Over 30 automatons displayed at the Galerie Kugel, in Paris

The Galerie Kugel in Paris is presenting, from 9 September to 5 November, the first exhibition entirely devoted to Renaissance automaton figure clocks, thus gathering the largest ever collection. A menagerie of exotic animals will be unveiled, including lions, dromedaries, elephants, bears and monkeys. While animals dominate this automaton collection, unique figures also make an appearance, namely a Turk astride a horse, brandishing a scimitar, as well as bear and lion tamers. These objects combining art and sculpture, clockwork and sometimes woodwork, were mainly produced in Augsburg, a major German artistic centre at the...

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Agreement found for Picasso bust

The case of Picasso’s Buste de femme, opposing the Qatari royal family and well-known New York collector Leon Black is reaching a conclusion. An agreement has just been found between the two parties. The sculpture produced in 1931 was the object of a dispute, with two persons claiming to be the owner of the work, apparently sold twice by the artist’s daughter Maya Widmaier Picasso. Larry Gagosian bought the sculpture for $106 million last year before reselling it to collector Leon Black. This was the point when an agent of Sheikh Jassim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Thani, as well as the Qatar Museums Authority, indicated their consternation as they had purchased the same work in 2014 for €38 million. While representatives of the different parties have preferred not to comment on the matter, US justice has declared the following: “It having been reported to this court that these actions have been or will be settled, these actions are discontinued without costs to any party.” In the end, there’ll be no need for justice to make a call as the two parties seem to have come to an agreement themselves. The details of this agreement have not been...

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Greece toughens its tone towards Britain

In order to recuperate sculptures from the Parthenon, currently exhibited at the British Museum, Greece is playing the diplomatic card. A case in the hands of lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, wife of the famous actor, and her team. The ancient sculptures in question are the Elgin Marbles. Greece had previously decided not to embark on legal proceedings against the British Museum, given its low chances of winning. Indeed, Great Britain acquired the sculptures in 1816 following a vote in Parliament in favour Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin at the time. To recuperate these major pieces of its cultural heritage, Greece is counting on pressure from public opinion to back up the legitimacy of its request. Meanwhile, within the Greek government, the minister of culture Aristides Baltas has declared: “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum.” Although the legal framework is not favourable, the minister does not despair: “As there are no hard and fast rules regarding the issue of returning treasures taken away from various countries, there is no indisputable legal...

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Richard Deacon: sculpture, politics and colors

We no longer need to introduce Richard Deacon, British sculptor and winner of the Turner Prize in 1987, to whom the Tate Britain dedicated a retrospective in 2014. Today, this colossus in the world of sculpture is exhibiting works alongside Sui Jianguo and Henk Visch at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (“Three Men in a Boat” until 13 March 2016). The Fondation Maeght’s theme in 2015 was: “What is an artist today?” By exhibiting three sculptors, it implicitly asks the question: “What is a sculptor today?” I’ve never thought about becoming a painter. Working with substance has always been a key part of my work, something quite natural. But I don’t think that I’ve ever been interested in the mere idea of creating things in three dimensions. If this were so, my activity would lose in meaning. Sculpture is complex to grasp, comprehend and interpret, it’s more than something in three dimensions. Sculpture occupies a unique role today. For example, my students tend to consider themselves more as artists than sculptors (editorial note: Richard Deacon teaches at the École Supérieur des Beaux Arts de Paris (ENSBA)), and I believe that this idea is shared by many artists in the world of art. What is the difference between an artist and a sculptor? Painters think of themselves as painters, they don’t have any problem with that. This certainty about the medium is less entrenched amongst sculptors. If you define yourself as an artist without saying how you practice, it’s different from conceiving of yourself as an object-maker. And I consider myself an object-maker. You often say that you’re a “fabricator”. Yes, that’s how I consider my work as an artist. I’m no demagogue or ideologue, but I do think that we’d lose something if we artists stopped creating objects, making...

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Rodin at Bonhams

During the major sales of its Impressionist & Modern Art department — taking place in London on 4 February 2016 —, Bonhams will be selling a sculpture by Rodin: L’Éternel Printemps. Created during his lifetime (between 1905 and 1907), this 66-centimetre sculpture is the largest bronze reduction of L’Éternel Printemps, whose original, cast in 1884, is at the Musée Rodin (Paris). The sculpture, estimated as being worth between €650,000 and €900,000 will probably draw the highest bid during the sale. Bonhams will also be selling Le Petit Bougival (1874) by Alfred Sisley — estimated at being worth between $380,000 and $650,000, the painting has not been shown to the public for over a century —, Eine Schwärmende (1938) by Paul Klee, worth an estimated €150,000 to  €230,000, and Variation et Contraste by Frantisek Kupka, worth between €150,000 and...

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