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    Saturday, March 23rd, 2024
    This 17th century Safavid Mirror was acquired from Sao Roque by the Aga Khan Foundation in Toronto for around €200,000 at TEFAF Maastricht.

    Major institutional sales, seven figures sales and a growth in international private collectors were notched up in Maastricht this month.  Over eight days nearly 50,000 visitors flocked to The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) to see 7000 years of art history displayed by 270 exhibitors from 22 countries across ancient art, antique furniture, paintings, modern and contemporary art and design and works on paper. With 300 museum directors and 650 curators attending the emerging trends noted were juxtaposing the old and the new and huge interest in female artists, cultural heritage and preservation.   Displays of ancient art on contemporary furniture and delicate porcelain contemporary flowers on 17th century Delftware fragments sold to private collectors for six figure sums. The Rijksmuseum acquired the only signed painting by Gesina ter Borch (1631-1690).

    The asking price was €4.5 million for Van Gogh’s Head of an old peasant woman with a White Cap at New Orlean’s based gallery M S Rau, sold for an undisclosed sum. Koopman, which sold the personal seal of Lord Nelson to a private collector, reported that clients were aggressively chasing the top objects. The Aga Khan Foundation in Toronto acquired a 17th century Safavid mirror for €200,000. Against a background of multiple seven figure sales an insiders collecting guide drew specific attention to objects priced at under €20,000.  This is just a flavour from a fair which showed the international market to be in a state of rude good health.

     Tête de Paysanne à la Coiffe Blanche by Van Gogh was sold by New Orleans based M S Rau for several million euro at TEFAF.


    Tuesday, September 12th, 2023
    Vincent Van Gogh – The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring.

    A Van Gogh painting stolen in 2020 from a museum in The Netherlands which had been closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic has been recovered. The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring had been in the collection of The Groninger Museum in Groningen from 1962. In 2020 was on loan to the Singer Laren Museum in Laren, south east of Amsterdam.

    Dutch art detective Arthur Brand was handed the 139-year-old painting in a pillow and an Ikea bag by a man who came to his front door. “I did this in complete co-ordination with Dutch police and we knew this guy wasn’t involved in the theft,” he said. in 2021 a career art thief was jailed for eight years over the incident. The painting had already changed hands at that stage.

    The French-born thief, 59-year-old Nils M, who lived a short distance away from Laren, was convicted of stealing the work as well as a Frans Hals painting a few months later from a museum in Leerdam, near Utrecht. His DNA was found at both crime scenes. Dutch police say the painting was acquired by a crime group intending to use it in exchange for shorter jail terms.

    Van Gogh lived with his parents in the parsonage of the Dutch Reformed Church at Nuenen near Eindhoven in December 1883 where his father was pastor. He was there for nearly two years.


    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

    The spring season of interactive livestream 20th century art sales launched in London and New York by Christie’s on March 1 made a total of £43,702,515. Over 145,000 viewers tuned into the sales through Facebook, You Tube, and Christie’s Live™ with collectors from 12 countries over 5 continents achieving combined sell-through rates of 98% by lot and 100% by value.  In New York A Family Collection: Works on Paper, Van Gogh to Freud, a grouping of eight works made a total of £18,070,765. Van Gogh’s rare portrait La Mousmé sold for £7,459,614 and there was a world auction record for Augustus John’s Head of a Girl (Edie McNeill) which made £348,463. In London  Sir Winston Churchill’s Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque set a new world auction record price of £8,285,000 after a nine-minute battle between 10 bidders. Sir John Lavery’s The Viscountess Castlerosse, Palm Springs, from the collection of Charles Delevingne, sold for £862,500, a record for a portrait by the artist. Sir Michael Craig-Martin’s With Red Shoes set a new world auction record for the artist of £325,000.

    Christie’s Modern British Art day sale on March 2 realised a total of £5,427,375, selling 84% by lot and 86% by value. The sale was led by John Nash’s still life A Window in Bucks which realised £375,000, more than 10 times its low estimate and a new world auction record for the artist. Vanessa Bell’s Autumn Bouquet sold for £256,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £25,000-35,000, also a new world auction record for the artist.

    Van Gogh’s La Mousmé selling in New York 


    Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

    After a century in the same private collection a painting by Vincent Van Gogh will make its auction debut in Paris in March with an estimate of 5-8 million. Painted in the Spring of 1887 – during Vincent van Gogh’s two-year sojourn in Paris – Scène de rue à Montmartre is from his series depicting the legendary Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre. The work has remained in the same family collection for over 100 years, and despite having been published in seven catalogues, it has never been exhibited until now.  Sotheby’s and Mirabaud Mercier will present it to the public for the first time; with exhibitions to be held in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Paris ahead of the Impressionist & Modern Art auction on March 25.

    Vincent van Gogh
    Scène de rue à Montmartre (Impasse des deux frères et le Moulin à Poivre), 1887. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR €13,091,250


    Monday, March 30th, 2020

    A van Gogh painting was stolen in an overnight raid at the Singer Laren museum in Holland. The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” by was taken in the early hours of Monday from the museum which is located about 30 kms from Amsterdam and was closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The institution houses the collection of American couple William and Anna Singer. The stolen van Gogh was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the northern Dutch city of Groningen.


    Monday, February 11th, 2019

    Hidden Treasures, Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection will launch Christie’s 20th century season in London on February 27.  The sale of 23 seminal works will be led by Claude Monet’s Saule pleureur et bassin aux nympheas. Further highlights include Paul Cezanne’s Nature morte de peches et poires and Vincent van Gogh’s Antwerp period Portrait de femmel buste, profil gauche.  It will be followed on the same day by the Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in a series that will continue until March 7.

    The evening sale will be led by a group titled An Adventurous Spirit: An Important Private Collection Sold to Benefit a Charitable Foundation. The group consists of six paintings of rare importance and quality by Paul Signac, Gustave Caillebotte, Félix Vallotton, Édouard Vuillard and Giovanni Boldini. Further highlights include Monet’s Au bord du fjord de Christiania (1895) (£4.5-6.5 million), Deux figures au tronc d’arbre jaune by Le Corbusier (1937) (£2-3 million), Edgar Degas’s Danseuses dans une salle d’exercice (Trois Danseuses) (1873))£800,000-1,200,000), Pablo Picasso’s Nature morte au crâne de taureau (1942) (£4-6 million) and Alexej von Jawlensky’s boldly coloured Blaue Schürze (1909) (£2-3 million).

    Vincent van Gogh Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019

    Gustave Caillebotte – Chemin montant. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2019


    Monday, April 2nd, 2018

    Van Gogh’s Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy  UPDATE: THIS MADE £10.1 MILLION

    A Van Gogh that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy, comes up at Christie’s in New York on May 15.  From 1963 until her death in 2011 the painting hung in Taylor’s Bel Air living room.  It was sold at auction in 2012 from nearly $16 million and is now estimated to make more than $35 million.   Taylor’s father, art dealer Francis Taylor, purchased the painting on her behalf in 1963 at auction for £92,000.

    Painted in 1889, the year before his suicide, the work was included in several of Van Gogh’s most important early exhibitionsThese groundbreaking shows, including the 1905 retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, were instrumental in the formation of his posthumous reputation.

    Christie’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York includes works by Van Gogh, Fernand Leger and Mark Chagall, all of whom experienced breakthrough results in November 2017.  Chagall’s La Tour Eiffel ($6-9 million) is being sold by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa to benefit its acquisitions fund. Leger’s Le grand dejeuner from 1921 is estimated at $15-25 million.


    Friday, September 30th, 2016

    Italian police have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen during a dramatic raid on the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam museum in December, 2002. They were in the possession of   the Naples mafia.  The theft from the walls in the main exhibition hall was baffling because guards were on patrol and infra red security systems were in operation.  This led to criticism of security at the world’s most important art museums.The two works had been on loan to the museum from the Dutch government.  Neither was insured.  They are valued at around $100 million.

    Vincent van Gogh - View of the Sea at Scheveningen.

    Vincent van Gogh – View of the Sea at Scheveningen.

    Vincent van Gogh - Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, 1884

    Vincent van Gogh – Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, 1884


    Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

    Vincent van Gogh, L'Allee des Alyscamps

    Vincent van Gogh, L’Allee des Alyscamps

    Vincent van Gogh’s vibrant L’Allee des Alyscamps  made $66.3 million at Sotheby’s in New York last year. It was the top lot in an Impressionist and Modern evening art auction that brought in $368.3 million over a pre-sale high estimate of $351 million.  Five bidders competed for the work, which had been estimated at in excess of $40 million.  It was sold to an Asian private collector.  Three of the top five lots of the night went to Asia.

    Monet’s Nympheas (Water Lillies) from 1905 was the second highest lot of the evening. It was sold to an American private collector for $54 million.  Five works by Monet totalled $115.4 million.

    All eleven pieces from the estate of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Jerome H. Stone found buyers, amounting to a total of $57.8 million. Alberto Giacometti’s Femme de Venise VI – the tallest from his standing female nude series – was held in the Stone collection for more than 20 years and sold for $16.2 million.

    Pablo Picasso’s Femme au chignon dans un fauteuil, which had remained in the Goldwyn Collection since 1956, made $29.9 million.  It set a record for a portrait by Picasso of his lover Francoise Gilot.  It was purchased by a major figure in the Chinese film industry: Wang Zhongjun, Chairman and co-founder of entertainment giant Huayi Brothers Media Group. Wang Zhongjun said: “I first fell in love with the painting and then I fell in love with its story. The Goldwyn family is legendary in our industry and in this one work, I can see not only Pablo Picasso’s genius, but also Samuel Goldwyn Sr.’s creative vision.”

    (See posts on for March 19, April 13 and April 29, 2015).


    Monday, April 13th, 2015

    Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko.

    Untitled (Yellow and Blue) by Mark Rothko.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $46,450,000

    Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow and Blue) is a major highlight at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in New York on May 12. Dating from 1954, the year he created a number of his most celebrated canvasses, the distinguished provenance includes the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. The work is over eight feet tall and is estimated at $40-60 million.  No less than seven of the 20 paintings Rothko created in 1954 are in the permanent collections of prominent museums around the world.

    Vincent van Gogh - L’allée des Alyscamps

    Vincent van Gogh – L’allée des Alyscamps  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $66,330,000

    Meantime a major painting from Van Gogh’s Arles period will highlight Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 5.  L’allée des Alyscamps marks a moment of fantastic creative output for Van Gogh. It was painted in 1888 when Van Gogh was at the height of his powers and working easel-by-easel with his artistic sparring partner Paul Gauguin. Many of his greatest masterpieces, including Sunflowers, Self-Portrait, L’Arlesienne and the Night Café, date from that same year. November 1888 also marks a famous turning point in the artist’s personal life: just one month after this work was completed, violent disagreements with his erstwhile treasured friend Gauguin culminated in the famous slicing off of his ear. Soon after, he admitted himself to the the asylum in Saint-Remy. He died two years later, just as Gauguin was leaving for Tahiti.   L’allée des Alyscamps is estimated in excess of $40 million.

    Sotheby’s New York sales will include six works by Claude Monet, Roy Lichtenstein’s The Ring (Engagement), a 1948 depiction of Francoise Gilot by Picasso, Matisse’s Anemones et Grenades and important works by Richter, Polke, Giacometti, Miro, Leger,  Warhol and Pollock.