Art Market Recap: Catch up with all things Museum, Art Law, and NFT related!
Another week, much more news; as Jerry Saltz would say, the Art World never sleeps! (or we changed it a little...) Byzantine treasures found in Germany, the Centre Pompidou in Saudi Arabia, a Rare David Hockney discovered on the Antiques Roadshow, and more!
Featured image: Nicki Andreas Steinmann, the trainee metal detectorist, with his discovery. Photo: ALSH.
A novice metal detectorist recently uncovered a trove of Byzantine treasures in Germany in what once was a Viking Age trade settlement. Nicki Andreas Steinmann was learning how to use a metal detector with an instructor when he discovered gold coins and rare jewelry. The pair of detectorists reported their findings in late February to the State Archaeological Department of Schleswig-Holstein (ALSH), which conducted the analysis of the artifacts.
“The hoard consisted of two very high quality gold earrings set with semi-precious stones, a gilded pseudo-coin brooch, two gilded stone-studded finger rings, a ring fragment, a small formerly gilded perforated disc, a ring brooch, and about 30 silver coins, some of them heavily fragmented,” Ulf Ickerodt, the director of ALSH, told Live Science.
The types of discoveries helped confirm that the site was a part of Hedeby, once a Viking Age trading hub. “An extensive north-south and east-west trade network developed here since the early Middle Ages, in which the Mediterranean region, the North Sea, and the Baltic Sea were integrated,” explained Ickerodt. Archeologists also theorize that due to the personal nature of the pieces and volume of currency, the pieces were likely hidden for safekeeping when Hebedy was sacked and destroyed in 1066.
The Association of International Photography Art Dealers has announced that this year’s 42nd edition of the Photography Show will also include NFTs. 44 local and international galleries will present both new and historic photography in addition to a range of new media, including photo-based art and NFTs.
In particular, the gallery Assembly, Houston, – a member of the .ART community – will show the work of Rodrigo Valenzuela as both photographic prints and digital NFTs. The inclusion of NFTs offers collectors innovative opportunities to diversify collections and explore the evolution of photography.
The Photography Show presented by AIPAD is the longest-running exhibition dedicated to photography and is working collaboratively with gallerists, curators, institutions, artists, and collectors to create a comprehensive program for the Show. Alongside NFTs, visitors to the fair will also be able to take in some of the world’s most recognizable images, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic Rue Mouggetard, Paris (1954) at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.
The exhibition will run from March 31st through April 2nd, 2023, at Center415 in New York, with a VIP opening night on March 30th.
The Centre Pompidou has signed a deal with the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in Saudi Arabia to develop a large-scale museum for regional and international contemporary art with an opening set for 2028–29.
“We are delighted to work with them as one of a number of institutional partners,” Iwona Blazwick, advisor to RCU told ARTnews in an email. “All our relationships will be reciprocal, sharing knowledge and experience—for example, we also hope to offer colleagues at the Pompidou and other museums, placements in AlUla to learn from our art commissioning programmes and residencies, and to engage with our local communities.”
The collection of the forthcoming museum will center art from Southwest Asia, North Africa, and South Asia with a particular focus on land and digital art. The RCU will also commission immersive installations and public artworks from artists from the featured regions. “@RCU_SA has selected @CentrePompidou as key partner in developing a contemporary art museum at AlUla as a world centre for regional and global 21st-century art. The museum will be an architectural landmark in its own right,” the RCU tweeted 13 March.
For Saudi Arabia, the agreement is the latest in a long list of cultural projects for AlUla, which has already launched initiatives with the Louvre, Riyadh’s Misk Art Institute, the German Archaeological Institute, and the California-based outdoor biennial, Desert X.
Saudi government officials estimate that, by 2035, the region will welcome 2 million visitors annually, with around 40 percent being international tourists. This aggressive cultural push has not been without controversy, however, with many criticizing the development as a distraction from human rights transgressions and branding the initiatives as “artwashing”.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida, a federal judge sentenced Miami art dealer, Eduardo Ulises Martinez to 51 months in prison for illegally smuggling sculptures made of ivory in and out of the United States. The dealer was found guilty on nine counts of smuggling without declaring to the US FIsh and Wildlife Service, as well as one count of obstruction of justice. Additionally, the federal district court also ordered Martinez to pay a $20,000 fine, serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, and ordered the seizure of various sculptures containing ivory through a criminal forfeiture order.
“On other occasions, Martinez used third parties located in Spain and England to collect or receive the sculptures from auctions houses in Europe, creating the appearance that the sculptures would stay within the European Union, and thereafter directed the third parties to ship the ivory-containing sculptures to the United States,” the press release said. It also outlined how after Martinez was stopped at the Miami International Airport on September 8, 2021, and was caught with ivory in his luggage, “the dealer removed illegally imported ivory sculptures from his showroom and obstructed law enforcement’s investigation by approaching a witness on various occasions, asking the witness to provide false evidence and testimony.”
A judge called the motion misguided, stating, “It is not for Defendant to decide whether goods he imports and exports qualify as exceptions. Indeed, if any individual could decide for themselves that items they wished to import into and export out of the United States are exempt from prohibition, the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (“CITES”) would be rendered useless.”
A rare early work by David Hockney worth over $35,000 was discovered on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. The owner of the early pastel sketch, who was not identified by the BBC, said his grandfather met a young Hockney while working at a train station in the English village of Trimley St Marty in 1957. His grandfather “saw two young artists on the platform where they were signaling on a tiny station in Trimley St Mary between Felixstowe and Ipswich.”
The owner’s grandfather then acquired the work after inviting the young Hockney and his partner to a Sunday lunch as a gesture of support. At the time, the two artists followed the footsteps of fellow painter John Constable and his inspirative pilgrimage to the Suffolk countryside.
There was a cut-off signature on the edge of the painting and the owner admitted his mother trimmed the painting in order to get it to fit in a frame. Nonetheless, specialist Rupert Maas researched and corroborated the owners story of provenance.
“This is not at all what I am used to seeing by David Hockney,” Maas told the BBC, describing the pastoral painting as “very rough and ready”, with a “wobbly signature”.
“I have this idea they only had green and brown with them, because they were broke,” he said.