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Art and antiques news from 2001

In 2001 Alfred Taubman and Sir Anthony Tennant, respectively chairmen of Sotheby's and Christie's in the 1990s, were indicted by a US federal grand jury on charges of colluding to fix rates of commission between 1993 and 1999.

Taubman received a jail sentence the following year whereas Tennant refused to leave Britain to stand trial in New York and could not be extradited because there was no equivalent criminal offence in the UK.

In other news restrictions on travel in the UK due to foot and mouth affected auctions and fairs across the country.

The attacks of 9/11, in which 3000 people died, not only disrupted fairs and sales in Manhattan but also led to fewer US buyers travelling to the UK to acquire art and antiques. Trade in antique furniture was particularly badly affected in the following years.

Facelift for Paris Biennale

12 December 2001

Radical changes are planned for next year’s 13th staging of one of the world’s top fairs, the Biennale des Antiquaires at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris.

Trade await European ruling over price fixing

11 December 2001

Pending appeals leave compensation in limbo: With the conviction of Sotheby’s chief shareholder, Alfred Taubman, on price-fixing charges, attention now turns to the outstanding matters concerning compensation.

Lost and found in the salerooms

05 December 2001

When Sotheby’s sold Joan Stephens’ collection of samplers and needlework in New York in 1997, the second most expensive lot, at $90,000, was an English needlework picture initialled EP, and dated 1746.

Not only here for the beer

05 December 2001

Whitbread archives provide Knowle with a trophy consignment: The Midlands branch of the Bonhams empire, the former Phillips salerooms at Knowle, has not previously been known for regular breweriana sales but their reputation for selling collectables saw them win a 356-lot consignment from the Whitbread archives.

Pilkington pilgrimage to Edinburgh

05 December 2001

Collectors from Lancashire arrived at the Edinburgh sale of Decorative Arts held by Lyon and Turnbull (15/10% buyer’s premium) on November 7, excited by this silhouette, right, of their favourite ceramic factory.

Modern British best on paper

05 December 2001

“There was a certain amount of watching. People were there to see what was happening, which was why it was slightly less active than last year, particularly for the nice, but less fashionable 19th century watercolours.”

Beer jug bid leaves seller anything but bitter

05 December 2001

While provincial auctions often struggle to find enough quality private antique furniture and works of art consignments for their sales, BBR Auctions breweriana sales are going from strength to strength at the South Yorkshire rooms near Barnsley.

Bath tile with all the qualities to justify a £6000 pricetag…

05 December 2001

Two weeks after Christie’s and Bonhams’ Knightsbridge sales, Bonhams’ (15/10% buyer’s premium) offered a small 110-lot selection of antiquities along with a dozen lots of icons in their Bond Street rooms on November 27.

LAPADA plans Dutch link-up to create European super-association

03 December 2001

LAPADA, the UK’s largest association of professional art and antiques dealers, is pioneering a new scheme that could see it merge with a leading European association.

Reynolds sells for £9.4m

03 December 2001

A new world auction record for Sir Joshua Reynolds was achieved at Sotheby’s on November 29 when the oil on canvas Portrait of Omai sold for £9,400,500 (plus 20/15/10 per cent buyer’s premium).

Mystic Meg of the Middle Ages…

03 December 2001

This codified sequence of columns, dots and captions is what the superstitious folk of 16th century Italy consulted with more zealotry than a tabloid-reading lottery pundit in search of Mystic Meg.

BAMF celebrates five years of ‘navigating round icebergs’

03 December 2001

UPWARDS of 200 invited guests arrived at the Tate Britain on Tuesday night last week to celebrate one of the most notable successes in the art trade in recent years.The occasion: the fifth anniversary dinner for the British Art Market Federation.

Taubman not fully in control of Sotheby’s say witnesses

03 December 2001

Former Sotheby’s chairman Alfred Taubman fell asleep during board meetings and was more concerned with getting his lunch than running his company, a New York jury was told last week.

Sotheby’s make history as they launch France’s open market

30 November 2001

Basic buyer’s premium almost doubles: On the rainswept evening of November 29 in Paris, as the tricolor fluttered proudly over the Elysée Palace and Christmas lights twinkled on the Champs-Elysées, history was made as Sotheby’s became the first foreign auctioneers ever to sell in France – exploding a monopoly dating back to 1556.

For abusing the sergeant – 200 lashes

30 November 2001

BIDDING was rather more subdued than usual at this recent Sussex sale at Strides on 6 November, but as ever, the manuscript section contained much that was of interest and, at a comfortable, safe distance, even rather amusing.

“No Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship alongside that of an Enemy”

30 November 2001

The secret memorandum that Nelson sent to all of his captains on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar, outlining his plan to divide the fleet into three squadrons and thus be able to direct at least 24 ships against any part of the enemy’s line, has become one of the more celebrated documents in the history of naval warfare.

Manchester gallery secures Light of the World after all

28 November 2001

Manchester City Art Gallery, the underbidder at auction for the lantern which was the original model for Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World, have secured the piece after all. The gallery underbid the lantern, pictured right, when it was sold to a private collector for £46,000 (plus 15% buyer’s premium) on November 1 at Bonhams Knightsbridge.

Texas sale is $7.7m big

28 November 2001

AUCTIONEERS Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) combined with New York dealers Stacks to auction the Dallas Bank collection of United States coins on October 29-30.

Alexander Knox

28 November 2001

Alexander Knox, edited by Dr Stephen A Martin, published by ArtMedia Press Ltd ISBN 1902889029 £55hb

Art and Outrage

28 November 2001

Art and Outrage (ISBN 074531354X) £15.99 and Art in the Age of Mass Media by John A Walker (ISBN 0745317448) £14.99, both pb and published by Pluto Press