Art Industry News: Martin Shkreli May Have to Sell His Picasso (and Wu Tang Album) + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, artist Raymond Pettibon is arrested and Van Gogh made an appearance on the red carpet for the Oscars.

Ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, aka the Pharma Bro. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/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 Tuesday, March 6.


Artist Raymond Pettibon Arrested – The artist best known for his drawings has been arrested for violating a restraining order after he emailed his estranged wife, the artist Aida Ruilova, in the midst of their contentious divorce. After spotting a photographer in the Manhattan court, Pettibon noted that a portrait sketch would be more apt. (NY Daily News)

Lucian Freud’s Muse Steps Into the Spotlight – Celia Paul, Lucien Freud’s muse and the mother of his son Frank, is finally getting attention for her own dark and melancholy work. She is included alongside Freud in Tate Britain’s new survey of figurative art called “All Too Human” and in a seven-painting show at the Yale Center for British Art, which opens April 3. (NYT)

Martin Shkreli May Have to Forfeit His Picasso – A Brooklyn judge has ordered convicted Big Pharma fraudster Martin Shkreli to repay investors $7.36 million. The ruling may force him to forfeit assets including a painting by Picasso and the only known copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. (Courthouse News)

Louvre Opens Major Exhibition in Tehran – The Louvre’s loan of 56 antiquities and paintings to the National Museum of Tehran is going ahead despite political tensions and a struggle to find a French corporate sponsor. Meanwhile, Iran is lending 30 Persian artifacts to a reciprocal show opening this month at Louvre-Lens. The Louvre was the first museum to secure ties with Iran after Europe lifted trade sanctions in 2016. (The Art Newspaper)


Lawsuits Reveal the Problem With Using Art as Collateral – A recent series of lawsuits involving Sotheby’s, Phillips, the dealer Anatole Shagalov, and others reveals how common it has become for art-market players to use art as collateral for loans—and how quickly they can become overleveraged. (TAN)

Regina Rex Closes New York Gallery – Regina Rex is closing its brick-and-mortar gallery in downtown Manhattan and will no longer represent artists. But the gallery founded by artists plans to take part in Condo Mexico in April and vows to live on in other ways. (ARTnews)

Ellie Goulding’s Sale Is a Boon for Sam Gilliam Sotheby’s New York sale of 15 works co-curated by the singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding and her boyfriend, the auction house’s Caspar Jopling, raised a total of $26.4 million. An untitled 1968 work by Sam Gilliam went for $885,000, setting a new record for the in-demand American artist. (Art Daily)

Another Major Picasso Heads to Sotheby’s – Estimated to sell for $25–35 million, Pablo Picasso’s Le Repos (1932) will lead Sotheby’s New York evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art on May 14. The intimate painting is of Picasso’s muse Marie-Thérèse Walter sleeping. It will travel to Hong Kong, London, and Los Angeles before going on view in New York on May 4. (Press release)​


Keith L. Sachs, Philadelphia’s Big Philanthropist, Has Died – The art collector, philanthropist, and Philadelphia Museum of Art trustee died of pneumonia yesterday at age 72. In 2014, he and his wife Katherine promised the museum 97 contemporary works by Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Louise Bourgeois, among others. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

MFA Boston Makes Good on Super Bowl Bet – After museum directors Timothy Rub and Matthew Teitelbaum, whose institutions represent the hometowns of the Eagles and the Patriots, made a bet on the outcome of the Super Bowl, the MFA Boston is officially sending John Singleton Copley’s Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis) to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for three months, beginning March 7. (Press release)

Tate Gets Three Years of Big Show Sponsorship The partnership between the accounting firm EY and Tate has been renewed until 2021. The firm has supported important exhibitions at Tate Modern and Tate Britain over the past six years, with EY-sponsored shows collectively bringing in more than a million visitors. (Press release)

Städel Museum Reaches Agreement Over Beckmann Painting – Max Beckmann’s Eisgang (1923) will remain at the Frankfurt museum after the institution reached a “just and fair” agreement with the heirs of its Jewish former owners. The original owner bought the work directly from the artist; his fate at the hands of the Nazis will be commemorated on a plaque next to the painting. (Press release)


RISD Denies Claim on Picasso – The Rhode Island School of Design has denied a claim by the heirs of Alphonse Kann to a Cubist painting by Picasso, Femme assise au livre (c.1910–12). RISD says it has commissioned provenance research that shows the prominent French art dealer voluntarily sold or exchanged the work and that it was not looted by Nazis. (TAN)

Polish Art World Calls on Museum to Oppose Fascism – In an open letter, art historians, curators, and artists are calling on the National Museum in Krakow to organize an anti-fascist exhibition to counter the rise of far-right nationalism in Poland. The proposed show would examine artists’ opposition to violence, war, and authoritarianism throughout history. (TAN)

Van Gogh-Inspired Fashion on the Oscars Red Carpet – Axel Ruger, the director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, donned a Sunflowers-inspired golden jacket for the Oscars, where the first entirely painted film, Loving Vincent, was nominated for Best Animated Feature. He’s seen here with the film’s directors Hugh Welchman and Dorota Kobiela, whose gown recalled Starry Night. (Twitter)

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