Art and antiques news from 2010

In 2010 a new fair - Masterpiece - debuted in London following the demise of the fair at Grosvenor House.

US comic books reached the US$1 million mark when issue one of Action Comics (Superman) was sold by a New York dealer. Two days later the first Batman comic made $900,000.

Light installation is only a work of art when switched on, say European Commission

23 December 2010

DO light, sound and video installations constitute works of art? Not according to the European Commission, who have unexpectedly reversed a decision made in a UK tax tribunal in 2008, and refused to classify works by established contemporary artists Dan Flavin (b.1933) and Bill Viola (b.1951) as “art”.


Tyneside treasure sets new record at £270,000

23 December 2010

THE year 2010 ended as it began with spectacular prices for Chinese works of art.

Snow, then gas, blights auction

23 December 2010

WHILE a number of auctioneers had the snow to contend with, Steven B Bruce faced a double obstacle to their latest sale, now to be held in the new year.

Clore appointed chairman of Sotheby’s Europe

23 December 2010

MELANIE Clore has been appointed chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. She will share the role with Henry Wyndham, helping departments and offices across Europe to secure business and further develop Sotheby’s profile.

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Sotheby’s to sell rare Benin ivory mask in London

22 December 2010

IN London on February 17, Sotheby's will sell a rediscovered 16th century Benin ivory mask – and five other rare works from the Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria – consigned by the family of a key participant in the controversial Punitive Expedition. The mask alone is estimated at £3.5m-4.5m.


Record for a map as Buell’s America takes $1.8m

20 December 2010

OFFERED this month at Christie's New York, a copy of Abel Buell's 1784 New and Correct Map of the United States of America... became the most expensive map ever sold at auction.

Green light for Masterpiece at Chelsea Hospital

20 December 2010

THE high-end fair Masterpiece London has secured planning permission for the South Grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3.


Cracking open the wine at Cirencester sale

20 December 2010

THE Robert Jones and Son second model corkscrew is perhaps the most desirable of all of the many Victorian patent corkscrews.

More Picasso problems in Paris

20 December 2010

A SALE at the Hotel Drouot in Paris devoted to minor works by Picasso was called off at the last minute because of controversy over provenance.


New high for English furniture at £3.35m

13 December 2010

SETTING a new auction high for English furniture, this commode of c.1770 was knocked down for £3.35m earlier this month.


Totals down at Old Master sales after weaker performance of stellar lots

13 December 2010

LIMITED interest on the two star lots meant the best contests at this month’s Old Master series in London came for more attractively pitched works by less familiar names.


Attic find reveals an early guide to Hudson’s Bay

13 December 2010

UNEARTHED in a Scottish attic, this exceptional 17th century map, depicting old fishing settlements in Canada and North America is expected to attract international interest when offered at auction in Somerset in January.


Audubon flies to new record for printed book at £6.5m

13 December 2010

AT Sotheby's sale in New Bond Street on December 7, a copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America set a new auction record for any printed book when it sold to the London art dealer Michael Tollemache for £6.5m (plus premium).


Tempted by the Apple at £110,000

13 December 2010

LAUNCHED by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak from the garage of Jobs’ parents home in July, 1976 – a month in which America’s bicentennial celebrations were the big news story – the Apple I was in fact the start of another revolution.

Tiffany lose final appeal against eBay in the Supreme Court

06 December 2010

THE U.S. Supreme Court in Washington has delivered a significant blow to Tiffany & Co’s bid to stop the sale of counterfeit jewellery on eBay.


Weather blights antiques calendar

06 December 2010

THE Arctic weather that struck the UK last week caused severe disruption during one of the busiest periods in the calendar for the art and antiques trade.

Bonhams move into Aboriginal art

06 December 2010

CONFIRMING their intentions in the Australian market, Bonhams have launched an Aboriginal art department in Sydney.


Pulling out all stoppers at £17,500

06 December 2010

ESTIMATED at £3000-4000, this 18th century mahogany decanter box retaining a pair of profusely cut double-magnum sized decanters c.1780, attracted multiple bidders at Suffolk saleroom Neal Sons & Fletcher of Woodbridge.

Ruling gives warning to dealers not briefing clients on commissions

06 December 2010

THE danger of taking commission on deals without the express knowledge of the vendor has been underlined by a High Court ruling. In it, a London dealer has been told that he was not entitled to keep a $1m commission he retained following the sale of a Leonardo da Vinci drawing in August 2007.

Snow latest – updates on affected events

01 December 2010

WITH the severe weather that has hit the UK set to continue, there have been a number of changes to the fairs and auctions calendars. Here is a list of cancelled or rescheduled events, which will be regularly updated, but ATG advises anyone thinking of travelling to an event to check in advance with the relevant organisers before travelling.