Friday, February 26, 2010

Quick Takes - February 2010

1. Save your comic books: AP) A 1939 comic book in which Batman makes his debut sold at auction Thursday for more than $1 million, breaking a record set just three days earlier by a Superman comic, Heritage Auction Galleries said. The Dallas-based auction house said the rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27 sold for a total of $1,075,500, which includes the buyer's premium, to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The consigner wanted to remain anonymous as well. "It pretty much blew away all of our expectations and now it's the highest price ever raised for a comic book," said Barry Sandoval, director of operations of Heritage's comics division.

A copy of the first comic book featuring Superman, a 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1,
sold Monday for $1 million in a sale between a private seller and a private buyer, with the transaction conducted by the New York City auction site
"We can really say that Batman has nosed out Superman, at least for now," Sandoval said. He said the consigner had bought the Batman comic in the late 1960s for $100. With a bright yellow background, the comic features Batman swinging on a rope above city rooftops.

2. Dirk Hannema, former art director of the respected Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam insisted until his death in 1984 that painting "Le Blute-Fin Mill" which he purchased in 1975 for 5000 Dutch guilders ($2700) was painted by Vincent Van Gogh. A rather checkered past which included accusations of selling art illegally seized by the Nazis undermined his credibility. The painting which is somewhat of a departure from the artist's style is now recognized as an authentic Van Gogh by the artist's museum in Amsterdam. In reviewing the previous efforts of authentication it was apparent that the scholars, art historians, scientific testers never really focused in a serious way to reach a thoughtful conclusion.

3. Swiss art museum founder Ernst Beyeler died on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, the Foundation Beyeler confirmed on Friday Feb. 26, 2010. Beyeler's eye for undervalued Picassos and Impressionists enabled him to become Switzerland's most famous art collector. After making millions he acquired hundreds of works by Picasso, Cezanne, Monet, Matisse and for his museum in Riehen near Basel. The collection is estimated by the Swiss magazine Bilanz to be worth at least 2 billion Swiss francs ($1.85 billion).(AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Martin Ruetschi.

4. "MEXICO CITY.- Rests of a circular-based temple that according to the reconstructive map of Mexica ceremonial center in Tenochtitlan, could be the most important dedicated to Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, were discovered by National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) specialists in a plot located at the back of Metropolitan Cathedral. “Due to its location and nearness to Templo Mayor, it coincides with the representation made by archaeologist and architect Ignacio Marquina in 1960. “Relevance of the finding consists in confirmation by archaeological information of historical data regarding the sacred precinct of Mexico –Tenochtitlan, which occupied nearly 500 square meters”, mentioned Raul Barrera Rodriguez, in charge of the INAH Program of Urban Archaeology (PAU). The discovery took place in the plot located at 16 of Guatemala Street, in Mexico City Historical Center, after 2 months of archaeological work. "
5. Statue of Limitations - Probably not... "So says Joanne King Herring in the Houston Chronicle earlier this week when discussing her suit to regain this work by Sir Henry Raeburn. Herring has an auction catalog receipt and a 1986 police report which was filed when the work disappeared from a framing shop. The work had been missing since, until Geoffrey Rice recently consigned the painting to Sotheby's. When he did, the painting raised flags with the Art Loss Register. Rice claims to have purchased the painting from Hart Galleries in Houston, an auction house that is now shuttered because of misapplication of fiduciary property. Rice has no paperwork for the work and claims to have stored the painting in his laundry room for years, and only recently decided to sell the work. Probably not the best provenance. I like Herring's chances to regain the work. As Herring says "I wouldn't any more press a case if I didn't have a bill of sale than fly to the moon.”Rice has defended Herring's suit on a statute of limitations defense. However she has done everything a prudent victim should—contacting the police and reporting the theft to the Art Loss Register. As a consequence the limitations period will probably not begin until she discovered the present possessor of the painting."

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