August 8, 2018

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

Texas man sells Picasso painting through neighborhood website
How Financial Products Drive Today’s Art World
The Czech Painter Often Credited with Inventing Pure Abstract Art
Ms. Peterson Reflects On 33 Years At East Falmouth Elementary
Monet’s lost cat returns home to Giverny
THE STORE THAT’S KEEPING THE JEWISH FLAME ALIVE IN KENSINGTON MARKET
Art and its therapeutic connection to addiction and grief
Legal battle over Met's famous Picasso reignited by estate
Secret of Success: The Paint Chip appeals to any level of artist
Norton Simon Museum can keep Nazi-looted Cranachs, US court rules

  

 

Texas man sells Picasso painting through neighborhood website

A Texas man's listing on the website Nextdoor that had been making the social media rounds recently has paid off. The Houston resident has sold an “original Pablo Picasso painting with proper documentation for sale from early 1900s” through the neighborhood website.

Bypassing the usual (and, perhaps, safer?) art dealer route, the seller, listed as John Kiger, valued the painting at $15,000 — but was willing to let it go for a mere $12,000. CultureMap reached out to Kiger, who declined to officially comment or offer the final sale price.

Kiger described the painting as being from “Picasso's Blue Period (1901-1904), characterized by somber paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors, began either in Spain in early 1901, or in Paris in the second half of the year.”

To assuage any doubts a serious collector may have had, here are some highlights from Kiger’s Nextdoor post:

The painting is professionally framed with UV glass.
It includes COA (copy of authenticity).
The item will be packaged properly before delivered to location with his own "security detail" (inside a bank, for example) for "safety and security"
Kiger will include two other documents that include insurer policy for the painting and a registered certificate from the NFATR (National Fine Arts Title Registry).
The frame and matting/glass "is not cheap."
Kiger told CultureMap ahead of the sale that he collects and appreciates “certain items” and allows “others to truly enjoy them as well from time to time.”

Now that his Picasso is gone, his neighbors will have to wait to see what future trinket the enigmatic Kiger is prepared to share on Nextdoor. Culturemap Dallas

 

How Financial Products Drive Today’s Art World

LONDON: How does one invest in art without going through the complications of buying and owning an actual artwork?

That is the question behind financial products for investors attracted by soaring art prices but intimidated by the complexity and opacity of the market. It is why art funds were all the rage in the early 2000s, and why new variations continue to emerge.

At the same time, entrepreneurs are trying to iron out the archaic inefficiencies of the art world with new types of financial products, particularly the secure ledgers of blockchain. While the technology is best known as the basis of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, its promise of transparency could transform sectors like banking and insurance and, some say, art.

“More transparency equals more trust, more trust equals more transactions, more transactions equals stronger markets,” Anne Bracegirdle, a specialist in the photographs department at Christie’s, said on Tuesday at the auction house’s first Art & Tech Summit, dedicated to exploring blockchain.

According to Ms. Bracegirdle, blockchain’s decentralized record-keeping could create a “more welcoming art ecosystem” in which collectors and professionals routinely verify the authenticity, provenance and ownership of artworks on an industrywide registry securely situated in the cloud.

Hers was one of the more utopian visions put forward by the roughly 30 panelists at Christie’s daylong conference, however. There was plenty of skepticism on offer.

Sébastien Genco, a blockchain specialist at the auditing and financial services company Deloitte, said the percentage of global investment in this technology that related to art represented “almost nothing.”

Mr. Genco, in his talk at the Christie’s event, titled “Why the Art World Wasn’t Ready for Blockchain,” cited the art world’s slow embrace of technology, limited collaboration, lack of trust in a process that is not fully understood, and costs as some of the reasons blockchain had yet to have a significant impact on the art trade. But that could change, he said. “We just need to educate people.”

As the Christie’s event progressed, a clearer picture emerged of what blockchain could and could not (yet) do for the art world. The technology’s potential for verifying provenance, authenticity and ownership was widely cited by speakers and attendees.

“I see the benefit for my clients in terms of reliability of information,” said Harco van den Oever, chief executive of Overstone, a London-based company providing specialist services to banks that issue art-secured loans. “Blockchain is a secure database. I can’t rely on a piece of paper.”

And blockchain has already proved to be a game-changer in one important area of growth, according to those at the Christie’s event: art in digital forms.

“Digital art is a computer file that can be reproduced and redistributed infinitely. Where’s the resale value?” John Zettler, president of Rare Art Labs, a company building a platform for cryptocurrency art sales, said at the event. Blockchain’s proof-of-ownership technology, combined with blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, have resulted in the “invention of scarcity” and a stronger market for digital art, he said.

Sales that attest to the viability of this market include the equivalent of $14,000 for one of the 10,000 characters created by the New York-based CryptoPunks, with proof of ownership stored on the Ethereum blockchain. There are also CryptoKitties, tradable virtual felines that have attracted more than 250,000 registered users and more than $25 million in transactions.

For other art and technology experts, “tokenization” — using the value of an artwork to underpin tradable digital tokens — is the way forward. “Blockchain represents a huge opportunity for the size of the market,” said Niccolò Filippo Veneri Savoia, founder of Look Lateral, a start-up looking to generate cryptocurrency trading in fractions of artworks.

“I see more transactions,” added Mr. Savoia, who pointed out that tokens representing a percentage of an artwork could be sold several times a year. “The crypto world will bring huge liquidity.”

But the challenge for tokenization ventures such as Look Lateral is finding works of art of sufficient quality to hold their value after being exposed to fractional trading. The art market puts a premium on “blue chip” works that have not been overtraded, and these tend to be bought by wealthy individuals, not by fintech start-ups.

With so much attention focused on such technological endeavors, the emergence of a new fund might seem like a blast from the art finance past. But that’s what we have in the recently and very discreetly introduced UTA Brant Fine Art Fund, devised by the seasoned New York collector Peter Brant and the United Talent Agency in Los Angeles.

The fund aims to invest $250 million in “best-in-class” postwar and contemporary works, according to the prospectus, using the expertise of a management team that consists of Mr. Brant; Jim Berkus, a co-founder of the talent agency, who is also a collector; and Joshua Roth, who leads the agency’s fine arts division. It has a target hold period of five to seven years, the prospectus says, and the minimum investment is $1 million.

Noah Horowitz, in his 2011 primer, “Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market,” listed 36 funds that had been introduced since 2000, of which at least 20 had folded by the end of 2009. High-profile failures, such as Fernwood Art Investments in the United States and the Osian Art Fund in India, rattled confidence in the model of fixed-term art investing, and few newcomers have been entering the sector.

Those that do, like the UTA Brant fund, have tweaked the model. Echoing recent strategies of the London-based Fine Art Group, formerly known as the Fine Art Fund, this latest venture plans to use auction guarantees both to generate additional revenue and to buy works, depending on the performance of pieces at auction.

Mr. Brant’s personal art transactions of at least $750,000 from 1996 to 2016 had a gross annual return of 19.2 percent, the fund’s prospectus says, outperforming the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index for the period.

Mr. Brant declined to comment on the fund, as did the United Talent Agency, citing Securities and Exchange Commission guidance regarding private offerings.

But funds, tokenization and even digital art are all investments that don’t give investors anything to hang on their walls.

“We should never forget that in the center of it all is artists,” Hans-Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, said in the concluding panel of the Christie’s conference.

Whether driven by fintech or funds, today’s finance-driven art world makes it quite easy to forget that. The New York Times

 

The Czech Painter Often Credited with Inventing Pure Abstract Art
Looking at František Kupka we see an intense channeling of occult vibrations and shimmering realities that asks viewers if they too have experienced their life this way.

PARIS: František Kupka (aka Frank or François Kupka) has been routinely recognized more for his influence on Marcel Duchamp’s paintings than for his own. This is at long last expiring with his remarkable retrospective of some 300 paintings, manuscripts, photographs and engravings curated by Brigitte Leal, Markéta Theinhardt, and Pierre Brullé at the Grand Palais.

Kupka was an artist’s artist of strong subjective conviction, grounding his paintings in ideas mined from mysticism, radical politics, philosophy (like Henri Bergson’s “flux” concept that imagines that intuition’s grasp of the perpetual becoming of time to be the innermost core of meaningful reality), poetry, science, and Asian cultures. Born in Eastern Bohemia in Austria-Hungary in 1871, he was an adventurous intellectual who after graduating the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague stirred through fin-de-siècle Vienna before moving to bohemian Montmartre in 1896. There he began drawing heated satirical illustrations, like “Balance All That” (circa 1901), for radical French magazines such as L’Assiette au beurre, a satirical magazine with anarchist political leanings.

Inspired by the Neo-Impressionism, his early Paris paintings include leering portraits of hookers and pimps, like “The Guy” (1910), evocative of a Henri Toulouse-Lautrec painting, but with a looser luminosity. These somewhat derivative but highly enjoyable works soon develop into staggering semi-abstract paintings that mix women into expanding non-human color spectrums, such as in “Plans by Color (Woman in Triangles)” (1911). Next comes the colorful “pure” 1912 breakthrough works of organic abstraction, and then an unanticipated cycle of Dada-like depictions of machinery where the subject turns into a vast machine of perpetual and visceral becoming. Towards the end of the exhibition are astonishingly stark, minimal, geometrical abstractions that continued to push the boundaries of nonrepresentational art.

Before departing Bohemia, versatile Kupka experimented with symbolism and religious allegorical themes — and this exotic taste for evocation informed his subsequent experiments with nonrepresentational color, form, space, and line to the point where this little-known Czech painter is now heralded as an “inventor” of pure abstract art. This claim is supported with his vertiginous Orphist-Cubist works, “Discs of Newton” (1912), with its roiling solidity that takes on an almost sculptural quality, and “Amorpha, Fugue in Two Colors” (1912), inspired by Notre Dame’s stained glass windows and exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1912. In “Amorpha” time becomes a vigorous loop (no longer a line) as a process torques within itself to become what it always was to begin with. As such, it not only is one of the earliest examples of abstract painting, but demonstrates the artist’s interest in mystical correspondences between painting and spiritual notions that Charlene Spretnak hones in on in her important book The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art.

Looking at Kupka we see an intense channeling of occult vibrations and shimmering realities that asks viewers if they too have experienced their life this way. As a young teen Kupka had worked for a saddle maker who introduced him to notions of radiant spirituality that he would later draw upon in drawings and paintings that explored the relationship between phantasm, color, and geometry. However, many of Kupka’s titles are musical, since he intended for the viewer to look for and feel vibrations as in music — a common theme in Orphism which sought to evoke temporal and spiritual sensations through abstract means. While his work is associative and free ranging, it may be approached as a series of meditations on phantasmagoric vibrations (both real and imagined), or as concrete. But to me he seems to be arguing that chromatics is structural akin to chord structures in music.

Such subtle and heady considerations are hinted at with his very early Romantic painting on loan from Prague Castle, “The Bibliomaniac” (1897) which depicts three pretty girls seeking to divert a young man absorbed in a book. In that Kupka was an avid reader of mystical and contemplative material, it is legitimate to see an image of the artist himself in it. Still, he was no nerdy book worm and his early sensual skill at painting audacious subjects in audacious colors is evidenced with “Little Girl with Ball”(1908). Turning to ephemeral movement with “Water (The Bather)” (1909), he depicts a nude woman being dissolved in small waves of concentric circles. It melts the heart.

Less than a year later, in “Mrs. Kupka in the Verticals” (1910), he beautifully lodges his wife, Eugénie Straub Broad, in a prismatic spectrum of fractured strokes of color, her face barely visible within saturated color patches that evoke neo-pagan ecstasy (and Gustav Klimt). It has an almost psychedelic aura, though a psychedelia with a folk horror edge to it. The implication here, that reverberates throughout the exhibition, is that flesh cannot be extricated from the metaphysics of abstract machinery. After keeping it in his studio for nearly 45 years, Kupka sold the canvas to MoMA while also gifting nearly 500 early gouache, watercolor, and pencil studies to them before passing away in 1957 at the age of 85.

Kupka’s paintings suggest that our intuitions about visual reality relate intimately to our intuitions about the vibrant body, something he deliciously demonstrates with his affecting “Family Portrait” (1910) and “Big Nude” (1910), completed after setting up his studio at Puteaux, where he met the young Marcel Duchamp. These, and other wonderful colorful works, are clearly Fauvist flavored in their application of strong contrasting complementary colors that are used to depict vivacious but very relaxed figures.

That work emerged from the remarkable — if not fantasia — “Piano Keys. Lake” (1909), that shows the black and white keys of a piano rising vertically up the picture plane and mingling with the ripples of the lake. The wavy reflections and everything else is enveloped in a festive aura of wistful twilight. Like musical notes, the imagery here is vibrating, oscillating, and interpenetrating to an extent that it dissolves the objective world. It is a synesthetic step towards what Walt Disney would learn from Oskar Fischinger and apply in the abstract section of his film Fantasia (1940).

Building on this body of work, great rhythms of prismatic forms would come to transform Kupka canvases into dynamic scenarios of spiritual ecstasy. Clouds, stars, moons and suns inspire bursting abstractions like “Cosmic Spring I” (1919), “Cosmic Spring II” (1920), “The Climb” (1923) and “Around a Point” (1930). But that same year, in 1930, the explosive exultation suddenly is pared way, way down, as in the startlingly simple and meditative “Abstract Painting” (1930): just three thin black lines on a stark white background, painted at a time when he was joining the Abstraction-Creation group and connecting with De Stijl (aka Neoplasticism) artists and the Bauhaus Design School. Recognized by MoMA’s founding director Alfred H. Barr, Jr. who placed him in the seminal 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art, Kupka continued painting non-illusionist compositions that transmit a pleasurable tension when read as bounded and polymorphous, like “Circle and Straight Lines” (1937).

Though for the most part a visually lush and colorfully attractive show, there’s something slightly subversive about František Kupka: Pioneer of Abstraction. Today, art has become almost indistinguishable from popular cultural commodities, but Kupka stands out as a reasonable alternative: a comparatively unpopular and ignored painter who values transcendental metaphysics and clandestine mystical technologies over accessible human-centric assumptions. His taciturn taste for painting that churns celestial concreteness suggests ways of experiencing life outside of the normal garrulous explanations; ways closer to Speculative Realism’s anti-anthropomorphic transcendental materialism.

From beginning to end I appreciate Kupka’s avant-garde interests in an artistic-philosophical spirituality that is both poetic and technological. His extraterrestrial abstractions and Picabia-like machine paintings in particular point away from the humanist niceties of a human-centric world and line up with Duchamp’s bachelor machine, as initiated in “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even” (1923). As such, Kupka’s paintings are not only eye-catching but can be appreciated as objects of occult ritual riffing on non-humanist modes of expression. They evoke an aesthetic that is simultaneously cosmic, ancient, and as uncannily new as artificial intelligence. Hyperallergic

 

Ms. Peterson Reflects On 33 Years At East Falmouth Elementary

For the first 18 years as an art teacher for the Falmouth Public Schools, Joanne C. Peterson taught with a little cart that she brought from classroom to classroom. Her classroom was only a closet.

Back then, she taught art at the Teaticket, East Falmouth and Mullen-Hall schools before they were expanded.

She would gather all of her art supplies from the closet onto the cart. If a classroom did not have water, she would even bring a bucket filled with water.

She would visit classrooms, move desks aside and have students make art right on the floor.

When she finally got her own art room, it was at the East Falmouth Elementary School and for most of her 33 years as an art teacher, East Falmouth has been her primary school.

“Art is more important now than ever,” Ms. Peterson said. We’ve become such a technological society, and kids spend so much time on screens," she said. In the past three years she has noticed students more often say “this is hard.”

Students need art every day, she said. Studies show there is a strong connection between critical thinking and creativity. “You all have your talent," Ms. Peterson said. "It’s my job to expose you to as much as possible, to give you practice and exposure.

Nothing makes me happier than hearing about students who, years later, still create things," she said. “I provided the skills they needed but basically the students teach themselves by practicing.”

“I’ve seen a lot of art teachers come and go. The ones that stayed were not trying to get students to make perfect art, but rather to expose them to art.”

Every spring Ms. Peterson hosted an art show and ice cream social, an elaborate event with artwork covering the entire school from ceiling to floor and with work from every student and samples from every grade.

“It is my favorite event throughout the school year, but it takes so much work to prepare.”

She could not have done it without help from volunteers, she said.

The budget for art has gotten smaller and smaller, she said. It has gone from $4,000 to $1,500. “I’ve had to be very resourceful and savvy about gathering art supplies,” she said. She never bought yarn for example, because parents would donate. It has been the same with newspapers and egg cartons for holding paint. In the art supply catalog crayons were often listed as $3, but she knew in August they were 50 cents a box at Walmart, so she would wait to buy them there instead.

Last year when she told the students she was retiring, one student said, “You’re so young. Why are you retiring?” She replied, “I want to try and learn about more things.”

Her husband retired five years ago, and he told her she would know when it was the right time to retire. Then one day while she was driving to work last year, she rounded a corner and saw a group of about 20 men and women standing in a group with their easels and painting.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said. She knew she wanted to spend more time making art of her own. Last Christmas her husband bought her an easel.

Throughout her years of teaching, the month of August was the time to plan art lessons for the upcoming school year. “It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet that I’m retired,” she said.

As for her own work as an artist, she has been a basket weaver for the past 35 years. She used to teach basket weaving in the summer for the Falmouth Historical Society and at the Falmouth Art Center. But she also loves to paint and create mosaics out of crushed pottery as well. The Falmouth Enterprise

 

Monet’s lost cat returns home to Giverny
A “purr-fect” ending to the story of the missing pottery object found in the collection of the artist’s secret granddaughter

Monet’s cat has found its way home to the artist’s house in Giverny, in northern France. During the painter’s lifetime, the glazed biscuit pottery cat, made in Japan, spent many years curled up on a pillow in the bright yellow dining room lined with Japanese prints. Monet, who loved Japanese art, was probably given the object by an admirer from Japan.

An American visitor recalled seeing the cat in Monet’s house in 1924, a few months before the artist’s death. According to the socialite Pauline Howard-Johnston, it had been placed on a couch: “On a pillow, a white cat—sort of unpolished terracotta—sleeping snugly,” she said. Later, she saw it in the home of Michel, Monet’s second son, who would be killed in a car crash in 1966.

A surprising discovery has now been made about Michel, who married but was assumed to have remained childless. He apparently had an illegitimate daughter, Rolande Verneiges, who was given a treasure trove of Monet works and memorabilia by her loving father. Born in around 1914, she died in 2008, and her existence remained unknown, even to Monet specialists, until last autumn.

Adrien Meyer, an expert at Christie’s in Impressionist art, succeeded in tracking down Verneiges’s daughter. During a visit to her apartment, he saw works by Monet stored everywhere, with unframed paintings under the beds. Among the memorabilia was the lost cat, which, he told us, “was very casually sitting on the piano”.

The family decided to sell the rediscovered art and heirlooms at Christie’s Hong Kong last November. With more than three-quarters of the lots going to Asian buyers, the sale fetched a total of HK$85.5m (US$10.9m).

The mid-19th-century cat (est HK$25,000-HK$35,000) went for more than 20 times its low estimate, selling for HK$525,000 (US$67,000). It was bought by the Japanese art and coin dealer Hideyuki Wada. He immediately donated it to the Fondation Claude Monet, which opens the house in Giverny to visitors.

The cat has just returned to Monet’s dining room, once again ensconced on a cushion. Hanging immediately above it is a facsimile of one of the Japanese prints acquired by Monet, Utagawa Hiroshige’s dramatic depiction of a swooping eagle. Normally, birds need to beware of cats, but here it is the dozing feline that appears to be the vulnerable one. The Art Newspaper

 

THE STORE THAT’S KEEPING THE JEWISH FLAME ALIVE IN KENSINGTON MARKET

TORONTO: Gwartzman’s Art Supplies is likely the last business in Toronto’s Kensington Market that was started by the wave of Jewish immigrants who came to Canada after the Second World War and is still owned by the same family, according to the family that runs it.

In the nearly 70 years since they first opened shop, the Gwartzmans have seen many other Jewish-owned businesses come and go. Yet their business continues to thrive.

Three generations of Gwartzmans have managed the shop. Currently, Jacklyn Gwartzman, the art shop founder’s daughter, runs the store, and her father, Paul, continues to come in every day, operating the cash register and helping customers.

“I can’t remember a day when I haven’t been here in some way or another,” said Jacklyn Gwartzman.

Around 1925, her grandparents came to Toronto and lived on Baldwin Street, which is now part of Kensington Market. They established a fabric shop called M A Gwartzman at 421 Spadina Ave., across the street from the current location.

In the 1930s, Kensington Market was known as the Jewish Market. Approximately 60,000 Jews, most of whom were eastern European immigrants, lived in and around the area. They converted the ground floors of their homes into shops that sold meat, baked goods, produce, eggs and other items.

In the 1950s, Paul Gwartzman and his mother opened a discount drapery and fabric store at 448 Spadina Ave., which remains their current location.

As the neighbourhood evolved, artists started moving into the area. They saw that Gwartzman’s sold fabrics and frequently asked if the store sold canvases. Paul Gwartzman saw that there was a demand for canvases, so he started selling them. Then, the artists started asking for paint and brushes.

“You know, I still have the visual in my head: as more art supplies came in, the fabrics were piled up and they started moving to the back of the store,” said Jacklyn Gwartzman. When she was young, they lived above the shop and later rented out the apartment to artists.

In the late ’60s, they changed the shop’s name to Gwartzman’s Art Supplies and abandoned the fabric business.

“Growing up, a lot of artists were coming in, but I was too young to appreciate who was coming in,” she said.

Norval Morriseau, Gordon Rayner, Alex Cameron, Gershon Iskowitz, Drew Harris and an artist involved with the Group of Seven were among their more famous customers. Some of them continue to shop there to this day.

Few major changes have been made to the store since it opened. Thirty years ago, they renovated and extended the back of the shop, to make room for more supplies. The light fixtures and floors are the same as the originals, aside from some repairs. Just a year ago, Jacklyn Gwartzman changed the store’s sign to a more contemporary black background with white block letters. The original sign was hand painted by artists.

“I’m very proud of our family business, the fact that we’re still here. Not many businesses could say that they are still here in the same building after 70 years, and owned by the same family,” she said. The Canadian Jewish News


Art and its therapeutic connection to addiction and grief

BALLARAT:Mental health and art are intrinsically linked, with the work of troubled icons like Vincent van Gogh finding a place within the public consciousness.

But while the 'troubled soul' of many famous artists have contributed to their enduring legacy, art also has the potential to heal.

Ballarat-based artist Joshua Muir is testament to that.

An adolescence spent drinking and taking drugs left Joshua with psychosis, while personal tragedy has pushed the emerging artist to the brink of suicide.

"I didn't know what was going on with my body," he said.

"I remember sometimes I would freak out with cars or loud noises or lights at night time.

"I was so caught up with the idea of people out to get me, or hurt me, or hurt my family… it felt real but at the end of the day it was a thought pattern I couldn't erase."

While Joshua's mental health is an ongoing struggle, art has given him a therapeutic catharsis and an escape from drug use.

A rising star burdened by his past

In many ways, Joshua Muir is a victim of his own success.

Since winning a local art prize in 2011, his digital prints have been featured in Melbourne's White Night, he secured a fellowship with the University of Melbourne and has won national art awards — but in 2016, the death of Joshua's brother brought his meteoric rise to an end.

"His suicide was something that really made me question a lot," Joshua said.

"That led me to suicidal thoughts myself, I relapsed into a harder situation with drugs and alcohol than I did in my adolescence and I really lost my way.

"Grief itself has a way of triggering me into moments where I've lost loved ones before."

He said in the two weeks following his brother's death, he completed more than 20 pieces of art but was living away from friends and family in Melbourne.

'Art gave me a voice, it gave me an identity'

Joshua said that in late 2017 he returned to Ballarat to "face the music" but was met with the support of family and friends.

He has started to rebuild his artistic career with new works on display at a local gallery and new clients on the books.

Joshua said a big part of his recovery has been art, with it providing a creative output that he can reach for at any time.

However this cathartic effect that his artwork has, makes it difficult for Joshua to move on from it, even if he is getting paid.

"It's an emotional-based artwork … and then when people like it enough to want to buy or have it on their wall, it's hard for me to seperate with it," he said.

"But the appreciation people show for my journey is mind blowing."

'An expression of feelings, thoughts and experiences'

While Joshua Muir's healing experience has been more self-driven and practised independently, art itself can be used as a type of formal therapy.

Nyrelle Bade is an art therapist and a board member of the Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapy Association.

Ms Bade said the application of art therapy is broad-ranging, dealing with issues like substance addiction, bereavement, and depression, with tools like painting, sculpture, dancing and other visual mediums.

She said that while the approach taken depends on the individual and the issue they face, the underlying principle of arts therapy remains similar.

"It's about the outcome … and in terms of grief, you're wanting to provide an externalised expression of the personal and individual experience of grief for that person," Ms Bade said.

"It helps them to give it a form and in a way, that helps that person to recover and reimagine their life without whatever it is they've lost."

Demand on the rise but more recognition needed

Ms Bade said that arts therapy was developed during the 1940s in Britain and the United States, but was not practised in Australia until the 1970s.

In 2013, Australia's Health Ministers and Cultural Ministers endorsed the National Arts and Health Framework, which sought to further integrate arts and health practices, while enhancing their public profile.

"Arts therapists are trained in both human development, psychological processes or psychological theory, the use of art media and its qualities, as well as different counselling techniques," Ms Bade said.

"These are all things we explore in the art image."

Ms Bade said that the implementation of both the framework and the NDIS has seen demand for arts therapy increase.

"Many people don't understand what art therapy is until they've experienced it," she said.

"So when they actually make an image and then they look at it and we talk about it, then they go 'oh, now I understand why we do this.'" ABC Ballarat

Legal battle over Met's famous Picasso reignited by estate
The museum stands by its ownership of The Actor, which it says was never in the hands of Nazis

The legal battle over Picasso’s painting The Actor (around 1904-05), which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is not quite over. An appeal has been brought in federal court in New York by the estate of Alice Leffmann, challenging a lower court’s dismissal of its claim on the work, which it says was sold under duress during the Nazi era. The Met is opposing the appeal and stands by its ownership of the painting.

Now one of the most recognised works from Picasso’s “Rose period”, The Actor was once owned by the German Jewish collector Paul Leffmann, who sold it in Italy in 1938 for $13,200, allegedly far below market value, as he and his wife Alice sought to flee a fast-Nazifying Italy, having already escaped Germany. The painting later made its way to New York’s Knoedler Gallery, where it was bought in 1941 for $22,500 by the American collector Thelma Chrysler Foy, who gave it to the Met in 1952. The case is significant because of the potential impact on claimants who seek the restitution of works sold by Jewish families to raise cash to fund their escape from the Nazis.

In dismissing the lawsuit in February, US District Court Judge Loretta Preska said the estate had not met the legal test for duress under the law of either Italy or New York. While acknowledging a general “economic pressure during the undeniably horrific circumstances of the Nazi and Fascist regimes,” the judge said, the Leffmanns had time to review and negotiate other offers before agreeing to the $13,200, and had other—albeit vastly reduced—assets.

On appeal, the estate says the situation faced in 1938 by the fleeing Leffmanns in Florence, where Adolf Hitler was parading through the neighbourhood, was duress. “You either sell or face an unspeakable fate,” the estate says in its filing, calling the sale a “desperate act of survival during the most horrific of circumstances.” The estate adds that the lower court’s decision is inconsistent with US policy as shown by the recently passed Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act, which extends the time limit for claims on Nazi-era art cases, and which the court did not address.

The Met argues that the estate is asking the court to expand the law of duress, which would upset the rights of those who have bought art in good faith. The Leffmanns sold the painting on the open market in 1938 and brought no claim for it when they sought to recover other lost assets after the war, the museum says, adding that it has handled the claim with “appropriate sensitivity to the historical circumstances” and denied it only after voluminous research. “The Museum respectfully stands by its conclusion that it is the rightful owner of this painting, which was never in the hands of the Nazis and never sold or transferred in any unlawful way,” David Bowker, an attorney for the Met, says.

The case has attracted the attention of groups and individuals who have filed amicus briefs in support of the Leffmann estate, including the Holocaust Era Restitution Project, B’nai B’rith International, the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Human Rights and others. The court should take into account that the Nazis wove an “all-encompassing web” to extract all Jewish assets for the Reich, the Wiesenthal Center says, adding that sales under those circumstances should not be viewed as ordinary commercial transactions. The Art Newspaper

 

Secret of Success: The Paint Chip appeals to any level of artist

Step into The Paint Chip at 217 F St. and you are immediately hit with the smell of art supplies; pastels, acrylics, drawing paper. White canvases lay out in stacks and rows of shelves that hold notebooks, brushes, pencils, markers, clay; all the ingredients for making art.

“I’d like to think that any level of artist can come in here and find something for them,” owner Maia Sturges said. Sturges has co-owned the business with her husband, Brian, since 2008.

The Paint Chip is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. According to Maia, when it was founded back in 1988 the store was focused on providing house paint to locals, which is how the name “The Paint Chip” arose. But it eventually evolved into what it is today, an art-supplies and picture-framing store.

Maia started working at The Paint Chip a little more than 16 years ago, and purchased it from Clint Winger, the original owner, when he retired about 10 years ago. Now, Brian runs the frame shop while Maia manages the retail store as well as contributing to the framing.

Although the framing shop is the core of the business, the store contains many more options for prospective buyers. According to their website, their craft section includes “Handmade papers from around the world, decoupage and papier-mâché materials, wooden puzzles, a variety of special gifts, and a wide assortment of kids crafts for the young artists.”

After all this time, Maia still takes pleasure in the physical, crafty work of framing pictures. “The actual picture framing itself is still my favorite part. And it keeps me interested,” Sturges said. “I love seeing people’s art. I love seeing the results after framing (a piece). I love seeing the look on people’s face when they’re happy with it.”

And it is clear from The Paint Chip website that they take care in their craft. In the bio, it reads, “What distinguishes us from the great number of retailers who sell frames is our dedication to quality.”

For Maia, their dedication to quality cannot be understated. “It’s very important because … especially with the picture framing, a lot of what people bring us are valuable or irreplaceable or have sentimental value and we want to make sure that it’s something that is going to last and that they’re proud to display,” Sturges said.

That also plays a part in the materials they use to construct frames. According to Maia, the frame shop refrains from using any plastics in their frames, and instead builds with wood and sometimes metal. They also stay away from using filters in the frames.

“We want people to feel that they’re going to get more from us than just going to Michaels or Aaron Brothers,” Sturges said. “They’re going to get experience and knowledge coming here.”

Maia and the rest of The Paint Chip staff are dedicated to providing the best for their customers.

“Sometimes framing art is like buying a piece of furniture, (it’s) something you’re going to see every day. It’s not something that’s going to get old over time, so the quality is important,” Sturges said. Yolo County News

 

Norton Simon Museum can keep Nazi-looted Cranachs, US court rules
Decision should put decade-long legal battle between museum and heirs of art dealer Jacques Goudstikker "to rest"

A US court has rejected a claim for a pair of Lucas Cranach the Elder paintings of Adam and Eve at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. The claim came from Marei von Saher, the daughter-in-law of the Amsterdam art dealer Jacques Goudstikker.

The Cranachs, dating from around 1530, were seized by the Nazi leader Hermann Göring in a forced sale in 1940. They were recovered by the Allies at the end the Second World War and returned to the Dutch government. The Goudstikker heirs failed to submit a claim in the Netherlands before a 1951 deadline. In 1966 the Cranachs were sold by the Dutch government to George Stroganoff-Sherbatoff, a former Russian aristocrat and then an American. He, in turn, sold the pictures to the Norton Simon Museum in 1971. They have recently been valued at $24m.

Von Saher, who lives in Connecticut, initiated a claim against the Dutch government in the 1990s, but this was rejected by the Dutch courts on the grounds that her family had relinquished its rights after the war.

After the Dutch rejection, von Saher sued the Norton Simon Museum, arguing that it had acquired the Cranachs in an invalid sale because Stroganoff had not been the rightful owner. After a lengthy legal battle, with two earlier decisions, the issue went to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

On 30 July the appeal court upheld an earlier ruling in the museum’s favour, arguing that the issue had been decided by the Dutch authorities. The procedure of “state doctrine” means that it had no power to invalidate the Dutch government’s decisions.

The Norton Simon Art Foundation issued a statement saying that the latest ruling “should finally put this matter to rest, and we look forward to continuing to make these important artworks accessible to the public”. Lawrence Kaye, von Saher’s lawyer, said she was disappointed and “considering her next steps”. The Art Newspaper