$70.4 M. Monet Tops Sotheby’s $597 M. Evening Sales

On Wednesday evening, Sotheby’s staged its three-part evening sale event which included postwar American art from the collection of Texas ranching heiress Anne Marion to contemporary and Impressionist and modern art. Together the 4.5 hour sale was expected to reach $436.8 million; the final tally (final prices include the buyers’ premium; estimates do not) was $597 million. The event debuted a new David Korins-designed auction stage in New York was managed remotely by head auctioneer Olivier Barker in London. He was assisted by Sotheby’s head of jewelry Quig Bruning fielding bids on site in New York.

Between the contemporary and Impressionist and modern art sale 17 works in total were guaranteed, with four carrying irrevocable bids making up a collective low estimate of $138.5 million or 32 percent of the total low estimate value across both sales.

Andy Warhol,Elvis 2 Times, 1963.

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Illusory Photographs of Mountain Landscapes Are Flipped 90 Degrees to Reveal Human-Like Profiles

“Sleeping Greek Woman” in the upper Austrian pre-alps. All images © Bernhard Lang, shared with permission

There’s a long history of connecting natural occurrences and pareidolia, or the inclination to see an object or find meaning where it physically doesn’t exist. The psychological phenomenon is responsible for a range of human experiences from the childhood pastime of cloud watching to the Rorschach test to the idea that there’s a man in the moon and one that’s aided in naming some of the rocky formations photographed by Bernhard Lang (previously).

In Pareidolia—Mountain Faces, Lang documents both well-known and obscure landscapes that resemble human profiles when turned at a 90-degree angle. Many of the mountains in the series reference regional legends like “The Sleeping Witch” and “Sleeping Greek Woman,” while others are Lang’s own interpretation like “Golem,” which frames the highest peak of the Vršič Pass in Slovenia to reveal … Read the rest

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As Part of $3 M. Initiative, Researchers Document Ancient Murals at U.S.-Mexico Border

Archaeologists are working to document ancient artworks at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas that face environmental threats. The Texas-based nonprofit Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center has established a $3 million research effort, called the Alexandria Project, to support the research.

According to a report by the Art Newspaper, researchers have already recorded over 230 murals that are between 1,500 and 4,200 years old along the Rio Grande. These ancient paintings are found in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands Archaeological District, which spans 50 miles in Texas, primarily in Val Verde County, and 60 miles south into Mexico’s Coahuila state. Many of the works, which depict human figures, animals, and more, are situated on private land. As a result, most of them have not been previously documented by researchers.

Archaeologist Carolyn Boyd, who founded the Shumla Center, told the Art Newspaper that the team has offered “educational and outreach programming … Read the rest

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Vibrant Dream States Trap Oversized Characters Mid-Slumber in Millo’s Paintings

“Mare Incognitum” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 27.5 × 27.5 inches. All images © Millo, courtesy of Thinkspace Projects, shared with permission

“Just before the beginning of a new day, there’s a fleeting moment where dreams remain alive,” says Italian muralist and artist Millo (previously) about his new series At the Crack of Dawn. On view through May 22 at Thinkspace Projects in Los Angeles, his acrylic paintings center on oversized subjects who embody the transitional state between deep sleep and waking. The artworks are rendered in Millo’s signature black-and-white, cartoon style and trap the slumbering characters in stark architectural settings. Flashes of color delineate their lulled and curious imaginations, showing a model solar system, sloshing sea, or quiet forest path that capture the “unconscious feelings passed through the haze of the shadow till the glimpse of light, shaping what is silent.”

To see more of Millo’s soothing body of work, … Read the rest

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Essential Books: 7 Compelling Artist Biographies

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Art history actually began as biography when Giorgio Vasari published his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects in 1550. Eventually, however, the two genres parted ways, with the former evolving into an academic discipline and the latter becoming the more popular avenue for learning about art. Most artist biographies tend to focus on famous names, for a reason as simple as it is self-perpetuating: Even if you don’t know much about Picasso’s work, for example, you’ve probably heard of him, which makes it more likely that you’d pick up a book about him. Still, writers often find lesser-known artists to be just as fascinating as their more canonical cohort—and ultimately, that matters just as much as, if not more than, name recognition. Whatever the case, a … Read the rest

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Thousands of Discs Are Suspended in Immense Cloud-Like Formations in Jacob Hashimoto’s Installations

“The Sky” at Portland International Airport (2020), bamboo, resin, UV Prints, screenprints, and fiberglass rod, 40 x 30 x 18 feet. Photo by Mario Gallucci

Artist Jacob Hashimoto (previously) hangs thousands of individual orbs in undulating, cloud-like masses that transform atriums and open spaces into monumental landscapes. His site-specific installations layer organic elements—some of the components are printed with waves, galactic dust particles, and other motifs suggestive of nature—in formations “that climb, wavelike, above the viewer, dwarfing them in almost a cathedral of humble little objects,” he says.

The artist began creating such large-scale works in the 90s, and although they’ve evolved from simple “sculptures of the sky,” Hashimoto continues to draw on the connection between landscape and abstraction, a recurring theme that’s been increasingly informed by technology, virtual environments, and data mapping. An eclectic array of references like Japanese screens, Super Mario Bros, and the Digital Universe inform how … Read the rest

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Christie’s to Auction $17 M. Bellotto Landscape Poised to Break Record

As the market for Old Master paintings continues to prove fertile, Christie’s will auction a potentially record-breaking landscape by Italian artist Bernardo Bellotto during it’s July 8 evening sale in London dedicated to the category. The 18th-century painting, View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi (ca. 1745-47) depicts a view of a canal in the Italian city. Coming to auction after 50 years in private hands, it is expected to fetch a price of £12 million–£18 million ($17 million–$25 million).

Measuring at more than 5 by 7 feet, the work was purchased by its current owner in 1971 at Christie’s for £300,000 ($720,000). Since 1973, it has been on long-term loan at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

“It is a picture that defined [Bellotto’s] artistic vision and shaped the extraordinary pan-European success he enjoyed as a topographical view painter,” Henry Pettifer, Christie’s London head of Old Masters, … Read the rest

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Interview: Arinze Stanley Speaks to the Indelible Impact of Police Brutality and How Extreme Emotion is the Key to Change

“Bullets and Denim #2” (2020), charcoal and graphite on paper, 30 x 26 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, shared with permission

For the past few years, Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) has been at the forefront of hyperrealism with his powerful and sometimes surreal portraits that are arresting in size and emotion, which he discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. His charcoal-and-graphite works are rendered in stunning detail and bear broader political messages, particularly in relation to state-sanctioned violence and his own experiences suffering from police and military brutality.

What people don’t recognize about Bullets and Denim is that the artwork shows emotion on all parts, but if you have a gunshot to your head, you should be dead, right? Well, these people in the photo are not dead. That encapsulates the concept of endurance in general. Even as we try to stitch the patches of

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The Best Student and Beginner Oil Paints for Getting to Know the Medium

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Oil painting can be an expensive hobby. Due to the complex, arduous processes of sourcing, grinding, and treating pigments, some paints can reach shelves with hair-raising price tags. Thankfully, you can be kind to your wallet without sacrificing too much in terms of quality. There are plenty of student-grade and hobbyist oil paints on the market that are well worth inclusion in your art arsenal. These tend to be made with easily sourced or synthetic pigments, contain more oil or fillers, and lack outstanding lightfastness. But many still handle and perform very well. Our picks below will convince you that you can indeed achieve satisfying results with budget-friendly oil paints.

Blick Artists’ Oil Paints and Sets
Affordable enough for everyday use, these are artist-grade oils that are
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Red-Eyed Subjects Peer Forward in Bright, Impasto Portraits by Artist Annan Affotey

All images courtesy of Annan Affotey and Danny First, shared with permission

Annan Affotey has an affinity for bold, bright colors that set his subjects apart from the negative space framing their figures. Through gestural strokes that sweep across the canvas, the Ghanaian artist renders intimate portraits of his friends, family members, and the occasional public figure who, through distinctly red eyes, look directly at the viewer, a decision that’s both aesthetic and cultural.

“When I moved to the U.S. from Ghana, I was often questioned why my eyes were red and whether it meant I hadn’t slept or was doing drugs, neither of which was true. And it became a symbol for misinterpreted identities,” he says. That experience was complicated further by cultural expectations, which Affotey explains to Colossal:

I want the subject to have a direct conversation with the viewer, something I couldn’t do myself a few years

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