Art Industry News: The Salvator Mundi May Not Have Been Owned by the King of England After All + Other Stories

Plus, Johanna Burton will lead the Wexner Center and the head of Sotheby's India is placed on leave amid #MeToo allegations.

A woman holds up a paddle with the likeness of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" at Christie's. Photo courtesy Timothy A. Clary/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 Thursday, November 29.


Louvre to Open Free on Saturday Nights – To “democratize” the Louvre and attract younger and less affluent visitors from Paris and its suburbs, the museum will stay open for free one Saturday night a month from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. The 12 free nights, starting on January 5, replace the six free Sundays typically held from March to October, which proved too popular with foreign tourists and not popular enough with locals. (Art Daily)

Judy Chicago’s Art Upsets the Neighbors in New Mexico – The artist and her husband have decided not to go ahead with a planned museum in Belen, New Mexico, after the proposal divided the community where they live. While many supported the idea, some church leaders and councillors called her feminist art is “pornographic.” Chicago said, “We are shocked, hurt and disheartened by some of the ignorant, uninformed and bigoted comments by the religious community of the town.” (The Art Newspaper)

Doubts Grow Over Salvator Mundi’s Royal History – The $450 million painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, which is due to go on show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, may not be the same work that once belonged to King Charles I of England, as previously thought. Ben Lewis, who is writing a book called The Last Leonardo, is convinced that the Salvator Mundi in Moscow’s Pushkin Museum is the one owned by British royalty. Now attributed to Giampietrino, it is stamped “CR” (Charles Rex) with a crown branded into the back. (TAN)

Sotheby’s India Head Put on Leave Following Harassment Allegations – The managing director of Sotheby’s India, Gaurav Bhatia, has taken a leave of absence amid sexual harassment allegations ahead of the auction house’s inaugural sale in Mumbai today. He has been accused by four people of misconduct, including inappropriate touching and forcible kissing, on the social media account Scene and Herd, which collects anonymous accounts of harassment in the Indian art world. Sotheby’s says Bhatia is fully cooperating with its investigation. (TAN)


Collectors Show Off $2 Million Worth of Supreme Merch – Two collectors are selling more than 1,000 Supreme skate decks and accessories at auction with an estimated value of $2 million. The pieces, including items created with artists George Condo and Kaws, will go on view at Jason Vass Gallery in Los Angeles ahead of their sale. (Complex)

Sotheby’s Is Bringing Back Its Trusts and Estates Department – The auction house is rebooting its trusts and estates department to serve legal and financial advisors who manage art collections on behalf of wealthy clients. Sotheby’s Fiduciary Client Group, overseen by Mari-Claudia Jiménez, offers advice on valuations, sales, and charitable giving. (Art Market Monitor)

$1.3 Million Ivory Sting Hits San Diego Gallery – Around 300 pieces of ivory sculpture worth an estimated $1.3 million were seized from Carlton Gallery in La Jolla, California. Fish and Wildlife officers found the items, many of which are made from elephant ivory, on sale or in the company’s warehouse. California banned the sale of ivory in 2016. (Courthouse News)

Andrew Kreps Doubles Down in Tribeca – The Chelsea-based dealer Andrew Kreps is consolidating in Tribeca. In May, Kreps will open a 10,000-square-foot space to complement 55 Walker, the former Tribeca home of Artists Space. Kreps runs that space in collaboration with fellow dealers Bortolami and Kaufmann Repetto. (ARTnews)


Wexner Center Names a New Director – The New Museum’s Keith Haring director and curator of education and public engagement, Johanna Burton, is taking over as director at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. Burton will succeed Sherri Geldin in the role in March 2019, the center’s 30th anniversary year. (New York Times)

High Line Expands Art Program Across North America – The High Line Network has launched an art initiative called “New Monuments for New Cities.” The public art exhibition will travel to 5 industrial reuse projects in the US and Canada over the course of next year, where local artists will make proposals for new monuments. (Press release)

Photographer Jacqueline Hassink Has Died – The Dutch, New York City-based photographer died last Thursday at age 52 from cancer. Hassink is best known for her “The Table of Power” series, which captures boardrooms worldwide as an exploration of global economic power. (British Journal of Photography)



Fearless Girl and Charging Bull Are on the Move – Wall Street’s Fearless Girl statue was removed on Tuesday from her longtime home at the bottom of Broadway and is headed for a new spot outside the New York Stock Exchange. The charging bull she once faced down is also being relocated; it’s unclear whether it will be rejoining Fearless Girl or installed at another location. (Guardian)

Considering Replacements for the Stonewall Monument – George Segal’s sculpture Gay Liberation, commissioned on the 10th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, has been subject to criticism from trans artists and activists of color who say it whitewashes the true history of the protest led by black and Latino trans women. Now, the New Museum has staged an exhibition called “Consciousness-Razing: The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project,” which features proposed alternatives to the existing monument. (Vulture)

Facebook Bans Art Historian – An art historian was banned from Facebook after posting a photo of a nude sculpture from the Met Breuer’s “Like Life” exhibition. Rudy Cordova says the ban has caused him to lose valuable research because he used his profile over the past 10 years as an archive. (Hyperallergic)

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Visit Takashi Murakami – Kim and Kanye visited Murakami’s studio on a recent trip to Toyko. The artist, who designed the cover art for West’s album Graduation, took to Instagram to commemorate the moment. What, your studio visits don’t look like this? (Daily Mail)

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