$43.8 million for this?
from the New York Post By Joe Tacopino
CROSSING THE LINE: A bidder plunked down nearly $44M for this simple, or simplistic, Barnett Newman canvas. An abstract painting by New York artist Barnett Newman that features a field of blue paint crossed by a ragged white line sold last night for $43.8 million — more than most Manhattan penthouses — to conclude abidding war at Sotheby’s.
Previously owned by Microsft co-founder Paul Allen, the work was bought by an unidentified bidder over the phone.
The nearly $44 million price tag for “Onement VI” — which looks like a canvas version of the video game Pong — surpassed the estimated $30 million to $40 million price.
“The speculative element is returning to the market,” said Jonathan Binstock, senior adviser in postwar and contemporary art at Citi Private Bank. “There’s more money to spend on riskier opportunities, ones that would have seemed unappealing just a few years prior.”
Newman is said to be influenced by other abstract expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella.
– Barnett Newman
– Barnett Newman
by Karen Matthews and Tom McElroy
A painting of Christ by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci sold for a record $450 million at auction on Wednesday, smashing previous records for artworks sold at auction or privately.
The painting, called "Salvator Mundi," Italian for "Savior of the World," is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo known to exist and the only one in private hands.
"'Salvator Mundi' is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time," said Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's. "The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honor that comes around once in a lifetime."
The 26-inch-tall Leonardo painting dates from around 1500 and shows Christ dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing as his left hand holds a crystal sphere.
Once owned by King Charles I of England, the painting disappeared from view until 1900, when it resurfaced and was acquired by a British collector. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself.
The painting was sold again in 1958 and then was acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted-over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $10,000. The art dealers restored the painting and documented its authenticity as a work by Leonardo.
Christie's said most scholars agree that the painting is by Leonardo, though some critics have questioned the attribution and some say the extensive restoration muddies the work's authorship.
from the Business Insider by Jacob Shamsian
The painting doesn't obey the laws of physics in a crucial way that's uncharacteristic of da Vinci. The flaw has led some historians to question the painting's authenticity. Defenders say he did it on purpose.
A major flaw in the painting — which is the only one of da Vinci's that remains in private hands — makes some historians think it's a fake. The crystal orb in the image doesn't distort light in the way that natural physics does, which would be an unusual error for da Vinci.
It appears to be a rookie mistake.
Da Vinci painted the portrait — of Jesus Christ dressed in Renaissaince Era clothing, crossing his fingers in one hand and holding a crystal orb in the other — around the year 1500. After being bought and sold a few times, the painting was lost to history.
But the glass orb raises some doubts about the painting's authenticity. It's especially puzzling, writes Walter Isaacson in his biography of the artist, because da Vinci was famously fastidious about the reflection and refraction of light in his work. At the time he made "Salvator Mundi," he was "deep into his optics studies" and filled his notebooks with diagrams of light bouncing at different angles, according to The Guardian.
"Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images," Isaacson writes. "Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it."
While the painting was widely confirmed as a da Vinci in 2011, some scholars have suggested that "Salvator Mundi" was a product of da Vinci's workshop, or was made by another follower without the master's talent.
ArtWatch UK director Michael Daley told The Guardian that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the painting's authenticity. "The Salvator Mundi is dead-pan flat, like an icon, with no real depth in the modeling," Daley said. "Another unexplained peculiarity is that the figure itself is heavily and uncharacteristically cropped."