Dozens More Works in the Met’s Collection Have Been Linked to Disgraced Dealer Subhash Kapoor + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Monday, March 20.


NEA Report on State of the Arts – New data on the art and cultural sector shows that it had a larger impact on the U.S. GDP in 2021 than in previous years. It also grew more rapidly than the wider economy. The report was organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. None of the 35 cultural industries evaluated have yet bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. (The Art Newspaper)

Painters Swindled by Fake Collectors – The growing trend of fake check scams is affecting artists. In each case reported by the New York Times, artists were offered a good price for artworks by fake collectors who sent checks to cover the price of the work, plus shipping costs. The checks bounced after the artists forwarded the shipping fee by money order to a person who was arranging the delivery. (New York Times)

Antiquities Linked to Subhash Kapoor at the Met – The Indian Express has listed works of art that are still in the collection, which are linked to the disgraced dealer who is serving jail time in Tamil Nadu, India, on charges of burglary and theft of antiquities. The list includes 18 sculptures and 59 paintings. Manhattan’s district attorney has already handed back hundreds of artifacts connected to Kapoor. (Indian Express)

U.K. Museum Visitor Numbers – At U.K. museums, visitor numbers are up post-pandemic and many museums in the nation saw numbers increased by more than 200 percent in 2022, according to the annual figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. Museums and galleries in the U.K. reported an overall increase of 158 percent in footfall; heritage and cathedral sites followed with a 55 percent increase. (Museums Association)


Belgium’s AfricaMuseum Gets a New Director – Diplomat Bart Ouvry has been named head of the AfricaMuseum, whose contentious collection displays have often caused controversy due to Belgium’s egregious colonial history. He will leave his role as European Union ambassador to Mali to take up the role. (Le Journal des Arts)

Bracelet Donned by Dietrich Could Fetch $4.5M – A “Jarretière” diamond-and-ruby studded bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels worn by Marlene Dietrich in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 film Stage Fright is hitting the auction block at Christie’s this June. Estimated to fetch up to $4.5 million, the bauble comes from the collection of Anne Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late president. (Robb Report)

Rachel Rossin Joins Magenta Plains – The mixed media artist, who has become a force in the realm of virtual reality has joined the gallery stable. Rossin’s work is currently on view in the Whitney Museum’s lobby as part of the exhibition Refigured. (Press release)


You Can Bring Ai Weiwei’s Middle Finger Anywhere – The Chinese  activist and artist’s famous digit is now available to superimpose anywhere on-the-go, thanks to the power of Avant Arte. The work riffs on Ai’s famous work Study of Perspective, and is on view as part of thea artist’s show at the Design Museum in London; screenprints of thea Ai Weiwei’s Middle Finger in Red (2023) are being sold for 24 hours on Avant Art’s platform starting March 30. (Press release)

Public submission. Courtesy

Public submission. Courtesy

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The Contemporary Art World Is Rapidly Changing—A New Certificate at Christie’s Education Promises to Get You Up to Speed

Along with being a cornerstone of culture, and the subject of widespread fascination and enthusiasm, contemporary art is also representative of a complex and dynamic market—and a dominant facet of the art world overall. Because of its expansiveness, learning about the contemporary art world and how to participate in it can seem opaque and overwhelming. A new online certificate course offered by Christie’s Education aims to provide clarity on exactly this, and, more importantly, the tools to become an art world professional.

This April, Christie’s Education is launching the Contemporary Art World: Theory and Structure, a course geared towards those looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of the nuances and functioning of the contemporary art market and industry. Of the course’s unveiling, Online Program Director Ted Sandling said, “After five years working behind the camera, I was thrilled to step out in front and present this one. It’s such a well-written course, the words and concepts come alive.”

Courtesy of Christie's Education.

Courtesy of Christie’s Education.

Since its founding in 1978, Christie’s Education has become recognized as a leading specialized institute providing students with rigorous and concentrated training for art world careers. With locations in London, New York, and Hong Kong for on location learning, Christie’s Education also has an extensive online program, with the addition of the Contemporary Art World: Theory and Structure is yet another offering amongst a curriculum already replete with numerous focused courses. As the only academic institution wholly owned by an auction house, students have access to resources and insight that can’t be found elsewhere.

With a syllabus comprised of six modules, the Contemporary Art World: Theory and Culture course presents lectures by industry experts on both the academic underpinnings of contemporary art as well as deep dives into different facets of the international art world as it operates today. Rounded out with career-focused interviews with important industry figures, students can garner not only a deeper understanding of contemporary art theory, but of the intricacies of contemporary art as a business.

Courtesy of Christie's Education.

Courtesy of Christie’s Education.

Through the learning modules, students will be able to identify and map the intricate ecosystems that exist between entities such as public and private museums, galleries, art fairs, and auction houses, as well as learn about the key artists and movements—from Modernism and Abstract Expressionism to conceptual art and street art. In conjunction with learning about prevailing theoretical foundations, such as globalization, social influences, and the role of art in culture today, students will be learning from art world professionals, and gaining unparalleled insight from their lived experience.

Whether considering starting a career in the art world or endeavoring to advance your skills as an art world professional, the Contemporary Art World: Theory and Structure certificate course presented by Christie’s Education offers a world-class learning and training experience to accomplish your goals.

Learn more about The Contemporary Art World: Theory and Structure here.

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Adam Lindemann’s Collection Rakes in $32 Million in an Unusual Christie’s Auction

It’s not every day that Christie’s sells Warhol paintings, a Jeff Koons sculpture, a Ducati motorcycle, a Royère sofa, and tribal art in a single sale.

But it did yesterday as part of the sale of works from the collector Adam Lindemann, which brought in a total of $31.5 million for 36 lots, all of which sold (though one lot was withdrawn). The pre-sale estimate was $22 million to $34 million. (Final prices include premiums while estimates do not.)

“I like to mix old and new,” Lindemann told Midnight Publishing Group News after the sale. “It was amazing to have the opportunity to use these works of art to tell a story about myself, my aesthetic, what I like, and how I see the world of design, the world of art.”

Andy Warhol, Little Electric Chair (1964). Image courtesy Christie's.

Andy Warhol, Little Electric Chair (1964). Image courtesy Christie’s.

The highest price achieved at the sale—titled “Adam: The collection of Adam Lindemann”—was $5.5 million for an Alexander Calder mobile, Black Disc with Flags (1939), followed by Warhol’s haunting Little Electric Chair (1964) in a day-glo shade of pink that sold for $4.5 million. Koons’s large, unforgettable sculpture of children with a pig, Ushering in Banality (1988), sold for $3.9 million.

A green “Ours Polar” sofa and pair of armchairs by Jean Royère (circa 1952) sold for $3.4 million, double the high $1.5 million estimate.

Jeff Koons, Ushering in Banality (1988). Image courtesy Christie's.

Jeff Koons, Ushering in Banality (1988). Image courtesy Christie’s.

“I was thrilled to see the record for the Royère sofa set because that to me is the best one that has ever been sold publicly,” he said, “even though it stalled at $900,000 and I almost had a heart attack.” (The bidding, of course, took off again after that brief pause.)

Work by female artists also figured prominently. Karen Kilimnick’s oval portrait painting The 1700s-Dinner Soirée, (2000) sold for a mid-estimate $107,000, while Jamian Juliano-Villani’s painting Welcome to My Booth (2019), sold for $75,600, well above the high $60,000 estimate.

Karen Kilimnick, The 1700s-Dinner Soirée (2000). Image courtesy the artist.

Karen Kilimnick, The 1700s-Dinner Soirée (2000). Image courtesy the artist.

Lindemann, who has promised a seven-figure gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the proceeds, emphasized that he did not include any artists from the roster of his own gallery, Venus Over Manhattan.

A painting by the sought-after Chicago Imagist Jim Nutt, titled Plume, sold for $478,800, well above its high $200,000 estimate. And a Damien Hirst pill-filled medicine cabinet, The Sleep of Reason, sold for $2.2 million (estimate: $1.5 to 2.5 million).

“This was a good way to tell a story and move on,” Lindemann said. “I redecorated the next day. I love collecting and I love the action of it.”

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Sotheby’s and Dmitry Rybolovlev Will Come to the Table on Art Fraud Case + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Thursday, March 9.


Turkey Loses Bid to Keep Artifact – The U.S. court of appeals’s second circuit has upheld a district court’s decision that Turkey is not the owner of a 6,000-year-old marble idol. Called “the Stargazer,” the 5,000-year-old antiquity had been in the U.S. for 50 years before Turkey tried to have it restituted, and was on view at the Met. Turkey has been fighting auction house Christie’s and the piece’s private owner, Michael Steinhardt, for years. (Courthouse News)

Miriam Cahn Painting Sparks Controversy – Palais de Tokyo has responded to a viral ruckus on Twitter about a work in Cahn’s solo show at the museum. Some viewers misinterpreted a work that depicts a prisoner being forced to perform a sexual act while in bondage, mistaking the prisoner as a child, and reading the work as pedophilic. The museum clarified that the painting depicts adults and is a comment on the Ukraine war, in particular the atrocities that took place in Bucha. “The repetition of violence during wars is not intended to shock but to denounce,” said Cahn. (Twitter) (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s and Dmitry Rybolovlev Agree to Mediation – Attorneys for both sides have heeded a judge’s advice to avoid an “expensive, risky, and potentially embarrassing” trial to decide whether the auction house “aided and abetted” an alleged fraud perpetrated by Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. The charges center on the propriety of the price markups Bouvier made on a series of multimillion dollar art transactions for masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and others. Mediation will proceed under purview of a different judge than the one originally appointed however, as Magistrate Judge Lehrburger’s niece happens to be a lawyer at Sotheby’s law firm. (Press release)

Venus Williams and Adam Pendleton Stage Auction – The two stars will stage a fundraising event at Pace’s New York gallery to raise money for the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. A benefit gala will be accompanied by online auction at  Sotheby’s. The auction will include works donated by major international artists, including by Mary Weatherford, Stanley Whitney, Robert Longo, and Cecily Brown. (Press release)


Phillips New Now Sale Brings in $8.4 Million – Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, and Jason Boyd Kinsella were among the highlights of the New York sale on March 8. Susan Chen’s He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, sold for more than three times its estimate, at $35,560, and sale records were achieved for Daisy Dodd-Noble and Tammy Nguyen. (Press release)

French Government to Consider Impact of French Tax Hike France’s committee of professional art galleries has begun to create an impact study of a proposed tax hike. An E.U.-wide rule, which was quietly approved last April and will not take effect until 2025, could impose a 20 percent sales tax on artworks. The news has rattled the French art market, where art sales and the market’s boom have benefitted from a reduced tax rate of 5.5 percent. The working group is concerned that it will lead to an artificial inflation of prices, the penalization of artists, and fewer museum acquisitions. (Press release)

Yayoi Kusama to Debut New Infinity Room – A new Instagram-appealing “Infinity Room” by the nonagenarian artist is slated to open this May at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The exhibition, titled “I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers” marks the ten-year anniversary of Kusama exhibiting with Zwirner, and is the artist’s largest to date. (ARTnews)


National Portrait Gallery to Display Mural Honoring Women – Artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake have been commissioned for a massive work featuring 130 female luminaries of British art and culture. Titled Work in Progress, the massive piece is modeled after the famed Beatles album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and includes silhouettes of undersung women throughout history, from the 19th century abolitionist Ellen Craft to nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. (Guardian)

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A Wall Street Billionaire Shot Himself in His Family Office. His Death Is Reverberating in the Museum World, and the Art Market

In happier times, prominent friends would gather at the chic Sutton Place home of the billionaire museum trustees Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum to celebrate their favorite causes amid paintings by 20th-century giants and electrifying works by living artists. A curved staircase, meanwhile, beckoned to ever higher realms above the bustle of Manhattan.

This week, New York society assembled there one more time for a far more somber occasion: the Jewish mourning ritual of shiva, following Lee’s tragic suicide by gunshot on February 23. The private-equity buyout pioneer was 78, and left behind his wife of 27 years, five children, two grandchildren, and many unanswered questions.

As the family grieves and Wall Street ruminates on Lee’s legacy, some of the implications of his passing have already started to radiate into the museum world and art market. A longtime museum trustee, Lee assembled an art trove replete with paintings by Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, and Francis Bacon. A monumental 1964 blue-and-red painting by Ellsworth Kelly that hangs in the salon is a promised gift to the Whitney Museum of American Art, on whose board Lee served for 29 years. Some photographs decorating the home are part of a promised gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which paid tribute to the couple’s eye for the medium with a public exhibition in 2020, “Photography’s Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection.”

Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tennenbaum's Sutton Place apartment photographed during an event in 2019. Works by Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol are on view. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/ © BFA 2023.

Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum’s Sutton Place apartment photographed during an event in 2019. Works by Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol are on view. Photo: Matteo Prandoni/ © BFA 2023.

Lee began buying postwar and contemporary art in the 1990s, a significant decade in his professional and personal life. In 1992 his Boston-based firm Thomas H. Lee Partners famously acquired Snapple for about $135 million, took it public, and then resold to Quaker Oats two years later for $1.7 billion. (Lee’s brilliant flip turned out to be a giant flop for Quaker Oats, which resold the beverage company for just $300 million less than three years later, inspiring headlines like “Quaker-Snapple: $1.4 Billion Is Down the Drain”).

Armed with about $927 million from that sale, Lee jumped into the art world as a collector and philanthropist. In 1994, he joined the board of the Whitney, where he would go on to play an important role, serving on the executive committee as well as the committees overseeing the modern painting and sculpture department and nominations for the board. At the Breuer building, the Whitney’s old home, Lee commemorated galleries on the second floor in honor of his parents Mildred and Herbert Lee.

“He brought the attitude of a businessman and an entrepreneur to a sector that, as you well know, is much less focused on that than on the present moment,” said Maxwell Anderson, the Whitney director from 1998 to 2003, noting that, as the chair of the nominating committee, Lee was “critical to charting the future of the institution in recruiting new talent, support, and ideas.”

Lee’s fellow board members said in an obit: “His unmatched business acumen, pragmatism, and wit elevated board conversations and made him a natural leader. But it was his passion for the arts—which he shared with his late mother, the esteemed collector Micki Lee—as well as his steadfast commitment to making art accessible to all, that has made an indelible mark on the museum and numerous arts and cultural institutions.”

Thomas H. Lee in 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYU Langone Medical Center)

Thomas H. Lee in 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYU Langone Medical Center)

At the same time, Lee was becoming a frequent presence at Christie’s and Sotheby’s salerooms, paying record prices for works by Arshile Gorky and Sigmar Polke, as Carol Vogel would attest again and again in reporting for the New York Times

He was passionate about Abstract Expressionism. In May 1994, he bought Pollock’s Number 22, a small, dense drip painting from 1949, for $1.7 million. The work, which has remained in his collection, could be worth $40 million or more now, according to auction experts.

He picked up the pace in 1995, the year he divorced Barbara Fish, his wife of 27 years. That November, he set an auction record for Arshile Gorky with the $3.96 million purchase of Scent of Apricots on the Fields (1944). (It’s unclear if the work remains in the family collection, but it hasn’t returned to auction, according to Midnight Publishing Group Price Database.)

Privately, Lee bought Rothko’s nearly 8-foot-tall Olive Over Red (1956), according to David Anfam’s catalogue raisonné, Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas. The Rothko still hangs in his living room. It could be worth about $40 million, according to auction specialists.

Tenenbaum, whom Lee married in 1996, became his collecting partner. She is a trustee of the Met and serves on several other prominent cultural boards in New York.

“She was very much by his side thinking through these choices,” Anderson said, “what they collected and the ways in which they supported individual artists. And I think that hybrid was important for him.”

Three years ago, Tenenbaum spoke with me about the origin of the couple’s photography collection and Lee’s support of her interests.

“He was getting divorced from his wife,” she told me in March 2020. “They had a big art collection, mostly Old Masters. I didn’t care for that stuff. I was only 32. He said, ‘Let’s start over. Go buy some stuff.’”

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48,(1979), from the exhibition "Photography's Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Promised gift of Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48,(1979), from the exhibition “Photography’s Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Promised gift of Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Her first acquisition was Cindy Sherman’s photo of a hitchhiker, Untitled Film Still #48, which she bought at auction for $40,000. Today, the work is among Sherman’s most expensive; in 2015, another example from the edition of three fetched $2.9 million at Christie’s.

Lee’s own collecting roots went back to his parents, and especially his mother Micki Lee, who “had an eye and taste ahead of her time,” Vogel wrote in 1998. The elder Lees were early supporters of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, often buying freshly made works from Leo Castelli Gallery. One such work was Weeping Women, a painting by Johns, that in 2006 made its way to billionaire David Geffen via Si Newhouse, according to Vogel. Geffen said this week that he still owns the piece.

“They were very good early collectors of contemporary art,” said a person who knew them. “They were buying on the primary market. [Lee] learned from his parents to buy primary-market when he could.”

Micki Lee’s Calendar (1962) by Rauschenberg recently entered the Met’s collection as a gift from the Lee family, according to the museum. Apparently, the work had been offered for sale privately over the past 10 years but was unable to find a buyer, a person familiar with the work said.

While Lee’s parents were noted collectors, his personal art trove was largely of his own making and taste, a mix of blue-chip postwar art and emerging works. As recently as 2019, guests to the Lee and Tenenbaum residence would encounter a small portrait by Francis Bacon, a wall piece by Donald Judd, a map by Alighiero Boetti, a Bruce Nauman neon, the iconic twins by Diane Arbus that inspired The Shining, a sleek glass sculpture by Fred Eversley, an exuberant ceramic pot by Brian Rochefort, and a Jeff Koons painting from his Hulk Elvis series.

Andy Warhol, 5 Deaths twice 1 (Red car crash) (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Andy Warhol, 5 Deaths twice 1 (Red car crash) (1963). Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

A key work was Warhol’s 1963 5 Deaths twice 1 (Red car crash), which sold for $6.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2004. It may be worth $15 million to $20 million in today’s market, according to auction experts.

The exact value of the collection is tricky to assess because it’s unclear what remains in it and what may have been sold in recent years privately. Complicating things further is the fact that Lee was, in auction parlance, “a value buyer,” according to a person familiar with his collecting.

“It’s all the right names: Rothko, Pollock, Lichtenstein,” the person said. “The works are good, but they are not great.”

Still, Lee expected top prices when negotiating with the auction houses. When a group of Lee’s works ended up coming for sale at Christie’s in November 2016, a Warhol self-portrait fetched $6.5 million but a Lichtenstein work on paper, Reverie, failed to sell, according to Midnight Publishing Group Price Database. It was last seen this week in the Sutton Place apartment, according to people familiar with the setting. 

It’s unclear whether any of these works have been promised to institutions. Michael Sitrick, a representative for the family, said the family was not doing the interviews.

It’s also unclear whether any of the art might head to auction. After Newhouse died in 2017, leaving the art trove to his wife, several key works from his collection came to market, with Warhol’s Orange Marilyn and Koons’s bunny selling for eye-watering numbers to billionaire hedge fund managers. Still more works are coming to Christie’s in May.

What is certain is that the Wall Street icon’s sudden death is now reverberating on many levels, including in the art world.

“Tom Lee was a remarkable philanthropist and a dear friend to many,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s director. “His unwavering commitment to the Met for more than 25 years, together with his wife Ann Tenenbaum, has left an indelible mark on our institution. He and Ann provided transformational gifts to the Department of Photographs and beyond that will continue to enrich the lives of our visitors for generations to come. We are deeply saddened by his loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.”

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