait (in spite of its being mentioned in Joseph Lanthemann’s, published in 1970). For Michael Dingman, it was the beginning of a paper chase. He first solicited Marc Restellini, director of the Pinacothèque, Paris, and Christopher Gaillard from Gurr Johns in Manhattan, who first valued the work $12m. In his quest, Dingman discovered the identity of the previous owner, thanks to the Smithsonian Institute. Edmond Cohen Tenoudji, famous French cinema producer and art collector, specialised in 19th and 20th-century art, acquired the portrait in 1958 to Parisian gallery David & Garnier. Sotheby’s New York thus sent the painting in Paris,...

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Modigliani and Picasso at Bonhams

London, 2 January 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 7 February, Amedeo Modigliani is expected to lead the Impressionist and Modern Art auction organised by Bonhams in London. His painting Jeune fille aux cheveux noirs, from the collections of the Laurence S. Rockefeller Fund, is estimated between £700,000 and £1 million. This enigmatic portrait of a women in sleek silhouette and with a deep gaze marked the artist’s career and is now particularly sought after in the market. Bonhams hopes to receive the same success brought by Portrait de femme in June 2011, that was awarded £1.8 million. Picasso’s works should also draw the attention of buyers, particularly with the oil painting Notre-Dame de Paris, estimated between £700,000 and £1 million. Other highlights include Raoul Dufy’s painting, Atelier de la rue Jeanne-d’Arc, nu couché au passant (estimated £250,000-350,000); Futebol by Candido Portinari (estimated £120,000-180,000) and Rene Magritte’s bronze Le puits de vérité (estimated £150,000-200,000). Emphasis will also be put on the colourful and sunny landscapes by Carlos Nadal as five of his paintings will be displayed at the auction, all estimated between £3,000-30,000. Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Marc Chagall, Lyonel Feininger, Bernard Buffet, Marino Marini, and Man Ray will also be honoured at the...

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Modigliani painting displayed at Pushkin Museum could be fake

Moscow, 14 November 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). A debate about the authenticity of a Modigliani painting has risen within the Russian world of culture. The painting, Portrait of Marevna, is currently being displayed at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, in the exhibition “Paris School: 1905-1932”. The portrait, created by Modigliani in 1919, is believed to be a portrait of the cubist painter, Marie Vorobieff-Stebelska, otherwise known as Marevna. The president of the Modigliani Institute in Rome, Christian Parisot, who is legally authorised to authenticate the Italian artist’s works, has refuted the doubts publicised by the international press. A Russian collector stated in The Art Newspaper, that he had considered buying the painting in 2006, for $3 million, however after the painting underwent scientific testing at  the Swiss Institute for Art Research, he withdrew from the purchase. According to the research, the pigments used in the painting were synthetic and produced after 1940, twenty years after the artist’s death. Natalia Kounikova, gallery owner and who organised a major exhibition of Marevna’s work at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery in 2003, is also doubtful about the painting. Kounikova told the newspaper that the portrait doesn’t resemble Marevna: “you could always find traits of a resemblance in a portrait. Here they are entirely absent”. The Portrait of Marevna will be exhibited until 20 November at Pushkin Museum and is estimated at $9 million, if it is the original. It has often been presented in exhibitions all over the world, despite the recent doubts. It was previously displayed at the retrospective “Amedeo Modigliani”, held until last February at the Municipal House of...

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Helly Nahmad Gallery prosecuted over a Modigliani painting

New York, 2 November 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). According to Courthouse News Service, Helly Nahmad Gallery will be prosecuted by the grandson of Jewish art dealer Oscar Stettiner, due to the return of a painting by Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) which disappeared in 1944. Seated Man With a Cane painted by the Italian master in 1918, belonged to Parisian gallery owner Stettiner – who notably exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1930 – up until 1939 where the German invasion forced him to flee the country leaving his collection behind. In the words of his inheritor, Philippe Maestracci, the Nazis sold Stettiner’s goods, and notably the Modigliani painting in 1944, without his permission and Stettiner had tried, unsuccessfully, to recover the painting after the war up until his death in 1948. This painting resurfaced in 2008 in the possession of Helly Nahmad, who anticipated on selling the painting through the intermediary society Sotheby’s. Philippe Maestracci contacted the gallery to recover the painting which he claims was his grandfathers and so makes him the legal owner. He argues that the 1944 sale is ’void since it occurred without the owner’s consent in violation of international law and New York’s law and public policy not to recognise forced sales under the Nazi regime’. Without receiving any response from the gallery, Maestracci has engaged in prosecutions before the American...

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