Art Industry News: Even the Louvre Abu Dhabi Admits It Has No Clue Where ‘Salvator Mundi’ Is + Other Stories

Plus, art critic Barbara Rose dishes on her marriage to Frank Stella and KAWS speaks up about his new auction record.

A woman holds up a paddle with the likeness of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" at Christie's. Photo courtesy Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Tuesday, April 2.


Barbara Rose on Being Married to a Famous Artist – Ever wanted to get a peek inside a high-profile art-world marriage? Now you can. In a new essay, the legendary art critic Barbara Rose describes her eight-year marriage to Frank Stella. They met before he was famous and married in 1961, but Rose recalls that, soon afterward, his ego swelled as his paintings began to sell for more money. “He wanted me to be a little gray mouse in the corner, but I was getting to be fairly well known in my own right,” she writes. So she took the kids, he kept the art collection, and they called the whole thing off in 1969. (New York Magazine)

Andres Serrano Nabs a Fake Hillary Clinton Dollar Bill – The artist has been buying some interesting items on the auction block lately, and a theme is starting to emerge (hint: it’s about Donald Trump). First, in February, he acquired Trump’s wedding cake. Now, he has purchased a fake American dollar bill that depicts Hillary Clinton behind bars and has Trump’s signature on it. The work will be included in his upcoming show, “The Game: All Things Trump,” held at a to-be-revealed, “non-traditional” location in Manhattan in two weeks. (The Art Newspaper)

Nobody Still Has Any Idea Where Salvator Mundi Is – The world’s most expensive painting and one of the last paintings to be attributed to Leonardo da Vinci is nowhere to be seen. Even staff at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which announced in 2017 that it had acquired the painting, say privately that they don’t know where the famed painting is. Some are now speculating that perhaps Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed to have provided the cash for the work, may simply have decided to keep it for himself. Many are holding out hope it will emerge in time for the Louvre Paris’s landmark show on Leonardo this fall. (New York Times)

Italy Will Lend Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man to the Louvre – After much political tussling, Italy has finally agreed to loan the famous Leonardo da Vinci drawing in Venice’s Accademia Gallery to the Louvre for its blockbuster show later this year. The gallery will also send some other major drawings by the Renaissance master. (Le Figaro)


Sotheby’s Notches Artist Records at Hong Kong Contemporary Sale – Sotheby’s Hong Kong contemporary art sale made its highest total yet: $102 million. Yayoi Kusama’s Interminable Net #4 sold for $8 million, setting a new record for a female artist at auction in Asia. But the big headline of the day was the sale of KAWS’s Simpsons-inspired painting, which sold for a whopping $14.7 million. (Press release)

Rediscovered Marble Busts Sell for Big Bucks – Two marble busts by the French 18th-century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon sold at Cottone Auctions for a combined $1.5 million. The works, which depict philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and French naturalist Georges Louis Leclerc, were rediscovered in an estate sale. (Press release)

A Long-Lost Sketch by Rubens Sells for $1.5 Million – A sketch by the Flemish Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens sold at Mercier Auctions in France for $1.5 million last Sunday. The sketch was discovered as part of an inheritance. The 1620 work depicts Saint Margaret holding a cross and crushing a dragon. (AFP)


Art Gallery of Ontario Deaccessions Seven Paintings – The gallery is deaccessioning seven paintings to raise money for its acquisition fund so it can diversify its collection—a move that is becoming something of a trend. The first two works by Group of Seven founder A.Y. Jackson, who is well-represented in the collection, will be sold in May at Heffel Fine Art. They carry a combined high estimate of $525,000. (Art Market Monitor)

Veteran Dealers to Open a Project Space in Beacon – New York dealers Nicelle Beauchene and Franklin Parrasch will open an space called Parts & Labor within walking distance of Dia:Beacon in upstate New York in May. The exhibitions will juxtapose work by mid-career artists with established names from a different generation. (ARTnews)

Norwegian Foundation Buys Guggenheim’s Restituted Kirchner – The heirs of a Jewish art dealer sold Ernest Ludwig Kirchner’s Artillerymen (1915), which was restituted to them from the Guggenheim, for $22 million at Sotheby’s last year. Now, the foundation of a Norwegian bank, the Sparebankstiftelsen, has stepped forward as the buyer. The work will join the collection of Oslo’s new National Museum opening in 2020. (TAN)


Canadian Artist Loses Social-Media Defamation Suit – Be careful before you vent on social media. A judge has ordered Canadian artist Ryan Livingstone to pay Fredericton gallery owner Ingrid Mueller nearly $3,000 in damages because of a Facebook comment in which he called her a thief. The comment was made amid a dispute over payment for an artwork. (CTV News)

Late Picasso Biographer May Have Left a Valuable Painting to the Royal Collection – The late Sir John Richardson might have bequeathed a Joshua Reynolds portrait of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who died in 1751 before he could become king, to the royal family. Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother, Queen Mary, had asked him to donate the portrait to the Royal Collection because the family didn’t have a good picture of Frederick. (Page Six)

Observer Releases “Arts Power 50” List – The Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam, who was released from jail last year after being detained for criticizing the government, tops the Observer’s list of changemakers and power players in the arts. The list ranges far and wide from there, with entries including Sotheby’s Amy Cappellazzo, Jim Carrey, and Decolonize This Place, the activist group that has recently been targeting the Whitney. The artist Nan Goldin also makes the list, as does the curator behind the Musée d’Orsay’s “Black Models” show, Denise Murrell. (Observer)

KAWS on His Record Auction Sale – Following the sale of his Simpsons-inspired painting for a record $14.7 million at Sotheby’s, the artist took to Instagram to respond. (Countless others were doing the same, expressing shock, awe, and in some cases, disgust at the sky-high price.) “What a strange morning,” he wrote. “Do I think my work should sell for this much?- No. Did I arrive at my studio this morning the same time I always do?- Yes. Will I do the same tomorrow?-Yes. Have a good day! (Instagram)

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