Old paintings

“Exceptional” group of paintings from the collection of Willem de Kooning’s family to go under the hammer

Three paintings from the collection of the family of Willem de Kooning will appear at auction for the first time and are expected to sell for a total of $50 million. Produced between 1969 and 1987, Sotheby’s have described the upcoming selection of paintings as “one of the most exceptional groups of paintings by Willem de Kooning to ever appear on the market”.

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Fifty-year-old art crime solved by local sleuths, as two portraits stolen in 1972 are returned

In February 1972, a fire raged at the Veterans Foreign Wars building in New Paltz, New York. With emergency services distracted, a robbery occurred at the town’s historic district of Huguenot Street. Dozens of objects were stolen, including a pair of portraits by the prominent itinerant folk artist Ammi Phillips (1788-1865) depicting local residents Dirck D. Wynkoop (1738-1827) and his wife Annatje Erlinge (1748-1827). Exactly fifty years later, the portraits were rediscovered, and were put back on display at the Historic Huguenot Street.

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Most valuable ever art collection sells at Sotheby’s for $922.2 million (£741.9 million)

Since 2016, billionaire real estate tycoon Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife Linda Burg have feuded in court over assets during their contentious divorce proceedings. Disagreeing on the value of their impressive art collection, the couple were ordered to sell off the coveted trove. Sotheby’s have now auctioned all 65 artworks for a staggering $922.2 million (£741.9 million) in total, making it the most valuable private collection ever sold at auction.

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Sotheby's, London

The “ancestor of the NFT”: one of Yves Klein’s empty zones comes up for sale

During the final three years of his life, French conceptual artist Yves Klein (1928-1962) created nine “empty zones” (invisible and intangible areas of empty space existing only in conceptual terms) which could only be purchased with pure gold. The buyer was then presented with a receipt, which could either be set on fire in a ritual between artist and owner, or preserve it, meaning that the immaterial purchase would be transferrable. One of these receipts is now coming up for sale at Sotheby’s, and its similarities to the modern-day NFT are so notable that Sotheby’s are going so far as to accept not pure gold, but cryptocurrency for it.

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Botticelli just makes anticipated amount at Sotheby’s auction, whilst other old masters exceed expectations

Last week saw Sotheby’s sale of old master paintings bringing in a staggering total of $91 million (with buyer’s fees). Despite this being a considerable sum, it is in fact lower than the equivalent sale last year at Sotheby’s, which made $114.5 million. The auction included the much anticipated sale of Sandro Botticelli’s The Man of Sorrows (circa 1500) which, it was revealed earlier this month through the use of technical analysis, has a hidden composition of a Madonna and Child underneath.

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