Arts Paul Allen and J.M.W. Turner, BFF?
I was just looking at a news item from this past weekend about Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s selection to represent the US at the 2007 Venice Biennale (more on that in a forthcoming post) when I saw something I’d overlooked, from the NY Times:
A mysterious American collector bought a dreamy scene of Venice by J. M. W. Turner for $35.8 million, a record for the artist, at Christie’s in New York yesterday [April 6].
“Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio” (around 1840) was being sold by St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, a nonprofit organization in White Plains that supports the missionary efforts of Capuchin priests and brothers worldwide. The painting was given to the foundation by a European collector who wishes to remain anonymous. It had been on view for many years at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Three bidders — Robert Noortman, a dealer from Maastricht, the Netherlands; and two unidentified telephone bidders — vied for the painting, which was bought by one of the telephone bidders described by Christie’s officials only as an American who frequently bought Impressionist and Modern art.
Names being bandied about included the financier Leon Black and the Microsoft giant Paul Allen, who both already own Turners, as well as the hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin.
The Turner painting of Venice that we do know Allen owns is gorgeous; it’s up at the Experience Music Project through September and may be the best work of art on display right now in Seattle. (EMP didn’t make a reproduction of it available, and I can’t find another Turner Venice picture online that seems comparably compelling, otherwise a scene of a hazy, dissolving world would appear right here.) The fact that it’s in a half-baked show in a sub-par museum, well, that’s the subject of my review in this week’s issue.