Saturday, January 29, 2011


  • WASHINGTON DC. More on how the changes to the US estate tax are likely to have an adverse effect on bequests. There's no denying that the fiscal advantages to donors are a significant factor motivating gifts to institutions so the combined effect of a lower rate (35%) and a higher exemption ($5m per person) will almost inevitably put off some donors. However, if the regime is amended in two years time, it could mean that those donors' bequests are merely delayed rather than forfeited.
  • NEW YORK. Donald Judd former fabricator, Ballantine, is planning two conferences in New York and Berlin this year to discuss the "misconceptions connected to the artist's fabrication and conservation techniques" and his "extreme version of delegated fabrication." The discussions could raise some interesting questions on the relationship between fixing damaged art, authenticity and value ("there are unusually authentic ways outside the way of fixing most art that doesn’t diminish the value in Judd”). 
La Lecture, Pablo Picasso (1932)
  • LONDON. Last time Marie-Thérèse Walter made an appearance at auction, she sold for $106.5 million, setting a world record auction price for a work of art. Now she's set to return to auction for the first time since last May but this time in London not New York and at Sotheby's rather than Christie's. The estimate for La Lecture is £12-18m which seems somewhat conservative in light of her past performance (the estimate then for Nude, Green Leaves and Bust had been $80m though one of the main reasons it sold so well was specific to that particular painting - the work had not been in the market since 1951 and during that time, it was only publicly exhibited once in 1961). Aside from depicting the same protagonist, the two works are both dated 1932 and are characterized by equally intense, vibrant colors (albeit in distinct palettes). However, the upcoming painting is much smaller than its predecessor, size clearly being an important factor affecting an artwork's value. We'll see in a couple of weeks just how fond the market is of Marie. 

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