Art Industry News: Modigliani Expert Calls for the Destruction of Fakes + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, Sotheby’s is dragged further into the Rybolovlev-Bouvier dispute and Tate’s Maria Balshaw gets a spread in Vogue.

Marc Restellini in front of his Pinacotheque de Paris, opened in 2003. Photo Loic Venance/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 Friday, December 22.


New York Gives $40 Million to Arts Organizations – The city’s Cultural Development Fund has received its largest grant to date, some $40.3 million, which will be distributed to around 950 institutions and used to help execute Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cultural plan, CreateNYC. (Press release)

Düsseldorf Opts to Mount Canceled ExhibitionThe city’s mayor faced stark criticism for calling off a planned exhibition about the Jewish art dealer Max Stern, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938. But it seems the mayor has changed his mind. The show will now open at the Stadtmuseum next fall with an enhanced advisory board, an additional curator, and a symposium on Stern’s life and legacy. (New York Times)

Modigliani Expert Calls for Destruction of Fakes – Marc Restellini has identified dozens of Modigliani forgeries and even received death threats while he was working on the artist’s catalogue raisonné. Undeterred, he has renewed calls for the destruction of fakes in a new interview. “Is it the role of museums to legitimize forged Modiglianis?” he asks. (Le Monde)

Battle Wages Over Polish WWII Museum – As part of the ongoing public outcry over the right-wing Polish government’s decision to focus on the “Polish point of view” in the World War II museum in Gdansk, some 500 international academics have signed an open letter arguing that “Poland is losing one of the few truly cultural and scientific institutions of international importance.” (The Art Newspaper)


Sotheby’s Dragged Deeper into Rybolovlev Dispute – In the latest twist of the ongoing legal saga, the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has said he plans to sue Sotheby’s and its vice chairman of private sales, Samuel Valette, for allegedly aiding his former art advisor Yves Bouvier, who he claims wrongfully gave multimillion-dollar markups on artworks. (Bloomberg)

Works From Disgraced German Dealer’s Collection Sold in Cologne – Photographs by German artists such as Candida Höfer and Thomas Struth that had been seized from the collection of jailed art advisor Helge Achenbach sold above estimate at Van Ham auction house in Cologne. Wolfgang Tillmans’s Freischwimmer 46 found a buyer for double its high pre-sale estimate of €150,000. (FAZ)

Sotheby’s Auctions Hit $4.7 Billion in 2017 Sotheby’s announced that its total auction sales for the year were $4.7 billion, up 13.1 percent on 2016. Notably, Asian clients contributed $1.6 billion to that total and online buyers spent more than $180 million. Approximately 23 percent of all lots sold in 2017 were purchased online. (Press release)


Corning Glass Museum to Launch Floating Studio – The Corning Museum of Glass in upstate New York is launching GlassBarge, a floating glassblowing studio, which will sail the Hudson River and Erie Canal next spring and summer. It will provide free demonstrations at each port before heading home by land to Corning in the fall. (Artforum)

Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg Under New Direction – Thorsten Sadowsky, the director of the Kirchner Museum Davos, has been appointed director of the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg. He replaces Sabine Breitwieser, who decided not to renew her contract. (Monopol)

Artist Tseng Yuho Has Died – The writer and artist Tseng Yuho, also known as Betty Ecke, died in September. Born in China in 1925, she studied in New York and was based for many years in Hawaii. Tseng first showed her traditional paintings in 1959 at the Honolulu Museum of Art and was a founding member of the Society of Asian Art of Hawaii. (Artforum)


The Bass Museum Gets a $500,000 Present – The Miami institution has received a $500,000 donation from Riccardo and Tatyana Silva, who will receive a named gallery at the museum in their honor. The Miami-based couple have supported the Bass in recent years and are known for their collection of Italian Modern and contemporary art. (ARTnews)

New Tate Director Makes Vogue Debut – Maria Balshaw is the first woman to take the top spot at the Tate—and also the first Tate director to make it into the pages of Vogue. In the new January issue, Juergen Teller photographs the former director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries and Vogue editor Ellie Pithers profiles her. (Vogue)

Martin Puryear’s Big Bling Is Saved at the Eleventh Hour – Puryear’s much-loved work debuted in New York’s Madison Square Park last year before traveling to Philadelphia. The enigmatic 40-foot-tall sculpture was just about to be retired when Mass MoCA stepped in. The work is now due to be installed on its sprawling Massachusetts campus next year. (ARTnews)

Check Out the National Gallery of Victoria’s 18-Meter Buddha – With its inaugural Triennial underway, the Australian museum has installed one of its largest commissions ever: a side-lying Buddha peppered with replicas of Classical Western sculptures by Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen. The juxtaposition is meant to bridge the cultural heritages of West and East. (Lion’s Roar)


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