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Date set for ivory ban legal challenge

The battle by dealers and collectors to overturn the Ivory Act will enter its final phase on February 24 and 25 at the Court of Appeal.

In front of three Lord Justices, lawyers for Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures (FACT) Ltd will make their last attempt to stop the act coming into force.

FACT won the right to appeal a High Court judicial review in November last year, which found in favour of DEFRA (the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the act’s sponsor.

In rejecting the challenge, the High Court judge expressed sympathy with FACT’s cause, in particular the act’s likely financial impact on dealers and collectors. At the Court of Appeal, FACT’s lawyers will argue the act denies the property rights of antique ivory owners under EU law. FACT has funded its case through donations.

To read more about this story and ivory regulation visit: https://atg.news/ivory

Langlands links up with SA auctions

South African online auction house AntiquarianAuctions.com has agreed a deal with book specialist Adam Langlands to host rare book, manuscript, prints and ephemera auctions in the US.

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Book specialist Adam Langlands.

The first is from March 19-26. Langlands, once of Christie’s South Kensington, will run the auctions from Connecticut and he plans five to six sales a year.

AntiquarianAuctions.com was founded in 2010 by antiquarian bookseller Paul Mills.

Freeman’s to offer van Gogh work

Freeman’s of Philadelphia is to offer Bald-Headed Orphan Man by Vincent van Gogh estimated at $120,000-180,000. The pen and ink sketch, January 1883, features in its European Art and Old Masters sale on February 18.

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'Bald-Headed Orphan Man' by Vincent van Gogh is in Freeman’s sale on February 18.

This is the first Freeman’s auction to be held with live bidding on thesaleroom.com.

Thomas McCabe, head of business development at Freeman’s, said the move will strengthen its presence within the global marketplace and increase its accessibility to its international clientele.

Bonhams makes American changes

Bonhams has relocated in San Francisco, opening a new gallery and office in California Street in the city. All west coast auctions will now take place in Los Angeles and the San Francisco location will hold viewings and events.

The auction house will hold its first sale of Post-War & Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on February 15, coinciding with the Frieze Los Angeles art fair.

Rogers Jones appoints Keith

Welsh auction house Rogers Jones & Co has appointed regional auctioneer and valuer Philip Keith. He has previously worked with Brightwells and Bonhams in London and Cardiff. His specialist fields include Asian and tribal art.

Old Master work under suspicion

French customs officials have blocked the return to its owner of an Old Master painting that featured in an exhibition at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris.

It was part of the display of works from the Alana Collection of Renaissance art that closed on January 20.

The painting of St Cosmas by the Italian Mannerist Agnolo di Cosimo (1503-72), better known as Bronzino, was reportedly seized on the order of a French judge after suspicions were raised that it was connected with Giuliano Ruffini, a Frenchman who is alleged to have handled other Old Masters that have been subject to investigations relating to their authenticity.

The Alana Collection is owned by collectors Alvaro Saieh and Ana Guzmán. They are thought to have purchased the Bronzino from a dealer in 2011 after it had appeared at a Bronzino retrospective at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

Sotheby’s helps to make a fine Finnish

Sotheby’s has brokered the sale of a painting by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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'Palokärki' by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela has been bought by the Musée d’Orsay.

Palokärki was painted between 1892-94 following a trip the artist made to Lake Paanajärvi, then in north-eastern Finland but now in Russia. It depicts a black woodpecker with a tuft of red plumage. For Gallen-Kallela, the woodpecker was a symbol of Finnish patriotism: “The red spot is the individual’s cry for life in the quietude of the hinterlands.”

This acquisition comes 20 years after another seminal work by Gallen-Kallela, Lake Keitele, was consigned to Sotheby’s and then acquired by London’s National Gallery.

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3 New faces at Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Ketterer Kunst – the latest Movers and Shakers

4 Diamonds switched for paste at auction view

5 Stolen Afghan sculpture to return home after being spotted at UK auction

In Numbers

500

Fewer than 500 lots out of a total of 11,000 offered for sale by Forum Auctions in 2019 went to a room bidder.