When museums deal with private collectors

The Art Newspaper reports that for several years now, museum directors have been organising exhibitions for collectors with private museums overseas, to make up for their lack of public funds. Frances Morris, director of the Tate Modern, notably organised a post-war Asian and European art exhibition for the private museum of collector George Economou in Athens, just as curator Mark Godfrey coordinated a minimalist art retrospective for him earlier in the year. And the Greek collector, a board member of the Tate Foundation, made a big donation to the Tate Modern… Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery, also settled a three-year agreement with the British-Canadian Weston family, in 2011, in exchange for which an exhibition was organised in their residence in Windsor, Florida. Meanwhile, director of the LACMA, Michael Govan, has worked with François Pinault to help him acquire an installation by Bruce Nauman, For Beginners (2010), and the museum today owns 50 % of the work. Bear in mind that Govan also curated an arte povera exhibition at Punta della Dogana, Pinault’s private museum in...

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Farewell Boy with Frog!

Venice, 8 May 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The statue Boy with Frog, a work by artist Charles Ray installed in Venice at Punta Della Dogana, will soon be moved. The sculpture measuring 2.4m and painted in white steel was set between the Grand Canal and the Guidecca in Venice four years ago, and will be replaced by a reproduction of the 19th-century street light that was at the same location in the past. “I knew things were getting serious when a friend of mine sent me a petition to keep Boy with Frog,” Mr Ray explained in an interview conducted by the New York Times. French businessman and collector François Pinault ordered Ray’s sculpture after signing a lease with the city for the restoration and transformation of the former customs office of Dogana into a...

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Bronzes stolen by France given back to China

Beijing, 2 May 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). On the occasion of French President François Hollande’s trip to China, François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of luxury group PPR, announced the restoration of two bronzes from the Summer Palace of Peking, which were stolen in 1860 by Franco-British troupes. The two golden heads, one of a rat and the other of a rabbit, dating from the era of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795), were put on auction by Christie’s on the occasion of the dispersion of the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent collection. The sculptures were purchased in February 2009 for €14m apiece by Mingchao, an expert working for the National Treasure Funds, a foundation responsible for the foreign repurchasing of Chinese artworks. He subsequently announced that the amount of the sale would not be paid. François-Henri Pinault, whose family bought the two items, announced the restoration to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a State dinner held in Peking on Thursday. The Pinault family, who recovered the bronzes, restored them to China, which also allowed them to make a good communication intervention for the luxury group that is depending on the Chinese market to continue its...

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A palace for Stingel

Venice, 2nd May 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). While the 55th Venice Biennale is scheduled to take place soon, the Palazzo Grassi is completely invested in the promotion of the works of artist Rudolf Stingel, from 7 April to 31 December. The estate of the French businessman and avid collector, François Pinault, allows the artist to freely express his creativity within the 5,000-sqm space at his disposal. The exhibition thus invades the atrium and the two storeys of the palace. The works that are presented include some original artworks, some recent creations as well as a large installation. On the last floor of this majestic building, the artist displays some small-sized oils on religious themes, representing madonnas and saints in an ultra-realistic manner. For the occasion, the rooms of the palace are covered for the first time, from the walls to the flooring with a printed carpet featuring oriental motifs. The event thus presents more than thirty paintings from worldwide collections, including those of the artist and of François Pinault, the owner of the place. The first storey presents a series of abstract paintings created between Merano and New York, portraying a personal rendering of the city of Venice, of its historical, architectural and artistic...

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