Technology Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW YORK The Smartest Ways to Use Your Smartphone in the Car - Wall Street Journal - The best dashboard solutions are Apple ’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Plug in your phone via USB and the core apps pop up on the car’s screen and can be controlled with familiar voice assistants. But they’re in only a limited number of car models. (The bigger, more-expensive Volvo XC90 is one of them—and this fall’s update of my XC60 will be, too.)

Most car interfaces are still stuck in the slow lane compared with the computers in our pockets. And so, like far too many drivers out there, I use my phone to get around.
Mounting the Phone

“How do we drive safely using our smartphones? We don’t,” says Debbie Hersman, president and chief executive of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit that works to eliminate preventable deaths. Ms. Hersman says the safest way to drive with your phone is to put it in the trunk.
This is how not to drive with your smartphone.
This is how not to drive with your smartphone. Photo: Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal

But using voice control and other hands-free solutions is the lesser evil when compared with fiddling with a phone in your hands, lap or cup holder. That’s why it’s so important that you mount your phone where you won’t have to look down—yes, like an Uber driver.

I tested 15 different mount options in three categories. What works best will likely depend on the interior design of your car.

Vent mount. The $20 Insignia Vehicle Mount is my top pick. With plastic brackets that latch to the inside of the vent, it’s harder to install than some, but it tightly gripped even a phablet. The downside of vent mounts? They block vents.

Dashboard/windshield mount. A suction-cup mount may be the easiest to glance at, but it could also obstruct your vision. The high-tech (and pricey) $80 Logitech ZeroTouch stuck to my dash best and was the most inconspicuous, but it does require you to attach magnets to your phone or case.

CD slot mount. The CD slot hasn’t seen this much excitement since 2001. If your car has a disc player that’s relatively close to the top of your main console, try Anker’s $13 CD Slot Magnetic Car Mount (it too uses magnets to hold your phone in place) or the non-magnetic version.
The Insignia Vehicle smartphone mount for vents, at left; the Anker CD Slot mount, right'''''Android Phones

One of the best reasons to switch to Android these days is superior in-car apps. Google’s own Android Auto app has exactly what I want in the car. Launch the app, and a big-buttoned interface takes over your phone, with access to Google Maps, phone calls and music—Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora. The app also shows notifications, though I suggest turning them off.

The best part is the Google Assistant. Wake it by saying, “OK, Google,” then ask it to play George Michael, call Mom, repeat the last navigation prompt—even report who won the Super Bowl.

The voice recognition works great… when it’s quiet. Because the app relies on the phone’s microphone, it can struggle to hear over loud music.

Logitech’s ZeroTouch app for Android gets around that. When you put your phone on the required ZeroTouch mount, the app launches in the background. Hold your hand in front of the phone to wake Logitech’s voice assistant. ....


The iPhone is a disappointment in the car. There’s no Android Auto app equivalent, and Logitech doesn’t yet have an iOS ZeroTouch app. The best thing iPhone owners can do is rig Siri to work in the car.

Some cars, like BMWs, may allow you to use the steering wheel’s voice control button to summon Siri. My car won’t, and Bluetooth Siri button accessories don’t work with iOS 10.

The “Hey Siri” function on recent iPhones is fine for controlling music and maps, but because of Apple’s iron grip, you have to use Apple Maps and Music (I still prefer Spotify and Google Maps).

And Siri also had a hard time hearing me over loud music. A trick for AirPod owners: Wear one wireless earbud and tap the side to wake Siri; it also puts the microphone closer to your mouth.

2. SAN FRANCISCO—Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel’s premise for reinventing social media in 2011 was simple: create an app to send disappearing pictures.

Now, on the cusp of going public, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. is reinventing itself. The hottest new social network in years, with 158 million daily active users, wants to be known as a camera company.

To that end, Snap has acquired a series of companies that specialize in computer vision and augmented reality. And in November, it introduced its first physical camera, embedded in sunglasses called Spectacles.

Snap’s metamorphosis reflects a growing need among social-media firms to be more than just networks of friends. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook Inc., Snap’s biggest competitor, last week outlined in a 6,000-word manifesto his ambition to turn the 13-year-old social network into the backbone of a new “social infrastructure” so it can address some of the world’s biggest problems, like terrorism, disease and climate change. Facebook has also invested in virtual reality, betting it will be the next major computing platform.
Related Video
Snap's initial public offering will enable the social media platform's founders and two Silicon Valley venture-capital firms to rake in a huge fortune. WSJ's Lee Hawkins explains. Photo: Zuma Press

Twitter Inc. has broader ambitions too. This month, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said the social-media platform, known for its brief messages, has been trying to refocus itself as the world’s fastest place to get news.

For Snap, articulating a different vision helps differentiate the company from Facebook, which has a larger user network than Snapchat, and Twitter. Facebook has mimicked several Snapchat features in the past year, including Stories, a collection of images that disappear, on its photo-sharing app Instagram.
A monitor at a store in New York shows customers how they will look in Snap’s Spectacles.
A monitor at a store in New York shows customers how they will look in Snap’s Spectacles. Photo: Saul Martinez/Bloomberg News

Mr. Spiegel is also wary of being overly dependent on Apple Inc. and Google’s Android, whose phones, with their built-in cameras, are the primary tool for using Snapchat, according to a former Snap employee.

Even though the first line of Snap’s initial public offering document claims “Snap Inc. is a camera company,” investors say they are evaluating Snap through a media and entertainment lens. The valuation that Snap is seeking in its IPO—between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion—reflects a sales multiple similar to Facebook and Twitter when they went public.

“Snap isn’t a camera company,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “Camera companies sell cameras. Snap sells the ability to connect with people.”
Related Video
Snapchat parent Snap is wooing major ad firms ahead of its initial public offering, hoping to land lucrative advertising deals that could bolster the IPO. WSJ's Lee Hawkins explains. Photo: Richard B. Levine/Zuma Press

Snap’s new definition for itself is a metaphor for how the camera is the central tool of the app, according to two Snap investors. It doesn't envision itself as a hardware maker, along the lines of GoPro Inc. or other camera makers that have gone bankrupt. Snap declined to comment.

“Cameras have evolved from being just a piece of hardware, like a chip, to software that is connected to the internet,” Mr. Spiegel said in a video that Snap published a week ago for its roadshow. “With Snapchat, the camera has become the primary input for the phone.”
Related Coverage

   The ephemerality at Snapchat’s core when it launched in 2011 as a messaging platform for disappearing photos established a new way of digital social interaction. In the past, content on the internet such as emails and photos was considered permanent, and people didn’t know who was seeing it, Mr. Spiegel said in the roadshow video.

Two years later, Snap updated its app with Stories, the feature for collections of pictures and videos that disappear in 24 hours. This made the short-lived messages available for anyone to see, beyond people’s networks of friends.

Karen North, director of the social media program at the University of Southern California, described this as Snapchat’s “genius pivot,” because it took the carefree feeling that Snapchat had created and broadened it beyond messaging.

“Before, Snaps were just messages to people,” Ms. North says. “Then they gave people an opportunity to tell a story.”
Related Video
When Snap Inc. goes public, Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will retain control of more than 90% of the company's voting rights. WSJ's Shelby Holliday looks at how Snap's rare share structure stacks up against other tech companies. Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Snap then focused on making photos or videos on its platform interactive, which was one of the first introductions of augmented reality to a mainstream audience. In 2015, Snap launched Lenses—filters that blend computer images into real photos—that packaged augmented reality into tools that added bunny faces, talking tacos, monsters and vomiting rainbows onto regular selfies. The Lenses also created a lucrative advertising opportunity, allowing brands to buy a presence on Snapchat.

While Snap was rolling out these enhancements to its social media tool, Mr. Spiegel had something bigger in mind. Worried about being so dependent on smartphones made by other companies, Mr. Spiegel wanted to migrate the app onto other devices. He began hinting at his interest in cameras, expressing admiration for Polaroid founder Edwin Land at a technology conference in 2015.

Snap launched Spectacles, its first gadget, in November, slightly more than a year after the failure of Alphabet Inc.’s Google Glass. Google’s head-mounted device drew ridicule and raised privacy concerns for its ability to surreptitiously record video. Snap, on the other hand, devised a circular light to indicate when the Spectacles are recording.

“Snap is the first company that has gotten people to wear a camera on their face and made it cool,” says Matt Miesnieks, a partner at venture-capital firm Super Ventures, which hasn't invested in Snap.

Still, good looks may not be enough to convince investors Snap has a vision beyond social messaging. In its public filing document, Snap cautioned that it could be hard to justify its spending if new products fail to engage users.

“There is no guarantee that investing in new lines of business, new products, and other initiatives will succeed,” the company said.

Corrections & Amplifications
Snap and Twitter release different metrics about the sizes of their networks. Snap discloses daily users, while Twitter discloses monthly users. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Twitter has a larger user network than Snap. (Feb. 26)

Write to Georgia Wells at and Betsy Morris at

3. NEW YORK - Wall STreet Journal - Is Your Stuff Safe in the Cloud?
Storing documents in a private cloud that you access from home is one way to minimize risk of hacking can—and do—hand over data when compelled by a court order. (The most responsible, like Google, Apple and Dropbox, report how often it happens.Have you seen the headlines lately? Hacking and surveillance are bigger news than the next iPhone. Yet companies like Google, Apple and Dropbox have been urging us to load all our photos, and sometimes even more precious documents, in an online vault called the cloud. It’s actually huge racks of servers, in locations all over the world.
What could possibly go wrong with hundreds of millions of people storing personal data in a centralized warehouse?
In August, Dropbox reset the passwords for 68 million accounts in response to a 2012 breach. Anyone with an email address is at perpetual war with phishers, who were behind a big celebrity photo iCloud leak in 2014. Is anything safe from hackers?
A lesser-known cloud alternative is gaining traction: Store stuff on a hard drive at home, but access it online from anywhere. Known as “personal cloud” storage, some products from Western Digital WDC 0.83% and Seagate STX -1.35% use your own internet connection and are known only to you and the drive maker, so your files are less of a honeypot for hackers. You can get gobs of space for under $200—and no monthly fees. Two newcomers I’ve also been testing, Lima Ultra and Apollo, are even simpler and work more like Dropbox.
Yet a private cloud has problems, too: Without 24/7 security from Google or Apple, you are solely responsible for keeping hackers out. And you have to keep that drive from failing, or risk losing important data.

I asked hackers and security pros where they store their most precious documents—tax files—and got different answers from nearly all of them. Some said they would trust the public cloud, while others said they would keep files far away from the internet (making them difficult to share with an accountant). “There is no really perfect advice right now,” said Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.

Security and privacy involve choices we all need to make for ourselves—and are worth at least as much consideration as the color of your phone. If that sounds like too much work, I’ve prepared a study guide:
Cloud storage may seem invisible, but your files are sent to data centers like this Google facility in Groningen, Netherlands.
Cloud storage may seem invisible, but your files are sent to data centers like this Google facility in Groningen, Netherlands. Photo: VINCENT JANNINK/Agence France Presse/Getty Images
The Public Cloud

Pro: For reliable access to your stuff from any connected device, it’s hard to beat the convenience of the largest cloud services. Dropbox, which charges $100 to store a terabyte of data for one year, perfected the magically-in-sync folder of stuff. Google and Apple offer the hands-down easiest way to manage photos and videos, shifting them off your phone or laptop before out-of-space alerts pop up.

These services make compelling arguments that they are best prepared to fight hackers. They not only encrypt our data on their servers, but also constantly look for suspicious patterns, scanning the dark web for chatter and even paying hackers to identify vulnerabilities. Case in point: Dropbox says it thinks users lost no data from the 2012 hack because of the way it stored passwords. Security is “about long-term protection against constantly evolving threats,” said Mark Crosbie, the company’s head of trust and security.

Con: The public cloud turns you into a perpetual renter, where you get hooked into a service that could cost you more than a drive within two years. It doesn’t happen often, but cloud services can also go down temporarily.

The public cloud is scariest for people concerned about privacy and the threat of government surveillance. Your personal data is out of your own control. Apple promises not to examine your data, while Google paints analyzing and sorting your photos as a selling point. But because they hold keys to decrypt at least some of your files, they can—and do—hand over data when compelled by a court order. (The most responsible, like Google, Apple and Dropbox, report how often it happens.) Who knows what could happen if laws change?

How to be safer: Way too many of us leave our stuff at risk in the cloud by re-using passwords and not turning on an extra layer of security called two-factor authentication (a.k.a. 2FA, two-step verification, or login approval). Once you turn it on in cloud settings, it typically sends you a secondary passcode via text message or app. It isn’t foolproof, but it could keep a hacker out of your stuff if they get your password.

For supersensitive files like tax documents, consider encrypting them with a separate password before storing them in the cloud. On a Mac, use FileVault in the Disk Utility; on a Windows PC, use Microsoft BitLocker.
The Private Cloud

Pro: Your data is in your own hands. And running your own cloud provides you a useful defense: obscurity. Hackers motivated by money tend to go after the biggest targets and lowest hanging fruit. Chances are they won’t be homing in on your network in search of a cloud server. Also, you are the only one who knows the password.

Personal cloud drives might cost more up front, but with no monthly fees, you could even save money. My favorite, Promise Technology’s Apollo, comes with 4TB for $300. The $130 Lima attaches to a USB drive you may already own. Many let you share storage with family or colleagues, who all get their own logins and space. They can also back up the photos on your phone over Wi-Fi.

Con: So you want to be in the server business? While all four of the private cloud devices I tested were easy to set up, it’s on you to keep them running. If your home Internet or power goes out, you lose access to your stuff. And you have to trust these companies to keep updating software to address new threats.

While they are improving in simplicity, none is as simple as Dropbox or as tightly integrated as Apple’s iCloud. When you need to get data off them, you may be limited by the upload speed of your internet connection, which is often much slower than the download speed.

How to be safer: A personal cloud, like any other connected device in the house, is at risk if you don’t secure your home Wi-Fi with a password and keep your router software up to date.

And beware: Hard drives often fail at the worst possible moments. Apollo and Lima have a solution, but it’ll cost you: If you buy a second unit, you can keep a copy of your drive—constantly updated over the internet—in a different location in case of theft, fire or failure.

Corrections & Amplifications
Mark Crosbie is the head of trust and security at Dropbox. An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled his surname as Crosby. (March 14)

Appeared in the March 16, 2017, print edition as 'Protect Your Cloud Data From Capture.'

BITS AND PIECES Spring/Summer 201

1..  WASHINGTON (AFP).- Adolf Hitler's personal telephone, which the Fuehrer used to dictate many of his deadly World War II commands, sold at auction on Sunday for $243,000, the US house selling it announced.
Originally a black Bakelite phone, later painted crimson and engraved with Hitler's name, the relic was found in the Nazi leader's Berlin bunker in 1945 following the regime's defeat.
The auction house Alexander Historical Auctions, which did not reveal the winning bidder's identity, had estimated its worth between $200,000 and $300,000. The starting bid was set at $100,000.
The Maryland company auctioned off more than a thousand items including the phone and a porcelain sculpture of an Alsatian dog for $24,300.
Both winners bid by telephone.
More than 70 years old, the Siemens rotary telephone is embossed with a swastika and the eagle symbolic of the Third Reich.
Alexander House dubbed the phone -- which Hitler received from the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces -- as "arguably the most destructive 'weapon' of all time, which sent millions to their deaths."
It said Hitler used it to give most of his orders during the last two years of World War II.
Russian officers gave the device to British Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner during a tour of the bunker shortly after Germany's surrender.
Rayner's son, who inherited the phone, put it up for sale, its paint now peeling to reveal the original synthetic black resin surface.
Andreas Kornfeld of Alexander House told AFP its estimates were based on a number of factors, including "rarity and uniqueness."
"It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history," the auction house said in a statement. "This was not a staid office telephone."
"This was Hitler's mobile device of destruction."

TRIBAL AUCTIONS Spring/Summer 2017

Maori flute 1.jpg

1. BRUSSELS, Bruno Classens Feberuary 2017 Auction ‘surprise’ of the day: a rediscovered Maori flute (putorino)
These last few days there was a lot of buzz in the air in the circles of collectors and dealers in Maori art. Did you hear about this previously unknown flute in a small UK auction? Of course one did! Thanks to the well-consulted live online auction site The saleroom even the smallest British auction house (in this case in the small village of Haslemere, Surrey) now can reach a global audience. Even if mislabeled, so many aficionados are browsing these sales, that no sleeper stays unnoticed. Estimated at only £50-100, this masterpiece was bound to make a top price.
A few were somewhat skeptical about this offering. Surely it should be clear, even to the untrained eye, this is not a pipe. A one second google search would make that very obvious. They got the culture right, at least. In my view, just five minutes on google would eventualy end at the beautiful Maori flute we sold at Christie’s Paris last year. So, the auctioneers, or didn’t do their homework – but why then illustrating the lot with so many professional pictures ? – or did know the object would make what it is worth anyway and hoped to generate a lot of extra buzz with the low estimate. It did work if that was the case, as this exceptional Maori flute sold for £140,000 (without premium) this afternoon. With costs, the total price is around £180,000 or € 210,000 ($ 225,000). This might sound as a lot of money compared with the estimate, but in fact this still is a very good price for it and I’m sure we’ll see it again sooner or later.
Now, you’re probably wondering how these flutes sound like ? Well, you can hear (and see) Richard Nunns play an early 19th century putorino form the Oldman collection below..

Teo mask Binoche.jpg

 2.  PARIS.- The auction house Binoche and Giquello, auctioned off an American collection of pre-Colombian works of art, March 31. The sale totaled 3 million euros, which is twice its estimate. During two hours, collectors from around the globe battled to obtain one of the sixty masterpieces out of the sixty-eight lots offered.
The queen of the auction, the Venus Callipyge of Chupicuaro led the sale. The winning bid came on the phone, double her estimate, at 285 750 €. This Venus is similar to one preserved in the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, of which she is now the muse. By style and size, these two Venuses are sisters, certainly coming from the same workshop. The last owner purchased it in 2008. (Lot N°48)
Among the finest auctions, these works are particularly memorable:
• A standing figure carved in gray-green diorite, from the Chantal culture, State of Guerrero, Mexico, was sold for 266,700 €. The work is dated around 300-100 BC, corresponding to the recent pre-classical period. It is suitable for the Merrin collection in New York. (Lot N°24)
• An anthropomorphic mask of the Teotihuacan culture, on the high central plateau of Mexico, reaped 222,250 €. Sculpted in yellow-green onyx, it dates from the classical period, between 450 and 650 BC In 1979, J.-C. Peter G. Wray, Scottsdale, bought the work of John Stokes, acquired in 1964. Then it belonged to Richard Manoogian, Detroit. The last owner of the object at the Merrin Gallery in New York in 1991. (Lot N°53)
• A Venus made of ceramic with the red and black winding, of the Chupicuaro culture, in the State of Guanajuato in Mexico, sold 110 490 €.This is a recent pre-classical work, dating from 400-100 BC This statuette was acquired in 1972 by Ann Nisensen, Los Angeles, then belonged to James Bodishbaugh, Santa Fe. By Hy Zaret, Westport and the last owner of the work in 2008 at the Lands Beyond Gallery in New York. (Lot N°49)

3. 1.NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that the Collection of Edwin & Cherie Silver, Los Angeles, will be offered in a single-owner auction of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art during the height of the New York auction season in November. The dedicated auction is led by a magnificent selection of important Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon – icons of African art. Assembled during the golden age of American post-war collecting in these categories, the group is a time capsule of the caliber of artwork that was available to collectors decades ago, but is very rarely found in the market today. The collection comprises more than 100 works and has an estimated total value in excess of $10 million.
In addition to the famed group of Kota Reliquary Figures, the collection includes a major group of Pre-Columbian terracottas from Ancient West Mexico, acquired in the early years of Edwin and Cherie’s collecting; a monumental seven-headed Ijo Forest Spirit Figure from Nigeria, which has been shown at LACMA and extensively published; a large and highly refined Hemba Ancestor Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; important jewels of small-scale Yombe statuary, also from the Congo; an assortment of fine West African masks; and American Indian sculpture and baskets.
Selected highlights from the collection will travel to Sotheby’s Paris in September to be shown during the Parcours des Mondes fair, and then back to the Silvers’ hometown of Los Angeles for an exhibition at Sotheby’s headquarters there in October. The collection in its entirety will then be exhibited at Sotheby’s New York alongside the marquee autumn auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art, in a celebration of the historical connections and aesthetic affinities these art forms share.
Jean Fritts, Worldwide Chairman of African & Oceanic Art, said “Ed and Cherie Silver possessed a rare sophistication as collectors. Diligent, scholarly, and determined in their approach, they amassed one of the great American collections of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art over the course of 50 years. Acquiring from the best sources in America and in Europe, they absorbed the stories behind each artwork and developed a distinctive vision. It was always a great pleasure to visit Ed and Cherie in their elegant modernist home in the hills above Los Angeles. We are delighted that the family has chosen Sotheby’s to present the Silvers’ vision to the world.”
Alexander Grogan, Head of the African & Oceanic Art Department in New York, commented: “We are thrilled and honored to present the pioneering collection of Edwin and Cherie Silver, truly one of great American collections in the genre. The Silvers began their odyssey as collectors with Pre-Columbian Art, assembling an extraordinary group of terracotta couples from ancient Mesoamerica. Many of the African works in the collection are well-known to lovers of African Art, as the Silvers generously lent them to prominent museum exhibitions and kindly facilitated their publication in the scholarly literature. The striking silhouettes and abstract geometry of the famous Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon were a sight to behold in the Silvers’ living room. The sale of the Silver Collection will provide rare opportunities for today’s collectors and Sotheby’s is delighted to celebrate their unique and sophisticated taste this fall.”   

ARCHAEOLOGY Spring/Summer 2017

Bronze age weapon.jpg

1. GLASGOW.- GUARD Archaeologists have recently recovered a very rare and internationally significant hoard of metalwork that is a major addition to Scottish Late Bronze Age archaeology.
A bronze spearhead decorated with gold was found alongside a bronze sword, pin and scabbard fittings in a pit close to a Bronze Age settlement excavated by a team of GUARD Archaeologists led by Alan Hunter Blair, on behalf of Angus Council in advance of their development of two football pitches at Carnoustie.
Each individual object in the hoard is significant but the presence of gold ornament on the spearhead makes this an exceptional group. Within Britain and Ireland, only a handful of such spearheads are known - among them a weapon hoard found in 1963 at Pyotdykes Farm to the west of Dundee. These two weapon hoards from Angus - found only a few kilometres apart - hint at the wealth of the local warrior society during the centuries around 1000-800 BC.
There are two more aspects that elevate the Carnoustie discovery to international significance. The first aspect is the extremely rare survival of organic remains. A leather and wooden scabbard encased the Carnoustie sword and is probably the best preserved Late Bronze Age sword scabbard ever found in Britain. Fur skin survives around the spearhead, and textile around the pin and scabbard. Such organic remains rarely survive on dryland sites.
The second aspect is that the hoard is not an isolated find but was buried within a Late Bronze Age settlement, which means that once the excavation has been completed it will be possible to study the archaeological context of the hoard, revealing new insights into the local Bronze Age community that buried it. Not least of which was the longevity of settlement here. For the excavation has also revealed the largest Neolithic hall so far found in Scotland, a building dating to around 4000 BC and that may have been as old to the people who buried the weapon hoard, as they are to us.
‘It is very unusual to recover such artefacts in a modern archaeological excavation, which can reveal so much about the context of its burial. Owing to the fragile nature of these remains when we first discovered them, our team removed the entire pit, and the surrounding subsoil which it was cut into, as a single 80 kg block of soil,' said GUARD Project Officer Alan Hunter Blair. 'This was then delivered to our Finds Lab where it was assessed by a specialist Finds Conservator to plan how it could be carefully excavated and the artefacts conserved.’
'Organic evidence like Bronze Age wooden scabbards rarely survive so this just underlines how extraordinary these finds are,' said GUARD Project Officer, Beth Spence, who undertook the excavation of the hoard in GUARD Archaeology’s Finds Lab along with Conservator Will Murray from the Scottish Conservation Studio.
Along with the hoard, the GUARD Archaeology team have discovered around 1000 archaeological features, among them the remains of up to 12 sub-circular houses that probably date to the Bronze Age along with the remains of 2 rectilinear halls that likely date to the Neolithic period. Some of the other archaeology on site consists of clusters of large pits containing discarded, broken pots and lithic artefacts. It is unclear yet if the archaeological remains comprise a settlement that lasted from the Neolithic until the Late Bronze Age or if it comprises several settlements built upon the same site but separated in time by many centuries.
Claire Herbert of ACAS, Archaeological advisers to Angus Council, said ‘The archaeology uncovered at Carnoustie is undoubtedly of national and international significance, and will certainly further enhance our knowledge of the prehistory of this area, providing an invaluable opportunity to learn more about how people in Angus lived in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.’
Angus Council communities convener Donald Morrison added: ‘It is clear that Carnoustie was as much a hive of activity in Neolithic and Bronze Age times as it is now. The discoveries made on land destined for sporting development have given us a fascinating insight into our Angus forebears and I look forward to learning more about our local prehistory.’
Vice convener Jeanette Gaul said: ‘To make such a find while preparing to create sports facilities for Carnoustie came as a huge surprise to us all. We’ve since learned it is of national and, indeed, international importance. But I am pleased that the archaeologists have involved local young people in the excavation project and are offering us all an insight into Angus’ distant past.’
In tandem with the excavation, GUARD Archaeology have brought community benefits and added value to the work by providing tours and presentations for local schools, including Carnoustie High School and Monifieth High School. Work experience for two students (from Carnoustie High School and Brechin High School) was also provided. Each of the students were trained in core skills in archaeology and were provided with a bespoke training plan and an archaeology skills passport for potential future careers in archaeology. In addition, GUARD Archaeology provided employment throughout the contract for a recently graduated archaeologist from Dundee. Throughout the project GUARD Archaeology have strived to use local suppliers and resources so that as much of the contract value as possible goes back into the local economy. 

2. Today, as Iraqi forces backed by an international coalition inch forward in their fight to recover Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group, historians are looking at how to save, repair or retrieve precious heritage after the jihadists' three-year reign.
At a meeting in Paris last week, Iraqi officials and dozens of experts from around the world agreed to coordinate efforts to restore Iraq's cultural treasure.
But, they admitted, the road ahead will be hard and long.
"The main challenge is for Iraqis to deal with this task by themselves. It is important to empower the people," said Stefan Simon, director of global cultural heritage initiatives at Yale university.
"It is a heart-breaking situation," he added. "(...) Rehabilitation will take a very long time. They need patience. "
In 2014, at the zenith of IS' self-declared "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, more than 4,000 Iraqi archaeological sites were under the heel of the Sunni fanatics.
In the Mosul region alone in northern Iraq, "at least 66 sites were destroyed, some were turned into parking lots, Muslim and Christian places of worship suffered massive destruction and thousands of manuscripts disappeared," Iraq's deputy minister for culture, Qais Rashid, said at the conference, hosted by Unesco.
The most grievous blow has been suffered by the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, believed to be named after the biblical hunter Nimrod.
Eighty percent of the site has been destroyed, by jihadists driving bulldozers and detonating explosives.
Nineveh, once the largest city in the world, has been 70-percent destroyed.
As for Mosul itself, historians are quailing at the likely fate of the city's museum, the second largest in Iraq and a treasure house of ancient artefacts.
After suffering looting during the 2003 Iraq War, the museum was on the point of reopening in 2014 when IS took over.
The jihadists immediately set about destroying objects from the Assyrian and Greek period, which they claimed promoted "idolatry."
Grim discoveries by the Iraqi army in its advance towards the jihadists' bastion of west Mosul have prompted some specialists to fear the worst.
In mid-January, Iraqi troops in Neneveh liberated the reputed tomb of the Prophet Yunus -- known to Jews and Christians as the Prophet Jonah.
"(It is) far more damaged than we expected," Culture Minister Salim Khalaf said.
The site could collapse, because the jihadists dug tunnels underneath, both to hide from attack and to dig for artefacts, he explained.
More than 700 items have been looted from the site to be sale on the black market, he estimated.
Iraq is turning to Interpol and other world agencies to track down the lost treasures. Under UN Security Council resolution 2199, all trade in cultural artefacts from Iraq and Syria is illegal.
"Daesh tried but will never erase our culture, identity, diversity, history and the pillars of civilisation," Iraqi Education Minister Mohammad Iqbal Omar said, referring to another name for IS, also called ISIS or ISIL.
France Desmarais, of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), a professional museum group, said there was a long and tragic history of trafficking in cultural objects from northern Iraq.
However, "successive wars in Iraq since 2003 have created additional opportunities" for the trade, Desmarais said.
Universal values
The long-term needs of preserving Iraq's ancient history are many. They start with securing and monitoring sites, drawing up an inventory of items that are safe or missing, restoring and digitising manuscripts -- a task that is dozens of years in the making, and with a bill to match.
But culture embodies universal values, and there is a deep well of goodwill for this venture.
"Culture implies more than just monuments and stones -– culture defines who we are," says Unesco chief Irina Bokova.
That's a point of view shared by Najeeb Michaeel, an Iraqi Dominican monk who saved hundreds of manuscripts from the 13th to 18th century, spiriting them to safety in Kurdistan just before IS began its destructive grip on the plain of Nineveh.
"We have to save both man and culture," Michaeel said. "You cannot save the tree without saving its roots."

© Agence France-Presse

3.  CAIRO (AFP).- Archaeologists in a muddy pit in a Cairo suburb on Thursday uncovered two pharaonic statues dating back more than 3,000 years.
The relics were found in Mattarya district, site of the ancient Pharaonic capital of Heliopolis and today a sprawl of working and middle class districts in northeastern Cairo.
The statues, discovered on wasteland between crumbling apartment blocks, are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty, which ruled from 1314 to 1200 BC.
One statue stands eight meters (26 feet) tall and is carved out of quartzite, a tough stone composed mostly of quartz grains.
It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II -- also known as Ramses the Great -- suggesting it represents him.
The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II.
They were discovered by a joint German-Egyptian archaeological mission.
"The discovery of the two statues shows the importance of the city of Heliopolis, which was dedicated to the worship of Ra," the sun god, said Aymen Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian team on the dig.
He said the discovery was "very important" because it indicated the Oun Sun temple was a "magnificent structure".
Dietrich Raue, head of the German team, said the archaeologists were working hard to lift the statues so they can be transported to another site for restoration.
© Agence France-Presse
4. MALTA mithsonian Subscribe SmartNews History Science Innovation Arts & Culture Travel At the Smithsonian
This month, one of the world’s best preserved prehistoric sites — a 6,000-year-old underground burial chamber on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta — reopened to the public. Last June, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, one of Europe’s only known neolithic necropolises, closed for a series of improvements to its environmental management system. Its reopening brings updates that will enhance conservation and ongoing data collection while improving visitor access and experience.

Archaeological evidence suggests that around 4,000 BCE, the people of Malta and Gozo began building with the purpose of ritualizing life and death. The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, one of the first and most famous of such complexes, is an underground network of alcoves and corridors carved into soft Globigerina limestone just three miles from what is now the capital city of Valletta. The builders expanded existing caves and over the centuries excavated deeper, creating a temple, cemetery and funeral hall that would be used throughout the Zebbug, Ggantija and Tarxien periods. Over the next 1,500 years, known as the Temple Period, above-ground megalith structures cropped up throughout the archipelago, many with features that mirror their subterranean counterparts.

Whatever remained of the above-ground megalithic enclosure that once marked the Hypogeum’s entrance was destroyed by industrialization during the late 1800s. Now, visitors enter through a modernized lobby, then descend a railed walkway and move chronologically through two of the site’s three tiers, glimpsing along the way evidence of the structure's dual role as worship and burial place.
Read more:

5. MEXICO CITY The tzompantli were once believed to only contain the skulls of conquered male warriors
Archaeologists digging in Mexico City have uncovered what they believe to be a legendary tower of skulls, Reuters reports. Over the last two years, the team has dug up more than 675 skulls, including many skull fragments. The find is located near the ruins of Templo Mayor, one of the most important temples in the area during the reign of the Aztecs.
The tzompantli were ceremonial racks that display severed heads of victims in Mesoamerica, the Associated Press reports. While it was previously believed that such a tower would only include the skulls or male warriors conquered in battle, the archaeologists uncovered skulls of women and children as well during the excavation, challenging what the researchers know about these skull racks, Reuters reports.
The tower in question is suspected to be part of the Huey Tzompantli, which was located on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of sun, war and human sacrifice. According to accounts by Spanish conquistadors Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Andrés de Tapia?—who both viewed the Huey Tzompantli in the early 16th century, upon on their arrival in Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs, now Mexico City—the Huey Tzompantli was massive. Both claimed the structure could have contained over 100,000 skulls, though contemporary scholars believe that count was significantly exaggerated.
Rossella Lorenzi at Seeker reports that the researchers believe the partially unearthed skull rack was built between 1485 and 1502, and ran 112 feet in length and stretched 40 feet wide. Parts of the skull rack were constructed by cementing skulls together to support the platform. The researchers believe that structure may have once contained up to 60,000 skulls.
The skull rack is not the only recent find in Mexico City. Last month, researchers unveiled an Aztec temple and ball court discovered under a hotel. The team also found 32 severed neck vertebrae from individuals who had been sacrificed inside the temple.
Read more:

6. MEXICO CITY (AFP).- A giant temple to the Aztec god of the wind and a court where the Aztecs played a deadly ball game have been discovered in the heart of Mexico City.
Archaeologists unveiled the rare finds Wednesday after extensive excavations, giving journalists a tour of the semi-circular temple of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl and nearby ball court.
Records indicate that Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes first watched the ritual Aztec ball game at the court in 1528, invited by the last Aztec emperor, Montezuma -- the man whose empire he went on to conquer.
Historians believe the game involved players using their hips to keep a ball in play -- as well as ritual human sacrifices.
Archaeologists uncovered 32 sets of human neck bones at the site, which they said were likely the remains of people who were decapitated as part of the ritual.
Only part of the structure remains -- a staircase and a portion of the stands. Archaeologists estimate the original court was about 50 meters (165 feet) long.
The temple, meanwhile, is a giant semi-circle perched atop an even larger rectangular base. The whole thing once measured some 34 meters across and four meters high, archaeologists said.
The ancient structures stand in startling contrast with the sprawling mega-city that now surrounds them, which was built atop the ruins of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.
They are just the latest ancient vestiges to be discovered in the historic city center, at what is known as the Great Temple site.
"The discovery we are looking at is a new chance to immerse ourselves in the splendor of the pre-Hispanic city of Tenochtitlan," Culture Minister Maria Cristina Garcia said.
A hotel formerly stood on the site of the newly discovered ruins until 1985, when it collapsed in a catastrophic earthquake that killed thousands of people.
The hotel's owners then noticed the ancient remains and alerted the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Archaeologists believe the temple celebrated the god of the wind and was built between 1486 and 1502.
Officials said they plan to open the site to the public, although no date has been set.





1. WASHINGTON DC Wall Street Journal Native American Exhibitions
“When a white man’s grave is dug up, it’s called grave robbing. But when an Indian’s grave is dug up, it’s called archaeology.” Naomi Schaefer Riley reviews “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits” by Chip Colwell.
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
Updated March 10, 2017 4:45 p.m. ET
‘When a white man’s grave is dug up, it’s called grave robbing. But when an Indian’s grave is dug up, it’s called archaeology.” These words, spoken by Tohono O’odham of American Indians Against Desecration, point to the conflict at the heart of Chip Colwell’s “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits,” a careful and intelligent chronicle of the battle over Indian artifacts and the study of Indian culture.
After the Civil War, Mr. Colwell tells us, America’s scientists and anthropologists, funded by the U.S. government, collected millions of religious objects, cultural artifacts and human remains from Indian tribes with the plan of studying and exhibiting them. In 1879, Congress formed the Bureau of Ethnology, whose goal, Mr. Colwell writes, was to “document fading lifeways and gather cherished objects before they were forever gone.” The assumption was that Indian culture would disappear—either through assimilation or population decline—within a few years.
In some cases, items were recovered through trickery and even robbery. As George Dorsey, the first Ph.D. in anthropology at Harvard and a curator of Chicago’s Field Museum, explained in 1900 to one of his assistants: “When you go into an Indian’s house and you do not find the old man at home and there is something you want, you can do one of three things: go hunt up the old man and keep hunting until you find him; give the old woman such price for it as she may ask for it running the risk that the old man will be offended; or steal it. I tried all three plans and I have no choice to recommend.”
Mr. Colwell, a senior curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, shows that not every researcher was as potentially unethical as Dorsey. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of objects now in museums like the Smithsonian or the Peabody Museum at Harvard or Mr. Colwell’s own Denver museum were purchased fairly. Native American tribes were often in financial straits—in some cases, tribe members needed the money for food and other necessities. So when dealers came to them offering to buy artifacts, they were happy to make a deal.
But ethical quandaries were unavoidable. As Mr. Colwell notes, “most transactions were inherently unequal, with cash and power in the hands of dealers and collectors, who rarely obtained the consent of all clan members.” Complicating matters, the communal ownership of artifacts often meant that the Native Americans who were making the deals didn’t really own the objects they were selling.

MUSEUMS Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW YORL BLOUINARTINFO - Michael E. Shapiro is an expert on arts administration. Not only did he serve as director (now Director Emeritus) of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for 20 years, he also wrote a book about the job, titled "Eleven Museums, Eleven Directors: Conversations on Art and Leadership." In it, Shapiro interviews the leaders of some of the top art institutions in the country — including Glenn Lowry, Director of MoMA; and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, to name a few — to pick their brains about what it means to lead a museum today.
The book, released just over a year ago, is particularly relevant today, following the recent resignation of Thomas Campbell, who stepped down from his position as the director of the most prominent museum in the country, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, under mounting pressure from both the museum board and scrutiny from the public.
Shapiro sat down with ARTINFO to break down the unique challenges Museum Directors face in the 21st century.
The Biggest Challenges Facing Museum Director’s Today
“Art museums are among the most revered institutions in our country,” said Shapiro. Because of that, they’re also under the microscope. “There is risk, regardless of the size or scope of the intuition. The level of expectations—and the level of complexity—that come along with the job of director of a large museum, has increased dramatically. With more success comes more expectation.”
Here are the three biggest challenges Shapiro believes confront directors today:
Old vs. Young
“Museum directors face many exciting challenges. One of the biggest is conveying a sense of inclusiveness, which includes animating and attracting the millennials while also assisting the older generations in continuing a massive transfer in wealth from individuals to institutions—in other words, growing the endowment.”
“Directors need to embrace technology as a vehicle for speaking to and attracting audiences to the museum, without undercutting the special experience of the immediate and direct work of art.”
The Fundraising Dance
“Even well-endowed institutions like the Met find themselves needing additional financial resources to continue fulfilling their mission. Supplying those resources, providing a vision for the future, animating and embracing the staff and all its diverse interests, and keeping the board happy by running a tight fiscal ship—it’s all a part of doing the dance that directors now have to do.”
What makes present museum directors' challenges different than the past?
Museums today are not the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. The same can be said of the job of a museum director. Shapiro identifies three major ways in which museum directors' challenges are different today than they were in the past:
“The essentials of effectively running a museum: a dynamic and stimulating program, important acquisitions, successful fundraising, a healthy balance sheet, sustained attendance and membership growth have not changed. But the instant, international communication of these activities and the opportunity for widespread comment and assessment both locally and internationally is still a powerful new phenomenon.”
“Figuring out how to maintain engagement between the museum and its programs and younger, more distracted audiences is a major challenge. Social media and digital tools have a role to play for this constituency and others, but it's an area that is still being developed.”
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, museums more than ever before need to effectively and deeply connect with their diverse communities.”

Weiss The Met.jpg

2. NEW YORK Wall Street Journal - A New Plan at the Metropolitan Museum
After the ouster of the Met museum head, interim chief Daniel Weiss to present sweeping overhaul
By Kelly Crow
March 21, 2017 2:58 p.m. ET
Amid a dramatic management shake-up at the top of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this month, interim chief executive Daniel Weiss is moving in with a sweeping plan to balance the budget and provide a road map for renovations.
The plan, to be presented to the Met’s board of directors on Wednesday, could amount to an audition by Mr. Weiss for the top job at the nation’s premier encyclopedic museum.
A 59-year-old former head of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, Mr. Weiss was hired by the Met two years ago as president. He took over as interim chief executive March 1 after director and former chief executive Tom Campbell resigned under pressure.
Daniel Brodsky, the Met’s chairman, said the museum is “lucky to have him,” though he said a search committee will still be formed at some point to find a new director—even if Mr. Weiss is eventually tapped for the post. No time frame has been given to launch the search. Mr. Campbell remains director until June 30.
The Met, which has two million objects and hosted seven million visitors last year, has been in turmoil since last spring when the museum said it was struggling to close a $15 million deficit that could balloon to $40 million if cost-cutting measures weren’t enacted quickly. Mr. Campbell laid off workers and pared exhibits over the past six months—but when those efforts fell short of solving problems and criticism continued to mount, Mr. Campbell resigned.
Mr. Weiss said recently that the overall thrust of his plan is to cut costs—and still grow—at a reasonable pace. “This ship was going a little too fast and turned a little too quickly,” Mr. Weiss said, sitting in his airy office that overlooks Manhattan’s Central Park and is decorated with a wintry scene by Alfred Sisley. “I don’t lose sleep over our ability to manage it.”
Specifically, Mr. Weiss said he intends to tell the board that he can close the $15 million deficit in the museum’s $398 million budget over the next two or three years by postponing exhibits and trimming back-office costs while pushing for higher revenue from the museum’s gift shops and restaurants. He isn’t planning on more layoffs following a string of nearly 100 staff cuts over the past year.

    ‘If [museums] don’t change and grow, they’re accused of losing relevance. If they do, they have to justify every dime,’
    —Nik Honeysett, Getty Museum, former head of administration

Mr. Weiss said he plans to suggest that the museum tackle several renovation projects one at a time, rather than attempt to overlap them. First up, he will advocate for a “decidedly unsexy” project to replace 60,000 square feet of 1930s-era skylights that are at risk of leaking above the museum’s European art galleries, he said. Cost: $140 million. Mr. Weiss also will champion a roughly $20 million renovation of the museum’s British galleries, a $5 million face-lift for its musical instrument galleries and seek bids to renovate its African wing, a job he thinks could cost around $60 million.
One thing his proposal on Wednesday won't revive is any mention of the museum’s stalled, $600-million campaign to expand its southwest section into a bigger area for contemporary art—an effort that wilted last year after fundraising proved scarce. The museum’s newer art could go back into a spruced-up version of its current spot known as the Wallace wing—or continue to funnel into exhibits planned in its leased Met Breuer space, Mr. Weiss said.
Leonard Lauder, who four years ago pledged $1 billion worth of cubist art to the museum, also seems to have thrown his weight behind Mr. Weiss, calling him “very good at his job.” Mr. Lauder said he recently agreed to host several groups of curators at his New York apartment to reassure them that his promised gift isn’t in jeopardy because of the stalled contemporary-art wing, Mr. Campbell’s departure or concerns about the Met’s finances.
The Met’s gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but the new plan calls for tripling those sales.
The Met’s gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but the new plan calls for tripling those sales. Photo: Brett Beyer
“The Met has seen its ups and downs and its directors come and go,” Mr. Lauder said, but the only things visitors ever remember are the prized pieces on display within it. “If you ask people who is running the Louvre right now, who can name the guy? But they all know the Mona Lisa,” he added.
Mr. Weiss has already embarked on a series of budget cuts, and museum executives and rank and file say they’re still adjusting to the new austerity. For example, Melanie Holcomb, curator of medieval art, said she had to cut “a significant slice” of her roughly $3 million budget for a show last year about Jerusalem, including canceling some art loans.
Employees have also been instructed to wring more sales from the Met’s restaurants, which brought in $24 million last fiscal year. Will Manzer, the former president of Perry Ellis’s menswear division, has been hired to overhaul the Met’s eight gift stores, in part by manufacturing new product lines. (Hint: Expect more items for men, like Met-branded cuff links and watches.) Mr. Manzer said the gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but he said he’s trying to triple those sales.
Among New York’s art establishment, Mr. Weiss is still something of a newcomer. Born in Newark, one of his first jobs was managing a museum shop in Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Later, he earned degrees in art history (he likes Byzantine art and Greek sculpture) from Johns Hopkins University and business administration from Yale.
At the nucleus of the Met controversy is that $15 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, but the Met’s past annual reports suggest deficits of $4 million to $8 million are commonplace. The museum hasn’t had to siphon from its $2.5 billion endowment to pay operating expenses, a move that nearly sank the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles a few years ago. And in terms of fundraising, the museum said it has raised roughly $850 million over the past five-and-a-half years—an average of $150 million a year.
Other major encyclopedic museums also reported budget shortfalls last year including the Louvre Museum in Paris, which said it suffered a $10 million loss, and London’s Tate Museum, whose income fell 30% last year to $193 million compared with the previous year. Both museums also saw attendance drops, with visitors falling off 15% at the Louvre and 20% at the Tate. By contrast, attendance at the Met grew last year to seven million, up 400,000 visitors from 2015.
The Met could take a few cues from the Art Institute of Chicago, which has a smaller, $650 million endowment but ended the last fiscal year with a $7.3 million surplus.
Museum experts say the Met’s size and role—its assets more than double that of Washington’s National Gallery of Art, for example—can be a mixed blessing, putting its every misstep into sharp relief. Brian Ferriso, director of the Portland Art Museum and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, said Mr. Weiss’s change-agent plan could thrust him into a position he may not ultimately want. “Can he move it forward? He might find more flexibility at a small museum,” Mr. Ferriso said.
Nik Honeysett, the Getty Museum’s former head of administration, agreed, saying the director role can be prestigious, yet thankless. “Museums are damned if they do change and damned if they don’t,” Mr. Honeysett said. “If they don’t change and grow, they’re accused of losing relevance; if they do, they have to justify every dime.”

3. NEW YORK Wall Street Journal By Edward Rothstein March 21, 2017 4:56 p.m. ET
Of all that has been imagined of the afterlife, probably nothing comes close to the scene at a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, in which unburied dead of the past 7,000 years keep posthumous company with each other, laid out in display cases, coffined or wrapped or half unwrapped, accompanied by vessels of preserved organs or relics like a sewing bobbin. One body is bundled in coarse cloth and held together with rope, another is encased in gilt magnificence; one woman is bound with two children, another corpse is left with only a head after ancient grave robbers hastily tore it apart looking for jewelry; and these remains share space with a preserved ibis, crocodile and cat.
The dead almost always inspire awe; they are reflections of what we all become, or demonstrations—in this case—of how some, of different times and places, imagined they might live on. “Mummies” (through Jan. 7, 2018) is an exhibition in which some 18 individuals (or parts of them) are brought into light or can be peered at and maneuvered on touch-screens showing CT scans. And the effect is powerful. We are not looking at a simulacrum of death, but are in its presence. We see one seventh century B.C. Egyptian who, 100 years ago, was unwrapped either “for science or spectacle”: His head was detached. It now lies in place, but the half-wrapped figure still cannot be looked at without some voyeuristic embarrassment: We can scarcely tell where aged linen gives way to desiccated flesh and ancient bone.
This exhibition gives its charges a more technologically subtle unveiling, and in some cases the results are revelatory. The procedures do not distance these bodies from us, but bring us closer to their lives. DNA testing gives us information about their diet. Forensic analysis diagnoses diseases like tuberculosis. In 1977, only four years after being introduced to hospitals, CT scanners (one is on display) began to be applied to the long dead. In one mummified bundle containing a child preserved aabout 1,000 years ago by the Chancay culture in Peru, a scanner disclosed several small figurines. Without ever opening the sack in which the child’s body is hunched in a crouch as in many Peruvian mummies, the figurines (grave offerings? playthings?) are presented to us, produced by 3D printer from scans. On touch-screens you can rotate those objects along with bundles of human remains, then instantly pass through layers of wrapping, or take slices as if using a digital scalpel.
This exhibition originated at the Field Museum in Chicago and includes some mummies that had not been seen displayed since the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. There have been other traveling exhibitions of mummies in recent years—one, “Mummies of the World,” from American Exhibitions Inc. (now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science), is more wide-ranging, theatrical and commercial. But here a weakness—of overly tight focus—is also a strength; the exhibition angles away from sensation and toward scientific investigation, treating two cultural realms in which mummification took place over thousands of years. Ancient Egypt is the more familiar; pre-Columbian Peru has become the focus only in recent decades.
Top row: This highly decorated coffin contains a boy of about 14 years old, who died around 250 BC in the Ptolemaic era of ancient Egypt. CT scanning and subsequent 3D imaging reveal that the teenager was placed into a coffin that was too large for him. Bottom row: More CT scanning and subsequent 3D imaging. With the CT scans and a 3D-printed reconstruction of the skull, French artist Elisabeth Daynès began creating a sculpture to depict what the boy looked like. The completed, hyper-realistic sculpture by artist Elisabeth Daynès recreates the teenage boy who was mummified centuries ago.Photos: The Field Museum(3); Elisabeth Daynès, Paris(2)
The oldest mummies from Peru were created by the Chinchorro culture (c. 5000-2000 B.C.) some two millennia before those of the ancient Egyptians. None of these rare, fragile specimens are on display, though we learn something about their creation. While the Egyptians tended to leave the structure of their dead intact, removing the organs and embalming the remains, the Chinchorro apparently took their dead apart, tanned the skin, and pieced them back together using reeds and clay. The Egyptians believed they were preparing the elite dead for the afterlife, but mummies in many Peruvian cultures played a regular role among the living.
Much of this requires guesswork, particularly because in Peruvian cases no systems of writing have come to light. In one display case here, we see a Peruvian skull from the Nazca culture (from the first eight centuries A.D.) with a hole bored through its forehead that would have once been threaded with rope to attach it to a belt—as shown on a Nazca pot. Such skulls were once believed to be “war trophies,” but DNA analysis shows they were of the same culture of the people who wore them (which doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t trophies).
Scanning and DNA analysis also disclosed various anomalies we see in the exhibition, including a young Egyptian man mummified around 250 B.C. and then placed in a coffin made 200 years earlier and inscribed with another’s name.
But the oldest mummy here is also the most emotionally touching: A woman who was buried in hot, dry Egyptian sand between 5500 and 2700 B.C. was naturally mummified and lies before us. She was less than 34 years old, had lost most of her teeth, suffered from arthritis and had hardened arteries. And here she lies, wrapped in barely discernible linen and fur under a frayed reed mat, crouched so we see the top of her skull and her two protruding feet, near a scanned image of her bent skeletal frame. She is a reminder of the pain and loss mummification is meant to disguise—or permanently fend off—which, in this afterlife anyway, it clearly does not.
—Mr. Rothstein is the Journal’s Critic at Large.
Appeared in the March 22, 2017, print edition as 'Unwrapping History.'


1. WASHINTON DC Committee for Cultural Policy - Benin Repatriation Request Raises Tough Questions
March 29, 2017.  Benin has requested the repatriation from France of thousands of objects procured during colonial rule in Benin at the end of the 19th century. The length of time that has passed undermines any legal claims for return, but ethical arguments remain. Among the challenges are that items are in the hands of French museums, the Church and in private collections. There is no list of missing items, but the parties pressing for return believe there are 4500-6000 items that should go back to Benin.
Another issue may be the future safety of objects if they were sent back to Benin. The recent direct threats to Benin by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, and the group’s strategy of creating chaos and destruction as a means of cultural genocide (and of generating outraged publicity), raises persistent questions about the security of repatriating significant numbers of cultural objects to that region.
Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey, was under French colonial rule from around 1892 until 1960, when the country gained independence. France “acquired” most of the treasures from Dahomey during a period of colonial fighting between 1892 and 1894. Missionaries also brought numerous cultural objects back to France during the same period. Benin’s ambassador to UNESCO, Irenee Zevounou, is pursuing negotiations with both the French state and the Church for the return of thousands of cultural objects including swords and thrones, that are thought to now reside in French public and private collections.
The repatriation request is complicated by French and international law, by the lack of an official list of objects, and the fact that the former Kingdom of Dahomey included parts of Nigeria as well as Benin – which country can make the claim? The part of the 1970 UNESCO Convention which covers the repatriation of cultural objects states that the signatory nations must “ensure that their competent services co-operate in facilitating the earliest possible restitution of illicitly exported cultural property to its rightful owner.” But what is “illicitly exported” in this 19th century context?  The Convention (although ratified by France in 1997) is not really implemented there – for all practical purposes, at least, since it is a major tribal market and home some of the largest tribal art sales in the world, such as Parcours des Mondes. France also upholds the “inalienability and imprescriptibility” of objects that have been part of French public collections for more than a century.
Neither the Benin government nor the civil society groups requesting return can make a valid argument that the cultural objects would be preserved if they were returned to Benin. Although the political situation in Benin is relatively quiescent compared to its neighbor, Nigeria, there is a potential threat from the Boko Haram insurgency, which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 individuals and the displacement of over 2.3 million people in the region. While a coalition of soldiers from Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Benin appeared to have subdued the ultra-fundamentalist Islamic group in 2015, a subsequent division within Boko Haram resulted in debate over whether the group would dissipate, or instead gain strength as a dual insurgency.
On March 20, 2017, Newsweek reported that “Boko Haram Vows to Impose Sharia Law in Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Mali.” Though much of Boko Haram’s activity has been in Northeastern Nigeria, the fact that they’ve named Benin as a target is concerning.
Agreements for long term loans or safe harbor also seem to be part of President Francois Hollande’s agenda on cultural property, and this may be an avenue for discussion, if France tolerates any claim at all. In spite of the cultural destruction that has occurred at the hands of ISIS and other terrorist groups, the granting of safe harbor to items from war zones has often been overlooked in recent years, in part due to misguided concerns that antiquities were being used to finance terrorist activities. A proactive approach using safe harbor as its foundation may do much to protect cultural heritage in countries under threat from terrorism and war.
Hollande has taken direct measures to support just these aims. In a November 2015 address to delegates at the 38th UNESCO Conference in Paris, he proposed bringing Syrian antiquities to France for safekeeping. Since then, in September of 2016, he announced a $100m fund to combat terrorist attacks on cultural sites and “protect the resources of humanity” in the Middle East. In November of the same year he unveiled a plaque for a Louvre Museum conservation facility in Liévin, designed as a haven to hold art and antiquities from countries in crisis until they can be safely repatriated to their country of origin.
A discussion between the parties that focuses on preservation and public access to objects in both France and Benin may be the most fruitful and least fraught with political jockeying – and the most prudent where war and terrorism are present threats.
Image: 16-17th century sculpture from Benin Kingdom, Nigeria Edo State, Benin Empire, Musee du Quai Branly, Paris, author Rama, Wikimedia Commons.

2. WASHINGTON DC - Committe for Cultural Policy -Vikan: On Creating a New Culture of Antiquities Collecting in the US
Vikan: On Creating a New Culture of Antiquities Collecting in the US
March 25, 2017.  “We are an immigrant nation and we all have a shared interest in the preservation of ancient culture; and we should all value the controlled, legal movement of cultural property as we value the free movement of people, literature, and ideas.” So writes Gary Vikan, Committee for Cultural Policy (CCP) President and former director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, in the February 2017 edition of Apollo.
In Trading Places, Dr. Vikan describes the origins of the encyclopedic museum system in the U.S., and the results of recent, self-imposed regulation which has led to a veritable freeze of the free movement of cultural property.
Vikan proposes a process in which the U.S. could unfreeze the flow of cultural objects and “create a new culture of collecting, which will be sustained by the vast number of antiquities already within borders of the United States.”
Mass collections of antiquities built by magnates such as J.P. Morgan, Henry Walters and others fueled the collections of the museums of the late 19th and early 20th century. Vikan writes, “In those days, collectors benefited enormously from a flourishing legal export trade in antiquities. Walters’ renowned Imperial Roman sarcophagi came to America from a private collector in Rome in 1902, with full oversight by the Italian government. But there was also plenty of loot to be had.” “Loot” that often was acquired through questionable means.
It was this wholesale collecting of antiquities that ultimately led source countries and international organizations to implement laws to restrict the exportation of cultural property. Vikan continues, “In 1970, UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The United States was not only the first major antiquities-importing nation to sign on to the 1970 UNESCO Convention; it was the first to pass implementation legislation to give the Convention legal effect. The Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 created the President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee, to entertain requests from foreign nations that we in the USA, in concert with other antiquities-buying countries, and stop the importation of broad categories of antiquities that previously had been flowing unhindered into the USA.”
The flow of antiquities exported without source country authority slowed by the 1990s, but Vikan says that the lax culture of regulation that existed within the museum system enabled some many recently imported antiquities to find their way into collections in the U.S. In 2008 a rewrite of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ (AAMD) acquisition guidelines stemmed this flow by establishing guidelines: “AAMD members normally should not acquire a work unless research substantiates that the work was outside the country of probable modern discovery before 1970.”
Vikan discusses the significance of the change in museum culture: “For me, the clearest evidence that the old system is dead is that antiquities are not coming out of war-ravaged Syria. Virtually nothing of any monetary or cultural significance is now on the US art market from that troubled region. I contrast this with the bustling trade in war loot that I encountered as a young curator in the 1980s, when vast numbers of important pieces of Byzantine art – including icons, frescoes, and even church mosaics – were pouring westward in the wake of the 1974 Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus. Whole church interiors were then being offered by well-known dealers to established private and museum buyers.”
The AAMD guidelines stopped the flow of looted antiques but had the unintended consequence of placing hundreds of thousands of antiquities (legally imported but not legally exported from the source countries) in limbo. They were legal to own, buy and sell, but museums would not accept the, even as donations. Museums and collectors began to refer to them as “orphans.”
“Orphan” antiquities also included artworks and artifacts procured prior to 1970, but which lacked records of purchase. They might be works of fine art or that glazed pot one of your relatives bought during a trip to Afghanistan in their youth. Or the early icon your great-great-grandmother brought with her when she emigrated from Russia. Items that were acquired legally but the proof of their purchase has long ago disappeared.
To release the orphans from this state of limbo, and to enable them to be collected, curated, and exhibited by museums, Vikan envisions “a new culture of collecting.” This involves the liberation of two categories of antiquities that already exist within the United States – “orphan” antiquities and the vast quantities of antiquities that exist in museum storage, the ones never placed on display for public view.
Vikan envisions an internet database containing images of “orphans”, which “aggressively marketed to their countries of likely origin, with adequate protection of privacy, would be where potential claimants could find large numbers of searchable antiquities in the hands of American collectors and dealers, and make whatever legitimate claims they might have for restitution.”  Anything unclaimed after a period of time would, by default, be considered to have a clear title and therefore be able to reenter the market place.
The complexity of the guidelines for deaccessioning antiquities in museum storage is cited by Vikan as the reason so many stay in basements and storage areas, never seen by the public, and creating an ongoing expense for the museum.
“AAMD guidelines should be revised,” Mr. Vikan says, “and incentives found for getting these works swiftly to public auctions, so that they can re-enter the marketplace of dealers and collectors, and eventually find their home in other museums, where they will be prized and exhibited.”
He concludes, “The net result of these changes in policies as they relate to orphans and to the reaccessioning of storeroom collections would be to build a robust environment in America for the legal, regulated trade in antiquities and, ultimately, to serve our museum collections and the public.”
Note: See a new Comment by Dr. Vikan in Apollo, Blame Games at the Met.

ART MARKET Spring/Summer 2017


1. NEW YORK (AFP).- A 1982 untitled Basquiat sold for $110.5 million in New York on Thursday, setting a new auction record for the US artist in Sotheby's flagship post-war and contemporary art sale, the auction house said.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, the US wonderkid of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, who died in 1988 of an overdose at the age of 27, has been catapulted into the rostrum of 20th century greats by the rising value of his work.
A tense bidding war lasted for around 10 minutes between a client in Sotheby's New York showroom and another on the telephone, with the telephone buyer ultimately clinching the top bid.
The skull-like head on a giant canvas in oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint called "Untitled" was the star lot of the May auction season in New York and had been valued pre-sale in excess of $60 million.
Loud cheers and applause greeted the conclusion of the sale, which almost doubled the previous Basquiat record of $57 million, set for a self-portrait snapped up by a Japanese billionaire at Christie's last year.
Thursday's canvas was last bought in 1984 at Christie's for $19,000.
Sotheby's auctioneer opened bids Thursday at $57 million and offered occasional moments of levity and encouragement to the bidders.
"It's a great masterpiece at $98 million dollars," he said to laughter in the room shortly before the bidding war concluded. The $110.5 million price tag includes the buyer's premium.
At least 14 works from the Brooklyn-born artist were on sale at Christie's and Sotheby's this week.
The subject of much of his work -- ordeals endured by blacks in America -- is finding renewed resonance in the wake of nationwide US protests since 2014 about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.
Rival auction house Christie's sold Basquiat's "La Hara" -- a 1981 acrylic and oil-stick of an angry-looking New York police officer -- for $35 million on Wednesday, eclipsing its $22-28 million estimate.
Pablo Picasso holds the world record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction. His "The Women of Algiers (Version 0)" fetched $179.4 million at Christie's in New York in 2015.

2.  TOKYO (AFP).- With a single post on Instagram, Yusaku Maezawa announced not only his purchase of an $110.5 million Basquiat masterpiece, and his place in auction history, but arguably signalled a new era for art in Japan.
The price, a record for the artist, is reminiscent of 1980s Japan when corporate big-spenders splashed out on Impressionist art -- along with foreign property and businesses -- in an asset-buying spree.
But billionaire Maezawa insists he is just an "ordinary collector" -- despite his extraordinary bank balance. His purchases are born out of love and driven by gut instinct, rather than the instructions of any art advisor.
"I buy simply because they are beautiful. That's all. I enjoy classics together with the history and stories behind them, but possessing classics is not the purpose of my purchase," he told AFP.
Rather than squirrel away his latest purchase -- Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 "Untitled", a skull-like head in oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint on a giant canvas -- he plans to loan it out to galleries worldwide.
"I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations," he said after the New York sale last month.
He's the one
The 41-year-old's style is a step change from the corporate image of Japan's traditional art collectors who possess paintings as investment tools or to cement their social status.
Paper tycoon Ryoei Saito, who bought Vincent Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr Gachet" in 1990 for $82.5 million -- a then record -- and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette" for $78.1 million -- famously triggered outrage when he said he would have the canvases put in his coffin and cremated with him when he died. He later recanted.
"Many Japanese rushed to buy paintings for investment during the bubble economy," said Shinji Hasada, an official at Shinwa Art Auction, of the 1980s and 1990s boom period.
Customs figures showed works of art valued at $246 million were imported in 1985, but the figure shot up to $3.4 billion in 1990.
But many of the bubble-era masterpieces were sold off in a fire sale when the Japanese economy collapsed. Today Japan's art collection market has shrunk to around one-twentieth of its peak, Hasada explained.
And while collectors such as former chairman of publisher Benesse Soichiro Fukutake, who helped transform a remote island into an art haven, have bolstered interest, Hasada believes Maezawa could inject new life into the sector.
"In all eras of history, patrons have come out to boost the art world, and in that sense he is the modern one we have been waiting for," Hasada said.
An aspiring rock star as a teen, he moved on to selling music merchandise via mail order and then online. In 1998 Maezawa founded Start Today, which operates the nation's largest online fashion mall, ZOZOTOWN.
Today, he is 11th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3.5 billion, according to business magazine Forbes.
Young artists' champion
His Instagram feed, where he proclaimed to the world that he was the one who purchased Basquiat's painting, is peppered with shots of his luxury living -- including private jets, yachts and designer watches, but also his beloved art.
Many traditional collectors are more secretive -- "Untitled" had previously not been seen in public for decades -- but Maezawa wants to engage a new generation with his passion -- some 73,000 people follow his posts.
"I think (Instagram) is helping promote contemporary art in terms of information sharing," he explains, adding that he has also uses social media to discover and buy pieces from new talent.
He founded the Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, a boon for the city's talent who feel they have finally found a champion.
Yukimasa Ida, a 27-year-old contemporary artist who has won the foundation's special jury award, regards Maezawa as a "figurehead" of up-and-coming Japanese artists aiming to challenge the global artworld.
"He is an encouraging collector, of a kind that has been hardly seen in Japan ... in terms of fostering and influencing young artists," Ida told AFP.
Maezawa said he wanted to introduce upcoming artists to a broader audience.
"I'm happy that good works by young artists with limited chances will see the light of day by my purchasing them," he added.
Next he plans to open a museum in Chiba, east of Tokyo, which will display his collection, which includes works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons.
It will also showcase his Basquiat pieces -- last year he paid $57.3 million for the artist's painting of a horned devil.
But he plans to tour "Untitled", which set a record for any US artist at auction, showcasing it at galleries around the world.
He said: "I wish to loan this piece — which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years — to institutions and exhibitions around the world."

 3. NEW YORK Art Auction Houses Offer Cash Advances
Perk allow collectors to quickly tap equity in valuable artwork and other collectibles consigned for sale
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments and the traditional direct loans to clients.
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments and the traditional direct loans to clients. Photo: iStockphoto/Getty Images
By Daniel Grant
Updated March 27, 2017 10:37 a.m. ET
Large auction houses have long offered loans to their “art rich, cash poor” clients, using a piece of art, jewelry or other collectible as collateral. But a growing number of both large and small auctioneers are taking it a step further and offering some clients a new perk: an interest-free cash advance on a piece consigned for sale.
The cash advance allows a person whose principal assets are illiquid—in the form of valuable artworks and other collectibles—to quickly tap the equity of those assets. This is especially appealing to collectors who have large short-term financial needs and can’t wait for that consigned painting, sculpture or necklace to actually sell—which can take months or even years, in some cases.
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And the perk can give auction houses a competitive advantage over art galleries—which typically don’t offer cash advances on consignments—by putting money in the seller’s pocket right away.
“Loans and advances against consignments are part of the industry that is growing the fastest,” says Thomas B. McCabe IV, vice president in charge of business development and private sales at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia.
Money on the Spot
The amount of an advance typically ranges from one-quarter to one-half of the estimated value of a consigned piece. The auction house takes physical possession of the artwork, and once the piece is sold, the seller receives the sale price less the advance, sales commission and other fees.
So, for instance, the consignor of piece estimated at $100,000 might receive an advance of $25,000 and, after a sale price of $100,000, an additional $55,000 (deducting a 20% commission).
Since auctioneers are more likely to pay an advance on pieces they expect to sell and sell well, a consignor may be in a stronger position to negotiate fees. Auctioneers also earn money from the buyer’s premiums—typically 12% to 25%—so they may be willing to take less on the seller’s end.
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But what if the artwork fails to sell at auction? The piece is likely to be offered at a subsequent sale, and interest on the advance may be charged, although that rarely happens. However, if a piece continues not to sell, the auction house may demand its money back or charge interest on the advance and call it a loan.
At Freeman’s auction house, for example, a consignor pays an annual interest rate of 10% on the unpaid balance of the advance after 35 days if an object hasn’t sold, according to the company’s written terms and agreements. The other option is just to return the advance within the 35 days without any penalty.
Mr. McCabe says cash advances are a “courtesy” available to certain consignors who make the request. “We’re not a bank or a pawnshop,” he says, but adds that the cash advances are incentives to prospective consignors in a competitive auction field. “We know there are other auctioneers out there who will advance the money if we don’t.”
Previous Wealth Management Coverage of Art and Collecting
Case by Case
Decisions on giving advances tend to be on a case-by-case basis. A known client is somewhat more apt to receive an advance. A rare, sought-after item is more likely to bring the consignor an advance than one that’s not as assured of selling at auction or for a sizable price. “Jewelry is always popular and is likely to merit a higher advance than something that might not sell as easily, such as, say, something from antiquity,” says Joanne Porrino Mournet, executive vice president at auction house Doyle in New York.
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments (generally, at 50% of the low estimate) and the traditional direct loans of no less than $1 million with renewable two-year terms. “We generally lend to clients who we’ve worked with in the past, whether as buyers or sellers,” says Jan Prasens, managing director of Sotheby’s Financial Services.
The perk doesn’t appear to be catching on with art dealers, however, who tend to not give cash advances on consigned pieces. “If you can guarantee that something will sell,” says Maxwell Davidson IV, senior director of Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York, “you are confident enough to buy it outright, rather than take it on consignment and advance cash against a sale.”
Mr. Grant is a writer in Amherst, Mass. Email him at
Appeared in the March 27, 2017, print edition.



FOLK ART Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW BRAUNFELS, TX.- The Marcy Carsey Collection of American furniture and folk art, one of the most notable collections of Americana brought to auction in recent memory, will be presented by Lark Mason Associates on the iGavel Auctions website between May 16 and June 6, 2017. Assembled by Marcy Carsey with the help of her friend and business partner Susan Baerwald, the collection contains works purchased over the past 25 years featuring 19th and early 20th century furniture, weathervanes, trade signs, anniversary tin, quilts, hand-hooked rugs, toys, whimsical pieces and hand-made musical instruments. The well-known and respected experts and gallerists, opened Just Folk, in 2007 in Los Angeles. Appearing at the top folk art and Americana shows in the United States., they were sought out by collectors and interior decorators for their beautiful presentations, which positioned Americana in the context of art and design. The duo has recently embarked on a new venture, taking their gallery virtual to better share their important inventory with a new generation of collectors.
Ms. Carsey, one of Hollywood’s most successful television producers who, with her partner Tom Werner, won numerous Emmy Awards for such mega-hits as “That ‘70s Show,” “Roseanne,” “Third Rock from The Sun,” “Grace Under Fire,” and many more, is passionate about her collection and her desire to share her love of Americana with others. "I have always been attracted to things that make me smile," says Carsey. "It’s important that others get to share the joy that these pieces have given me and my family over the years.”
Lark Mason, whose career spanned twenty-five years at Sotheby’s including a stint as one of their leading generalists, was particularly thrilled with the opportunity to present the Carsey Collection at auction. “Rarely does the public have an opportunity to purchase a professionally curated and assembled selection of works of this quality,” he said. “With their bold splashes of color and distinctive lines, these items can easily be integrated into a contemporaryir interior.”
One of the major highlights of the collection are 38 remarkable antique carriages and childhood vehicles from the Weinberg Collection. Ranging from nearly unused wheeled carriages to stunning 19th century sleighs, the collection is a snapshot of American childhood from the height of the Gilded Age. Fully documented and cited in numerous reference works, another collection of this quality is unlikely to come to the market.
Additional objects include an important early 19th century Paint Decorated Cupboard, (Est: $40,000-60,000), a 19th century Tall Shaker Red-Painted Chest, (Est: $20,000-30,000), a 19th century Pennsylvania Painted Lift-Top Blanket (Est: $15,000-25,000) and a wide variety of weathervanes, clocks, tables, chairs, and other objects estimated at prices that are accessible to buyers at all economic levels.
Notes Mason, “With its exceptional range of objects and condition, this collection is a great opportunity for seasoned collectors and decorative arts buyers to purchase significant works of American folk art and furniture.”
Viewing the collection is by appointment in New Braunfels, Texas from May 20th to June 5th.

2.  ATLANTA, GA.- Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High Museum of Art, announced today that the Museum has received 54 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, one of the most significant acquisitions by the High’s folk and self-taught art department since its establishment in 1994.
The combined gift and purchase features paintings, sculptures and works on paper by 33 contemporary African-American artists from the Southern United States, including 13 works by Thornton Dial (1928–2016) that span four decades of the artist’s astounding career. The acquisition also features 11 quilts created by the women of Gee’s Bend, Ala., tripling the Museum’s examples of this unparalleled tradition in American art. Work by Lonnie Holley and Ronald Lockett, artists whose work the High has been collecting since the 1990s, is joined by sculpture from their Alabama contemporaries Joe Minter and Richard Dial. In addition to Minter and Richard Dial, artists entering the High’s collection for the first time include Eldren Bailey, one of four Georgia artists represented in the acquisition, Charles Williams, Vernon Burwell and Georgia Speller. A significant group of paintings and sculpture by Joe Light, as well as individual works by artists such as Archie Byron, Mary T. Smith, Royal Robertson and Purvis Young, complement existing holdings by those artists.
The High’s acquisition is part of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s strategic gift/purchase program designed to strengthen the representation of African-American artists from the Southern U.S. in the collections of leading museums across the country, including the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“This gift dovetails remarkably well with our existing collection—essentially adding strength on strength to one of the most distinctive and important collections of its kind,” said Suffolk. “We’re grateful to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation for the opportunity to deepen our commitment to these artists and recognize their impact on contemporary art.”
“This landmark acquisition is a capstone of years of collaboration with the High Museum of Art, the anchoring institution in the Foundation’s hometown of Atlanta. We are very pleased to add dozens of significant works to the High’s collection of contemporary art and look forward to years of future collaboration through insightful programming, displays and publications,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
This acquisition is the latest in a series of major milestones for the High’s folk and self-taught art department. In 2014 the Museum received a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta-based patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone to support and expand the Museum’s folk and self-taught art initiatives, including the endowment of a permanent, full-time curatorial position. Katherine Jentleson, Ph.D., joined the High in 2015 as the inaugural Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art. Since Jentleson’s arrival, the Museum has added 177 artworks to the folk and self-taught art collection and continues to build its robust special exhibition program, which has included “Green Pastures: In Memory of Thornton Dial, Sr.” (Feb. 13 through May 1, 2016), “A Cut Above: Wood Sculpture from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection” (May 14 through Oct. 30, 2016) and the solo retrospective “Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett” (Oct. 9, 2016, through Jan. 8, 2017). Since establishing the department in 1994, the High has presented other notable exhibitions, including “Howard Finster: Visions from Paradise Garden” (1996), “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” (2006), “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial” (2012–2013) and “Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts” (2012–2013).
The High began collecting the work of contemporary self-taught artists in 1975 and became the first museum outside of Alabama to make a major purchase of work by Bill Traylor in 1982. The following decade included a significant acquisition of work by Howard Finster and the foundational gift of more than 150 works of art from T. Marshall Hahn, which established the High as a leader in work by Southern self-taught artists. Subsequent gifts in the 2000s, including more than 130 works by Nellie Mae Rowe from the Judith Alexander Foundation and more than 80 works by various artists from the collection of Gordon W. Bailey, reinforced this strength. The Souls Grown Deep acquisition greatly deepens the High’s holdings of contemporary art from the South, endowing the collection with masterpieces collected by William S. Arnett throughout the region in the 1980s, which formed the basis for the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
To showcase these new acquisitions, the Museum will increase the physical footprint of the folk and self-taught art galleries by 30 percent as part of a permanent collection reinstallation planned for 2018.
“When we unveil works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in our expanded galleries it will be a defining moment that makes undeniable the magnitude of achievement that has been realized by artists here in the South, regardless of their level of training,” said Jentleson. “This is art that breaks boundaries and defies expectations, challenging long-held assumptions about where great art comes from and whom we acknowledge as the leading artists of our time.”
Thornton Dial, Sr.
For many years, the High has held the largest public collection of Dial’s work and has recognized his artistic genius through exhibition projects. With the addition of 13 paintings and sculptures from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the Museum nearly doubles its holdings to include paintings and assemblages spanning Dial’s entire 30-year career, giving the critically acclaimed Alabama artist a lasting legacy within the High’s world-class collection.
Key works:
• “Crossing Waters” (2006–2011), the largest painting Dial ever made, references the transatlantic voyage that forcibly brought hundreds of thousands of African people to lives of servitude in the United States.
• “Driving to the End of the World” (2004), five works created as a commentary on the global oil crisis made from an old truck that Dial found deserted in the woods, comprise the only series of work Dial ever completed.
• Three pre-1990 works, “Beaver Dam” (1987), “The Old Ku Klux: After All Their Fighting, Where’s the Profit” (1988) and “Turkey Tower” (1980s), illustrate the early period of Dial’s career previously undocumented at the High.
• Two works from 2002, “Looking Out the Windows” and “Mrs. Bendolph,” exhibit the highly sophisticated range of Dial’s assemblage practice as it blossomed at the dawn of the millennium.
Gee’s Bend Quilts
Gee’s Bend, Ala., was named after Joseph Gee, who built a plantation there in the early 1800s. The Gee family sold the plantation to Mark Pettway in 1845, and most present-day residents, including many of the Gee’s Bend quilters, are descendants of slaves from the former Pettway plantation.
Dating from the 1970s to 2005, the 11 quilts included in the Souls Grown Deep Foundation gift/purchase triple the High’s existing holdings of works by these celebrated women artists and demonstrate the incredible legacy of their artistic production, which parallels many of the experiments with color, flatness and abstraction associated with postwar American painting. Quilts by Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph and Annie Mae Young complement existing holdings by these artists, while work by Lucy T. Pettway, Arlonzia Pettway, Arcola Pettway, China Pettway, Jennie Pettway, Agatha Bennett, Polly Bennett and Flora Moore enters the collection for the first time.
Additional highlights:
• A trio of found-object sculptures by Alabama-born, Atlanta-based artist and musician Lonnie Holley (born 1950), including “What’s on a Pedestal Today” (1990) and “Not Olympic Rings” (1994), two works that engage directly with the postmodern practice of institutional critique
• “The Comfort and Service My Daddy Brings to Our Household” (1988), a steel sculpture by Thornton Dial’s son, Richard Dial (born 1955), one of several works that demonstrates dynamic artistic exchange and cross-influence.
• Key works by Ronald Lockett (1965–1998), whose retrospective the High recently hosted. “Civil Rights Marchers” (1988) and “Once Something Has Lived It Can Never Really Die” (1996) span the artist’s brief but explosive career and complement the High’s existing holdings of Lockett’s cut-metal drawings and deer paintings, work in which animals become potent symbols for the vulnerability of African-American men in the post–Civil Rights era South.
• Works commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: a painted cabinet by South Carolina artist Sam Doyle (1906–1985) titled “A Dream” and sculpted likenesses of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King by Vernon Burwell (1916–1990) of Rocky Mount, N.C. Both works represent an alternative narrative to canonical accounts of American portraiture, in which white subjects by white artists have been historically dominant.
• Rare work by Atlanta artist Eldren Bailey, who began decorating his property in the Mechanicsville neighborhood with concrete sculpture in 1945. “Pyramid” (1970s), a concrete sculpture embedded with found objects including costume jewelry, pennies and a freemason’s pin, is a 20th-century heir to the memory jug, a form that has long been associated with the survival of African traditions on American soil.


1. WASHINGTON DC - President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan, revealed on Wednesday by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, includes the elimination of the estate tax, a move that would impact both wealthy collectors and cultural charities.
Some form of inheritance tax, or as its opponents dramatically like to call it, the “death tax”, has existed in the US for most of its history. Currently, an estate has to be worth at least $5.49m before it starts being taxed by the federal government. While the top rate for the tax is 40%, the average paid on such estates is around 16.6%, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Many of America’s richest, however, tend to set up trusts to protect their legacies from the taxman. Republicans have long wanted to to eliminate it completely.
“At first blush, this seems like it would be great for collectors,” says Donn Zaretsky, a lawyer with John Silberman Associates in New York. "You get to pass down your art collection free of estate tax—what’s not to like?  But during the campaign, there was talk of also eliminating the so-called step-up in income tax basis as part of the deal. If that’s still part of the proposal, then it’s more of a mixed bag for collectors.”
Using the step-up in basis allows beneficiaries to lower the capital gains tax on assets they inherit that have grown in value. Currently, “older collectors sitting on art that is appreciating in value are reluctant to sell. They’re waiting for those assets to transfer to their estate,” says Doug Woodham, a wealth advisor and former Christie’s executive who recently published a primer for new collectors, Art Collecting Today: Market Insights for Everyone Passionate about Art. “If estate tax goes away, collectors will either pay more in capital gains tax, or their heirs will. I would think you’d see more people saying, ‘Maybe I should sell now.'”
But while the market might see more turnover in the short term, in the long term, elimination of estate tax would also eliminate a powerful incentive to sell. Barbara Lawrence, a lawyer with the New York firm Herrick Feinstein, says that while “there’s no way of knowing” how Trump’s proposals may take effect, if the estate tax were repealed, "I think a lot of collections would actually not go up for sale,” she says. “While wealthy collectors may have more money to spend, there may not be much inventory to spend it on."
Cutting the estate tax could also negatively impact museums and universities, since they often receive bequests from wealthy patrons and alumni who are motivated to reduce their taxable assets before they die. “The estate tax that has been a favourite issue of the Republican congress for many years,” Nina Ozlu Tunceli, the Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs and the Executive Director for the Americans for the Arts Action Fund told us in January. “You could talk to any university [about cutting it] and they would lay down on the floor over that.” Lawrence notes, however, that Trump’s proposal preserves the deduction for charitable gifts, which could lessen the repeal’s impact.
The estate tax is also a way for the government to generate substantial revenue. According the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the estate tax would generate about $275bn through 2026 under current law. “While this is less than 1% of federal revenue over the period,” the center reports, “it is significantly more than the federal government will spend on the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency combined.”


1.  NEW YORK, NY.- The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today the promised gift from Charles and Valerie Diker of 91 works of Native American art—a selection of recognized masterworks from the collection they assembled over more than four decades. Joining another 20 works already given by the Dikers during the past two decades, these examples range in date from the 2nd to the early 20th century, and represent—through a wide variety of aesthetic forms and media—the achievements of artists from many culturally distinct traditions across the North American continent.
"These superb works will be an extraordinary addition to The Met collection," said Carrie Rebora Barratt, Deputy Director for Collections and Administration, in making the announcement. "They have been selected from the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind in private hands today and are of the highest aesthetic quality. This generous gift will considerably strengthen our holdings of the artistic production of native communities, and we are immensely grateful to our longtime friends and donors Chuck and Valerie Diker for their vision and generosity."
"Valerie and I are honored to share the remarkable work of these Native American artists with the public, especially as an integral part of the broader story of American creativity," noted Mr. Diker. "Over the past 45 years, our vision and advocacy has been to build appreciation of these great works of art from cultures across the United States and, through The Met's stewardship, we are confident that both public recognition of the power and beauty of these works and scholarship on them will be greatly advanced. We'd like to thank the leadership of The Met, especially Carrie Rebora Barratt and Thomas P. Campbell, Director, for enabling us to present the work of these important artists within the context of their peers in the U.S. and around the world."
This collection will be displayed in The Met's American Wing starting with a major exhibition in fall 2018, marking The Met's curatorial decision to display art from the first Americans within its appropriate geographic context. Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing, will oversee the integration of this material into the galleries.
"This transformative gift marks a turning point in the narratives presented within the American Wing," said Ms. Barratt. "With the addition of these works, The Met will be able to offer a much richer history of the art of North America, one that will include critical perspectives on our past and represent diverse and enduring native artistic traditions."
The receipt of this gift reflects The Met's historic commitment to building the world's greatest encyclopedic collection and is one of the first major gifts looking forward to celebrating the Museum's 150th anniversary in 2020. In recent years, Native American art, along with Latin American and modern and contemporary art, have been identified as top acquisition priorities. Said Ms. Barratt: "Many years from now, future scholars and visitors will appreciate the significance of the Dikers' enormous generosity."
The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of Native American art is the finest and most comprehensive private collection of its kind. Over the past 45 years, the Dikers have built an all-encompassing collection embracing the artistic achievements of Native Americans across North America, dating from the pre-Contact era to the 20th century. Unmatched in its breadth, quality, and diversity, the Diker Collection is further distinguished in its holdings of works that represent the height of aesthetic and technical achievement by individual artists working in their cultural traditions.
Highlights of the collection gift include: an elaborate dance mask (ca. 1900) with representations of a spirit, seal, fish, and bird held in a human hand, made by a Yup'ik artist from Alaska; a powerful ceramic jar (ca. 1895) with a portrayal of the Butterfly Maiden spirit being (Palhik Mana), created by renowned Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo, from Arizona; a magnificent basket (1907) superbly integrating form and design, by Washoe artist Louisa Keyser (also known as Datsolalee), from Nevada; and a delicate, black-dyed, porcupine quill embroidered shoulder bag (c. 1820) fashioned by an Ojibwa artist from Ontario, Canada.
Selected works from the collection were on view at the Museum in the recent exhibition Native American Masterpieces from the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection (October 28, 2016-March 31, 2017). This showing immediately followed a national tour of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection, a larger exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts.
Charles and Valerie Diker have been involved at The Met as donors and lenders of Native American works of art since the 1990s. Three works given by the Dikers in 2016—a Haudenosaunee pouch and a Pomo basket by unrecorded artists, and a jar by Maria and Julián Martínez of the San Ildefonso Pueblo—are currently on display in The Met's American Wing, where they are presented in dialogue with contemporaneous paintings and sculpture addressing relevant themes.
The Dikers donated additional examples of Native American art between 1999 and 2008, and an earlier exhibition of selected works—Native Paths: American Indian Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker—was shown at the Museum in 1998–2000 and curated by David W. Penney, Associate Director of Museum Scholarship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
In addition to their long-term relationship with The Met, the Dikers have been ardent and generous supporters of a broad range of cultural institutions across the visual and performing arts. Mr. and Mrs. Diker served as the Founding Chairman and Chairwoman of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, in New York. Mr. Diker is a member of the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and New York Public Radio. He has previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Santa Fe Opera Foundation, as President of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and as a member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard University Art Museums. Mrs. Diker is Founding Chair of the National Dance Institute New Mexico and a member of its national board, and has served as Chairman of Twyla Tharp Dance. In addition to their collection of Native American art, the Dikers collect modern and contemporary art. Mr. Diker is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Cantel Medical Corp.
The title and dates of the fall 2018 exhibition celebrating the gift of the Diker Collection to The Met will be announced later. The exhibition will comprise more than 100 works, including outright and promised gifts.
For the exhibition and accompanying publication, the Museum has engaged Gaylord Torrence, Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as guest curator. A world-renowned expert in Native American art, he previously curated the acclaimed exhibition The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, which was organized by Museé du Quai Branly in Paris in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and shown at The Met in 2015.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly publication written by Gaylord Torrence and others. The book will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
Education programs will be organized in conjunction with the exhibition and the subsequent and ongoing display of works from the collection.


Ear Mnqa Skull.jpg

1. MIAMI (AFP).- The discovery of a 400,000-year-old half skull in Portugal has offered tantalizing hints about a possible ancestor of the Neanderthals, researchers said Monday.
The fossil was unearthed from the Aroeira cave site, and marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in Portugal, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.
But there is plenty of mystery around the skull. Researchers don't know if it was from a male or female, how the person died, or even what form of early human it was.
"There is a lot of question about which species these fossils represent. I tend to think of them as ancestors of the Neanderthals," co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropologist at Binghamton University, State University of New York, told AFP.
"It is not a Neanderthal itself," he added. "It has some features that might be related to the later Neanderthals," including a lump of bone near the ear called the mastoid process.
Researchers say this bone may be related to regulating pressure in the ear, although its exact purpose is unclear.
What researchers can say with certainty is that the skull belonged to an adult, based on the formation of the bones. A couple of teeth found with it appear worn, as if belonging to an adult rather than a child.
They also know its age -- 400,000 years -- based on precision dating of the surrounding stalagmites and sediments.
The same cannot be said for other skulls of its kind found elsewhere in Europe. Some were uncovered years ago, before modern technology existed. In other cases, conditions at the cave site did not allow for precise dating of surrounding rock and sediment.
Researchers have sometimes had to guess at the ages of these skulls, ranging from 200,000 to more than 400,000 years, according to Quam.
The Portuguese skull shares some features with bones uncovered in northern Spain that are some 430,000 years old, and in southern France dating even further back, to around 450,000 years.
"There is a lot of debate currently in the anthropological literature about what species to call these fossils. There is not a lot of agreement," said Quam, who co-authored the study with Portuguese archaeologist Joao Zilhao and colleagues.
Its location is the furthest west of any human fossil ever found in Europe during the middle Pleistocene period.
It is also one of the earliest in Europe to be associated with the Acheulean stone tool industry, a more advanced kind of toolkit than used among the earliest humans in Europe.
The Acheulean stone tools included tear-drop-shaped hand-axes that were more complex to build than previous iterations.
They originated in Africa and probably made their way into Europe via the Middle East around 500,000 years ago.
To find evidence of these tools 400,000 years ago, all the way over in western Europe, "means relatively quickly the Acheuleans spread through Europe," Quam said.
While there remains much to be learned about the skull, researchers feel lucky that they found it at all. In fact, they almost missed it.
Glimpsed as an outline of a skull in sediment as hard as cement, the skull was found on the last day of an excavation project in 2014.
"I have been studying these sites for the last 30 years and we have recovered much important archaeological data. But the discovery of a human cranium of this antiquity and importance is always a very special moment," said Zilhao in a statement.
Workers toiled for a week to cut a block out of the Earth. At one point, a heavy duty demolition hammer broke the skull into pieces.
It took two and a half years to painstakingly extract the skull itself from the block.
Images of the skull show a circular hole, which represents the damage incurred during the excavation.
The fossil will go on display in October at the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia in Lisbon.
In the coming years, experts will dive into the details of the skull and its surroundings "to give a more complete picture of life in the area, life in the cave and the evolutionary place of this human in our ancestry," said Quam.

2. Archaeologist Hipolito Collado and his team had not entered the Maltravieso Cave in the city of Caceres for close to a year to avoid damaging the 57 faded hands that adorn the walls, precious remnants of a far-flung piece of history we know little about.
Why did our ancestors or distant relatives paint hands in caves? Was it merely to make their mark, or part of a ritual to commune with spirits?
Do they tell us anything about the role of women during the Paleolithic era that ended some 10,000 years ago? And why are some fingers missing?
'Inaccessible art accessible'
In a bid to unlock some of these mysteries, Collado, head of archaeology for the government of the Extremadura region where Caceres is located, has set out to catalogue all of Europe's prehistoric painted hands.
Crouching under low hanging rocks or abseiling down crags, he and other archaeologists have been going from cave to cave, taking scans and high-resolution photos of all the hands they encounter.
They then post them in detailed, 3D format in a free-to-use online database, as part of an EU-funded project called Handpas.
The idea is for researchers anywhere in the world to be able to examine them all in one place without having to visit every cave or gain access to those closed for conservation, in the hope of producing a breakthrough.
"It's about making inaccessible art accessible," says Collado, as he checks sensors for any change in CO2 levels, temperature or humidity since he last visited the meandering, cramped cave.
Surrounded by high rises in what was a poor neighbourhood of Caceres, the cave was discovered in 1951 in a quarry but left neglected for decades, squatted by thrill-seekers, junkies and others until authorities put up a wrought-iron gate barring the entrance in the mid-1980s.
I woz ere?
According to Collado, a Spaniard who is also head of the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations, painted hands have been found in 36 caves in Europe -- all in France, Spain and Italy.
Some also contain animal drawings and fossils but his project focuses only on hands.
Further afield, hands have also been discovered in South America, Australia and Indonesia, where recent research revealed that a hand silhouette in a cave on Sulawesi island was 40,000 years old -- the world's oldest.
That was around the time when Homo sapiens -- the first modern humans -- arrived in Europe after having emerged in Africa and lived in parts of Asia.
Theories abound about what the hands mean, but with no written records, much of it is conjecture.
Researchers have tried to determine whether they were male or female, and why in some cases fingers are missing.
Was this a ritual? Did they lose them in freezing cold weather? Or -- as is more commonly believed -- did they simply fold some fingers over when painting in some sort of sign language?
What if scientists were able to determine for certain that all hands in one area were done by women?
"It could mean a matriarchal society," says Collado's colleague Jose Ramon Bello Rodrigo.
And did Homo sapiens -- or possibly Neanderthals before them -- merely wander into a cave and casually leave their hand imprint as a form of ancient "I woz ere"?
Paul Pettitt, professor of Paleolithic Archaeology at Britain's Durham University, doesn't think so.
His research focuses on where people placed their hands and he found that in some cases, fingers appeared to be deliberately placed over a bump in the wall like they were "gripping" it.
Many hands are also in the deeper recesses of the caves.
"It must have been very frightening, it must have been quite a degree of exertion, a lot of climbing in the darkness," says Pettitt.
"You don't do that for fun."
Awaiting French go-ahead
Why then would people go to such lengths to paint hands onto the walls -- be it via stencils, created by spraying pigment around an open hand, or actual handprints applied to the rock face?
French prehistorian Jean Clottes believes it may have been a form of shamanism.
"It's likely that putting paint -- what we could call sacred paint -- on the rock face introduces a link between the person who does it and the rock face, and therefore with the forces in the rock face," he says.
Collado also interprets some of the hands he has seen as warnings.
"In the La Garma Cave (in northern Spain) there is a panel with hands that is next to a big well that would be deadly," he says.
"These were definitely done to say 'stop'."
Work on documenting painted hands in two Italian caves has also begun.
But the project has come up against a major stumbling block as Collado's team has yet to get the green light to access the French caves -- 18 months after sending their first letter to the culture ministry.
"We're on standby," he concludes impatiently.
© Agence France-Presse

3. PARIS (AFP).- High-tech dating of mastodon remains found in southern California has shattered the timeline of human migration to America, pushing the presence of hominins back to 130,000 years ago rather than just 15,000 years, researchers said Wednesday.
Teeth and bones of the elephant-like creature unmistakably modified by human hands, along with stone hammers and anvils, leave no doubt that some species of early human feasted on its carcass, they reported in the journal Nature.
Discovered in 1992 during construction work to expand an expressway, the bone fragments "show clear signs of having been deliberately broken by humans with manual dexterity," said lead author Steve Holen, director of research at the Center for American Paleolithic Research.
Up to now, the earliest confirmed passage of our ancestors into North America took place about 15,000 years ago. These were modern humans -- Homo sapiens -- that probably crossed from Siberia into what is today Alaska, by land or along the coast.
There have been several other claims of an even earlier bipedal footprint on the continent, but none would take that timeline back further than 50,000 years, and all remain sharply contested.
The absence of human remains at the California site throws wide open the question of who these mysterious hunters were, as well as when -- and how -- they arrived on American shores.
One possibility that can be excluded with high confidence is that they were like us. Homo sapiens, experts say, did not exit Africa until about 80,000 to 100,000 years ago.
But that still leaves a wide range of candidates, including several other hominin species that roamed Eurasia 130,000 years ago, the authors said.
They include Homo erectus, whose earliest traces date back nearly two million years; Neanderthals, who fought and co-mingled with modern humans across Europe before dying out some 40,000 years ago; and an enigmatic species called Denisovans, whose DNA survives today in Australian aboriginals.
In a companion analysis, Holen and his team argue that -- despite rising seas 130,000 years ago due to an inter-glacial period of warming -- the overseas distances to the Americas were within the capacity of human populations at the time.
Intriguingly, in light of the new find, recent studies have also shown a genetic link between present-day Amazonian native Americans and some Asian and Australian peoples.
The picture that emerges "indicates a diverse set of founding populations of the Americas," said Erella Hovers, an anthropologist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who did not take part in the new study.
As for the early humans who carved up the bones at the Cerutti Mastodon site in San Diego, named for the paleontologist who discovered it, they likely died out, leaving no genetic trace in modern North Americans, the authors conjectured.
Previous attempts to accurately date artefacts at the site fell short.
Then, in 2014, co-author James Paces, a researcher with the US Geological Survey, used state-of-the-art radiometric methods to measure traces of natural uranium and its decaying by-products in the mastodon bones, which were still fresh when broken by precise blows from stone hammers.
The prehistoric butchery, he determined, took place 130,000 years ago, give or take 9,400 years, and was may have sought to extract nutritious marrow.
"Since the original discovery, dating technology has advanced to enable us to confirm with further certainty that early humans were here signficantly earlier than commonly accepted," said co-author Thomas Demere, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
To strengthen the case, researchers set up an experiment to reproduce the stone-age food prep tableau unearthed from "Bed E" of the excavation site.
Using stone hammers and anvils similar to those found, they broke open large elephant bones much in the way pre-historic humans might have done. Certain blows yielded exactly the kind of strike marks, on both the hammers and the bones.
The same patterns, further tests showed, could not have emerged from natural wear-and-tear, or from the deliberate crafting of the tools, called flaking.
"This is a very old technology," said Holen. "We have people in Africa 1.5 million years ago breaking up elephant limb bones in this pattern, and as humans moved out of Africa and across the world they took this type of technology with them."
There remain nonetheless big holes in the narrative of human migration to the Americas, Hovers said, commenting in Nature.
"Time will tell whether this evidence will bring a paradigm change in our understanding of hominin dispersal and colonisation throughout the world, including in what now seems to be a not-so-new New World," she wrote.

4.BOTSWANA Dating rock art is difficult. Chips of paint—likely contaminated with all different sources of carbon due to centuries and sometimes millennia of weathering—are first removed from the delicate pieces of art. Then researchers must use these pigments to isolate dateable carbon in order to come up with an age. Laura Geggel at LiveScience reports that one researcher just spent more than seven years overcoming some of those obstacles to date rock art from the San people of southern Africa.  Her efforts paid off—her team found that some of the art is 5,000 years old, much more ancient than researchers previously thought.
According to Léa Surugue at The International Business Times, the researchers used a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to analyze paint chips from cave paintings in 14 sites in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa. This newer technique allowed them to use tinier samples of the material. “With current dating methods, we need large samples—sometimes hundreds of milligrams of painting—which often means completely destroying these artworks,” explains Adelphine Bonneau, post-doctoral fellow at Laval University and first author of the article in the journal Antiquity. "We also have to consider that in many cases, the art wasn’t protected inside caves and rock shelters but created on outdoors rocks exposed to the elements and to human activity, which means that paintings are often in a bad state and cannot be dated.”
Bonneau and her colleagues selected samples made from organic materials that contained carbon, but avoided samples made from charcoal, since that material can last a very long time and paintings made with old pieces of charcoal could throw off the dates. They also worked to identify all the sources of carbon in the samples, since wind, rain, dust and all sorts of things can contaminate the paintings. Bonneau tells Geggel she’s even witnessed sheep licking the paintings.
They then examined the samples using AMS, coming up with dates for when the paintings were made. The research showed that the ancestors of the San people created their images of animals and hunters using three primary materials including charcoal, soot and carbon black, a mixture of fat. The AMS dating showed that the paintings in rock shelters in Botswana ranged from 5,000 to 2,000 years old. The Lesotho paintings were from 1,500 to 150 years old and the South African art was 2,500 to 150 years old. The dates show that the rock shelters were used over several centuries.
“For the first time, it is possible to understand how the paintings on a shelter were created,” Bonneau tells Geggel. “[It shows] when and where the artists started to paint in the shelter [and] for how long it was used. It opens up the possibility to discuss why some shelters were used for long periods and whereas other ones seem to have only one phase of paintings.”
Surugue reports that dating the paintings will allow researchers to begin associating some of the archeological artifacts found in and near the rock shelters with the people who created the cave paintings.
Even more importantly, the techniques used to date the rock art can be used in other areas of the world. For instance, rock art on the Indonesia island of Sulawesi was found to be a minimum of 40,000 years old using a technique called uranium-thorium radioisotope dating. Bonneau hopes her technique will help researchers paint a better picture of historical art by refining dating techniques even more.

International Art Market Spring/Summer 2017

1. LONDON.- Sotheby’s Evening Auction of Contemporary Art in London this evening exceeded its pre-sale high estimate to total £62,325,750 / $79,783,193 / €70,403,354 – an increase of 20% (GBP) / 15% (USD) on the equivalent sale last year.
· 95.1% sold by lot, this was the fifth consecutive Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s worldwide with a sell-through rate of over 90%.
· An auction record was achieved for British artist Cecily Brown – for the second time this year.
· 50% of lots sold for prices above their pre-sale high estimates.
· 70% of the works had never previously been offered at auction.
· The pre-sale estimates for the sale were £44.3-60.6m / $56.7-77.6m / €50-68.5m.
Tonight’s total brings combined sales of Contemporary Art so far this season – including the 11 contemporary works sold in last week’s ‘Actual Size’ sale – to £68,751,000 / $87,884,791.*
“During the important summer art calendar in Europe, following Venice, Documenta and Basel, London is the final stop for collectors around the world. The June auctions are at the heart of the vibrant London art scene at this time of year, making for busy views, packed salerooms, and real competition for the art on offer, as we saw tonight.” - Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Europe.
This evening’s sale was led by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s untitled work from 1983. Conceived in the style of a classical frieze, the triptych sold for an over-estimate £6,492,500 / $8,311,049 / €7,333,947 (est. £4-6 million). Never before offered at auction, the painting had been in the same collection for 20 years. This followed a string of strong prices for Basquiat at Sotheby’s London. In the past twelve months, all but one of the paintings offered by the artist have achieved prices above their high estimates.
Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait, 1963-64, brought the second highest price of the evening, selling for £6,008,750 / $7,691,801 / €6,787,502 (est. £5-7 million). From Warhol’s very first sequence of self-portraits, created using images from a photo booth, this work is effectively the artist’s first-ever selfie. It appeared at auction for the very first time tonight, 30 years on from the artist’s death in 1987. Artworks from this period typically attract the strongest prices for Warhol at auction, with eight of the top ten auction prices for the artist coming from the years 1962-4.
Two joint collaborative works by Warhol and Basquiat, from the collection of Tommy Hilfiger, both soared over estimate. Sweet Pungent, 1984-85, sold for £4,433,750 / $5,675,643 / € 5,008,377 (est. £1.4-1.8 million) and New Flame, 1985, sold for £2,408,750 / $3,083,441 / € 2,720,931 (est. £1.7-2.2 million). Although teaming up with the legendary Warhol was certainly a coup for the 23-year-old Basquiat, the reciprocity of the collaboration should not be underestimated. Basquiat reinvigorated Warhol, who was inspired to paint by hand for the first time in 20 years.
Other strong prices for American artists included Roy Lichtenstein’s Picasso-inspired Two Paintings with Dado, 1983, that sold for an above estimate £3,308,750 / $4,235,531 / €3,737,574 (est. £2.4-3 million) and Richard Prince’s School Nurse, 2005, that also sold above estimate for £4,096,250 / $5,243,610 / €4,627,136 (est. £3.5- 4.5 million).
Another important result for British art was set by Cecily Brown’s The Girl Who Had Everything. This monumental work set a new auction record for the artist at £1,868,750 / $2,392,187 / €2,110,946 (est. £800,000 -1.2 million), superseding the record set in London just earlier this year.
Lot 29: Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer #81, 9 bidders
Lot 39: Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, 8 bidders
Lot 7: Jean Dubuffet, Béret Rose, 5 bidders
Lot 13: Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sweet Pungent, 5 bidders
*The 11 contemporary artworks included in last week’s ‘Actual Size’ Sale achieved a total of £6,425,250 / $8,101,599.

2. LONDONThe highlight of 20th Century Week at Christie’s in London, the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale was 94 per cent sold by lot and 87 per cent sold by value, realising a total of £149,500,000 (including premium), with three works selling for more than £20 million.
The top lot of the night was Max Beckmann’s Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell). Completed over the course of 1937 and 1938 and depicting mankind’s descent into darkness and terror, the painting is the artist’s visceral response to the rise of the Nazi regime in his native Germany.
There was keen bidding before the painting was hammered down for £36,005,000 / $45,834,365 (with premium), setting a new world auction record for the artist, as well as the highest price realised for an Expressionist work. The previous world auction record for Beckmann was $22,555,750, set in 2001.
‘The sale of such a historically significant painting as Beckmann’s Birds’ Hell demonstrates Christie’s ability to lead with masterpieces that resonate on the international market,’ commented Adrien Mayer, International Director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s in New York. ‘This emblematic picture has become unanimously recognised as the Guernica of Expressionism and the international appetite was evidenced in the spirited bidding witnessed in the saleroom and on the phone.’
The sale was packed with highlights, including Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse) by Pablo Picasso. Painted on 26 March 1934, this is an intimate portrait of the woman the artist’s biographer, John Richardson, describes as having inspired the ‘most ecstatically erotic’ works of the artist’s career.
‘Picasso kept this work for a very long time,’ confirmed Diana Widmaier Picasso, granddaughter of both the artist and sitter. ‘It was a very, very important work: one of the last paintings from the golden period representing Marie-Thérèse.’ It duly sold for £34,885,000 / $44,408,605.
Le moissonneur (d’après Millet) by Vincent van Gogh was painted in 1889, less than a year before the artist took his own life. The painting is one of 10 works inspired by Millet’s series of drawings of quietly dignified peasants. Seven of these are now in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; Le moissonneur — which can be translated as ‘The reaper’ — was one of just three in private hands. The painting sold for £24,245,000 / $30,863,885 against an estimate of £12,500,000-16,500,000.
World artist records were also set for Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965), with Composition dans le carré avec couleurs jaune-vert-bleu-indigo-orangé, which sold for £1,085,000 / $1,381,205, almost doubling the previous record set at Christie’s in 2012. Hannah Höch’s widely exhibited Frau und Saturn, 1922, also sold for £1,085,000 / $1,381,205, eclipsing the previous mark set at Christie’s in New York in 2007.
20th Century Week opened 24 hours earlier with the Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale, which realised a total of £20,199,500. The top lot of the night was Henry Moore’s Family Group, which saw spirited bidding in the room and on the phone before selling for £3,861,000 / $4,918,914 to an Asian collector.
Barbara Hepworth’s Curved Form (Bryher II) realised £3,301,000 / $4,205,474 and is currently featured in the exhibition Sculpture in the Square, an outdoor sculpture garden set within St James’s Square, until 29 June 2017
The sale opened with a world auction record for Henry Lamb’s Portrait of Edie McNeill (£281,000 / $357,994). Additional records were achieved for Victor Pasmore’s Linear Motif in Black and White (£329,000 / $419,146) and Nic Fiddian-Green’s Still Water (£209,000 / $266,266). A record in the medium was set for L. S. Lowry’s 1939 drawing A Station Platform (£269,000 / $342,706).

Patterns of Collecting: The Ethnographic Collections of John Woodall, William Leazer, William Swann, and others.

Quinn’s Auction Galleries March 25th Ethnographic Art Auction features, among others, the works of three collectors, John Woodall, William Leazer and William Swann, who approached collecting in separate and distinct ways. Through their artwork one can see just how personal collecting can be and how fascinating these different approaches often are.
                John Woodall began his life in the arts as performance artist in Northern California during the 1970s and quickly became immersed in the Native American culture of the area. Woodall literally became a part of his collection spending time with the Hupa people learning to weave baskets in their distinct style. For Woodall, collecting became a process of sharing a lifestyle and experiencing the cultures from within. Understanding this helps us appreciate why he collected what he did. A unique collection, with a wide scope, Woodall’s items reflect the special journey he took to obtaining and learning about them.
            Equally fascinating, William Leazer and his partner William Swann worked together for over forty years to create their collection as they traveled the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. For them, each item became a part of a personal scrapbook of their life together. Each object bringing back a memory from the past as they enjoyed the artwork in the present for its aesthetic merits in the home they shared.
            The artwork from both gentlemen proves there is no right way of collecting. It is the joy experienced on the personal level that supersedes any external art criticism that is so often placed on the shoulders of collectors. Quinn’s Auction Galleries is proud to offer a vast array of objects from these collections that bring together the work of many cultures and the memories of how they were collected and cherished.

        Gallery Preview Times
Saturday, March 18, 2017:            10:00am-2:00pm
Monday, March 20, 2017:             10:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday, March 21, 2017:             10:00am-7:00pm
Wednesday, March 22, 2017:      10:00am-6:00pm
Thursday, March 23, 2017:           10:00am-5:00pm
Friday, March 24, 2017:                  10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday, March 25, 2017:            9:00am-11:00am
     Auction—Saturday, March 25, 2017: 11:00am

My Word Winter 2017

This issue has focused on art market reports for 2016 and the art market predictions for 2017. President Trumps election has had a significant impact on the stock market that has seemingly by some expert opinion translated to the art market. We will follow the private and public art markets to keep you informed.

Regardless of whether you lean to the left or the right we can all agree that Mr. Trump has not been or will probably never be a staunch supporter of the arts. While we wait for the shoe to drop we can only speculate what his unique brand of leadership will mean to the institutions we all mostly revere. To date the consensus seems to be that NEA and NEH might well be in trouble but that PBS will prevail. We are watching and will follow this in the coming months.

Quinn's Auction House in Falls Church is posting another offering March 15th with a scheduled sale date of March 25th. This sale will include a fascinating collection from Plant City Florida featuring some very fine baskets from Northern California and Alaska. The Leazer collection from Dallas is also a part of this collection and is the personal effort of Bill and his partner of over 40 years of acquiring from cultures all over the world.

In this issue we also mark the passing of Jack Pemberton and Tom Wheelock. Both were friends that made major contributions to the field of African Art.

Be sure to check out Photos Around the World in this issue.. pretty spectacular..

Our new intern Mary Mass did most of the heavy lifting on this issue of the Newsletter. We are delighted to have her working with us.

Tom Wheelock - In Memoriam Winter 2017

Amyas graciously permitted me to reprint his personal recollections of Tom. This was posted on the Facebook page Amyas African Art which I encourage you all to follow.

Tom and I were never close but were certainly congenial acquaintances. We both felt, however, that we had the very unusual opportunity of getting to know each other as we shared a common foxhole in the Trepel Baga Serpent case that found us pitted against formidable adversaries working for the plaintiff. I found the case challenging, interesting, and at times fun. Tom found this experience to be in his words one of the worst in his life and worthy of a commitment to three martinis after testifying. I thoroughly enjoyed his very dry sense of humor, his dedication to excellence, and his reverence for the finer things in life. Tom will be missed by many. JB

Remembering Thomas Wheelock
Albums Remembering Thomas Wheelock
1 Photo · Updated about a month ago
Many of us were shocked to learn this month that our colleague and friend, author, collector and connoisseur Tom Wheelock had died over Christmas. He was just 75. Tom was born in 1941 to family of means. His maternal grandfather was one of the original giants of Wall Street and had set up Tom’s parents in a capacious apartment on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside where, as Tom described it, his father spent his day reading the newspaper. To some degree followed in his father’s footsteps as a professional gentleman although he traveled far and never endeavored to raise a family. Wherever he did go Tom always impressed with his impeccable dress and physical bearing a man of class. He was fan of the opera, knowledgeable about the arts of Japan, Europe, Ancient Egypt and the classical world, and until the end he maintained a membership at the venerable Union Club on Park Avenue. While he did earn some income writing appraisals and providing curatorial advice these endeavors gave satisfaction more in the form of purpose than needed remuneration.

I first met Tom at the very start of my career as a stand maker in the early 1990’s. A Malian trader had dropped off a mask for me to mount and suggested that I might sell it for him. As the mask was allegedly Bobo, another visitor to my basement workshop, Noble Endicott, recommended that I show a Mr. Tom Wheelock as it was not unattractive. Despite the fact that I had doubts about the authenticity of the mask I was assured that Mr. Wheelock was an avid collector of art from Burkina Faso and would know right away whether or not the mask was right. If the piece proved to be good I would be rewarded. And if not? Mr. Wheelock, I was assured, was fair-minded and would not hold it against me provided I was straight forward about the circumstances. At worst I would meet someone who I ought to know and who might well become a client. I called and in due course a man in a tweed jacket and matching fedora appeared with an elegant woman in tow. When I showed him the mask his shoulders drooped and he shook his head, then looked me in the eye with that wry half smile I would get to know so well. Although he said nothing, silently mouthing the word no. It was apparent that he had been somewhat hopeful but at the same time was unsurprised. Unfortunately, as I had nothing else to show him, he turned to leave but paused and said, “But it IS very good to know you are here.” Tom was then in his early 50’s, very fit and lively demeanor. In due course Tom did bring me pieces to mount. The quality was unfailingly outstanding and set a high standard by which similar objects might be judged. I visited his office on the top floor of an eastside mansion. It was something of a lair as it was stuffed with wonderful artwork warmly but inadequately lit and otherwise decorated with an eclectic array of Japanese prints, paintings and, by the door, an erotic, sado-masochistic flavored collage or two.
I learned that Tom had begun collecting art at an early age but knew nothing of African art until 1972 when, after driving with a girlfriend across the Sahara, he ended up in Ouagadougou. There he made the acquaintance of a fellow American, William Wright who was then at an early stage of his own career as an African art dealer, gathering up quality crafts and authentic works in the bush and shipping them to the US. Tom looked through Bill’s inventory and was smitten by the art. It was then the early 1970’s, a golden time in the African art trade when a substantial amount of older, indigenously used traditional sculpture and artifacts could still be found in situ, particularly in countries like Burkina Faso and Liberia that for a variety of reasons had hitherto been relatively overlooked by dealers and collectors more fixated on the art of those peoples from Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali that had most influenced the modernists. Having been raised in a milieu more concerned with quality than thrift Tom began by focusing on acquiring the best, eschewing bargains and cultivating contacts through a willingness to pay for it. Over the next five years Tom made
frequent buying trips to Burkina, then called Upper Volta. For a time these visits proved rewarding both in terms of his personal edification as well as in great finds. Along the way a few wonderful things were passed up because of youthful errors of judgment or breakdowns in negotiations (after all, Tom’s interests were not unique) but these failures were as instructive as they were rare. Finally, on a trip in the late 70’s, when he found nothing that met his rising standards for quality, Tom concluded it was over: Henceforth, he would only buy in Europe and state-side from collectors, dealers and at auction. The reality was that Tom had only hit a dry spell. Fine, important, authentic works remained in the field in Burkina Faso as they did elsewhere, albeit it in ever shrinking numbers. Tom of course understood this but the adventure of setting himself up in a “villa” in Burkina’s capital had lost its novelty along with the all the necessary sorting of authentic material from the fake, the cleverly repaired from the intact, and the beautiful and bold from the merely typical. And there was also the strain of negotiating deals under time constraints in a borrowed language without the benefit of second opinions or a library of books. Enough was enough.

The other side of the coin was that by the 1970’s a few African traders had long since built up enough capital, confidence and contacts both local and international to no longer be content to sit at home waiting for buyers to arrive from abroad. If Tom wasn’t going to come to Ougadougou, Ouagadougou was going to come to Manhattan; in fact many African traders were already ensconced in America- not only in single-residency-only hotels on Manhattan’s Upper West Side; a few had bought properties in suburban New Jersey and elsewhere and were raising American families. As a result, Tom was able to meet with and buy from African traders on his home turf- including individuals he had known in Burkina, their siblings, sons and other introduced family members as well as wholly new acquaintances. Inevitably, there were traders with high quality merchandise of whom Tom did not know. In the 1990’s one such merchant, a Hausa from Niger based half the year in Burkina’s western hub of Bobo Dioulasso, appeared in New York with a trove of often wonderful and unusual material including both figurative and ethnographic works. For the next several years Aboubacar Doubou provided me with a steady supply of fabulous objects from Burkina, the best of which went to Tom. A number of these pieces would ultimately be included in Tom’s marvelous book: “Burkina Faso; the Land of the Flying Masks” (Prestel, 2007). In the book’s acknowledgements and notes, Tom remained true to his decent nature and sense of fair play, and included the names of the many traders, dealers and individuals from whom he purchased material directly over the decades regardless of their place of birth or stature, among them William Wright, Michael Rhodes, Mamadou and Ali Konate, and Gilbert Ouedrago.

No remembrance of Tom would be complete without mentioning his myriad and complicated relationships with women. These included many long-term girlfriends and no less than five marriages. Tom was a dapper and confident fellow with a dry sense of humor and a generous nature. He was a charmer who listened attentively with a ready smile and a willingness to equally embrace your point enthusiastically or disagree with aplomb. He was never in my experience in want of companionship. After abruptly leaving his fourth wife and setting up with number five, a reptile aficionado from the south with big hair, he decamped from Manhattan in the late 1990’s and alighted in Hudson, New York. We city folk saw much less of him thereafter especially after the couple moved yet again, this time to Tennessee where the spouse had a daughter and now a grandchild. Marriage number five did not unfold without drama. A flood inundated their house and destroyed much of Tom’s library. A few years later the relationship dissolved on less than amicable terms, but soon enough Tom found new companionship with Jannean Barnes. It was, he confided, his happiest union to date adding, “Given my history I know what you must be thinking I’m really very sincere.”

Despite his move to Tennessee, Tom continued to communicate with his friends in New York and to pay regular visits. I shared pictures with him of family vacations and we regularly discussed objects in auctions, on offer from traders , and still others in need of evaluation- matters in which he was generally of greater service to me than the other way around. While in the city Tom stayed at the venerable Union Club where he was a long-time member. A few years ago Tom called me out of the blue to say that he and number-five were in town for the week and had extra tickets to see La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera the following evening. Tom was a member of the Opera Club and Eve and I were cordially invited to join them for dinner and desert there between acts. There was a catch: the club had a dress code and I would have to wear a tuxedo. Given that the only suit I own is the one I was married in and that it was nowhere near black I apologized and said that we would have to gratefully decline; there was no time to find a rental. However, Tom had already done some calculations: if I could get myself over to the Union Club where he was staying I could probably just fit into his tuxedo while he would wear his set of tails. All I needed was a pair of black shoes. A number of things struck my mind all at once: that this would surely be an evening we would not soon forget, that being invited was a rare honor let alone opportunity, and finally: what kind of person travels for a week away with both a tuxedo and coat and tails? I checked with Eve and she agreed to the plan. Somehow I got past the front desk at the club in shorts and made it to Tom’s small but elegant room. Wife-five was already resplendent in an evening gown. An inordinate number of handbags and ladies shoes were scattered about, although none of he latter were as yet on her feet. Tom’s tuxedo more or less fit me- the suspenders helped. Eve arrived and we were soon in a limo bound for Lincoln Center. The trip there proved to be an odyssey in and of its self as the wife had taken the wrong handbag and half way there we had to circle back. She apologized for the inconvenience, blaming the error on some undisclosed malady. She also had us stop at a bodega (for a soda) and a pharmacy en route. Now late we had to rush through the first course of dinner. Tom’s spouse opted for lemon sherbet in lieu of an appetizer. She had sherbet again as a main course, and a third time for dessert. Tom was unflappable. He showed compassion for his ailing spouse’s well being without a hint of panic or embarrassment through the opera’s final spectacle.

Recently, I learned that Tom had passed away in his sleep shortly before Christmas. We had last spoken in the fall about some unusual Burkina masks that had come up for auction in South Carolina and whose images I had sent to Tom for an opinion. Our conversation convinced me to buy none of them. Instead, I nabbed a Bobo Fing funerary mask (one we did not discus) from the same sale as it was beyond reproach. This mask retains much of its original fiber attachments and although a little askew it’s a powerful piece with layers of paint and a glorious interior patina from repeated service. My plan was to send him images of it once I had it on a base- I was sure that he would like it and anticipated a congratulatory response. I learned of Tom’s passing before any images were taken. The mask now stands on my desk mounted, open mouthed and mute, a reminder of the many deceased individuals it honored and the one whose acquaintance it never made.

Jack Pemberton - In Memoriam Winter 2017

 Note: Jack was a great friend, cheerleader, and mentor for me for many years and he surely will be missed. His particular style, sense of civility, and generosity to all will not be replaced for the many students, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances he touched. In respect and deference to the man I will attempt to be better color coordinated when I dress up in the future.  JB

John Pemberton III (1928 - 2016)

PELHAM - John Pemberton III of Arnold Road, Pelham, died Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Professor Pemberton was born Feb. 16, 1928, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. John Pemberton Jr.

Professor Pemberton received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1948. He received a bachelor's in divinity degree in 1952 and a doctorate degree in 1958 from the Duke University.

He was an assistant professor of religion at Randolph-Macon Woman's College from 1954 to 1958. He was a professor of religion at Amherst College from 1958 to 1998. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities from 1985 to 1998 and the Crosby Professor of Religion from 1975 to 1998.

His extensive research related to the art and rituals of the Yoruba of Nigeria began in 1969. He was an associate fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1981 to 1982. He was a visiting research associate, Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1986. During 14 research trips to Nigeria, his research continued in Ila Irangun, Nigeria.

Professor Pemberton served on the board of advisors at The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. He was consulting curator of African art at the Smith College Museum of Art from 2000 to 2015. He was chair of the Working Group in African Studies in the Humanities, Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies. He was on the

Among his publications: Yoruba Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought co-authored with
Professor Pemberton lectured widely including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum; the Dallas Museum; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mount Holyoke College; Museum for African Art, New York; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; North Carolina Museum of Art; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich; Smith College Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the New Orleans Museum; the Seattle Museum; the University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; University of Washington; and Yale University.

He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 47 years; his sons John Pemberton IV (Marilyn) and Robert Barker (Karin); his daughters Nanci Church (Thomas), Susan Winslow (Daniel), Debra Reehoorn (Robert), and Lynn Barker (Mark); 12 grandchildren; and his sisters Barbara Smith and Jane Buckley.

He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church followed by a reception at Lewis-Sebring at Amherst College.
- See more at:
Smithsonian/Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Committee of African Art and on the council for International Exchange of Scholars' Advisory Committee in Religion.

Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal; Yoruba Art and Aesthetics with Abiodun and Drewal, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; A Power Like That of the Gods: Sacred Kingship Among the Igbomina Yoruba co-authored with F.S. Afolayan; Insight and Artistry in African Divination, Smithsonian Institution Press: Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection co-authored with R. Abiodun; African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art; Cross Currents: Art of the Southeastern Congo, Smith College Museum of Art; "Smith Collects African Art." Exhibition on the occasion of the opening of the Brown Fine Arts Center, Smith College Museum of Art.

John Pemberton III (1928 - 2016)

2 entries | 1 photo
  • "Jack was a dearly beloved colleague to us at the Smith..."
    - Kelly Holbert
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PELHAM - John Pemberton III of Arnold Road, Pelham, died Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Professor Pemberton was born Feb. 16, 1928, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. John Pemberton Jr.

Professor Pemberton received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1948. He received a bachelor's in divinity degree in 1952 and a doctorate degree in 1958 from the Duke University.

He was an assistant professor of religion at Randolph-Macon Woman's College from 1954 to 1958. He was a professor of religion at Amherst College from 1958 to 1998. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities from 1985 to 1998 and the Crosby Professor of Religion from 1975 to 1998.

His extensive research related to the art and rituals of the Yoruba of Nigeria began in 1969. He was an associate fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1981 to 1982. He was a visiting research associate, Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1986. During 14 research trips to Nigeria, his research continued in Ila Irangun, Nigeria.

Professor Pemberton served on the board of advisors at The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. He was consulting curator of African art at the Smith College Museum of Art from 2000 to 2015. He was chair of the Working Group in African Studies in the Humanities, Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies. He was on the Smithsonian/Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Committee of African Art and on the council for International Exchange of Scholars' Advisory Committee in Religion.

Among his publications: Yoruba Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought co-authored with Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal; Yoruba Art and Aesthetics with Abiodun and Drewal, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; A Power Like That of the Gods: Sacred Kingship Among the Igbomina Yoruba co-authored with F.S. Afolayan; Insight and Artistry in African Divination, Smithsonian Institution Press: Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection co-authored with R. Abiodun; African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art; Cross Currents: Art of the Southeastern Congo, Smith College Museum of Art; "Smith Collects African Art." Exhibition on the occasion of the opening of the Brown Fine Arts Center, Smith College Museum of Art.

Professor Pemberton lectured widely including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum; the Dallas Museum; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mount Holyoke College; Museum for African Art, New York; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; North Carolina Museum of Art; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich; Smith College Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the New Orleans Museum; the Seattle Museum; the University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; University of Washington; and Yale University.

He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 47 years; his sons John Pemberton IV (Marilyn) and Robert Barker (Karin); his daughters Nanci Church (Thomas), Susan Winslow (Daniel), Debra Reehoorn (Robert), and Lynn Barker (Mark); 12 grandchildren; and his sisters Barbara Smith and Jane Buckley.

He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church followed by a reception at Lewis-Sebring at Amherst College.
- See more at:
PELHAM - John Pemberton III of Arnold Road, Pelham, died Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Professor Pemberton was born Feb. 16, 1928, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. John Pemberton Jr.

Professor Pemberton received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1948. He received a bachelor's in divinity degree in 1952 and a doctorate degree in 1958 from the Duke University.

He was an assistant professor of religion at Randolph-Macon Woman's College from 1954 to 1958. He was a professor of religion at Amherst College from 1958 to 1998. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities from 1985 to 1998 and the Crosby Professor of Religion from 1975 to 1998.

His extensive research related to the art and rituals of the Yoruba of Nigeria began in 1969. He was an associate fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1981 to 1982. He was a visiting research associate, Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1986. During 14 research trips to Nigeria, his research continued in Ila Irangun, Nigeria.

Professor Pemberton served on the board of advisors at The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. He was consulting curator of African art at the Smith College Museum of Art from 2000 to 2015. He was chair of the Working Group in African Studies in the Humanities, Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies. He was on the Smithsonian/Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Committee of African Art and on the council for International Exchange of Scholars' Advisory Committee in Religion.

Among his publications: Yoruba Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought co-authored with Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal; Yoruba Art and Aesthetics with Abiodun and Drewal, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; A Power Like That of the Gods: Sacred Kingship Among the Igbomina Yoruba co-authored with F.S. Afolayan; Insight and Artistry in African Divination, Smithsonian Institution Press: Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection co-authored with R. Abiodun; African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art; Cross Currents: Art of the Southeastern Congo, Smith College Museum of Art; "Smith Collects African Art." Exhibition on the occasion of the opening of the Brown Fine Arts Center, Smith College Museum of Art.

Professor Pemberton lectured widely including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum; the Dallas Museum; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mount Holyoke College; Museum for African Art, New York; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; North Carolina Museum of Art; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich; Smith College Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the New Orleans Museum; the Seattle Museum; the University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; University of Washington; and Yale University.

He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 47 years; his sons John Pemberton IV (Marilyn) and Robert Barker (Karin); his daughters Nanci Church (Thomas), Susan Winslow (Daniel), Debra Reehoorn (Robert), and Lynn Barker (Mark); 12 grandchildren; and his sisters Barbara Smith and Jane Buckley.

He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst. - See more at:
PELHAM - John Pemberton III of Arnold Road, Pelham, died Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Professor Pemberton was born Feb. 16, 1928, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. John Pemberton Jr.

Professor Pemberton received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1948. He received a bachelor's in divinity degree in 1952 and a doctorate degree in 1958 from the Duke University.

He was an assistant professor of religion at Randolph-Macon Woman's College from 1954 to 1958. He was a professor of religion at Amherst College from 1958 to 1998. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities from 1985 to 1998 and the Crosby Professor of Religion from 1975 to 1998.

His extensive research related to the art and rituals of the Yoruba of Nigeria began in 1969. He was an associate fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1981 to 1982. He was a visiting research associate, Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1986. During 14 research trips to Nigeria, his research continued in Ila Irangun, Nigeria.

Professor Pemberton served on the board of advisors at The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. He was consulting curator of African art at the Smith College Museum of Art from 2000 to 2015. He was chair of the Working Group in African Studies in the Humanities, Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies. He was on the Smithsonian/Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Committee of African Art and on the council for International Exchange of Scholars' Advisory Committee in Religion.

Among his publications: Yoruba Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought co-authored with Rowland Abiodun and Henry Drewal; Yoruba Art and Aesthetics with Abiodun and Drewal, Museum Rietberg, Zurich; A Power Like That of the Gods: Sacred Kingship Among the Igbomina Yoruba co-authored with F.S. Afolayan; Insight and Artistry in African Divination, Smithsonian Institution Press: Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yoruba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection co-authored with R. Abiodun; African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art; Cross Currents: Art of the Southeastern Congo, Smith College Museum of Art; "Smith Collects African Art." Exhibition on the occasion of the opening of the Brown Fine Arts Center, Smith College Museum of Art.

Professor Pemberton lectured widely including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum; the Dallas Museum; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Mount Holyoke College; Museum for African Art, New York; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian; North Carolina Museum of Art; Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich; Smith College Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the New Orleans Museum; the Seattle Museum; the University of Iowa; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; University of Washington; and Yale University.

He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 47 years; his sons John Pemberton IV (Marilyn) and Robert Barker (Karin); his daughters Nanci Church (Thomas), Susan Winslow (Daniel), Debra Reehoorn (Robert), and Lynn Barker (Mark); 12 grandchildren; and his sisters Barbara Smith and Jane Buckley.

He was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst. - See more at:

Trend Predictions Winter 2017

1. NEW YORK - Specialists Speak: 2017 Trends & Predictions in Collecting

This year was a pivotal one for the art and auction world. Saatchi Gallery held its first all-female
show in January. David Bowie’s death rendered him one of the most talked-about artists of the year. May was a game-changing month for rare jewels - the 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s; at Sotheby’s, the 15.38-carat “Unique Pink” diamond sold for $31.6 million.

The news of the Brexit vote in late June caught the world by surprise, and caused a rippling of concerns across stakeholding nations. In October, TEFAF journeyed to New York City for the first time ever. The sale of Claude Monet’s “Grainstack” for $81.4 million in November underscored that even in an uncertain market, collectors will vie at the top level for superior quality.

We spoke with the founders and head specialists at 14 of our partnering auction houses and galleries to get their thoughts on the most exciting trends of 2016 and what they forecast to be the next big ones to come.

Debrah Dunner
Fine Art Specialist | Alex Cooper
"The trends in 2016 have been pretty consistent from the previous year, and I don't see much change happening in 2017. Collectors are focusing their efforts on a few areas including Impressionism, Post-War, and Contemporary Art. Although this year saw a small drop in buying overall, there is enough trust in the market, coupled with the rise of the American stock and housing market, to predict a continued rise in both confidence and buying."

"As a specialist of contemporary American craft, I have noticed a small uptick in both buying and realized prices of American craft's most notable artists such as Wendell Castle, Sheila Hicks, and Peter Voulkos, to name a few. The gallery side is where American craft really shines, so it's interesting to see this area of the art world get more attention in the auction venue."
François Tajan

Deputy Chairman | Artcurial
“Fine art, design, classic cars, and comics appear to have been the most exciting specialties for 2016. Artcurial achieved a world record for a collectible car at auction this winter, which fetched €32 million, and our second European comics auction in Hong Kong in October was a huge success.”

“This year’s important names, such as Diego Giacometti, Belgian cartoonist Hergé, and Enzo Ferrari, show there’s an active market not only for specific fields, but also for the artists and designers’ whose impact goes beyond their respective specialty. I expect this trend to continue in 2017, as collectors show particular interest in 20th-century works.”
Sam Berkovitz
Owner | Concept Art Gallery
“In 2017, I predict we’ll see continued growth and strong sales for the Chinese fine and decorative arts markets, with much of the property returning to Chinese nationals and the expatriate Chinese.”

“Online bidding continues to grow in percentage of lots purchased and amount of revenue. This will further reduce the live attendees at auctions as bidders adopt the convenience of telephone and online bidding.”

“Modern and contemporary art before 2005 will continue to sell strongly, while traditional furniture and artwork continue to remain flat. Artwork by artists without substantial credentials and reputations will remain difficult to sell. Jewelry sales will continue to grow as buyers get more comfortable buying at auction. Auctions will gain an increasingly large segment of the overall market for jewelry.”

Ezra Chowaiki
Owner | Chowaiki & Co.
“In the secondary art market, people are tending to focus on blue chip artists. In terms of investment, a name like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, or Gerhard Richter is much more comforting than the lesser-known artist. In fact, even contemporary collectors are looking backward now to include some of the great modern names in their collections.”

"I expect this trend for the secondary market to continue. Until we truly know what the world looks like once the political landscape stabilizes, collectors are going to feel a certain level of uncertainty. This is not a short-term issue."

"I expect this to continue throughout 2017; and so, I see more of the same gravitational pull towards tried-and-true investments. Therefore, big-name artists will continue to appreciate most dramatically."
Alasdair Nichol
Vice Chairman, Head of Fine Art | Freeman's
“In a year of political turbulence which saw both the Brexit vote and U.S. election, it was evident that many people were sitting tight and reluctant to sell. The most recent Modern/Impressionist and Contemporary auctions in New York City were almost 50 percent down from where they were at this time last year. The issue this year was a lack of supply. There was abundant demand for sensibly estimated artworks of good quality preferably coming fresh to the market - the best will always be aggressively pursued even in a down market.”

“Single owner collections with either an interesting provenance or compelling backstory - and preferably both - performed exceptionally well at all price points. Sotheby’s David Bowie auction is a notable example of that. Such sales have the added benefit of bringing out new bidders captivated by the abundant stories surrounding them and desirous of the lustre attached to the previous owner.”

“Looking ahead, confidence in the Old Masters market has taken a blow and will continue to be undermined by the gradually unfolding story of the fakes believed to originate from Italy - the purchaser of the “Portrait of a Man” attributed to Frans Hals sold by private treaty at Sotheby's has already been reimbursed $11 million or so that it cost him. About 20 to 25 other fakes are rumored to be in existence and this will cast a shadow. It will likely be one of the art world’s biggest stories.”

“On a more positive note, it has been a good year for modern British artists from Nicholson and Moore to School of London painters such as Auerbach and Hockney. Collecting areas such as the St. Ives School and the Scottish Colorists have also performed well. Many new American collectors are entering this field and it is likely that even more will join them given the favorable dollar to sterling exchange rate. In spite of the political upheaval, the special relationship will endure.”
Nicholas B. Nicholson
Senior Vice President, Head of Furniture & Decorative Arts | Freeman's
"In quarter four, we continued to see consistent growth in prices realized for 20th-century design including continued strong performance by George Nakashima. We also see solid performance in the field of Americana with fresh pieces bringing solid prices."

"Since last spring, we have noted quiet growth in English furniture and silver. There appears to be the beginning of a renewed interest in the field, no doubt spurred by good material and the current low prices."

Lauren Pressler
Specialist in Furniture & Decorative Arts | Clars Auction Gallery
"As we found at Clars in 2016, 20th-century studio furniture remains strong; George Nakashima, Philip Lloyd Powell, and Sam Maloof continue to increase in value with projected market escalation in 2017. Contemporary boutique designers such as Edward Barnsley and Hal Taylor enjoy the popularity of these trend setters. While mid-range ‘brown furniture’ continues to slump, definitively, buyer inclinations underscore the handmade, smartly crafted one-off studio furniture that conveys a sense of character."

"Keep your sights on specialty wine and automobile markets, as last year’s strong successes predicate fruitful growth in 2017, with a roll-call of great producers and private collections slated for the New Year."

"2017 is a great time to invest in 20th-century Indian, Iranian, and African-American artists. Just this October, Clars boasted the $10,890 sale of an oil painting by Iranian artist Abolghassem Saidi, far exceeding the $3,000-5,000 estimate. We see leading houses gearing up for these specialized auctions, setting precedents for the rest of the industry."
Mike Fredericks
Department Head, Rare Lamps & Glass | James D. Julia
“Collectors today continue to seek out conservatively estimated, fresh-to-the-market merchandise, and are focused on the most rare and best condition examples in each genre. Our most recent auction of November 2016 illustrates this point, with a Tiffany Studios Dragonfly lamp estimated at $120,000-180,000 being hotly contested among multiple bidders before selling for $515,475. Each category, be it French cameo glass or sterling silver, proved the same, with the rarest and best condition items exceeding estimates to result in a $3.3 million total, our department’s highest grossing sale in history.”

“As we come to the end of the year, there seems to be encouraging energy in the collector community with hope that the election results will have a positive impact on the current market values and free up more discretionary income for middle-market buyers.”

“I believe the high-end market will continue to stay strong in 2017, while middle-market goods may continue to be soft until the political environment and economy stabilize following the transition. Overall, sellers should embrace the concept of conservative estimates that garner enthusiasm and participation from today’s buyers. I also see upward momentum with contemporary glass market with strong prices being realized.”

Charlotte Riordan
Contemporary Art & Paintings Specialist | Lyon & Turnbull
"Post War and Contemporary art still remains the most active area of the market. They are our best attended and buzziest sales and have some of our strongest selling rates. In the age of internet and telephone bidding, a full sale room is always a pleasant sight!"

"The Bowie sale inevitably made a big impact on the art market, and I believe was good news for collectors of modern Scottish artists including John Bellany, Alan Davie, and Eduardo Paolozzi, who were featured prominently in his collection. We handle these artists frequently and while we have been witnessing an upturn in the sales of their work, Bowie’s seal of approval may gain them even wider recognition."

"In the antiques world, we’ve been noticing our client’s taste turning to more simply constructed furniture. They are paying more attention to form and line rather than ornamentation, which fits better in modern interiors. Early Georgian pieces are an example of this."

"We end the year on a high with our flagship Scottish Paintings and Sculpture sale which features select works from the 18th to the 20th century. The work of the Scottish Colorists is proving as popular as ever and we anticipate them being the sale highlights, continuing the excellent run we’ve had for them this year after our sale of the Wood and Robertson Collections in June."

"On that topic, though a good or interesting provenance has always been desirable, we’re noticing an increase in its effect across all of our sales, boosting values more than ever before. People seem to be engaging more with the story behind the pieces as well as the quality."
Nigel Freeman
Director of African-American Fine Art | Swann Auction Galleries
“There is a new embrace by collectors of politically-conscious fine art, a reflection of our turbulent times, whether it's art from the Civil Rights era or today. This can be seen at the upcoming exhibitions of the Whitney Biennial and ‘Soul of a Nation’ at the Tate.”

“The next big thing in 2017 should be a larger international embrace of African- and Latin-American currents as American art continues to be redefined.”

Daile Kaplan
Director of Photography & Photobooks | Swann Auction Galleries

“Given photography’s ubiquity today, we are seeing an increasingly diverse market of collectors. Typically, new collectors are attracted to a particular image or style and are anxious to learn more about the artist or photographer. These buyers are drawn from a range of fields, including American painting, contemporary art, Outsider and Folk art, graphic arts and design, and antiquarian books.”

“Condition, rarity, provenance and artist reputation drive collectors and influence their decisions. The best examples of fine art and social documentary photographs - both vintage and modern prints with a fascinating backstory - as well as dynamically designed photobooks by master and emerging artists will escalate in value. Vernacular photography, a sub-set of classical photography, will continue to attract younger collectors, especially those who are looking for a point of access into the market and enjoy the sense of discovery associated with images that celebrate the medium as a universal language.”

Edo Ophir
Owner | Ophir Gallery
"The top trend that we are seeing today in the field of art, antiques, collectibles, and jewelry is that the top tier of these categories is what’s continuing to sell well in the marketplace. Truly the best and highest quality objects are what seems to be holding their own. Marginal and mediocre objects in the marketplace have taken a significant hit as per salability."

"Collectors today are more sophisticated than they once were and tend to be investing their money into top tier or very high end as these trends show that there is stability and growth in pricing with those items that fall under high end or investment quality. In the realm of Tiffany Studios, which is one area in which we specialize, we are seeing fewer buyers for the general run of the mill…but when we are able to offer top tier, rare, and high end objects to our collectors, we tend to sell well and fast."

Amelia Jeffers
Auctioneer & President | Garth's & Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers
“Although we handle a broad range of material at Garth's and Selkirk, each auction house tends to have a niche or two for which they are known very well. At Garth's, it is Americana, antique firearms, and jewelry. The firearms market continues to be very strong, and the exuberance does not seem to be slipping in any way. Within the Americana market, Folk art items continue to have considerable interest, particularly early painted furniture, but redware and stoneware are also on fire.”

“Since fine jewelry covers commodities like gold, silver, and gemstones, it has the image of being a safe place for collectors to park their cash. Even as the economy has picked up, jewelry has remained a bright spot in the collecting world. At Selkirk, bidders get excited about good paintings, high-style decorative arts, and silver. The demand for each of these categories is deep and should continue well into 2017.”

“Period furniture should continue its steady climb back from the recession bottom as more and more people matriculate to collecting as a way to find greater value in their furnishings. Glass is continuing to climb, as well - with the very best art glass pulling into the forefront of auctions and shows. I do think the firearms, jewelry, and fine art markets have no slow down in the near term.”

Jenn Singer
Owner | Jenn Singer Gallery
“While figurative painting continues to make a much-welcomed return, colorful abstract and sculptural work is still in demand. Activist artwork and artwork by female artists and artists with diverse cultural backgrounds are being increasingly featured and sought after.”

“Given the current social and political climate, art with a voice – a strong activist message - is and will continue to be on the rise. It will be gritty, raw, and emotional and hopefully help engage and connect more people through art. In this case, the importance of the message may trump the market as we know it.”

Sandra Germain
Owner | Shannon's Fine Art Auctioneers

“We have seen increased interest in high quality illustration art from our clients. In our most recent auction in October 2016, one of our top performing lots was a group of 25 original illustrations of vintage automobiles by Thomas Hoyne. Hoyne is primarily known for his photo-realistic illustrations of sailing vessels. We had several interested clients before the sale and were thrilled when the final price doubled the high estimate, bringing $32,400.”

“Another popular item from the sale was John James Audubon's ‘Portrait of Miss Audubon.’ Few portraits are known by the famous wildlife illustrator, including this portrait of his daughter. It, too, sold well above the high estimate, bringing $19,200. Although this work is not an illustration, artists of the illustration genre brought healthy interest at our most auction.”

“Trends are constantly changing and it’s hard to know exactly what buyers will be looking at in 2017. Modern and Contemporary art is certainly dominating the market and will probably continue to do so in the near future. We have found, however, that quality paintings across all genres achieve the best results at auction. Buyers are looking for fresh-to-the-market, good condition, and superior quality examples.”

Holly Mazar-Fox & Linda Rodeck
Client Services & Business Development
Senior Canadian Fine Art Specialist, Vice President Fine Art
Waddington's Auctioneers & Appraisers
“A few years back, you might have heard collectors, dealers, and auctioneers lamenting the fact that the supply of great art was drying up. The talk was that there was increasingly less fresh blue chip work available to sell and auctions would eventually devolve into re-offering or ‘churning’ bought-ins and other stale stock. Clearly that prediction was erroneous.”

“In Canada, the fall 2016 auction season saw over $50 million change hands in a three-day period. This was unprecedented. And we know that great prices realized at auction serve as honey to the bee, drawing out long hidden treasures ripe for consignment. Across the board, at all prices levels: quality always rules.”

“We’re also witnessing an increasing openness to subjects, periods, and media that may have been overlooked in the past. There is a greater appetite for the atypical or off-trend, provided these items possess a high calibre of artistic competence. This openness makes us feel buoyant about the next quarter."

"Our clients are increasingly catholic in their taste, exhibiting a high degree of self-determination when it comes to collecting and acquiring across multiple categories. They have both a willingness and capacity to spend and they respond to the bounty of property we bring to them with an enthusiasm and exhilaration we haven't seen in some time. We’re obsessed about how to improve the auction experience and know that leveraging technology is key – our prediction is that this pull towards innovation will continue to strengthen in 2017!”

Art Market Winter 2017

1. LONDON - Art Market Recovering? London May Tell (Auctions include Klimt, Picasso, Le Corbusier)

Asian collectors have become such a force in the global art market that the world’s chief auction houses are rejiggering their sales calendars to suit them. London’s winter auctions, historically held in early February, were postponed this year so that the sales wouldn’t overlap with the lunar new year. Those hoping to see signs of a turnaround in the ailing art have had to wait a little longer.

London’s latest round is set to kick off Tuesday, with Sotheby’s, Christie’s and the smaller house Phillips expecting to sell at least $593 million worth of impressionist, modern and contemporary art combined, down 4.4% from a similar, $620 million series held a year ago.

A few heavyweight paintings will likely soak up much of the attention, but in more than a dozen cases, the houses have already locked in deals to ensure that certain works sell—to outside investors who have pledged to bid if no one else steps up or to the houses themselves, which have agreed to buy them as inventory. These guaranteed sellers include Gustav Klimt’s 1907 view of a farmer’s field, “Cottage Garden,” which Sotheby’s plans to resell for around $45 million on Wednesday. Plenty of other artists will undergo market stress tests by the time the sales end March 10. Here are a few works to watch.

A. Le Corbusier, ‘Accordion, Carafe and Coffee Maker.’ Auction house Christie’s has packed its Tuesday sale of impressionist and modern art with household names. There’s Paul Gauguin’s 1892 view of a Tahitian “House,” estimated to sell for at least $14.9 million, and Henri Matisse’s 1944 “Young Girl With Anemones Against a Purple Background,” put at $6.2 million or more. The sleeper hit of Christie’s sale may be works by Le Corbusier, an artist better known as an architect, whose paintings rarely come to auction. Christie’s plans to test collectors’ appetites with a trio of his oils, including this 1926 still life, estimated to sell for at least $1.9 million.

B. Pablo Picasso, ‘Tomato Plant.’ Natural light matters when it comes to putting a price on real estate—or art. Consider Picasso’s series of World War II-era tomato plant paintings. Eleven years ago, Christie’s asked up to $7 million for the artist’s gloomy, 1944 rendition of a drooping “Tomato Plant”—and sold it for $13.5 million. Now, Sotheby’s has consigned this earlier, sun-dappled version of the same plant under the same title, and Helena Newman, chairwoman of Sotheby’s Europe, expects the house can get between $12.4 million and $18.6 million for it. “Our plant is healthier and happier,” she said.
C. Miquel Barceló, ‘Muletero.’ Toro, toro! All three houses are offering up paintings of bullfight arenas by the Spanish painter, a neo-expressionist whose series of arenas started gaining fame in the 1990s for blending figuration with abstraction. At a glance, Mr. Barceló’s arenas look like sandy orbs, but details emerge on closer inspection. Five years ago, collectors were paying as much as $6.3 million for works from this series, but the houses are asking far less now: Phillips wants at least $3.1 million for this 1990 work that its seller won at Sotheby’s for $3.7 million six years ago. For its part, Sotheby’s is asking at least $621,800 for Mr. Barceló’s 1990 “In the Middle,” and Christie’s expects its “Chest-level Pass,” from the same year, to sell for at least $1.2 million.

2. NEW YORK - Asian Buyers Do Half Their Auction Business in Europe or the US
Sotheby’s earnings call has this data on the importance of Asian buyers to the overall art market:

48% of purchases by Asian clients took place outside of our Hong Kong salesroom, a trend that we began to see in 2013;And of the top ten works sold by Sotheby’s in 2016, half were purchased by buyers from Asia.Moreover, we are very pleased that our relationship with our new largest shareholder has already been helpful to us in China.

3. NEW YORK - New Report Projects Art Market Growth in 2017—Here’s Why
Here’s a sentiment you probably haven’t heard in awhile: “2017 may actually be a very stable, nice year.”

That’s the conclusion drawn by Doug Woodham, former Christie’s president of the Americas, from this year’s ArtTactic Global Art Market Outlook, released this week. Amidst the current political turmoil and economic uncertainty, he said, the art market could be an island of stability.
Of course, art market players aren’t oblivious to the current state of affairs; political and economic uncertainty ranked highest on 2017’s list of risks to the art market. And while stock markets have been rising despite the unexpected results of the Brexit referendum and the U.S. election, “there’s also a deeply emotional aspect” to art buying, said Anders Petterson, founder and managing director of ArtTactic, noting that the global art-collecting elite could be feeling shaken by geopolitical events.

Still, the overall tone, which surveyed 182 art-world participants, including collectors, advisors, dealers, and auction house professionals, was what you might call “cautiously optimistic.” Here are five key takeaways from the report.
Things are looking up

The survey found a positive outlook across all 10 regional markets it surveyed, with the most positive sentiment emanating from Africa, South Asia, the U.S., and Latin America. Overall, 59% of those surveyed described the global outlook for 2017 as positive, and only 8% as negative. That’s a substantial 18-percentage-point increase in optimistic sentiment from January 2016, but a marginally less rosy outlook than two years prior, when 66% of those surveyed were optimistic about the prospects for what turned out to be a disappointing year.
Many factors are in place to further induce the “wealth effect” that can bolster art buying, especially in the U.S., the largest art market by value. Those include rising equity markets, as well as rising home prices and low unemployment. The International Monetary Fund recently increased its forecasted GDP growth in the U.S. to 2.3% in 2017 and 2.5% in 2018. And an improving macroeconomic environment could give collectors additional psychological impetus to buy.

“Art is entirely a discretionary purchase,” said Woodham. “People need to feel comfortable with their wealth position to buy art.” Furthermore, the current low-interest rate environment makes a non-interest-bearing asset like art more attractive to own, although he warns that could shift if interest rates move up significantly, something the U.S. Federal Reserve has indicated is on the horizon.

One last reason for the optimism? It can’t possibly get any worse than 2016. Last year “was quite a difficult, challenging year for the art market,” said Petterson, and many art market players feel “the market has bottomed out.”
The lower end of the market could stabilize

Optimism regarding the more accessible segment of the art market—works priced below $10,000—swelled for 2017, rising to 56% from 44% in 2016. Woodham said some of that momentum could be driven by what he calls “nesters,” people are looking to fill the walls of a newly bought or renovated property.
“They live in a world where they’re aware of art and they want to own some meaningful art,” he said, such as a print or a work by an emerging artist.

Optimism grew in every segment except at the very top. There are several explanations for this, one being that supply for works about $1 million may take longer to recover than demand at lower price points and that collectors may feel comfortable enough in a rising market to move away from relatively low-risk masterworks and back to pieces in the middle of the market and by emerging artists.
The top end is flattening

Meanwhile, at the high end of the market (works valued at $1 million and above), sentiment turned neutral. Just over half of those surveyed saw that segment flattening out in 2017, compared with a third in 2016. A smaller share was optimistic that segment of the market will rise, down to 37% from 46%.

Woodham said a series of auctions in which lots sold at their minimum bid is keeping discretionary sellers on the sidelines. Those who can afford to hold on to their works are likely waiting for a major sign of confidence in the market before jumping back in, or are looking to private sales where they have more control over pricing.
Uncertainty looms in the background

Political and economic uncertainty are once again the headline risks for 2017, only this year they switched places (for 2016, economic uncertainty was at the top). The name “Trump” appears eight times in ArtTactic’s 15-page report, and it cites “a new level of political and economic uncertainty” that “is likely to dominate the world in 2017, something that could have serious ramifications for the confidence in the art market in years to come.” The report also highlights rising populism across Europe and its influence in upcoming elections in France, Germany, and the Netherlands as factors likely to intensify the political uncertainty in the air.

Art businesses continue to pursue strategic opportunities in other markets

In 2016, auction sales of modern and contemporary art in the U.S. and U.K. dropped by 30% and 41%, respectively, according to the report. Although sentiment was still mostly positive-to-neutral for those two major markets, Petterson said he saw auction houses and large galleries looking to build up their presence in other regions, and target specific buyers from emerging markets. He cited the rescheduling this year of the auction houses’ February London sales to avoid clashing with Chinese New Year celebrations as one way they were adjusting.“There are these signs of opportunities in the market despite the difficult political environment,” he said.And despite the anti-globalization sentiment (“global citizen” has almost become a pejorative, Petterson, a Norwegian living in London, noted), it is institutions like Christie’s or Sotheby’s that are best poised to pursue a global strategy, thanks to their existing global footprints and their staffs’ wide-ranging expertise.“To compete in today’s world, where you need a presence in loads of markets [and the ability to] adapt to many buyers’ motivations, you have to have resources and the auction houses probably have the upper hand at the moment,” he said.Blue-chip galleries are putting up a good fight, too, through art fairs and global expansions, but he noted this type of hyper-competitive environment put smaller and medium-sized galleries at a disadvantage. Instead, one sees “a small group of very big galleries dominating the marketplace, then it’s a very long drop down” to the second tier.
Looking ahead

When the theme of the year is uncertainty, it’s definitionally hard to say what the future holds. There are a few signs that hint at where the market could head. Christie’s reported that nearly one-third of its buyers in 2016 were new ones, up from 5% in 2015, according to the New York Times. This could suggest that the house is finding success in its pursuit of collectors from new markets. Another hopeful data point in a year that saw a 16% decline in overall sales was its 109% growth in online-only sales, which reached £49.8 million (still a tiny share of the total £4 billion the house sold last year).

In the meantime, the art market has forces pulling it in two directions. On the upside, there’s the likelihood that a lucky few will benefit from a business-friendly environment in the U.S., stoking their appetite for buying. On the downside, geopolitical risks are scattered across the global landscape, from the U.S.’s erratic foreign policy and mercurial tax reform strategy, to Brexit’s murky outcome, to the threat of terrorism and conflict.

“The political uncertainty is hanging over us,” said Petterson. “If it plays out badly, then it will have an impact. If it just sits there, then the market will just plod along.”
4. NEW YORK - Art Market Predictions 2017
Apollo’s regular round-up of art market headlines and comment. To kick off the year, seven industry figures look back at the major art market surprises of 2016 and place their bets for the year ahead. Visit Apollo Collector Services for expert advice on navigating the art market.

Jussi Pylkkanen
President of Europe and the Middle East, Christie’s
Your biggest surprise of 2016?
That an Old Master, Rubens’ Lot and His Daughters, came dangerously close to being the most expensive painting sold at auction all year. It was eventually edged into third place by a great Monet and a market-making De Kooning (which was the picture that defined the shift in taste to Post-War a decade ago). However the historic pair of Rembrandts, which sold privately to the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum actually made Christie’s biggest price of the year, so Old Masters came out on top in the end. Moral of the story: The art world is very simple, in any era and in any economic climate, the greatest artworks by the greatest artists generate record prices – forget the period. In 2017, Rembrandt eclipsed Monet, De Kooning and Rubens.

A prediction for 2017?
Significant paintings will come to market in 2017 and break records for leading artists. This is a seller’s market and with a constrained supply, buyers will compete heavily for the best.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
That the Chinese market will falter – Asian collectors are set to be the biggest buyers in 2017.
Melanie Gerlis
Financial Times art market correspondent
Your biggest surprise of 2016?
For me the biggest surprise happened less than a fortnight into the year: Sotheby’s spending $50 million upfront (potentially $85 million) on essentially three people, when it bought the art advisory business Art Agency, Partners.

A prediction for 2017?
That one major auction house ­– Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Phillips – will change ownership.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
I would bet £500 on the fact that transparency won’t particularly improve in the art market in 2017. For all the talk about big data and breaking down the private market barriers, it’s going to take longer than 12 months.
Isabelle Paagman
European Head of Private Sales, Contemporary, Sotheby’s

Your biggest surprise of 2016?
2016 was a year of surprises, with political events both in Europe and the US, but the resilience of the art market despite such great uncertainty really stood out. On a personal note, arriving at work and seeing queues around the block in anticipation of the Bowie exhibition was an unexpected treat.

A prediction for 2017?
I’m confident we’ll see a tremendous year for women artists at the very top of the art market, building on recent outstanding results such as the remarkable Jenny Saville canvas that captivated the room at our contemporary auction in London last June.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
Whatever surprises 2017 might have in might have in store, there certainly won’t be any shortage of exciting and thought-provoking new art. With both the Venice Biennale and Documenta opening in the spring we’ll see new artistic talents emerge, and compelling exhibitions that respond to the momentous social and political changes taking place across the globe. 
Patrick van Maris

Your biggest surprise of 2016?
We were always confident the launch of TEFAF New York would be successful, however the feedback from our exhibitors, the collectors and the international press exceeded our wildest expectations. It felt like a true triumph. New York City and TEFAF prove to be a match made in art market heaven.
A prediction for 2017?
In 2017 we will see further consolidation with an even stronger emphasis on quality and authenticity.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
I think Brexit will not have a negative impact on London as the number one European art trading hub.

Edward Dolman
Chairman and CEO, Phillips

Your biggest surprise of 2016?
Despite being a year of consolidation, our evening auctions in New York, London and Hong Kong did not pass by without excitement. Phillips tested the masterpiece market with a famously vandalised Roy Lichtenstein, Nudes in Mirror [1994] which had undergone a meticulous restoration and sold for $21.5 million.

A prediction for 2017?
Regardless of a smaller supply, we saw increased strength in active participation across our sales which leads us to believe 2017 will be a stronger year. This will be particularly notable in Asia, as we continue to see a significant transformation in the buying habits of Asian collectors, who are becoming increasingly interested in art from around the world.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
Despite continued political and economic uncertainty, I would bet that art sales in 2017 will not be less than 2016. I expect the market to return to growth.

Kate Bryan
Head of Collections, Soho House and Co.

Your biggest surprise of 2016?
How little the overall health of the market was affected by the combined doom of Brexit and Trump! Yes, there was a clear downturn that was well documented but upon reflection I am astounded at the general resilience of the global contemporary art market – we have never seen an age like this.

A prediction for 2017?
The continued growth of Latin American art markets, and rightfully so. There were new records set in 2016 in the major auctions houses. More interestingly, on a local level I saw more gallery shows, talk about art fairs in the region and a better understanding of and attitude toward this market generally.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
Collectors crying out ‘we need more art fairs’ and artists proclaiming ‘I wish Donald Trump would be my Pope Julius II’.
Matthew Girling
Global CEO of Bonhams

Your biggest surprise of 2016?
I knew that the Chinese art market would bounce back, but was greatly heartened by the strength of its recovery.
A prediction for 2017?
From my viewpoint in New York I predict that the ultra high net worth individuals will still look to art as a great place to invest their money despite the uncertainty, but there will be an extra emphasis on quality, connoisseurship and provenance. Also that areas that are currently undervalued – such as Op Art and the work of women artists – will continue their steady march upwards.

What would you bet £50 won’t happen in 2017?
If we’ve learnt anything from 2016, it is that all bets are off!

5. LONDON _ London Sales Cycle Steady from 2016 at $593m, Down ~40% from 2015

Max Ernst, Portrait érotique voilé (1.5-2.5m GBP)

The Wall Street Journal offers a tally on the upcoming sales in London. The pre-sale total is slightly below the previous year but down 40% from the boom year of 2015.

The Journal insists on describing this as a market slump. Given what we know about several factors related to the sales in those years—the macroeconomic environment and the aggressive competition between auction houses for property—the current market may be closer to a sustainable one.

The key factor—which we discuss in this AMMpro post—is whether the broader market has moved in a different direction:

London’s latest round is set to kick off Tuesday, with Sotheby’s, Christie’s and the smaller house Phillips expecting to sell at least $593 million worth of impressionist, modern and contemporary art combined, down 4.4% from a similar, $620 million series held a year ago.

6. LONDON - Art Market’s Slump Gets Worse in 2016
The art market continued to stumble in 2016, with London-based auction house Christie’s reporting a 27% drop in sales

The art market sank into a deeper slump last year, with London-based auction house Christie’s International PLC saying Wednesday it sold £4 billion, or $5.4 billion, of art last year, a 27% decline from a year earlier—and a 36% drop from the market’s peak two years ago.

Christie’s total included $4.4 billion in auction sales, down 32% from the year before. The drop was partly offset by a boost in privately brokered art sales, as more collectors sought to sell their art discreetly rather than risk putting pieces up for public bid. Christie’s sold $935.5 million privately, up 10% from a year earlier.

Rival Sotheby’s, based in New York, auctioned $4.1 billion last year, down 30% from the year before. Sotheby’s will release its consolidated sale totals later this month. Boutique house Phillips said it auctioned $500 million in art last year, down 1.5% from 2015, and privately sold an additional $67.8 million of art.

Fewer art trophies filtered on to the market last year, but masterworks that did fared well. These included Claude Monet’s “Grainstack,” an 1891 view of a harvested field that Denver stock picker Tom Marsico bought for $12 million in 2002 and resold for $81.4 million at Christie’s in New York in November. Christie’s also sold a $66.3 million Willem de Kooning, “Untitled XXV,” and a $58.2 million Peter Paul Rubens, “Lot and his Daughters.” Sotheby’s sold Pablo Picasso’s cubist portrait of a “Seated Woman” for $63.6 million.

Overall, sales were down across several key categories, with Christie’s selling $1.3 billion in contemporary art, down 41% from a year earlier. Its sales of impressionist and modern art—a category it now lumps in with modern British, American and Latin-American art—fell 50% to $997 million. Sales of luxury goods such as jewelry, watches and wine fell 3% to $735 million. Asian art sales fell 14% to $633 million.

Sales perked up in other areas, though. Christie’s sales of Old Master paintings, along with 19th-century art and Russian art, grew 31% to $312 million. The house racked up $217 million in sales of art online—a category that includes online bidding in live auctions as well as online-only auctions. Taken separately, the online-only sales totaled $67 million, up 84%.

In terms of geography, Christie’s sold $2 billion worth of art in the U.S., or about 44% of the house’s offerings. Christie’s Asia sold $705.8 million worth of art, or 16% of the house’s offerings overall, and the house sold around $1.8 billion worth of art across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India last year, or about 40% of its offerings.I

Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s new chief executive, called last year “challenging,” but said he sees signs of a turnaround. About a third of Christie’s bidders last year were first-timers, he said, an influx that could bolster competition. What’s more, he said, 79% of the house’s total offerings found buyers last year, a sell-through rate that he labeled “solid.” (The privately held company hasn’t divulged overall sell-through rates for previous years.)

Mr. Cerutti said Christie’s plans to invest more in collector hotspots like Beijing and Los Angeles. The art market faces a major test with a series of sales in London that start Feb. 28.

Corrections & Amplifications
Phillips auctioned $500 million in art last year, plus an additional $67.8 million in private sales. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Philllips’s total sales for 2016 were $500 million. Christie’s sold $2 billion worth of art in the U.S., or about 44% of the house’s offerings. Christie’s Asia sold $705.8 million worth of art, or 16% of the house’s offerings overall, and the house sold around $1.8 billion worth of art across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India last year, or about 40% of its offerings. An earlier version of this article gave incorrect percentages of the total. (February 9, 2017)