With an auction record smashed twice in one night, the opening of the Serpentine Pavilion and the announcement of a plan to digitise the UK’s national sculpture collection it has been a stunning week in art.
On Wednesday evening (21 June), an oil on canvas by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky fetched £29 million (£33 million with fees) at Sotheby’s London Impressionist and Modern Art sale to beat the £18.7 million record for the artist set in 2016. Three bidders battled for the colourful ‘Bild mit weissen linien’ (Painting with white lines) from 1913 with the winning bid from London art advisor Hugo Nathan on behalf of a private collector. It was the second time a Kandinsky record was achieved on the night with the oil on board ‘Murnau – landschaft mit grünem haus’ (Murnau – landscape with green house) from 1909 fetching £18.5 million (£20.9 million with fees) six lots prior to the white lines work.
Earlier in the week, the new Serpentine Pavilion by Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Keré was unveiled. The pavilion is the 17th structure to have been commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and opens to the public today (Friday 23 June). Each year, the Gallery invites an international architect or design team which has not completed a building in England to complete a pavilion within six months on the Gallery’s lawn for the enjoyment of the public. Keré’s tree-like ‘climate-aware’ structure features a roof, which will funnel rainwater through a circular opening and can be used to irrigate nearby parkland.
In a world first, the UK will be able to boast an online catalogue of its entire national sculpture collection by May 2020. Charity Arts UK in partnership with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association announced that it will be digitising the nation’s approximately 170,000-strong collection of sculptures. This includes works held by museums, galleries, universities and hospitals together with outdoor public monuments and sculptures. According to Art UK, Britain will be the first country in the world to attempt such a comprehensive digitisation.
The UK summer of art continues.