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  • 03/13/14--13:52: New York
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  • 03/13/14--14:00: New York
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    NEW YORK — A hot pink Jeff Koons "Balloon Venus" sculpture sold for $57,000, or twice its estimate, at a live auction held March 12 as part of Art Production Fund's annual gala fundraiser.

    Honoring fashion designer Carolina Herrera and art critic Linda Yablonsky, the gala, themed "White Glove Gone Wild," was held at a private club in the Upper East Side, saw guests sporting temporary tattoos designed by Wangechi Mutu, tottering around with the bases of their champagne glasses wrapped in napkins by Toilet Paper, while music by DJ Rachel Chandler Guinness played on.

    The event also featured performance art by Vanessa Beecroft and on-the-scene portraits by Marilyn Minter, the latter of which raised $40,000 for the Fund. Gabriela Palmieri, senior vice president of Sotheby's Contemporary Art, also auctioned off works by Enoc Perez and Ugo Rondinone. All told, the evening's activities raised about $130,000 for Art Production Fund, which visibly thrilled its co-founder Yvonne Force Villareal, who was dressed in an elegant, black-and-white Carolina Herrera number.

    The burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, who attended the event as Herrera's guest, told BLOUIN Artinfo: "I love auctions. I love watching people spend money on art, it’s very exciting."

    Hererra said it was a great honor for her, as a designer who has recently referenced Velázquez, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Rafael Soto, "to be honored by these people who are doing so much for contemporary art."

    Commenting on why art inspires her, she said: "Fashion is basically art with movement. It’s the detail that catches my eye and from there we go on."

    To see the people, fashion and scenes from the gala, click on the slideshow.

    Jeff Koons, Carolina Herrera, and Linda Yablonsky Headline Art Production Fund Gala
    Yvonne Force Villareal, Carolina Herrera, Linda Yablonsky, Doreen Remen

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    MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands — The 27th edition of TEFAF Maastricht, also known as The European Fine Art Fair, opened to V.I.P. guests on Thursday, with wares from 275 art and antiques dealers from around the globe on display. 

    Given that all the works on offer have been vetted by committees of experts versed in areas from antiquities to old master paintings — experts with absolute authority to reject any work — the fair bristles with authenticity. (It also produces an annual global art market report, rich in statistics and jaw-dropping numbers, such as the €47.4 billion global art trade figure for 2013.)

    TEFAF is the longest art fair, running 12 days and testing the mettle of dealers used to less taxing three-day fairs. Just in case, there are roving first aid teams prowling the aisles for anyone in physical distress, another nod to the rather older crowd here, which showed considerable zest in quaffing platters of Dutch themed canapés and slender flutes of champagne.

    “I enjoy this fair,” said James Mayor of London’s Mayor Gallery, “because people are real here and those who buy actually put the works on the walls. It’s a very different group of people who come here.”

    Mayor has been exhibiting here for 21 years and explained that TEFAF, unlike other art fairs, is run by a dealer cooperative, “so there isn’t a middleman, trying to take it from all sides.”

    With a number of important and longstanding exhibitors dropping out this year, such as Agnew’s, Richard Feigen Gallery, and Noortman Master Paintings, dealers scrambled for new positions along the wide aisles boasting purloined names evocative of wealth and privilege, such as Madison Avenue and Faubourg Saint Honore.

    One of the new exhibitors this year, New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, debuted with a sophisticated mix of works from the LaLannes to Andy Warhol, presenting a kind of homage to the late dealer Alexander Iolas, who gave Warhol both his first and last show during his lifetime.

    “I’ve been to TEFAF several times as a visitor,” said Kasmin, “and it’s completely different from any other art fair, so if I’m going to another European art fair, we’re trying it out here.”

    Though TEFAF has a reputation as a slower selling fair, given its long run and more critical profile of buyers, there was some early action, notably at London/Milan/St. Moritz Robilant + Voena, where Agostino Bonalumi’s massive, shaped abstraction “Rosso,” from 1967, sold to a Swiss collector for around €1 million.

    The same collector also snapped up the majestic yet edgy Enrico Castellani hanging directly across from the Bonalumi — that piece, “Superficie Bianca,” from 1965, sold in the region of the €1.8 million asking price.

    “The client was afraid to lose them,” said partner Marco Voena, who made the deal on the telephone.

    A third Italian post-war work, Paolo Scheggi’s intricately cut and combined canvas abstraction “Intersuperficie curva Bianca,” from 1966, also sold at approximately €230,000.

    “We wanted a booth between the modern and old masters,” said Voena, who debuted at TEFAF back in 1997 and whose gallery also specializes in old master paintings, “and we hit it with the modern.”

    At Galerie Odermatt-Vedovi, a stunning Alexander Calder hanging mobile in painted sheet metal and wire, “Black 2-2-6,” from 1965, sold to a European collector in the region of the $2.6 million asking price, and a petite Lucio Fontana ink on card drawing sold for around €50,000, according to dealer Paolo Vedovi, who said the Fontana “was going to a private plane.”

    Next door at New York’s Van de Weghe Fine Art, the dealer sold Pablo Picasso’s gold framed “Tete couronnee,” from 1960, in black crayon on paper to a Belgian collector for approximately $485,000.

    “I love this fair, because you meet clients here that don’t come to any other fairs,” said Christophe van de Weghe. He added: “It’s a very European fair, filled with noble families and old money.”

    In the first hours of the viewing there were multiple opportunities to spend millions on a variety of art works, from a rare Vincent van Gogh painting from Montmartre, “Moulin de la Galette,” from 1887, once owned by the American industrialist Charles Engelhard at London’s Dickinson for an otherwise undisclosed “eight figure” price, to Francis Bacon’s brawny and lemon yellow background “Study for the human body” in oil and pastel, from 1986, at 78- by 58-inches for $25 million.

    The wish list didn’t stop there as significant works popped up at a willy-nilly rate, including a superb and undoubtedly rare Franz Marc at Munich’s Galerie Thomas, “The Fear of the Hare,” from 1912, a turbo-charged work mixed with figurative and abstract elements, starring a large spotted dog leaping superman style across a verdant landscape.

    “It has been in a private collection for years,” said Raymond Thomas of the €9.4 million Marc. “They are getting gold and once a year are selling this and that.”

    “It’s not an everyday buy,” he pointed out.

    Speaking of that, the fair also boasted “Janey Waney,” from 1969, a 25-foot high Alexander Calder stabile in red, yellow, and blue, standing as a soaring sentinel in the rose-filled entryway of the fair. The sculpture is understood to hail from an American collector and carries a quiet price point of $20 million.

    At a somewhat lower price point altitude, London’s Richard Nagy Gallery was offering Christian Schad’s remarkable portrait of Viennese pianist Anna Gabbineta, from 1927 and set against an elevated view of Weimar era houses, for €2.2 million. The painting last sold at Christie’s London in June 2013 for £481,875.

    “The painting has been recently cleaned,” said Richard Nagy, “and is back to almost its original state.”

    TEFAF runs through March 23. 

    Report: Early Action at TEFAF Opening
    TEFAF report from Judd

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  • 03/14/14--04:49: Chicago
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  • 03/14/14--05:22: London - Cork Street
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  • 03/14/14--05:22: Flowers Kingsland Road
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    Angela Flowers established her first gallery in 1970 on Lisle Street in London's West End. In the 1980s, the gallery was one of the first to open in London's East End, in a former laundry/fur storage facility in Hackney, and the space became known as Flowers East. Matthew Flowers, Angela's son, took over day to day operations in 1989. In 1997, the gallery expanded further with a Los Angeles space, at Bergamot Station.

    There are now two gallery spaces in London: a West End premises on Cork Street opened in 2000 and in 2002 the gallery moved from Hackney into a 12,000 sq foot industrial space in Shoreditch, East London. The US business relocated in 2003 from LA to New York on Madison Avenue, and then in 2009 moved to West 20th street in Chelsea.

    Flowers has participated regularly in art fairs internationally. The programme in both the UK and US comprises all media by established and emerging artists, as an active publisher of prints and multiples, and with a growing department in contemporary international photography.

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  • 03/14/14--05:22: New York
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    Sotheby's Axes Loeb's Buddies for Board, Randolph Hits Back, and More

    — Sotheby’s Axes Loeb’s Buddies for Board: Ahead of its May board of director’s meeting, Sotheby’s has issued a press release confirming that it isn’t going to add activist investor Daniel Loeb’s proposed nominees to its board. Instead, Sotheby’s management has proposed Jessica Bibliowicz and Kevin Conroy for seats. “Sotheby’s Concludes Third Point’s Nominees Add No Relevant Expertise Not Already Represented on the Board of Directors,” the auction house wrote in a statement. [AMM]

    — Randolph Responds to AAMD: Earlier this week, the Association of Art Museum Directors sanctioned Randolph College’s Maier Museum for selling a George Bellows work and ordered its more than 200 members to cease any collaboration with or loans to the museum. In a statement released yesterday, the Maier Museum didn’t seem too fazed by the AAMD’s actions. Officials wrote that the sanctions are “unfortunate for those organizations across the nation who may now be denied the opportunity to learn from the wonderful works of art owned by Randolph College.” [LAT]

    — National Gallery Nabs Huge Photo Donation: Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker have promised 3o photographs to the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Among the works are pieces by Thomas DemandAndreas GurskyBernd and Hilla BecherJeff WallCindy Sherman, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. “It will transform our collection and give us critical strength,” said senior curator Sarah Greenough. [NYT]

    — South Korean Dictator’s Art Sold to Pay Fines: The art collection of former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-Hwan has raised 7.2 billion won ($6.7 million) so far to pay down the fines he owes to the government, but he’s still 167.2 billion won short. [AFP]

    — Tate Britain Gathers Turners: A newly announced show at the Tate Britain will reunite J.M.W. Turner’s square paintings for the first time in an effort to prove that he wasn’t senile when he painted them. [The Guardian]

    — Celebs Party at Art Production Fund GalaCindy Sherman, Dianna AgronDita Von Teese, and Emmy Rossum turned out for APF’s White Glove Gone Wild gala where Sherman and Rossum were seen applying Wangechi Mutu-designed temporary tattoos. [Daily MailPage Six]

    — Nine fragments of parchment that belong to the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s storerooms. [Discovery]

    — The Getty’s endowment rose to $6.2 billion last year. [LAT]

    — The Alexander Calder sculpture that’s been on view in Gramercy Park for the past three years is now on sale at the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht for $20 million. [NYT]

    ALSO ON ARTINFO

    Report: Early Action at TEFAF Opening

    Review: In MoMA’s Design Galleries, Nonsense Abounds

    Jeff Koons, Carolina Herrera, and Linda Yablonsky Headline Art Production Fund Gala

    VIDEO: 60 Works in 60 Seconds from TEFAF Maastricht 2014

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    Daniel Loeb

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  • 03/14/14--07:16: New York
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    WHAT:Other Primary Structures

    WHEN:  Part 1: March 14-May 18; Part 2: May 25-August 3

    WHERE: The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave (at 92nd St), New York

    WHY THIS SHOW MATTERS: When Kynaston McShine curated “Primary Structures” at the Jewish Museum in 1966, it was a landmark exhibition not simply because it was the first museum show to survey the movement we now call minimalism, but also because it introduced most of the artists we now associate with that style: Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Walter de Maria, and Sol LeWitt, among others. What that show, which was focused on art from the U.S. and the U.K., didn’t have a lot of was artists who weren’t white guys.

    In an updated take on the original, deputy director Jens Hoffmann has created a two-part show that aims to give a more international perspective on the development of a minimalist tendency in art as it occurred around the globe in the 1960s. In his show, Hoffmann includes minimalist-inclined works from artists from Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, many of whom have seldom been exhibited in the U.S. Part 1, which focuses on work made between 1960 and 1967, places an emphasis on Latin American artists. Part 2, which looks at art created from 1967 to 1970, highlights works from Asia.

    Noteworthy exhibits in part 1 include Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s “Bichos” — hinged sculptures from 1962 that she intended visitors to move and rearrange. While “Bichos” are rarely actually experienced in this capacity due to their rare condition, the Jewish Museum asked the artist’s foundation to create replicas that art lovers are free to handle. There are also two works by Polish artist Edward Krasinski that were only just recently found in his family home and are on view for the first time in the U.S. Additionally, for exhibition history buffs, the museum has created a fairly large replica of the museum with all of the pieces from the original show housed inside. Look for the tiny Dan Flavin that glows just as red as its real-life inspiration.

    Click on the slideshow to see work from “Other Primary Structures.”

    Shows That Matter: “Other Primary Structures” at the Jewish Museum
    Lygia Clark's "Double Crab" 1960, reconstructed in 2013 at the Jewish Museum's "

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    Bellini’s “La Sonnambula" Returns to the Metropolitan Opera

    Vincenzo Bellini’s “La Sonnambula,” the composer’s famous opera about a sleepwalking girl in 19th-century Switzerland, will return to the Metropolitan Opera on March 14 in a revival of Mary Zimmerman’s 2009 production, which thrusts the story into the present day and received boos from the audience when it premiered, with one critic asking the question: “Why stage an opera you don’t like or trust?” 

    Known for his expressionistic vocal melodies, Bellini is often associated with the bel canto style of Italian opera, along with Gioachino Rossini and others. Born into a middle-class family, Bellini was a child prodigy and began studying the masters at an early age. During his life, he was known as something of a dandy, and reportedly had affairs with some of the leading divas of the day, including Giulia Grisi and Maria Malibran. Scholars have also discovered a collection of letters that point towards Bellini’s possible relationship with Francesco Florimo, a musicologist and his closest friend. In one letter, he clearly declares his feelings: “My love for you has become necessary for my very existence.” This is a matter of debate among scholars, however, because of Florimo’s role as the keeper of all Bellini’s papers after his tragic death in 1835. Many believe Florimo may have burned some of the correspondence, and forged others, in an attempt to shape the legacy of his friend.

    “La Sonnambula” premiered at the Teatro Carcano in Milan in 1831 and was an immediate success, with Giuditta Pasta in the lead role. Maria Callas famously performed the role in a 1955 production at La Scala, directed by Luchino Visconti and conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

    In the new production, Diana Damrau will sing in the role of Amina, the sleepwalking girl. Damrau has become a regular on the Met stage following her debut in 2005 as Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos.” She will be joined by Mexican tenor Javier Camarena as Elvino and Italian bass Michele Pertusi as Rodolfo. Marco Armiliato, another regular of the Met stage, with 300 operas under his belt, will conduct. 

    Diana Damrau in La Sonnambula.

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    MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands — A number of Old Master paintings, the anchor of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), sold on Friday, a day after the opening social flurry of V.I.P. clients imbibing champagne and oysters.

    At London’s Johnny van Haeften, the gallery sold a pair of tiny oil on copper works by Pieter Neefs, “A Cathedral Interior with a Mass” and “A Cathedral Interior with a Candle Lit Procession,” in the region of the €55,000 asking price. The gallery also sold Richard Brakenburgh’s mildly racy “A Young Woman Surprised by a Suitor in Her Bed Chamber,” a 20 5/8- by 16 1/8-inch oil, signed and dated 1691, in the vicinity of the €70,000 asking price.

    At London/Munich’s Bernheimer-Colnaghi, a striking Paulin-Jean Baptiste Guerin’s “Self-Portrait” from the 1820s sold to a private European client somewhere in the range of the €310,000 asking price. The dark haired artist, outfitted in a white, wide-collared shirt and snappy cravat, looked confident and fresh at 200 years old.

    At Paris-based Haboldt and Company, a charming and petite Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne from the 17th century, “A Beggar Couple Lying Idle,” in oil on panel sold near the €24,000 asking price. Haboldt also sold Adam Pijnacker’s “The Flight into Egypt,” a sublime oil on copper landscape measuring 17- by 21.2-cm and set in a jet black Dutch frame, for just under €200,000.

    A more ambitiously priced and museum quality still life by Pieter Claesz, “A breakfast still life with a roemer, a brazier, a clay pipe with plates of herring and bread and a deck of cards,” from 1638 and exhibited here for the first time in a century, was still available at €2.7 million.

    Certainly, the beggar couple would enjoy that repast.

    At London’s Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, located in the less traveled TEFAF Paper section of the fair, the dealer sold a superb Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) work on paper in pen and brown ink, “Roman charity: Cimon and Pero,” from 1639 and made as a study for a painting that’s long lost, for $100,000 to a European collector. Ongpin also sold Jean-Francois Millet’s “A peasant at work in a field,” from circa 1849, for $250,000 to an American collector.

    Another TEFAF Paper exhibitor, Oslo’s Galleri K, sold Thomas Struth’s massive, five-part C-print, “Museo del Prado 8, Madrid,” from 2005, to an American collector for €675,000. “It’s the largest work in his oeuvre,” said gallerist Ben Frija.

    A famous impression by Albrecht Durer, “Melancholia I,” a print from 1514, sold for approximately €75,000 at the brilliant print stand manned by Frankfurt’s Helmet H. Rumbler.

    A sun-splashed Venetian scene painting crowded with promenading figures, “Venice: The Molo, Looking East,” by Luca Carlevarlijs and generously scaled at 27 3/8- by 41-inches, sold at London’s Charles Beddington Gallery in the region of £500,000. 

    “There aren’t so many new things here but it looks really good,” said London-based dealer Anthony Crichton-Stuart, after viewing a rare and recently cleaned masterpiece by the 17th-century Venetian painter Bernardo Strozzi, “The Supper at Emmaus,” at New York’s Otto Naumann and priced at $3.5 million.

    “Strozzi is all about brushstrokes,” said Naumann, who paid around $1.5 million for it at Christie’s New York four months ago, just as the painting was about to buy-in (fail to sell). “I never took such a big risk,” he added, noting how none of his usual competitors bid on the picture, which he described at the time as “black, black, black” and “I really didn’t know what I was buying.” Conservator Henry Gentle, hired by Naumann, fixed all that and brought the painting back to life.

    Crichton-Stuart, who formerly exhibited at TEFAF under the London flag of the now shuttered Noortman Fine Paintings, had some news of his own, having freshly acquired the once grand dealership Agnews, formed in the 19th century, with financial backing from Clifford Schorer, a Boston-based hedge fund mogul and professor at the Columbia Business School, who happens to collect Old Master paintings.

    You hear a lot of things roaming the aisles at TEFAF, apart from prices.

    For instance, last year’s big buzz here that TEFAF was going to partner with Sotheby’s to open a Beijing branch of the fabled fair has crumbled after months of negotiations, according to Jonathan Green of London’s Richard Green and a trustee of TEFAF, a dealer-run fair.

    As Green said, “We want to concentrate on the mother ship.”

    The big rumor this year that TEFAF was going to bow to pressure from some exhibitors and shorten its 12-day run is also dead in water, according to Green, noting there’s no discussion by the board about it. “The two weekends we have here are great,” he said, referring to the fair’s long timeline.

    The competition, at least for contemporary exhibitors, will heat up here next year when the fast-growing Art Basel Hong Kong changes its fair dates from mid-May to the same opening week as TEFAF.

    Still, Green had time for the business of selling art, as a Marc Chagall painting, “Au tour du bouquet de ferme,” from 1966, measuring 14- by 10 7/8-inches sold for €650,000 to a European collector.

    A larger and later Chagall, “Le Soire sur le Seine,” from 1979, measuring 32- by 25.5-inches and featuring a number of familiar Chagall-esque elements, including a woman flying on the backside of a cock as well as a reclining artist couple in the foreground, the man holding his palette, sold at London’s Waterhouse and Dodd for $1.5 million.

    “We had a very good day yesterday,” said Ray Waterhouse, “selling the Chagall oil to a new client from Belgium and we’ve been paid already.”

    Finally, at least for some of the transactions made on Friday, New York’s Van de Weghe Fine Art sold Gerhard Richter’s richly colored “Abstraktes Bild” from 1986 and scaled at a reasonable 120- by 80-cms for $3 million.

    “I sold it to a new European buyer who I never met before,” said Christophe van de Weghe. “He just walked into the stand and bought it. It’s unbelievable.” 

    Report: Brisk Old Masters Sales and Other News From TEFAF
    Adam Pijnacker's "The Flight Into Egypt."

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    Sotheby’s London will present its latest Fine Jewels sale on March 26, counting among its highlights a detailed vanity case by Lacloche Frères carved from jade and studded with precious gems, a 1940s Jean Schlumberger cigarette lighter, and a classic "Meli Melo" gem-set necklace by Cartier.

    Many other pieces showcase fine craftsmanship and timeless elegance from the late 18th century or the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s. There are also four lots from the collection of celebrated society figure Daisy Fellowes.

    Here, BLOUIN Lifestyle picks a handful of lustworthy collectibles from the upcoming sale. To see them, click on the slideshow.

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    BLOUIN Lifestyle Pick: Fine Jewels at Sotheby's
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    (l-r) Theo Fennell ring, Kutchinsky brooch and Lacloche Frères vanity case
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    Courtesy Sotheby's

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    TEFAF's "Timeless Beauty" Celebrates the Female Form

    Not to be missed at this year’s fair is “Timeless Beauty,” a carefully curated exhibition of 35 rarely seen works on paper that celebrate the female form, on loan from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. The institution, which grew from an extraordinary collection of works amassed by Prince Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz at Mannheim Castle in latter half of the 18th century, now boasts more than 400,000 illustrations and is considered one of the foremost collections of prints and drawings in Europe.

    Presented in a pale blue-green nautilus inspired gallery within the fair’s works on paper section, the pieces in the exhibition — which range from intimate portraits to studies for larger iconographic programs — were executed over a period of more than a half millennium and include drawings by Rembrandt, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, and Egon Schiele. All are authored by men except one, a delicate undated pencil and chalk “Portrait of a Girl” by early 19th-century German painter Marie Ellenrieder.

    Of particular note is painter Andrea Mantegna’s studied pen and ink, “Dancing Muse,” circa 1495, a preparatory cartoon for one of the figures in his painting “Parnassus,” 1497, and a charcoal portrait of Comtesse Emilie de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1882, the aunt of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, which was sketched by the artist at age 17. The former, painted by the Paduan artist for Isabella d’Este, Duchess of Mantua, to adorn her studiolo in the Palazzo Ducale, epitomizes the Renaissance ideal of women as goddesses and otherworldly creatures. The work, which had been given to Cardinal Richelieu by Duke Charles I of Mantua in 1627, is now in the collection of the Louvre. In contrast to Mantegna’s seemingly carefree “Dancing Muse” is Dutch artist Hendrick Goltzius’s “Daphne,” a pen, ink, chalk, and wash dated to the close of the 17th century, which exhibits a certain restraint and self-consciousness on the part of its subject.

    Other highlights include Rembrandt’s gesture-stroked pen, ink, and chalk “Woman in a Rich Dress Carrying a Palm Frond,” circa 1637; Erich Heckel’s expressive graphite, watercolor, and tempera “Woman at Rest,” 1912; Salvador Dalí’s “Gradiva,” 1932, a pen and ink figure of a female in a cragged landscape with bones of man and beast strewn about; and Picasso’s voluptuous charcoal “Female Nude,” 1905-06. Rendered with an economy of line, the latter is shown standing aloof, her arms relaxed behind her back. 

    Works by many of the artists represented in the exhibition are available from dealers in the works on paper section. Stephen Ongpin (Stand 715) is tendering Picasso’s pen, black ink, and chalk “Artist and Model (Le peintre et son modèle I),” 1970, along with Egon Schiele’s black crayon “Portrait of a Child (Anton Peschka),” 1918, while Wienerroither & Kohlbacher (Stand 706) is offering several pencil on paper drawings, including Klimt’s spare “Reclining Nude, 1912-13, and Schiele’s “Girl with a Hat,” 1911.  

    Leonardo da Vinci's "Isabella d'Este" (workshop).

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