A Francis Bacon triptych that went for $84.5 million at Sotheby’s was the most expensive artwork to sell at auction in 2020, a low price compared to the biggest sales in previous years as economic uncertainty led wealthy art collectors to stand pat.
Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, a characteristically creepy set of three paintings, brought the third-highest price for a Bacon work in June.
The most pricey ever was Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which went for $142.4 million in 2013, at the time the most expensive piece to ever be sold at auction.
The New York Times reported the triptych had been shopped around privately before being put up for auction, which can decrease the final price of artwork for sale.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi was auctioned off for a mindblowing $450 million in 2017, and remains the most expensive work of art to ever sell at auction.
The year wasn’t all doom and gloom in the art world. By capitalizing on online sales, top auction houses weren’t battered as badly as expected by coronavirus, and some even managed to attract record numbers of first-time buyers. There were also unprecedented auction prices in interesting categories: A Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton fetched $31.8 million in October making it the most expensive dinosaur fossils to ever sell at auction. An iconic pair of basketball superstar’s Michael Jordan shoes broke sneaker records when a bidder snapped them up for $615,000 in August.
Francis Bacon Triptych Sells for $84.6 Million (New York Times)
European auction houses weather crisis as customers spend millions on art online (The Art Newspaper)
Thames Art Gallery seeking community submissions for Black History Month art quilt – CTV News Windsor
WINDSOR, ONT. —
The Thames Art Gallery is calling on members of Chatham-Kent to celebrate Black History Month by participating in a community art “quilt.”
“Celebrating Black Lives” is the theme of the digitally based installation.
For those who wish to participate, the gallery asks that you complete a work of art on the theme in any media, whether it’s a painting, drawing or writing.
Once complete, photograph your work and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallery staff will print and assemble the works into a community art “quilt” which will be on public display in the ARTspace window for the month of February.
A donation will be made for each participating artist involved to support the distribution of the film “The North Star: Finding Black Mecca.”
Pandemic paintings featured at the Center for the Arts – Toronto Star
DECATUR, Ala. – As the coronavirus shuttered schools, churches and businesses and suspended life for many last spring, north Alabama painter Jane Philips turned to her art to address feelings of isolation, death, decay, rebirth, wonder and growth.
Four of the paintings Philips completed last year are currently on display at the Alabama Center for the Arts, which debuted two new exhibits last week.
Philips’ “Convalescence” in the main studio and the “Festival of the Cranes” in the walking gallery will remain on display at the downtown Decatur art centre through Feb. 19.
A multi-media artist, Philips named the show “Convalescence” due to the “hard-earned healing” she experienced last year.
“For many months following the start of the pandemic, I could not paint. I was very frustrated with myself because I seemingly had all this free time open up that I felt like I should be taking advantage of. But the truth of the matter is that this (past) year has been stressful and abnormal for everyone — no matter how hard you try not to think about it. For a while, I could only survive. I’m still working on the thriving part,” the Huntsville native said.
To cope with stress and start healing, Philips turned to nature and began hiking through the Tennessee Valley’s forests and parks.
“It’s a thing I can do alone to push myself physically and mentally. The woods became a place of peace and, oddly, connection with the world around me — just maybe not the human part of it,” Philips said. “Hiking helps me think through ideas and clear my head, and the beauty of nature around me inspires me to paint.”
That love for nature appears in Philips’ art, from “Jungle in Triplicate” — a bright and colorful three-panel jungle scene with butterflies, a frog and birds — to “Saying Hello to an Old Friend,” a painting of the artist’s hand on a tree trunk.
The other two new pieces created from oil paint, coffee, charcoal, gold leaf and house paint are “Feels Like Hope,” a portrait of a woman among a field of Queen Anne’s lace, and “Saint Anastia,” a painting of the same model.
“The model is a friend who works with NASA. She’s had some personal triumphs over the last few years, and I wanted to celebrate that and create something positive with them. I just couldn’t muster the energy to work on them until the very end of (last) year — when I could finally feel a little hope again,” Philips said.
Along with the new pieces, the exhibit features Philips’ older work, including “Hereditary/(Whisper),” which won best in show at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center’s “Embracing Art” exhibit in 2019.
Created from oil paint, gold leaf and coffee, the work shows Philips looking to the left, away from the viewer. Her chin rests on the palm of her hand and her bent fingers cover her mouth. On her right are sprigs of dried Queen Anne’s lace.
“I think at my core, I have a strong dedication to the stories and characters I share, and I’ve continued in that vein over the last two years,” said Philips, whose work, which reflects her struggle with anxiety and exploration of identity, recently appeared in the Wiregrass Museum of Art’s “Biennial” and the Huntsville Museum of Art’s “Red Clay Survey.”
To see Philips’ art, stop by the Alabama Center for the Arts Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. Admission is free.
“I hope people can see that beauty can be found in many different moments, and not all of those moments are light or joyous or peaceful. There’s also beauty in the breakdown, in darkness, in isolation. Even if, sometimes, it feels almost impossible to find,” Philips said.
In the walking gallery, the “Festival of the Cranes” exhibit features 27 nature-themed pieces of art by 21 artists, Jennifer Bunnell, chief operating officer with Alabama Center of the Arts, said.
Held in conjunction with Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s Festival of the Cranes, which took place Saturday, the juried exhibit features art by students, alumni and faculty at Athens State University and Calhoun Community College.
The exhibit includes oil, acrylic, watercolour and digital paintings for whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, deer, forests and the Tennessee River.
For more art adventures, stop by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center and the Huntsville Museum of Art. The Carnegie, on Church Street Northeast in Decatur, will unveil a new exhibit featuring photographs by Jose Betancourt on Tuesday. The exhibit, “Cuba: Memories Revisited” includes photographs from Betancourt’s return to Cuba after 48 years.
Exhibits currently on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art are “The World of Frida (Kahlo),” “Jonathan Becker: Social Work” photographs, and “Gloria Vanderbilt: An Artful Life.”
Art Fx #3: "Waterlines" by Rob Stimpson – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler
Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.
“Waterlines” by Rob Stimpson is a 36″ x 24″ image on Hahnemühle Photo Rag archival paper. It is available for $650, unframed (limited edition run of five).
“Photography for me is more than copying reality,” writes Rob. “I look to see beyond seeing. You can achieve a far higher visual impact thinking the image through. One has to look at the potential abstractions within that context of creating the image then build your narrative around it. Waterlines is an example. First it is important to sit and look. From there I make the decision on what to include in the composition. The old saying ‘what you put into a composition is as important as what you leave out’ rings true in this image.”
Artist bio: Rob Stimpson is an internationally published, award-winning photographer. His first commercial breakthrough came from selling images to Canada’s prestigious National Film Board. Rob has photographed for Ontario Tourism, Ontario Parks and Parks Canada for many years. His work has appeared on the covers of Ontario Parks Guides, calendars, magazines and national ads for the province and Canada. He has garnered numerous awards, including a Northern Lights Award from the Canadian Tourism Commission and Best Travel Photography Award from the Ontario Tourism Summit. In October 2012 he was nominated and accepted into the College of Fellows in the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
He has co-authored An Artists and Photographers Guide to Wild Ontario as well as contributed to numerous books. His work has graced Canadian Geographic, Explore Magazine, Cathay Pacific, Japan Air in-flight magazines. His fine art prints hang in private homes around the world. Travels have taken him to many places but his favourite are Antarctica and the Arctic where he works as an expedition photographer for One Ocean Expeditions. In 2014 Rob was part of Ice Tracks Expedition’s centenary celebration of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Trans Antarctic Expedition. In July 2016 he was selected by the Globe and Mail and Lexus to be showcased with nine others showcasing their professional lives.
Find him online at www.robstimpson.com where you can also see details for his 2021 photo workshops and Zoom talks (email for a list of topics), on Facebook @rob.stimpson.9, or on Instagram @rob.stimpson.photography.
See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.
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