The .ART Art Market Recap: Man Ray, Wolfgang Tillmans and More

So little time, so many new things going on in the world of digital art and more... If you want to stay clued in, but don't have the time to trawl through endless content, you've come to the right place. Here is your recap of all the hottest art market news.

Image above: A ceramic art-work of Pablo Picasso is displayed in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

1. HMRC seizes NFT for first time in £1.4m fraud case

Britain’s tax watchdog has seized three non-fungible tokens, in what is thought to be the first seizure of NFTs by a U.K. law enforcement agency. HMRC says the suspects in the fraud case allegedly used ‘sophisticated methods’ to hide their identities, including using bogus and stolen identities, incorrect addresses and false invoices. The tax authority has secured a court order to seize crypto assets worth around £5,000 and three digital artwork NFTs that have not yet been valued. Nick Sharp, deputy director economic crime, said the seizure should ‘serve as a warning’ to those hoping to use crypto to hide money. He added: ‘We constantly adapt to new technology to ensure we keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets.’

2. MoMA to present solo show by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will present a solo show by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.

The show titled “Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear” will open in mid-September and will feature some 350 works from the past 40 years, including photos, videos and multimedia installations. “From ecstatic images of nightlife to abstract images made without a camera, sensitive portraits to architectural slide projections, documents of social movements to windowsill still lifes, astronomical phenomena to intimate nudes, Tillmans has explored seemingly every imaginable genre of photography, continually experimenting with how to make new pictures,” MoMA said in a statement. “I see my installations as a reflection of the way I see, the way I perceive or want to perceive my environment,” the 51-year has said. “They’re also always a world that I want to live in.”

The artist, who is also heavily involved in social causes, became known in the early 1990s with photographs centered on youth and pop culture.He is considered one of the most important contemporary artists today, and is the recipient of numerous awards including as the Goslar Kaiserring award for modern art in Germany and Britain’s Turner Prize.

MoMA to present solo show by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans

3. Christie’s sets record asking price of $5 million for artist Man Ray’s 1924 photograph ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’

Artist Man Ray’s iconic surrealist photograph titled ‘Le Violon d’Ingres,’ depicting a nude woman with f-shaped violin markings on her back, is bound for the auction block, with Christie’s setting a record asking price of $5million. The 1924 masterpiece, which is widely considered to be Man Ray’s most famous work, will be sold to the highest bidder in May, alongside other artworks, photographs, jewelry and posters, which comprised a noteworthy Surrealist collection amassed over the decades by Rosalind Gersten Jacobs and Melvin Jacobs, a wealthy Manhattan couple who both worked in fashion.

If ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’ fetches its asking price or higher, it will be the most expensive photo ever sold at auction. The current record is held by Andreas Gursky’s Rheine II, which was sold by Christie’s for an eye-popping $4.3million in 2011.

4. A London Art Gallery Is Selling Classic Masterpieces From Italian Museums as NFTs

In what is being described as a UK first, a new exhibition of classic Italian paintings by Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raphael, Modigliani, and Francesco Hayez will go on display – in NFT form. Instead of displaying the originals, digitised versions of the works will be displayed on screens inside handcrafted replicas of the original frames at Unit London as part of the exhibition, ‘Eternalising Art History’. It will be the first in a series of three exhibitions of digital artworks to be presented at the Gallery in Mayfair.

The digital displays used in the exhibition have been produced in partnership with Italian cultural institutions including the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The NFTs displayed, which are set for sale at the exhibition, are limited to nine and have been created with Italian digital artwork firm Cinello. The price range of the works is said to be between £100,000 – £500,000, with half of the net revenue put toward Uffizi Gallery’s conservation efforts.

Amedeo Modigliani Testa di Giovane Donna (Head of a Young Lady) on display as an NFT © Perry-James Sugden

5. Picasso’s Granddaughter Says Family Will Continue Producing NFTs

Marina Picasso, granddaughter of famous painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, issued a statement on YouTube today in response to her and her adopted son Florian’s Ethereum NFT collection after a family disagreement went public. In the video, she expressed support for NFT technology and shared that her uncle, Claude Picasso, now endorses the project. Going forward, Marina said that she and Florian will “continue to produce NFTs.” With Marina and Florian Picasso NFTs, each token points to ownership of an .mp4 file of art inspired by one of Pablo Picasso’s famous bowls. “I have a 30-year-old son who’s passionate about NFTs,” Marina said in the video through a translator. “It appealed to me, so I looked into this subject, and I find that it’s a modern technology that allows us to connect with art. It really appealed to me. And it’s in this way that I decided with my son to create our first NFT collection,” she said.

A still image of one of the “Man and Beat” NFTs from Marina and Florian Picasso.

Veronica Morozova
Veronica Morozova
Veronica Morozova is a London-based content writer and copyeditor. She has a Master's in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths University, and writes about a range of topics including political and social activism, mental health awareness, Eastern European culture, and more.