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A STRONG NIGHT IN MIDTOWN. At its newly opened Manhattan showroom yesterday, Phillips notched the largest total it has ever had at an evening sale—$139 million—offering 46 lots of modern and contemporary art. A solid 43 of those sold, led by a 1958 Francis Bacon pope painting that went for $38 million with fees. The Bacon’s seller had held it for some 40 years, and originally paid about $7,000. Not a bad return on investment! Among the new records were top marks for Shara Hughes and Ewa Juszkiewicz. Another was nearly set for Amy Sherald, who had a 2018 piece fetch $3.9 million. Angelica Villa has a full report in ARTnews. The auction action moves tonight to Sotheby’s, which has a contemporary sale on deck.
PROMINENT ACCESSIONS. The National Galleries of Scotland has acquired a painting of an unidentified woman that is believed to be one of the earliest known depictions of a Black person by a Scottish artist, per BBC News. Created by David Allan, the piece dates to the end of the 18th century; scholars believe the woman may have been a milkmaid. Meanwhile, the Art Newspaper checked in with the Getty about its acquisition of Gustave Caillebotte’s Young Man at His Window (1876) at Christie’s New York last week. It is likely to go on view in early 2022, perhaps next to a Manet street scene, then get some conservation work, according to curator Scott Allan. It is the treasure-filled Getty’s very first Caillebotte: a reminder that we all have room to grow.
The Seoul art boom continues. Lehmann Maupin, which has been in the South Korean capital since 2017, said it will move its branch to a two-story space in Hannam-dong, which is also home to Pace (newly expanded), Thaddaeus Ropac ( newly arrived), and the Leeum museum (which just reopened after a lengthy closure). [Financial Times and The Art Newspaper]
Robert MacPherson, an Australian conceptual artist whose multifarious work eluded easy classification, has died at 84. He appeared in the 1979 Biennale of Sydney, as well as numerous other international showcases. [Artforum]
The Al Thani Collection went on view today at the storied Hôtel de la Marine in Paris. “Given my family’s affection for France and its cultural heritage, presenting the Al Thani Collection in the heart of Paris has a special meaning for me,” Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, who is part of Qatar’s ruling family, said. The foundation that manages the collection has a reported two-decade agreement to use the space. [The New York Times]
For the 2022 Venice Biennale, the Netherlands is loaning its pavilion in the Giardini to Estonia and staging its show beyond those coveted grounds. The temporary real-estate arrangement was made official at a ceremony in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, with Dutch officials handing over a maquette of the building to their foreign counterparts. [Fad Magazine]
Because of its efforts to cracking down on antiquities trafficking, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has in its possession quite a collection of art objects—a 4th-century BCE Etruscan terracotta head, for one. Tom Mashberg took a look at its present holdings, which are typically off-limits to the public. [The New York Times]
On the move: After 10 years as a curator at the Storm King Art Center in Windsor, New York, Nora Lawrence has been named artistic director and chief curator, ARTnews reports. Andrea Karnes, who has been with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas since the early 1990s, is now its chief curator, per the Fort Worth Business Press. And the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has hired René Morales as its chief curator and Jamillah James as its senior curator, Maximilíano Durón reports in ARTnews.
One last item: The Onion has some thoughts on the NFT craze. [The Onion]
DAMIEN HIRST IS INDEFATIGABLE. The artist has opened shows at a rapid clip this year, and still found time to launch an NFT project that is “the most exciting project I have ever worked on by far,” he told the South China Morning Post. His latest exhibition arrives at White Cube in Hong Kong next week, and it is titled “His Own Worst Enemy.” The paper bravely asked Hirst if anyone has ever said that to him. “Oh yeah, of course!” he said. “A lot of galleries have said that to me.” [SCMP]