Art Industry News: Did ’Salvator Mundi’ Make the Old Masters Cool Again? + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, a nasty divorce battle over torched artworks gets even nastier and China lifts its ban on Korean art.

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 Wednesday, December 13.


China Lifts Ban on Korean Art – China has ended an unofficial 11-month ban on South Korean art following diplomatic talks. The rift was caused by the arrival of a US anti-missile system south of Seoul, which China regarded as a security threat. In response, mainland museums self-censored Korean works, including those by the late US-Korean artist Nam June Paik. (The Art Newspaper)

Artist Flees Beijing After Filming Mass Evictions – Beijing-based artist-activist Hua Yong is in hiding and on the run from the authorities after he publicized via social media the forced eviction of rural migrants in the Chinese capital. The artist, who has spent time in a labor camp for his art, documented the migrants’ demolished homes and protest demonstration. (New York Times)

Socialite Accused of Burning Ex’s Art – A New York-based Swiss millionaire in a litigious divorce battle has accused his estranged wife of damaging or destroying with a blowtorch works by Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, and Damien Hirst, among others, in their Paris apartment. She alleges her husband evaded tax on $25 million worth of art bought in New York. (Page Six)

Salvador Dalí Catalogue Raisonné Goes Online – After 17 years of work to digitize the surrealist painter’s catalogue, the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation has launched an online inventory of over 1,000 paintings created between 1910 and 1983. (TAN)


After ‘Salvator Mundi’ Sale, Are the Old Masters Back in Style? – Old Masters sales at Sotheby’s, Bonhams, and Christie’s are up a 48.5 percent since last winter. The uptick (most notable among British Masters) can be credited to the record-breaking Leonardo sale, which restored buyers’ confidence in this corner of the market. (Telegraph)

TEFAF Announces 10-Year Partnership With Maastricht – The European Fine Art Fair in the Netherlands has announced a major partnership with the province of Limburg, MECC Maastricht, and the city of Maastricht. The initiative includes a renovation of the city’s venue, the creation of more luxury hotels, and the launch of a direct flight from a major international airport to the city. (Press release)

Henri-Cartier Bresson Photographs Set Record at Auction – A range of the photographer’s images went up for sale at Phillips, breaking records, realizing over $2 million, and doubling the haul’s pre-sale estimate. Hyères, France lead the sale at $100,000, more than eight times its estimate. (Press release)


French Curator to Lead American History Museum – Ghislain d’Humières has been appointed executive president and senior vice president, core operations at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia. D’Humières previously served as director and CEO of the Speed Museum in Kentucky. (Press release)

Art Matters Names Grantees – The New York-based foundation has named its 2017 grantees, focusing on artists whose work considers social issues. EJ Hill, Eve Fowler, and Zoe Buckman are among the 22 grant winners awarded $7,500 each. (ARTnews)

The XL Catlin Art Prize Debuts – The new prize for graduate and undergraduate art students in the US has launched nationwide; submissions are open until February 15. The prize winners (first place receives $10,000) will be selected by an all-star jury including Nicole Eisenman, Eric Fischl, and Amy Sherald. (Press release)

Medieval Art Historian and Broadcaster Has Died The art historian and broadcaster Pamela Tudor-Craig, who defended Richard III from Tudor propaganda that he was a hunchbacked tyrant, has died at age 89. She revealed the “secret lives” of Old Masters in a BBC TV series and taught many American students at the University of Evansville’s British campus. (The Times)


Sydney Biennale Unveils 2018 Program – The artistic program for the biennale’s 21st edition, titled SUPERPOSITION and open from March 16 to June 11, includes 70 artists presenting work over seven Sydney venues. Ai Weiwei will co-present the keynote at the Sydney Opera House, and his works Crystal Ball and Law of the Journey (both 2017) will be on view in the city. (Press release)

Getty Museum Gifted Photographs – The LA institution has received two groups of photographs from Leslie and Judith Schreyer and UK-based collectors Michael and Jane Wilson. The donations add 131 new photographs and 15 new photographers to the museum’s collection. (Press release)

Hammer Curator Is Helping a Mall With Its Art Program – Who knew the malls in LA had such good art? The Beverly Center in Los Angeles is getting new installations from Liz Larner, Harsh Patel, and Gary Simmons. The display is organized by curator Jenelle Porter in partnership the Hammer Museum. An additional installation by Tanya Aguiñiga will be unveiled in January. See the works below. (Press release)

Tanya Aguiñiga’s Feminine Occult (2018). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

Tanya Aguiñiga’s Feminine Occult (2018). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

Gary Simmons’ Posted Bills (2017). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

Gary Simmons’ Posted Bills (2017). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

Harsh Patel’s 2D (2017). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

Harsh Patel’s 2D (2017). Photo Credit: Charlie Cho for Beverly Center

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