Checking in with art news, Tina Barney gets a spotlight, the fight over Norman Rockwell paintings continue and art sales from major auction houses continue to impact art communities in significant ways.

The battle continues over the sale of two Norman Rockwell paintings up for auction at Sotheby’s American Sale in New York on November 13, 2017, according to ARTnews. Offered by The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA, the intend sale is part of a plan to sell 40 artworks from its collection to fund a “reinvention” that would renovate buildings, refocus its exhibitions toward science and history and bolster its endowment, according to the Berkshire Eagle.

Representing the potential to draw over $68 million, as estimated by Sotheby’s, two paintings in particular are drawing ire and potential legal action from the family of Norman Rockwell: Shuffleton’s Barber Shop, 1950, and Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop, 1940.

Citing a 1958 letter Rockwell wrote when he pledged the works to museum, the family contends these works were intended to remain available to the public in the museum’s permanent collection and cannot be sold, according to ArtForum. Last week, members of Rockwell’s family met with the Massachusetts attorney general’s office to try to stop the sale, ARTnews reported. Meanwhile, the paintings remain part of the Sotheby’s lot.

Sotheby's estimated Shuffleton’s Barbershop to draw $20 million to $30 million, according to The Boston Globe. A reproduction of the painting appeared as the cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post on April 29, 1950.


"Shuffleton's Barber Shop" by Norman Rockwell, 1950. Oil on canvas, 31 x 33 inches. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” April 29, 1950. Collection of the Berkshire Museum.

"Shuffleton's Barber Shop" by Norman Rockwell, 1950. Oil on canvas, 31 x 33 inches. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” April 29, 1950. Collection of the Berkshire Museum.


Photographer Tina Barney receives a retrospective of sorts in a new book published by Rizzoli. Tina Barney (Hardcover, published September 19, 2017, $100.) covers three decades of portraying private moments of domestic life of American and European elite. Bucking the fine art photography practice at the time of making images in black and white, Barney began working in color to create large-format images in the 1980s. Dancing between candid and choreographed scenes with tension created from the contrast of intimate and personal but detached viewpoints, Barney's work over the years captures change in social and cultural conditions. The book includes an Introduction by Barney and an Afterward by Peter Galassi.

A long-time visitor to Southampton, Barney works and lives in New York and Westerly, RI. Her work is held in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY and others. In 1999, Barney's work was the subject of a solo show "Photographic Tableaux: Tina Barney's Family Album" presented at the Parrish's Southampton location. A book signing was held this week with Barney and Galassi at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City who represents her art.

Art Collector and Gallerist Gary Nader is poised to sell $100 million of art from his collection to build a new museum in Miami, reported Jonathan Kendall of Miami New Times. The Nader Art Museum Latin American is planned for Downtown Miami and would be devoted to Latin American Art. To fund the new museum, Nader has pledged to sell over 100 works during Art Basel Miami Beach in December 207, the newspaper reported. Works by Picasso, Henri Matisse, Roy Lichtenstein, Damien Hirst and Fernando Botero will be sold for this purpose, according to Miami New Times. Since his announcement, Sotheby's and Phillips have joined his efforts and will auction selections to benefit the planned museum, according to Gary Nader's website. Gary Nader Art Centre is located in Wynwood in Miami.

The anonymous consignor of Jean-Michel Basquiat's Red Skull, 1982, has announced after-tax proceeds from sale of $21.5 million will be donated to a non-profit to fund charter schools in New Jersey and Miami, according to ArtNews. The painting was sold at Christie's Contemporary Evening Sale in London on October 13, 2017, reported Nate Freeman for ArtNews. An estimated $7 to $9 million will be donated to the non-profit Knowledge is Power Program, which will spend the money to expand schools in Newark and Camden, NJ and in Miami, according to art magazine.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Executive Director Alyson Baker steps down from her position at the end of the year, announced the museum, located in Fairfield County in CT. During her six years, the museum gained accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums and spearheaded a rebranding campaign. As of January 2018, the Aldrich's Deputy Director Tracy Moore and Exhibitions Director Richard Klein will act as Interim Co-Directors during the search for Baker's replacement.

Artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have been commissioned to paint Barack and Michelle Obama's respective portraits for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, announced the museum. The portraits will be unveiled to the public in early 2018.

Lauren A. Meserve has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the museum announced today. She takes over the role held by Suzanne Brenner who leaves the museum after 18 years to become a Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at Brown Brothers Harriman, according to the announcement.


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