Art Industry News: Laurene Powell Jobs Is Apparently One of the World’s Top Art Collectors + Other Stories

Laurene Powell Jobs speaks during The New York Times DealBook Conference on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

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 Wednesday, September 12.


London’s National Gallery Can Keep Its Disputed Matisse – A New York federal appeals court has rejected a claim to Henri Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll (1908) by three grandchildren of the woman depicted in the work. The heirs allege the work was illegally sold in the aftermath of World War II, but the US court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction over the case. A National Gallery spokesperson welcomed the decision, saying the museum bought the painting “in good faith” and that the case “does not concern Nazi-looted art.” (The Art Newspaper)

Shahidul Alam Denied Bail in Dhaka – A judge has rejected the bail petition for the acclaimed photographer, who was detained for allegedly spreading anti-government propaganda online. Alam was arrested after discussing his documentation of student protests with Al Jazeera and on Facebook in early August. His detention has been condemned by many key art-world figures worldwide, including Anish Kapoor and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Many see it as a crackdown on free speech in Bangladesh. (New Age Bangladesh)

ARTnews Unveils List of Top 200 Collectors – This year’s list is bookended by the now-separated Russian collectors Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova. Notable, surprising new additions include Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs, who inherited her late husband Steve Jobs’s $14 billion fortune and has used some of that money to assemble a top-notch collection of contemporary art. Conspicuously absent is Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, the eventual buyer of Leonardo’s $450 million Salvator Mundi, because the list only includes people, not government entities. (ARTnews)

Louvre Director Offers Aid to Brazil’s National Museum – The president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, has offered to help Brazil’s National Museum recover from last week’s devastating fire. Martinez dispatched specialists to aid in the recovery of works and the restoration of the museum building. He has also personally accepted an invitation to Rio later this fall to check in on the effort. Although the Louvre loaned some works from its collection to the Warsaw National Museum after it was destroyed during World War II, a similar exchange was not discussed this time around. (Globo)


Star Wars Early Concept Sketchbooks Head to Bonhams – The auction house is selling the archive of the British costume designer John Mollo in its Star Wars-themed “Designing an Empire” sale on December 11. Highlights include two sketchbooks valued at around £100,000 each, which feature early hand-drawn costume designs for characters including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and the Storm Troopers. (ARTFIXdaily)

The Other Art Fair Introduces All-Female Fair – When the fair sets up shop across two venues in London next month, one of the spaces will feature only work by women artists. The all-female event is titled Not 30% after the calculation that art by women makes up just 30 percent of gallery rosters and exhibitions. The fair will include the work of 29 women, including Samira Addo and Sarah Maple. (Evening Standard)

Viennacontemporary’s Director to Step Down – This year’s viennacontemporary fair (September 27–30) will be the last for Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt. The fair’s director, who was listed in Apollo Magazine‘s top “40 Under 40” European art figures last week, helped build up the fair to more than 115 galleries from over 25 countries. She plans to move to the US for personal reasons. (Die Presse)


The Menil Names New Drawing Institute Curator –  Edouard Kopp has been appointed the chief curator of the Drawing Institute at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, which opens its long-awaited dedicated building on November 3. Kopp, currently the curator of drawing at Harvard Art Museums, will be the third person to hold the post in four years.  (Houston Chronicle)

New Orleans Museum Gifted 1,300 Photographs – The museum has announced the largest gift in its history: more than 1,300 photographs by artists including Dorothea Lange, Sally Mann, Irving Penn, and Alfred Stieglitz. The donation comes from the collection of Tina Freeman, a notable photographer and former curator of photographs at NOMA. (Artforum)

Director Bartomeu Mari Leaves Museum of Contemporary Art Seoul – The South Korean institution will not renew the Spanish curator’s contract once his three-year term as director expires next December. His initial appointment aroused suspicion in the local arts community, and the museum has said it did not renew his contract because it hopes to focus more on Korean contemporary art. (El Diario)


High Museum Hires Extra Staff to Manage Kusama Crowds – Ahead of its blockbuster show of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror installations this November, the Atlanta museum will take on around 50 temporary staff members to shepherd the crowds and an additional eight to help in the gift shop. More than 42,000 tickets have already been sold to members. Reservations open to the general public on September 17. (TAN)

A Closer Look at Jean-Michel Basquiat – A new exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris will include some 120 works by the acclaimed American artist. The show, which opens on October 3, features a number of important loans, including the 1982 skull painting for which Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa paid $110.5 million at Sotheby’s last year. Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, is also lending works from his world-class Basquiat collection—but he and the show’s organizers are remaining mum about which ones he owns. (Wall Street Journal)

Robert Indiana’s BRAT Sculpture Installed Amid Controversy – One of the artist’s late works, a riff on his famous LOVE sculpture that reads “BRAT” for the town of Johnsonville (home of the family-owned sausage company), has been installed amid doubts about its authenticity. A lawsuit filed shortly before the artist’s death alleges that a caregiver took advantage of the ailing artist, selling forgeries of his work to unwitting collectors. The bratwurst company, which owns the sculpture but never dealt directly with Indiana, is adamant that it is authentic. (Journal Sentinel)

A First Look at V&A Dundee—via Drone – After three-and-a-half years, Scotland’s first dedicated design museum, the Victoria & Albert Dundee, will be unveiled to the public this Saturday. The exquisite geometric building, inspired by Scottish cliffs, will hold some 300 works drawn from the V&A’s rich collection of Scottish design. (Press release)

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