Weekly News Roundup: February 7 to February 11

We find in art, antiques and collectibles news a painter who could have been a marketeer, a seller who couldn’t part with his classic car and that rascal Stephen Colbert hawking his portrait.

From The Guardian:
Magritte on Magritte: letters reveal surrealist Damien Hirst

René Magritte, the 20th-century Belgian surrealist, was no naïf when it came to getting his paintings sold. This is evidenced by a batch of letters he sent to his New York dealer in advance of some exhibitions. Magritte specified the frames he wanted, where the pieces should be hung, catalog copy—a regular Damien Hirst. The collection of letters, which has 40 drawings in them, will be sold at a June auction and is estimated to go for between $150,000 and $250,000.

From Bloomberg:
Lord’s Bugatti Racer Tops $13.7 Million Auction; Lennon Ferrari Withdrawn

Update: John Lennon is said to have bought the 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Coupe shortly after he got his first driver’s license. The present owner put it in a Bonhams classic-car auction expecting to realize in the neighborhood of $200,000. At the last minute, the owner changed his mind and decided he had to keep the car. But weep not for Bonhams. The Paris sale brought in $13.7 million.

From CBC News:
Stephen Colbert portrait set for charity auction

Faux TV conservative pundit Stephen Colbert is at it again. For those not familiar with the “The Colbert Report,” every year, Colbert hangs a new pompous portrait of himself. He was able to finagle the Smithsonian into hanging one temporarily in what museum officials deemed an “appropriate place”—between two bathrooms. Colbert tried to sell last year’s portrait to comedian Steve Martin, who has a fine eye for art and boasts an enviable collection. Martin wouldn’t bite even after artists Shepard Fairey and Andres Serrano popped up during the show—much to Martin’s amazement—and added their contributions to the painting. Undaunted, Colbert has put the portrait in a Phillips de Pury & Company March auction. Money from the sale will be given to DonorsChoose.org, which directly links donors with public schools requesting help with everything from pencils to pianos.

From The Toronto Star:
U.S. brothers bring bogus “Bernie Madoff” auction to Toronto

The ripple effect of Ponzi king Bernie Madoff’s billions-of dollars perfidy continues. Most recently, a couple of Americans from Virginia set up Canadian auctions with items purportedly owned by the disgraced financier. The Toronto Star did some investigating and discovered the brothers had a history of suspended and revoked auctioneering licenses and have been fined for misrepresenting the value of items.

From The Associated Press via Auction Central News:
Picasso painting fetches $40.7 million at London auction

A 1932 Picasso depicting his young mistress blew through the ceiling at a Sotheby’s London auction. With hot and heavy bidding, “La Lecture,” with a presale estimate of a mere $28.9 million, gaveled down at a jaw-dropping $40.7.


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