Art Industry News: Steve Wynn’s Picasso Is Withdrawn From Auction After Damage (Again) + More Must-Read Stories

Plus, France plans a slavery memorial for the Tuileries and a woman replaces a real Picasso on her ex's wall with a fake she painted herself.

Pablo Picasso, Le Marin (1943). ©2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of Christie's.

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 Monday, May 14.


Public Outcry Over Broken Bernini Finger – An art history professor’s discovery that the right ring finger on Bernini’s 1624 statue of St Bibiana had been broken off after its return from an exhibition at the Borghese Gallery has ignited a firestorm in Italy. Restorers have since fixed the digit, but many Italians decried the mistake, igniting a debate about whether art should be loaned for exhibitions at all and how often delicate works should be restored. (New York Times)

Macron Plans a Slavery Memorial in the Tuileries – In a speech to mark the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, the French president said there are no plans to erect a museum of slavery in Paris. But he did announce the creation of the Foundation for the Remembrance of Slavery (an initiative first brought up in 2016 under former president Hollande) and plans to erect a national slavery memorial in the Tuileries Garden in Paris. (Le Journal des Arts)

Wife Switched Out Picasso With Fake She Made Herself – A divorce battle between Wall Street tycoon Bill Gross and wife Sue Gross has resulted in an odd case of forgery. Sue admitted that she removed a 1932 painting of Marie-Thérèse, titled Le Reposfrom their bedroom and replaced it with one of her own design—but only after she won the painting on the toss of a coin during divorce proceedings. The original is now expected to sell for $35 million at Sotheby’s this evening. (New York Post)

Philanthropist Paid Chagall Withdrawal Fee – An anonymous donor, who some have identified as the real estate mogul Michael Audain, paid the fee to Christie’s after the National Gallery of Canada withdrew its Chagall from auction at the eleventh hour. The donation prevented the museum from having to use public funds to pay the fine. The gallery originally sought to use the proceeds from the controversial Chagall sale on May 15 to buy a Jacques-Louis David work from a church in Quebec. (The Globe and Mail)


Steve Wynn’s Picasso Withdrawn From Christie’s – The embattled casino mogul continues to have bad luck with Picasso. Christie’s has withdrawn the Wynn-owned painting Le Marin from auction—which was estimated to fetch $70 million this week—after it suffered unspecified damage on Friday. Twelve years ago, Wynn famously put his own elbow through another landmark Picasso formerly in his collection. (Bloomberg)

Photographs of Paris Student Protests Hit the Block – The Hôtel Drouot salesrooms in Paris will host an auction of 71 images of the Paris student uprising in 1968, marking the event’s 50th anniversary this month. The trove includes images by photographer Claude Dityvon, who documented fires burning in the street, upturned cars, and makeshift barricades. (Financial Times)

New Startup Combines Many Art Business Trends – The company Masterworks is launching the first blockchain platform that will allow the public to invest in and collectively own blue-chip works by artists from Warhol to Picasso. Founded by collector Scott Lynn, the new project allows investors to purchase and trade fractional interests using the blockchain. (Press release)


Photographer Sam Nzima Dies at 83 – The South African photographer achieved worldwide acclaim for his black-and-white picture of a dying 13-year-old activist who had been shot by apartheid police in June 1976. Nzima’s image drew the world’s attention to the brutality of the country’s apartheid. (Guardian)

British Architect Will Alsop Has Died – The Modernist architect has died at the age of 70 after a short illness. Alsop was known for several important buildings, including London’s Peckham Library and the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. (Press release)

Moyra Davey Wins Prestigious Photography Prize – Canadian-born, New York-based artist Moyra Davey has won this year’s Scotiabank Photography Award, which celebrates established Canadian artists. Winners receive a cash prize of $30,540 as well as a solo exhibition in the country and an artist book published by Steidl. (Artforum)

Storm King 2018 Residents Announced – Sixteen artists, including GaHee Park, Julia Bland, and Phoebe Berglund, have been named for this year’s Storm King residency at the beautiful Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York. Residencies last for two to six weeks and housing and working facilities are provided. (Press release)


Hamburg Museum Confronts Its Benin Bronzes – The Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe is showing three Benin bronzes from its collection in an exhibition provocatively titled “Looted Art?” While there are no current plans to permanently return the sculptures to Nigeria, they will soon be sent to Hamburg’s ethnological museum to undergo new research into their origin. (The Art Newspaper)

Provocative Gun Share Installation Targets Chicago – A new art installation that recalls bike-share stations in Chicago’s Daley Plaza features AR-15 replicas ready to “unlock and load.” The “Chicago Gun Share Program” also distributes information about gun laws in the city and invites visitors to donate to the gun control organization the Brady Center. The mock rifles, which can’t actually be removed from the artwork, will be on display until Wednesday. (NBC Chicago)

Rediscovered Rembrandts Go on View – Two recently rediscovered Rembrandt paintings, Portrait of Petronella Buys (1635) and Man with a Sword (1640–1644) went on view on May 9 at the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam thanks to their new owners, the New York Old Master collectors Thomas Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan. The paintings will be on view until September 2. (Press release)

Urs Fischer Brings a Rhino to Midtown – To coincide with his show at Gagosian, Urs Fischer has installed a full-scale aluminum rhinoceros sprouting objects including a vacuum cleaner and a photocopier inside a disused bank on Fifth Avenue. The new work, Things, on view until June 23, is meant to consider “the way that objects and forces… gather around and pass through our bodies as we move through the world.” (NYT)

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