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Headlines and Highlights: Week of September 22nd

Headlines and Highlights: Week of September 22nd
September 22, 2023
Keenan Flack

Minneapolis Gallery to sell Bob Ross Canvas for Nearly $10M

Cred: Modern Artifact

The News: Modern Artifact, a gallery located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is breaking new ground in the fine art world by offering for sale A Walk in the Woods (1983), the first painting Bob Ross completed during the debut episode of his iconic television show, The Joy of Painting. The gallery has priced the work at an ambitious $9.85 million and is open to negotiations, albeit with a preference for sharing the painting with a museum or a traveling exhibition.

Why: As the cultural influence of Bob Ross continues to proliferate, notably surpassing legends like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso in internet search data, Modern Artifact recognizes the opportunity to place this painting in a setting where it can be celebrated both as a work of fine art and a pop culture phenomenon. Gallery owner Ryan Nelson highlighted this dual appeal, calling Ross’s cultural impact "a rare glimmer of authenticity in a fine art market that is often tightly controlled and highly manipulated."

What's Next: Modern Artifact plans to tour the painting, thereby granting an in-person viewing experience for the artwork. Although the gallery is accepting offers, it is strongly encouraging museums and traveling exhibitions to step forward, thereby expanding the painting's reach beyond traditional private collections. The rarity of Bob Ross's paintings reaching the auction block adds another layer of urgency and exclusivity to this sale. ARTNEWS

Panini Sues WWE After Losing Exclusive Deal Early to Fanatics

The News: Panini America is taking legal action to protect its licensing agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). The move comes after WWE sent a termination notice to Panini, alleging that the trading card manufacturer violated their agreement. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court on Wednesday.

Why: Panini asserts that it has met all the terms and obligations of its four-year agreement with WWE, which began in January 2022 and was set to continue through December 2025. The company argues that it has made good faith efforts to produce both "physical trading card games" and "digital trading cards" for WWE. The lawsuit seeks to clarify that Panini has not breached the contract and should not be required to pay WWE the $5.6 million in remaining contractual minimum royalty payments that WWE is asking for.

What's Next: This legal dispute is part of a broader pattern of licensing battles that Panini is currently involved in. The company has also filed a similar lawsuit against the NFL Player's Association, who moved to end its deal with Panini prematurely to shift to Fanatics. Panini and Fanatics have also exchanged lawsuits over attempts to acquire each other's NBA and NFL licenses before their respective expiration dates in 2025 and 2026. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY

Collectible Happenings

Rick Beasley discovered a valuable collection of vintage baseball cards, dating back to 1914 and advertising Boston Garters, while cleaning out his late grandfather's garage in Mississippi. The collection, which was nearly discarded, is now up for auction at Heritage with bids reaching $480,000 as of today. CBSNEWS HERITAGE

Viktor Wembanyama ‘First Pick’ Autograph card has been graded a PSA GEM MT 10. TWITTER

Fernando Botero, the renowned Colombian artist famous for his unique style known as "Boterismo," featuring voluptuous figures and sensuous forms, has died at the age of 91 due to complications from pneumonia. ARTNET

Boba Fett toy on Rally valued currently at $105,000, votes down the opportunity to send the object to auction. TWITTER

A great twitter thread from Heritage Auctions’ Cris Bierrenbach on their top selling lots throughout categories. TWITTER

The heirs of late conceptual artist John Baldessari are embroiled in multiple legal disputes concerning the ownership and care of his works. While they have sued Marian Goodman Gallery and two insurers for allegedly damaging artworks, they are also being sued by art fabricators Beyer Projects for breach of contract, claiming the heirs canceled a major planned show and are trying to claim full ownership of co-owned works; the heirs have countersued. ARTNET

David Zwirner, a leading gallerist, recently faced two significant setbacks: the loss of a planned $50 million headquarters in Manhattan and the departure of major artist Carol Bove to a rival gallery. These events have sparked conversations about the high costs and volatility in the elite art world, particularly as the broader art market faces a slowdown and changing economic dynamics. THEARTNEWSPAPER

Several prominent institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Ronald S. Lauder Collection, have returned seven artworks by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele to the family of Fritz Grünbaum, a Jewish art collector and cabaret performer who was killed in the Dachau concentration camp. The Manhattan District Attorney's office confirmed that the artworks were part of Grünbaum's collection, which the Nazis looted during World War II. The returned artworks, valued between $780,000 and $2.75 million, will be auctioned by Christie’s, and the proceeds will fund the Grünbaum Fischer Foundation, aimed at providing scholarships for underprivileged and underrepresented groups in the performing arts. WSJ

The National Sports Collectors Convention has tallied the votes from dealers and Chicago will be hosting the 2026 show. TWITTER

Two Tickets to Ford’s Theatre the night of Lincoln’s assassination to be sold at RR Auctions. The seats were in a booth situated directly across from that of the President’s. WaPo

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