A so-called Caravaggio painting that was seemingly lost to time has just been sold to a mysterious buyer for an undisclosed sum. It was previously estimated to sell for as much as $171 million when Marc Labarbe Auctions (based in Toulouse, France) canceled an auction planned for June 27. The piece, “Judith Beheading Holofernes” (circa 1607) was found in an attic in 2014 and painstakingly restored. It will now go to a private collector. Not everyone agrees that it’s a Caravaggio, however, as Hyperallergic reported in 2016. Eric Turquin, the dealer and appraiser who authenticated the painting, has released a lengthy catalogue and website defending its authenticity.
The Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction topped out at £69,143,300 (~$87,605,252). Notably, Toyin Ojih Odutola‘s “Compound Leaf” (2017) achieved the highest price ever for a Nigerian artist, selling for £471,000 (~$597,040). Francis Bacon topped the lots, with his “Self-Portrait” (1975) realizing a final sale price of £16,542,650 (~$20,969,463).
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction sold £14,018,000 (~$17,760,946) worth of art. Gerhard Richter‘s “Abstraktes Bild” (1981) and Andy Warhol‘s “Dollar Sign” (1982) topped the lots, selling for $1,008,934 and $597,746 respectively.
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction topped out at £45,179,450 (~$57,237,845). Jean Dubuffet, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Francis Bacon topped the charts with their paintings “Cérémonie (Ceremony)” (1961) for £8,718,750 (~$11,045,784); “Sabado por la Noche (Saturday Night)” (1984) for £8,378,250 (~$10,614,404); and “Man at a Washbasin” (1954) for £5,109,450 (~$6,473,162), respectively.
Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction sold £12,663,250 (~$16,041,805) worth of art. Alex Katz‘s “Ada with White Dress” (1958) topped the lots, going for £587,250 (~$743,928).
Christie’s Art of China summer sale sold a total of $633,250 worth of Chinese ceramics and other art. The piece “A blue and white ‘phoenix-tail’ vase” from the Kangxi Period topped the lots, selling for $6,875.
A Christie’s sale of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s collection of instruments topped out at just north of $21 million. His “Black Strat” Fender Stratocaster topped the lots at a sale price of $3,975,000. Its one of the only guitar’s ever made whose history is meticulously catalogued in a book — Phil Taylor’s Pink Floyd: The Black Strat – A History of David Gilmour’s Black Fender Stratocaster.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has just acquired the first piece of public art from Kehinde Wiley, the artist known for his paintings of the Obamas and other African-American figures in regal garb. The new piece, titled “Rumors of War,” will be a sculpture of a young African American on a horse, reportedly posed to evoke the controversial monuments to the Confederacy as well as Wiley’s previous work.
An ancient sculpture that disappeared from Italy five decades ago before turning up in Germany has been returned. The bust depicts the head and flowing locks of a young man and previously sat in the University of Munster’s Archaeological Museum for the past 55 years. Germany gave it back to the Italian Ministry of Culture without being asked, the ministry said in a statement.
Indiana University’s Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art received a gift of $4 million from the estate of Jane Fortune, along with 61 works from the late arts advocate and philanthropist’s collection. Fortune was known for advocating for women in the arts, as well as her contributions to journalism and art history.
Two Nazi-looted paintings were restituted to the family of German-Canadian Jewish art dealer Max Stern following a tax break program created by the German Friends of Hebrew University. The paintings are Otto Heichert’s “Happy Family in Garden” and “Stormy Sea” by Martinus Schouman, and while they will remain with their unnamed collectors, the Max and Iris Stern Foundation, Concordia University, McGill University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will all benefit from the settlements.
A charity auction organized by Christie’s raised $1.3 million for a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s Historical District, according to a press release from Christie’s. The sale, Art for Al Balad, was one of the first of its kind to take place in Saudi Arabia. The top lot was Abdullah AlShalty‘s “Tawaf Around the Kabbah 2,” which sold for $173,000.