Danny Boyle Commissions Goya Fakes, Raffling a Picasso to Save Libya, and More

Danny Boyle Commissions Goya Fakes, Raffling a Picasso to Save Libya, and More
Detail of Goya's "Witches in the Air" (1797-98)
(Courtesy of Wikipaintings)

– Art Films Get a Boost From Forgers: For his new Pierre-Auguste Renoir biopic "Renoir," director Gilles Bourdos employed convicted French art forger Guy Ribes to coach the film's lead actor, Michel Bourquet, on how to execute proper Impressionist brushstrokes. "I found his hand could be directed the same way you direct an actor," Bourdos said of Ribes. "When he had to paint a Renoir, he had a very specific way of moving his hand. He had to fall into that rhythm of the painting, so it would be correct." "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle took a different route for his forthcoming art heist film "Trance," commissioning Brighton-based artist Charlie Cobb to paint three credible copies of Goya's "Witches in the Air," the prized target of the art thieves in the movie — though he also contributed replicas of works by van Gogh and Delacroix. [NYTWSJ]

– Picasso Giveaway Benefits Libya: With Sotheby's support, the group International Association to Safeguard Tyr — which is raising money to rescue the Libyan city, a UNESCO world heritage site — has organized a raffle in which every €100 ticket purchased online gives the buyer a chance to win the 1914 Pablo Picasso drawing "L'homme au gibus." The raffle, for which a total of 50,000 tickets have been made available, will bestow the small drawing — authenticated and valued at €783,000 (just over $1 million) — upon one lucky winner while raising money for the village and an institute for the study of antiquities in Beirut. Enter to win at 1Picasso100Euros.com. [Libération]


– LACMA Merger Back on the Table?L.A. MOCA's relationship with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is becoming as difficult to follow as a hot-and-cold celebrity romance. After the board seemingly rebuffed LACMA's overtures last week, releasing a statement that MOCA intended to remain independent rather than join forces with another institution, director Jeffrey Deitch backpedaled yesterday. "The option is still open," he told Page Six of the LACMA merger, though "the MOCA trustees are committed to trying to stay independent." [NYPost]

– Acclaimed Faulkner Collection for Sale: A trove of William Faulkner's letters, manuscript drafts, and drawings will hit the auction block at Sotheby's on June 11. The collection, estimated to fetch over $2 million, includes an early handwritten draft of the author's highly acclaimed 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech along with the Nobel medal and diploma (est. in excess of $500,000) as well as an unpublished 12-page short story (est. $30-50,000) that his heirs only recently discovered on their property in Virginia. [Press Release]

– Paul Schimmel to Hauser & Wirth?: Rumor has it Paul Schimmel, the beloved former chief curator of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, is in late negotiations to join Houser & Wirth gallery, which is planning to open a Los Angeles branch. Schimmel's departure from L.A. MOCA last summer occasioned the resignation of all four artist trustees. Since then, his next move has been the subject of much speculation. [Gallerist]

– Britain's Next Top... Portraitist?: The U.K.'s Sky Arts is launching a six-part reality TV contest to find an artist to paint a portrait of two-time Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel. The commission comes with a hefty £10,000 fee and a guarantee that the work will be displayed in the British Library. Among the judges in the televised portraiture competition is Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery — which coincidentally already has one Mantel portrait in its collection. The series, "Portrait Artist of the Year," begins airing on Sky Arts in November. [BBC]

– Field Museum Thinning Curatorial Staff: Chicago's Field Museum has offered 16 of its 27 curators early retirement packages as part of an ongoing to effort to cut costs that may also lead to reduced opening hours and higher admission prices for special exhibitions. The curators who have received the offer are all over 55 and have been with the institution for at least 10 years. They have until May 10 to decide. "We are trying to tighten our belt and find ways to cut costs, and this is one of those efforts," said museum spokesperson Nancy O'Shea. [AP]

– Lifted Art in LES Show: The artist Adam Parker Smith took an unusually active role in curating "Thanks," an exhibition opening tonight at the Lower East Side's Lu Magnus gallery. It features works by 77 artists that he stole over the course of 90 studio visits, getting caught red-handed just once, by an artist's observant five-year-old daughter. "The project has this gimmick, that I’m stealing from everybody, but it’s really about community,” Smith said. "Appropriation and theft are part of that... Everyone whose work I like and who I respect, I’ve been lying to and stealing from." [NYT]

– Hyatt Owners Hawk a RichterSotheby's will test the market for Gerhard Richter's photorealist paintings (as opposed to his ultra-hot abstractions) this spring when it puts "Domplatz, Mailand [Cathedral Square, Milan]" up for sale in New York on May 14. The 1968 painting, estimated at $35 million to $45 million, is owned by the Pritzker family, majority shareholders in the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. Since 2000, the painting has hung on the wall at the Hyatt in Chicago, but is now too valuable to display there. A portion of the sale proceeds will go toward putting more art in the Hyatt's international network of hotels. [NYT]

 Jewish Critic's Heir Makes a Deal: The Clemens Sels Museum in Germany agreed to pay $9,000 to the heir of influential art critic Paul Westheim in order to keep the 1925 painting "Dachgarten der Irrsinnigen" by Joachim Ringelnatz. The Jewish critic and editor left the painting, along with the rest of his art collection, behind when he fled to Paris to avoid Nazi persecution in 1933. The ruling paves the way for other returns to Westheim's heir, Margit Frenk, who lives in Mexico and has staked claims to paintings worth millions. [Bloomberg]


Trailer for the Danny Boyle-directed "Trance"



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For more art news throughout the day, check ARTINFO's In the Air blog.