Paint Drippings: Everything You Missed in the Art Industry Last Week

Succession planning is underway at Christie's, a $30 million Lucio Fontana work will go under the hammer at Sotheby's, and more industry news.

Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1963-4). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Paint Drippings is excerpted from The Back Room, our lively recap funneling only the week’s must-know art industry intel into a nimble read you’ll actually enjoy. Artnet News Pro members get exclusive access—subscribe now to receive this in your inbox every Friday. 

Art Fairs

Helen Allen, the executive director of the New York’s Winter Show, has been tapped as the new development director for Treasure House Fair in London. (Press release)

Liste Art Fair in Basel has named the 91 galleries that will participate in this year’s edition in June. Among the 22 newcomers are Seoul’s Cylinder, Los Angeles-based Murmurs, and Vienna’s Wonnerth Dejaco. (Press release)

Auction Houses

– The grandson of François Pinault has joined the board of Christie’s, according to a filing published by the luxury group Kering. Louis Nicolas Pinault, 26, replaced Kering founder and family patriarch François Pinault, 87, as a director on the board of the auction house on March 26. The Pinault family’s holding company, Artémis, bought Christie’s in 1998; the younger Pinault’s appointment to the board is the first sign of third-generation succession planning within the family business. Kering, which owns brands including Gucci and Saint Laurent, has been led by the the elder Pinault’s son, François-Henri Pinault, 61, since 2003. (Bloomberg)

’s Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio (1963–4) will be featured in Sotheby’s May contemporary evening sale in New York with an estimate in the range of $20 million to $30 million, making it the most expensive Fontana to ever come to auction.The work is part of a groundbreaking 1960s series of 38 “La fine di Dio” paintings, in which the artist embarked on an exploration of space that would become a formative chapter in his career. It comes from the collection of Texas art patrons Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and its appearance on the auction block will mark the first time a yellow work from the series has come under the hammer since 2015, when another set the artist’s current auction record of $29.2 million. (Press release)

A painting by Jean Michel Basquiat. canvas is likely filled with a combination of graffiti-like markings, abstract symbols, and recognizable imagery.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (ELMAR) (1982). Courtesy of Phillips.

– The Nelson-Atkins Museum announced that it will be deaccessioning Claude Monet’s Moulin de Limetz. The work will be a top lot at Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale in New York in May, where it is expected to sell for between $18 million and $25 million. (Artnet News)

Phillips will offer three major paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat in its New York and Hong Kong spring sales. Made between 1981 and 1982, the works all hail from the collection of the late Italian anthropologist Francesco Pellizzi. The auction house estimates that they could sell for a combined $86.5 million. (Press release)


– Two galleries announced their closures this week: 80 year-old blue-chip stalwart Marlborough Gallery, as well as the eight year-old talent-producing East Village outfit Fortnight Institute. (Artnet News, Artnet News)

– Brazilian gallerists Jaqueline Martins and Maria Montero will merge their existing galleries–Galeria Jaqueline Martins and Sé Galeria—into Martins&Montero alongside partner Yuri Oliveira. (Press release)

Chicago’s Carrie Secrist will rebrand as Secrist | Beach after 32 years of operating eponymously. (Press release)

– The Art Dealers Association of America has announced the addition of11 new members, including Nina Johnson, Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, Magenta Plains, Charles Moffett, Sargent’s Daughters, and Timothy Taylor. (Press release)

Nicola Vassell has taken on representation of multidisciplinary artist Adebunmi Gbadebo, Nara Roesler now represents Alberto Pitta, Capitain Petzel added Alexandra Metcalf to its roster, and Pilar Corrias now represents Ella Walker. (Press releases)

A woman identified as Kim Conaty leans against a wall. She is wearing a white shirt and blazer.

Kim Conaty. Photo: Bryan Derballa.

Institutions and Biennials

Nicholas Cullinan, currently the director of London’s National Portrait Gallery, has been tapped as the next director of the British Museum.Restitution claims will be one of the top orders of business when he assumes the role: the museum is being investigated over a group of contested Ethiopian artifacts that were looted by British soldiers after the Battle of Maqdala in 1868; Ethiopia’s culture minister requested their return in 2019 during an informal discussion with ex-director Hartwig Fischer. Additionally, the institution is holding private talks with four foreign governments about the return of some items in its collection. (Artnet News, Artnet News, The Telegraph)

– The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York has promoted Kim Conaty to the role of chief curator, effective April 8. She succeeds Scott Rothkopf in the role, who was promoted to director in November 2023. Conaty joined the Whitney in 2017 as curator of drawing and prints, and is known for organizing several popular exhibitions, among them “Edward Hopper’s New York” in 2022 and last year’s survey of Ruth Asawa’s drawings. (Press release)

– Cameroon-born, Berlin-based curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung will helm the 36th edition of the São Paulo Biennial, slated for 2025. (Artnet News)

Tech and Legal News

– Over 100 pieces of Russian avant-garde art—including works by Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, and Natalia Goncharova—were seized in Paris by French authorities on suspicion that they were stolen. (Artnet News)

– The Gary Tatintsian Gallery in New York has agreed to settle a $2 million lawsuit with a Russian collector who alleged that it failed to hand over two Stanley Whitney paintings he purchased. (Artnet News)

Serpentine’s latest report on A.I., Future Art Ecosystems: Art X Public AI, says the cultural sector can shape the technology for public good. (Artnet News)


– The Chanel Next Prize has named 10 artist recipients of a €100,000 award, including Tolia Astakhishvili, Kantemir Balagov, Oona Doherty, Sam Eng, Ho Tzu Nyen, Fox Maxy, Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother), Dalton Paula, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Davóne Tines. (Press release) 

Mark Bradford, the winner of the 2024 Getty Prize, has named the Arts for Healing and Justice Network as the charity that will receive the $500,000 grant. (Press release) 

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