Art Industry News: An Unknown Thomas Cole Work Is Uncovered Beneath Layers of Peeling Paint at His New York Home + Other Stories

Plus, Annie Leibovitz joins Hauser & Wirth and Monica Lewinsky is making art now, too.

Thomas Cole's former home at Cedar Grove. Courtesy of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.

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, June 11.


Staff Successfully Stop Russian Museum’s Planned Renovation – Staff at the State Russian Museum have won a legal battle to halt the institution’s $17 million modernization plan. The judge in St Petersburg who ruled in their favor has been hailed a “hero” by critics of the scheme, which involved placing a glass roof over the courtyard of the historic Mikhailovsky Palace. Opponents claimed the project would have damaged the architecture and museum’s collection. The museum’s director, Vladimir Gusev, said that the renovation would be postponed “until better times.” (The Art Newspaper)

Swedish Ambassador Pushes for Return of Parthenon Marbles – Sweden’s former ambassador to Greece, who is a longstanding advocate for their reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, is keeping up the pressure on the British Museum. Krister Kumlin says that the return of the sculptures to Athens “is a question of moral principle, and respect for our common past.” (Neoskosmos)

Unknown Thomas Cole Painting Uncovered at His Home – Experts have discovered a previously unknown decorative painting hidden beneath layers of paint on the first floor of the 19th-century British-American artist’s home. The hidden composition is a red-and-black Pompeii-influenced decorative border, the latest in a string of borders uncovered at the home. The style of the work suggests the room was used as an art gallery. It also reveals just how influenced Cole was by his visits to Italy and England, where he saw Roman art and visited J.M.W. Turner’s home, including the artist’s own dedicated art gallery. (Press release)

Tate Will Send Its Collection to Shanghai – The London museum has inked an agreement to send works from its collection to the forthcoming Pudong Museum of Art, which is due to open in Shanghai in 2021. Tate also agreed to provide assistance with visitor services, art handling, exhibition management, and audience development. The new museum, which will focus on international art, is overseen by the state-owned developer Shanghai Lujiazui Group. (TAN)


Hauser & Wirth to Represent Annie Leibovitz – After what she describes as a “slow dance” with the gallery—she had an exhibition of more than 4,000 images at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles earlier this year—photojournalist Annie Leibovitz will now be represented by Hauser & Wirth worldwide. The gallery is presenting her 63-piece composite, Driving Series, 1970-1984 (2019), at Art Basel this week. Moving forward, the photographer says, “we’re looking at editioning works from across my career.” (TAN)

David Zwirner Launches Basel Viewing Room – The gallery has expanded its Art Basel booth to the digital realm with a special online viewing room called Basel Online. The virtual space features 20 works available for sale exclusively online and worth a total of around $5 million. The offerings range from a $1.8 million Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture to works by Harold Ancart and Luc Tuymans. (Press release)

Status Report on Gerhard Richter’s Market – Ahead of a major retrospective at the Met Breuer next year that is set to further burnish the artist’s brand, the Art Newspaper takes a look at the state of the Richter market. Prices at auction have appeared softer in the past year as his abstracts have failed to consistently reach the eight-figure heights they did between 2012 and 2017. Overall, however, the value of Richter’s paintings has risen almost 65 percent since 1977. (TAN)


BP Portrait Award Names Winner – Charlie Schaffer has won the 2019 BP portrait award for his oil painting of an English literature student, Imara in her Winter Coat; he will receive a £35,000 ($44,448) prize and a commission worth £7,000 ($8,890). The announcement amid strong criticism of BP’s sponsorship of the award, including from one of the prize’s jurors, artist Gary Hume. Yesterday, protesters from the group BP Or Not BP? disrupted the award ceremony with a protest blocking the museum entrances. (Guardian)

Seattle Art Museum Names New Director – After an eight-month search, Amanda Cruz has been chosen to succeed Kimerly Rorschach as the director of SAM. Cruz, who has led the Phoenix Art Museum since 2015, will take up the role in the fall. (Seattle Times)


Museums Are Spared by Brazil’s New Funding Law – Brazilian museums are breathing a sigh of relief after the government announced that President Jair Bolsonaro’s controversial change to the Rouanet Law, a federal funding program for cultural projects that the far-right leader alleges facilitates corruption, will not affect museums—at least for now. Under the law, projects’ annual budget caps will drop from 60 million reals ($15 million) to 1 million reals ($250,000), but museums and cultural heritage projects are currently exempt. (TAN)

Collector’s Los Angeles Home Goes on the Market – Sotheby’s International Realty has listed the longtime home of the late art collector and arts advocate Lyn Kienholz, who founded the California/International Arts Foundation. Kienholz’s 1950s French-inspired farmhouse in the Hollywood Hills is listed for $2.35 million. (Los Angeles Times)

Monica Lewinsky Is Making Art Now, Too – The former White House intern and current anti-bullying activist shared an image of her latest artwork on Twitter. Lewinsky says the red-and-pink brushy still life is the result of “my first art class as an adult (or whatever we call 45 yr-olds).” A commenter offered her $500 for the work, but she declined to sell. “This first one is v symbolic + meaningful to me…so I’m gonna hold onto it! That a deep, old part of me wanted to paint came up surprisingly,” she said. (Twitter)

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