Art Industry News: The Gender Pay Gap at Sotheby’s and Christie’s Has Widened Since 2020 + Other Stories

Plus, Angelica Jopling gets a new space for her gallery, and the Seattle Art Museum gets a major gift.

Sotheby's auctioneer Helena Newman sells Pablo Picasso's weeping Golden Muse at auction in 2018. Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for Sotheby's.

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 on this Wednesday, April 5.


Christie’s Amps Up Provenance Research – To mark the 25th anniversary of the Washington Principles this year, Christie’s is launching the 2023 Christie’s Grant for Nazi-Era Provenance Research. Three international scholars will receive £5,000 ($6,240) each to fund related research and professional mentorship with a member of Christie’s international restitution team. Applications are due May 31, and award recipients will be announced on December 3. (Press release) 

White Cube Founder’s Daughter Opens Gallery – Angelica Jopling, the daughter of dealer Jay Jopling, is launching a new venue called Incubator in Marylebone, London. The space previously held pop-up solo shows around Soho, but this is the first permanent space, and it will open seasonally with two-week long exhibitions. (The Art Newspaper) 

The Gender Pay Gap at Auction Houses – Bonhams announced that its pay gap for 2022 has narrowed, with women being paid 92 pence ($1.15) for every £1 ($1.25) that men earn. This is the closest to parity any major auction house has come since the U.K. government enacted a policy that companies with more than 250 employees must submit salary data. The figures represent a 39 percent improvement on 2021. Christie’s and Sotheby’s still lag behind, with both houses’ stats showing the gender pay conditions have worsened since 2020. (TAN)

N.Y. to Return “Earth Monster” Sculpture to Mexico – A one-ton statue dating to the Olmec Period (between 1600 B.C. to 350 B.C.) has been returned to Mexico after it was recovered by the Manhattan D.A.’s antiquities trafficking unit. The five-foot-tall figure has eyes and open jaws, which signal a gateway to the underworld; the three bands that circle its mouth represent access to a cave, according to an expert. (TAN) 


Major Gift to Seattle Art Museum – The former president of Microsoft, Jon Shirley and his wife Kim are donating their extensive trove of 48 Calder works, valued at $200 million. The Shirleys are trustees at SAM, and are also gifting the museum a $10 million endowment and an annual commitment of between $250,000 and $500,000 for programming and research into Calder’s work and legacy. An exhibition celebrating the gift is slated for November. (ARTnews) 

MOCAD’s First Artistic Director – The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has named Jova Lynne as the inaugural artistic director; she will co-lead the institution with chief operating officer Marie Madison-Patton. Lynne first joined MOCAD as a Ford Foundation curatorial fellow in 2017, and has served as the senior curator since 2019. (Press release) 

Helsinki Biennial 2023 Names Participants & Curator – Polish born, U.K.-based curator Joasia Krysa will helm the forthcoming Biennial, slated to open on June 12 in Helsinki. Titled “New Directions May Emerge,” the second iteration features 50 percent new commissions and site-specific works, with 29 artists and participants; Krysa will collaborate with five curatorial entities: Critical Environmental Data, Museum of Impossible Forms, TBA21-Academy, ViCCA @ Aalto Arts, and an A.I. Entity. (Press release)


A Fashion Collection Inspired By Museum Conservators – Erdem Moralıoğlu, whose eponymous label has been worn by Michelle Obama and Kate, Princess of Wales, drew on museum conservators for his spring/summer 2023 collection.  Renaissance canvases and the tables of conservation materials that inspired his spring/summer 2023 collection. Copies of labels conservators use to classify artworks appeared stitched into hemlines; Renaissance painting and canvas references abound, as do homages to protective vellums and dust sheets that were interpreted as glass organza veils draped over embellished dresses. (Financial Times)

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