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Newsletter 493– 12 – 30 - 2009


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#1 Violet

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 10:16 AM

Newsletter 493– 12 – 30 - 2009
In this issue:

1) FEATURED ARTIST
2) SPECIAL OFFER OF THE WEEK
3) AFTER THE RECESSION, A SERIOUS CRISIS AWAITS MUSEUMS
4) PRINCE OF LIECHTENSTEIN CANCELS ROYAL ACADEMY SHOW OVER IMPOUNDED COELLO MASTERPIECE


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1) MICHAEL KERMAN

Kerman’s subjects and atmosphere are reminiscent of turn-of-the-century Europe. Working mostly in acrylic on canvas, he balances his compositions through the selection of colors, and uses the human figure as a formal, rather than expressive emotional element. Dressed in carefully selected costumes, his figures are frozen in time in theatrical and exaggerated poses, undisturbed by external circumstances.

In 1986, Kerman joined a group of dissident artists who created and exhibited all over Europe. Kerman 's paintings are strongly influenced by the post impressionists, particularly Matisse. The subjects and atmosphere of his works are turn of the century European. Michael works mostly in acrylic on canvas, using the human figure as his subject matter. The poses are somewhat theatrical and exaggerated, clothed in carefully selected costumes in order to achieve the atmosphere of the composition, frozen in time and undisturbed by man.

The colors Michael Kerman uses are dictated by his goal to achieve a balanced composition pursued through from and color.


2) INCREDIBLE SPECIAL OFFER OF THE WEEK-MICHAEL KERMAN

SAVE 20% ON ALL MICHAEL KERMANS!

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3) AFTER THE RECESSION, A SERIOUS CRISIS AWAITS MUSEUMS
BY PETER PLAGENS


When the art market collapsed along with everything else last year, the general public's first reaction was a resounding "Who cares?" After all, what skin was it off their noses if a Jeff Koons failed to sell at Sotheby's or some snooty London gallery shut its doors?


Art museums, however, are another matter. People visit them by the tens of millions-often taking along the kids-and consider them markers of cultural cachet. When museums lay off staff, curtail hours, cancel shows, and start to look a little unkempt, people notice. The Great Museum Cutback is the second-but far worse-body blow delivered to art by the latest global recession.


The most salient drama was played out in Los Angeles. The Museum of Contemporary Art dipped into its endowment's principal to pay expenses (the biggest no-no in the nonprofit world), flirted with closing or being absorbed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was temporarily rescued by $30 million from billionaire patron Eli Broad. But MOCA is not alone in crisis mode. The Getty Trust-whose holdings include the Getty Museum complex in the hills above L.A.-lost a whopping $1.5 billion in its endowment over the last fiscal year. The venerable Philadelphia Museum of Art saw its nest egg drop $100 million, and Cleveland's declined by 30 percent. New York's Guggenheim Museum had to pare $6 million from its operating budget.


Jobs disappeared. The Getty cut 200 positions, Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario shrank its workforce by 20 percent, and even the august Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reduced its staff by 14. Others left positions vacant, furloughed workers, cut salaries, and raised admission fees. In London, the Tate Modern-which shoehorns 5 million visitors annually into a refurbished power station on the Thames that was designed for 2 million-has scraped to-gether only about a third of the money needed for a planned expansion. Smaller British museums report a reduction in investment income of more than 10 percent and expect cuts of another 10 percent in next year's public budget.


Similar cuts almost certainly await on the continent, too, where museums are even more reliant on public funding. Things are looking down. One of Vienna's major museums, the Albertina, canceled an exhibition on the late German artist Jörg Immendorff, scheduled to open in October, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris postponed its show of contemporary Indian art to open in 2011 instead of next year.


When museums get really desperate, they try to sell off their art. According to generally accepted but hardly ironclad rules, they're supposed to do this only to raise money to buy other art. But when Baby needs shoes-or drinking fountains or the lights kept on-museums can be tempted to satisfy such needs first. In 2009, Brandeis University tried to get around the rules by simply closing its very good Rose Art Museum, which would have allowed it to sell off the entire 6,000-piece collection and replenish its Bernie Madoff-devastated endowment. But the uproar in the academic and art worlds has kept the museum open-though its director was fired-while a university committee studies other options. England's Southampton City Art Gallery has tried to unload two works from its collection-a Rodin sculpture and an equestrian painting by the British artist Sir Alfred Munnings-in order to raise $8 million for a new gallery and a proposed exhibition on the Titanic.


Such moves might seem sensible, but the long-term consequences of opportunistic sell-offs can be devastating. "Art museums will insist donors give them the option to deaccession, and, conversely, donors will demand ironclad agreements that museums will never sell," says art consultant Richard Polsky, author of the book I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon). "The end result will be fewer donations to art museums."


To be fair, the crisis is somewhat relative. The Washington, D.C., art blogger Tyler Green says, "At a time when entire industries are declining by 30 or 40 percent, museums cutting staff by five or six is not the kind of percentage worth getting gloom-and-doom about." Mitchell Kahan, director of the Akron Art Museum (which opened its Coop Himmelblau addition just before the economy went south), sees big changes in the way museums have to operate. "Art-rich but cash-poor countries have for quite a while cashed in on their patrimonies," he says. "Now American museums may start down that path: you'll rent the Renaissance from Detroit rather than Florence."
Such moves may help. But it won't be pretty. Visiting a museum suffering from a diminished endowment, operating budget, jobs, and programs is like going into a financially troubled store with thinning shelves. Whatever brave front is put up at the entrance, there's an unmistakable whiff of fear in the place. The old-master portraits, which used to look contemplative, now just look worried. Just like the people viewing them.


With Christopher Werth


4) PRINCE OF LIECHTENSTEIN CANCELS ROYAL ACADEMY SHOW OVER IMPOUNDED COELLO MASTERPIECE
BY MARTIN BAILEY


Hans-Adam II, the Prince of Liechtenstein, has cancelled an exhibition of art treasures at the Royal Academy scheduled for next year, because one of his paintings was impounded in Britain as a result of an HM Revenue & Customs investigation. The work, Portrait of Don Diego, Son of Philip II of Spain, 1577, by Alonso Sánchez Coello, was seized over an export licence dispute more than two years ago.


In a statement issued by the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna on 16 December, it was announced "with regret" that the exhibition at the Royal Academy (RA) "will now not take place". It had been scheduled for the main galleries from 25 September to 12 December 2010, and was one of its two major loan shows of the year. With around 100 works, it would have included masterpieces by Rubens and Van Dyck-and possibly even the Badminton Cabinet, the most expensive piece of furniture ever sold.


"The Prince does not think it appropriate to proceed with the planned exhibition until the matter of a painting by Sánchez Coello is resolved," explained Johann Kraeftner, director of the Liechtenstein Museum. He added that the prince might reconsider the show for a future date, once the Coello dispute is resolved.


Charles Saumarez Smith, chief executive of the RA, told us that he "deeply regrets the cancellation of the Liechtenstein exhibition" and is "very upset" about what has occurred. He warned that the move would also "jeopardise international relations with Liechtenstein".


News of the impending crisis was exclusively revealed in the December issue of The Art Newspaper, in which we reported that the exhibition was under threat because of the seizure of the Coello.


The Coello portrait had been impounded on 12 September 2007 during an investigation into export licence applications made by leading London dealer Simon Dickinson for a group of nine paintings sold to the Prince of Liechtenstein from the collection of Lord Northbrook. It was as a result of an earlier article in The Art Newspaper-in which we reported that there was a package deal-that the Revenue & Customs investigation was initially launched (December 2006).


In September 2007 Dickinson's gallery issued a statement, saying that it was "confident that the paintings were exported in accordance with all relevant regulations". The Revenue & Customs investigation has taken a considerable time, to the frustration of the parties involved. Meanwhile the seized Coello had been retained by Revenue & Customs in a National Gallery store, in a sealed-off area inaccessible to gallery staff.


Following recent protests from the prince (an innocent party) over the long delay in resolving the matter, the painting was released from custody and handed over to his representative in London on 10 November this year. However, the Coello still has no export licence to enable it to leave the UK for Liechtenstein or Austria, as the prince wishes.


Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw told us that it was vital for the due "legal processes" to continue, to allow the Revenue & Customs investigation to be completed. In this situation, the export licence application cannot be considered.


Even when the legal issues are eventually resolved, the export licence is likely to be deferred to allow a UK buyer to match the price (as it had been recommended by the Export Reviewing Committee in 2007, before the process was interrupted by the investigation).


We can report that the National Gallery is keen to acquire the Coello and is reasonably confident that it can raise the funds. In a surprise move in early December, it emerged that the prince had decided to offer to sell the painting to the National Gallery. The price under discussion was around Ł2m, which was the value given in the original 2007 export licence application.


But there remained the difficulty that the Coello painting forms part of the Revenue & Customs investigation. The Treasury, which is responsible for Revenue & Customs, made it clear to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that it would view a sale of the picture as complicating the legal situation.


The DCMS in turn passed on this view to the National Gallery. It argued that the National Gallery, as a non-departmental public body receiving government funding, should not buy an object that is currently part of an investigation by another official institution, Revenue & Customs. In this situation the National Gallery reluctantly felt unable to proceed with the purchase.


Saumarez Smith told us that he "found it odd that the Coello should have been released from the custody of the National Gallery, but has not been allowed to be sold to it, thereby leading to the cancellation of our exhibition".


The RA now has the problem of finding an exhibition to replace the Liechtenstein treasures. A spokeswoman explained: "We have a number of projects in development and are considering alternatives for next autumn." An announcement is expected early in the New Year.


Thank you for all of your business and emails in the past.
Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Jack, Claire, Andy and Violet Rosen
561-333-9472
CJR Fine Arts
~Violet



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