Art Industry News: LVMH Helped the Musée d’Orsay Buy a $47 Million Impressionist Masterpiece + Other Stories

Plus, designer Paul Smith will curate a blockbuster Picasso exhibition and London's Vagina Museum needs a new home.

A man takes a picture of the painting
A man takes a picture of the painting "La Partie de bateau" by Gustave Caillebotte, classified as "national treasure" which has just joined the Musee d'Orsay in Paris on January 30, 2023. Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via 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 on this Tuesday, January 31.


Designer Paul Smith to Curate Picasso Show – The famed British designer has been invited by the Musée National Picasso-Paris to curate an exhibition around Pablo Picasso’s masterpieces to mark the 50th anniversary of artist’s death in 1973. Smith said he would bring “a more spontaneous and instinctive approach” in order to attract younger audiences, and those who are not familiar with Picasso’s work. The show opens on March 7 and runs through August 27. (Press release)

Fake Celebrity Obituaries Go on View in London – Adam McEwen, the artist and former obituary writer at The Daily Telegraph in London has plied the skills learned at his old day job to write fake obituaries for famous people (who are still alive). Farewells are made to the likes of Dolly Parton, Lewis Hamilton, Greta Thunberg, and Grace Jones in the large scale works in print that are currently hanging Gagosian’s Davies Street gallery. (Guardian)

France Buys Caillebotte Painting With LVMH Gift – Thanks to the luxury conglomerate, France is the proud new owner of Gustave Caillebotte’s Boating Party, and is showing off the 19th century jewel at the Musée d’Orsay. Sold by members of Caillebotte’s extended family, the nearly $47 million painting was considered “one of the last Impressionist masterpieces still in private hands” according to Jean-Paul Claverie, an advisor to LVMH boss Bernard Arnault. (AP)

Cooper Union Postpones Show About Russian Art Movement – The New York art school has decided to halt an upcoming exhibition about the Moscow art and architecture school Vkhutemas that was active in the 1920s and 1930s amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The decision was condemned by nearly 500 academics, critics, and artists who signed an open letter, calling it a “troubling instance of censorship and historical erasure.” (ARTnews)


Vagina Museum Seeks New Home – The London museum dedicated to the female anatomy has been told to leave its current site in Bethnal Green site, and tomorrow February 1 will be its last public opening day. The management is seeking a new home while maintaining its presence in the digital realm. (Evening Standard)

National Gallery Acquires Native American AbEx Artist – The D.C.-based National Gallery of Art has acquired the first work by a Native American member of the New York School AbEx movement. Though he was overlooked for most of his career, the untitled 1961 painting by Chippewa George Morrison showcases him as a pioneering member of the movement. Morrison’s work finally given its due last year when it was featured on a line of USPS postage stamps. (The Art Newspaper)

2023 YoungArts Jorge M. Pérez Awardee Named – Cornelius Tulloch is the recipient of this year’s award named for the eponymous mega-collector and philanthropist, which comes with a $25,000 unrestricted prize. The Miami-based artist was recently part of the Artists in Residence in Everglades program, where he explored the legacy of Black history in South Florida. (Press release)


Ai Weiwei Plans Design-Focused Exhibition – The Chinese artist-activist will take over London’s Design Museum in April to stage exhibition “Ai Weiwei: Making Sense,” his biggest show in the U.K. in eight years. The show will feature new works and large scale installations including the artist’s five expansive “fields” that are made of objects from Stone Age tools to Lego bricks that Ai has been collecting since the 1990s. The show opens on April 7 and runs through to July 30. (Independent)

Ai Weiwei at the Design Museum, September 2022. © Rick Pushinsky for the Design Museum.

Ai Weiwei at the Design Museum, September 2022. © Rick Pushinsky for the Design Museum.

Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio

Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio.

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