Art Industry News: A ‘Well-Known’ Berlin Dealer Is Being Investigated for Embezzling More Than $5.6 Million + Other Stories

Plus, Instagram calls a meeting with New York artists and a 1960 Yves Klein painting headed to Christie's could set a new record.

Under investigation. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group 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, October 22.


Newly Discovered Rembrandt Will Go on View at the Ashmolean – A Dutch painting recently attributed to a young Rembrandt will go on show in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum next year. It will be the most high-profile display of Let the Little Children Come to Me since it was bought for €1.5 million ($1.6 million) by a Dutch art dealer with a flair for marketing, who was backed by an investor. Now that the painting has been reattributed to the Old Master, Jan Six Fine Art is lending it for an exhibition of works from the first decade of Rembrandt’s career. “Young Rembrandt” is due to open next February. (Guardian)

Architect Jean Nouvel Sues Over Concert Hall – The superstar French architect is counter-suing after being hit with a $190 million bill for the late completion of a Paris concert hall. Nouvel’s lawyers argue that the claim made by the body in charge of the Philharmonie de Paris is “unprecedented” and amounts to a “death sentence” for the architect’s studio. The prestigious project went millions of euros over its original budget and was two years late. Nouvel refused to attend the concert hall’s opening in 2015. (Guardian)

A “Well-Known” Berlin Art Dealer Is Detained on Suspicion of Fraud – A prominent German art dealer is under investigation on suspicion of committing major fraud. The 67-year-old (whose identity is not yet public) has exhibited the work of major artists included Georg Baselitz and Gerhard Richter and is suspected of embezzling upwards of €5 million ($5.6 million). He is being spared imprisonment for now due to health reasons. (Monopol)

Instagram Holds a Closed-Door Meeting With Art Influencers – Amid ongoing backlash over the social media platform’s nudity policies, Instagram held a closed-door roundtable meeting with artists and museum leaders about its community guidelines as they relate to art and nudity. Among those in attendance were artists Micol Hebron, Marilyn Minter, and Joanne Leah. The content of the conversation remains under wraps, as participants were asked to sign NDAs. (ARTnews)


An Yves Klein Classic Could Break the Artist’s Auction Record – Christie’s will offer Yves Klein’s Barbara (ANT 113) (1960), from the artist’s famous “Anthropometries” series, in its postwar and contemporary art evening sale on November 13. It is expected to bring in between $12 million and $18 million, making it a likely candidate to set a new auction record for the artist, whose highest auction price currently stands at $12.4 million. The sale will benefit the Water Academy for Sustainable and Responsible Development Foundation, an environmental research center. (ARTnews)

Keith Haring Stairwell Mural Heads to Auction – The planned sale of a mural the artist designed for a New York children’s center has upset some advocates, including the artist’s own foundation. The artist designed the mural for Grace House, a Catholic youth center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—but when the center closed, the neighboring church took over the building and opted to carefully remove the mural. The church is putting it up for auction at Bonhams next month, where it is expected to fetch between $3 million and $5 million. (NYT)

How the Art World Is Like Hollywood – The art dealer Jeffrey Deitch’s prediction more than a decade ago that the art world would be run by a handful of corporations, just like Hollywood, appears to have been prophetic. Carol Kino examines the similarities between the two industries, both of which are run by a small handful of increasingly powerful companies. Flagship gallery spaces, she writes, now resemble multiplexes filled with the work of top-grossing superstars. (Robb Report)



Bulletproof Sign Commemorates Emmett Till – A 500-pound, bulletproof memorial dedicated to Emmett Till was installed on the site where the 14-year-old’s body was removed from the river following his murder in 1955. It is the fourth sign to be installed at the site. Previous memorials have been repeatedly vandalized. (Hyperallergic)

Replica Assyrian Monuments Head to Iraq – Two large Assyrian sculptures known as lamassu have been recreated thanks to British and Spanish experts and the Factum Foundation. The half-lion, half-bird creatures—based on similar statues at the British Museum—had stood in Mosul for centuries until they were destroyed by Islamic extremists in 2015. The replicas will be given to Mosul, which was liberated from Isis control in 2017. (Times)



Midtown Manhattan, Art Hub? – Midtown is often dismissed as a tourist trap, but Andrew Russeth proposes giving the area a closer look now that MoMA has reopened in all its revamped glory. Other new additions to the neighborhood include Kehinde Wiley’s monumental sculpture Rumors of War in Times Square and Josef Albers’s newly restored mural in the lobby of the former MetLife Building. Plus, a bonus: the Chase flagship branch that stretches across most of Madison Avenue between East 46th and 47th Streets looks like an Adrian Piper work fused with a Hito Steyerl installation, according to the critic. (ARTnews)

Page Six Can’t Get Enough of the Art Boy Story – The gossip column is really into the celebrity-art-boy story. After Jennifer Lawrence married Gladstone gallery’s Cooke Maroney this past weekend, Page Six took it upon themselves to suggest that, if you want to date a star, you’d better open an art gallery. They cite Sienna Miller and Lucas Zwirner, Ashley Olsen and LA-based artist Louis Eisner, and Amber Heard’s now-finished relationship with gallerist Vito Schnabel as evidence. (Page Six)

Happy Birthday, Guggenheim New York – As the Solomon R. Guggenheim celebrates the 50th birthday of its iconic building, the museum’s chief curator and artistic director Nancy Spector notes that she has been involved with the museum for about 30 years (give or take a brief interlude at the Brooklyn Museum)—that’s half the building’s life. The circular architectural marvel opened its doors on October 21, 1959. (Instagram)

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