The Masterpiece Track

Keep dibs on the art world with significant news from galleries and auction houses around the world.

Claude Monet’s Le Portail (Soleil) was purchased for $24.2 million in early May. The painting, completed in 1893, is one of a series that depicts the Rouen Cathedral. The new owner, Irish billionaire Tony O’Reilly, is the chairman of the Independent News & Media Group in Ireland.

Britain’s top museums and art galleries were recently informed that they need to meet certain quotas of ethnic and minority visitors, or their funding could be revoked. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has ordered the establishments to secure 12 percent minority visitors; however, the institutions are unsure that they can even obtain accurate statistics on their visitors’ ethnicity. The ruling is intended to interest young blacks and Asians in British national heritage.

In 1895, Still Life with Fruit and Pot of Ginger was exhibited in the very first Paul Cezanne retrospective; on June 28 it will sit on the auction block at Christie’s in London. Leading the evening’s Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art sales, the still life is expected to sell for $13.33-$17.77 million.

For more than 120 years, a little-known sheet of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings was held in a private collection; on July 5, that same 5×5-inch sheet will be part of the Old Master drawings sale held in London. The sheet is said to date from between 1503 and 1508 and portrays a chalk and ink Hercules holding a club. The double-sided sheet of drawings is expected to bring in somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 pounds.

Sotheby’s auction house in New York recently sold a number of well-known artists’ works at a very fetching profit. Yves Klein’s Re 40 sold for $2.09 million, a record for the artist. Andy Warhol’s Natalie Wood pulled in $2.75 million, and Mark Rothko’s Yellow Over Purple was sold for $14.3 million, breaking the artist’s previous record of $11 for No. 15.

In early May, both Christie’s and Sotheby’s enjoyed profits from Impressionist and Modern auctions which topped $318 million combined. Up on the block were Pablo Picasso’s Nature morte aux tulipes, Claude Monet’s Le Portail and Nymph, and Henri Matisse’s bronze statue, La Serpentine Femme, which lifted the new sales record for sculpture to $14.03 million. –Erin Ryan

Bill Tilton is a longtime contributing editor to The Artist’s Magazine.

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