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Art Sales

June 15, 2009 | Mike Boehm
The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach has quietly sold 18 of its 20 California Impressionist paintings to an undisclosed private collector, sparking criticism from two local museum directors who say the secrecy violated the public interest by preventing them from bidding to keep the works in collections open to the public. The Times learned of the sale after a reader's tip on its Culture Monster arts blog. Reached Friday in Zurich, Switzerland, OCMA director Dennis Szakacs said the paintings from the early 1900s fetched a total of $963,000 in late March from a Laguna Beach collector whose identity the museum promised not to disclose.
February 26, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
Two rare bronze sculptures that disappeared from China in 1860 sold for $18 million each as an auction of art owned by the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, concluded with total sales of more than $484 million. The telephone bidder or bidders who bought the disputed bronze fountainheads -- heads of a rat and a rabbit that disappeared from China's summer Imperial Palace -- were not identified. China had hoped to stop their auction, but on Monday a French judge refused the request.
December 9, 2008 | Bloomberg News
The Russian government has set up a commission to review the legality of the Soviet Union's sale of artworks from the country's museums before World War II, the director of the State Hermitage Museum said Monday. Of the hundreds of paintings sold from the Hermitage Museum in the late 1920s and early 1930s, about 20 of them eventually went to help create the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
September 17, 2008 | From the Associated Press
A sale of pickled sharks, butterfly paintings and other pieces by provocative British artist Damien Hirst has raised $198 million, silencing his doubters and defying the global economic gloom. Sotheby's auction house said the total for the two-day sale was a record for an auction of works by a single artist, smashing the $20-million figure set in 1993 for 88 works by Pablo Picasso. The turmoil engulfing global financial markets did nothing to dampen prices as more than 600 prospective buyers packed the London showroom for each of the three auction sessions.
May 15, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Lucian Freud, the 85-year-old British painter, became the world's priciest living artist at auction when his graceful portrait of a 280-pound civil servant named Sue fetched $33.6 million at Christie's International in New York. The 1995 Freud was one of eight records smashed in an exuberant sale Tuesday night featuring the male clique of auction stars that includes Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Richard Prince. The top lot was a 1952 Mark Rothko painting, with red bands on a yellow background, that went for $50.4 million.
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