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Headlines and Highlights: Week of September 29th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of September 29th
September 29, 2023
Keenan Flack

Roman Abromamovich's $1B Art Collection Revealed in Leaked Documents


The News: Leaked documents have exposed the extensive art collection of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, valued at nearly $1 billion. The revelation comes amid reports detailing how Abramovich restructured a trust to hold less than 50% of his collection, days before U.K. sanctions hit him in early 2022.

Why: The leaked information from Cyprus-based MeritServus HC Limited unveiled a collection of over 300 art pieces, including works by renowned artists like Monet and Picasso. This move, especially the restructuring just before U.K. sanctions, has raised eyebrows, as any asset more than 50% owned by a sanctioned individual can be frozen.

What's Next: The extent of Abramovich’s collection has set off alarms in the elite art collecting world, with potential implications for major collectors and targeted Russian oligarchs wanting discretion. The U.K. authorities are yet to comment on any potential actions based on these new revelations. Abramovich, previously a discreet figure in art circles, now faces scrutiny over his vast collection, with its whereabouts and the implications of its disclosure remaining a point of intrigue. ARTNETNEWS

Pokemon x Vincent van Gogh Museum


The News: The Pokémon Company International is teaming up with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for a unique ‘Pokémon x Van Gogh’ art collaboration. This project, running from Sept. 28, 2023, to Jan. 7, 2024, is designed to introduce young artists to Vincent van Gogh's works, using iconic Pokémon characters.

Why: The collaboration marks the 50th Anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum. The aim is to bridge Vincent van Gogh’s influential works and Pokémon’s cultural impact. The initiative offers activities like Pokémon-inspired paintings based on Van Gogh’s classics, educational material highlighting the connection between Van Gogh and Japan, and interactive experiences such as a 'How to draw Pikachu' video guide.

The Trouble: The Van Gogh Museum's gift shop faced a challenge when alleged scalpers flooded the venue, aiming to buy large quantities of the ‘Pokémon x Van Gogh’ merchandise for potential resale. Furthermore, the links to purchase the collaboration merchandise on the Pokémon Center online store are currently down, reasons for which remain unclear. POKEMON TWITTER

Collectible Happenings

Researchers recently unveiled a 1504 painting of Mary Magdalene, believed to be a long-lost work by the Renaissance artist Raphael Sanzio. However, the authenticity of the painting is being debated, with some experts dismissing it as a mere replica. ARTNET

The Philadelphia Sports Card and Memorabilia Show saw a significant turnout of collectors and top dealers, with attractions ranging from vintage cards and memorabilia to autograph sessions, despite chilly rain on its busiest day, Saturday. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY

RR Auction in Boston sold an "exceedingly rare" pair of tickets from Ford's Theatre, dated the night of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865, for a substantial $262,500; the original tickets were priced at 75 cents each. CBSNEWS

A recently discovered oil sketch by the famed 19th-century artist John Constable, hidden in a Guernsey townhouse and believed to be connected to his iconic "The Hay Wain" painting, fetched £200,000 ($245,000) at auction, nearly doubling its pre-sale estimate, with the winning bidder being a local resident. ARTNET

His Excellency Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, UAE Minister of Culture & Youth, along with Dr. Saeed Kharbash, CEO of Arts & Literature, unveiled the iconic painting 'Femme à la montre' by Pablo Picasso at Sothebys Dubai, marking the first time such a significant work by the acclaimed artist has been exhibited in the UAE. TWITTER

Bill Acquavella, a prominent art dealer, inadvertently leaked an image on Instagram of a yet-to-be-announced Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that Christie's plans to auction in November with an estimated value of $10 million to $15 million. This untitled 1981 Basquiat piece, which had previously been auctioned in 2007 for $5.7 million, was mysteriously previewed on Christie's website, leading to much speculation until Acquavella's post provided clarity. Acquavella later clarified he had no involvement with the painting's sale. ARTNET

Taiwanese billionaire Pierre Chen is auctioning 25,000 bottles of wine from his vast collection at Sotheby's in a series of sales expected to reach $50 million, making it the largest and most valuable wine auction ever. Aside from being a prominent wine collector, Chen is also a renowned art collector, with holdings including works by artists like Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso; his art collection is currently on display at Tate Modern, and some of his rare wines, like the Domaine de la Romaneé-Conti La Tâche 1985, are estimated to sell for up to $190,000 each. ARTNET

Andrew Goldstein has been appointed as the new editor-in-chief of artnet News, succeeding Rozalia Jovanovic, who decided to leave after more than a year leading the news division. Goldstein's appointment comes after his recent layoff from Artspace, and he joins artnet News during a time of significant shifts in the art startup world, with Jovanovic citing differing visions with artnet's CEO as the reason for her departure. ARTNEWS

Rally Q4 2023 Teaser? TWITTER

The jersey Wilt Chamberlain wore during the 1972 NBA Finals sold at Sotheby's for $4.9 million, having been estimated at $4 million. BLEACHERREPORT

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