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Dealers Jonny Yarker (left) and Lowell Libson.

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Yarker name joins Lowell Libson title

Old Master dealership Lowell Libson has a new name to reflect the changing nature of the business. In a move unusual for owner-named galleries, the business has changed its title to Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker.

Libson, a dealer with more than 40 years’ experience, says that Yarker has made “a huge impact on the gallery and has played an extremely significant role in developing the business” since joining five years ago.

The gallery exhibits at the Salon du Dessin in Paris for the first time in March and will hold a major exhibition of drawings made in Britain before 1730 in July.

Sotheby’s pledge on Rybolovlev claim

Sotheby’s has said it will “vigorously challenge” any attempt by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev to bring a claim against it in the UK.

Rybolovlev, the potash magnate and owner of AS Monaco football club, is involved in an intense legal battle after claiming he was systematically overcharged on a series of multi-million pound artworks by Swiss dealer and ‘freeport’ businessman Yves Bouvier. Bouvier has strenuously denied the allegations.

Around a third of the paintings, including Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi that later sold for $450m at Christie’s New York in November last year, were acquired by Bouvier via private sales brokered by Sotheby’s.

Rybolovlev has previously threatened to sue Sotheby’s and the company’s vice chairman of private sales Samuel Valette after alleging that they were complicit in Bouvier overcharging him for the works.

After lodging claims in France, Monaco and Singapore, Rybolovlev’s lawyers recently secured a ruling in New York for the release of confidential documents that could now be used in British courts.

Sotheby’s released a statement saying the claims against it and its employee were “baseless”.

In Numbers

$11.2bn

In sales at global auctions from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips in 2017, up 25% from 2016, according to ArtTactic Auction Review 2017. The post-war and contemporary segment accounted for 29.3% of the auction total for the year. The fastest growing auction sales categories in 2017 were Chinese and Asian auctions, which raised $1.74bn.

Barclay takes on Bonhams posters

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Richard Barclay, who has joined Bonhams.

Bonhams has appointed Richard Barclay as its vintage poster consultant.

With more than 35 years’ experience, he helped establish the poster department at Christie’s in the 1980s, and in recent years has been managing director of vintage poster dealership Barclay Samson.

Billionaire collection sale

Bonhams is to sell a £4m collection of antiques, sculptures and objets d’art belonging to the late Saudi billionaire Dr Walid Juffali (1955-2016) in an ‘on-the-premises’ sale in Surrey on March 26.

The catalogue brings together 450 lots from Juffali’s three properties in England at Bishopsgate House, a 42-acre estate set on the edge of Windsor Great Park near Egham.

Highlights will be previewed at Bonhams Bond Street from January 22-26 with the full sale on view at Bishopsgate House, from March 23.

Italian WW2 watch surfaces at Fellows

A very rare Italian Navy diver watch captured from a German frogman in the Second World War is on offer at Fellows’ The Watch Sale on January 30.

British soldier George H Rowson took the Panerai watch from the Kampfschwimmer, during a thwarted attempted by the German forces to destroy the important Nijmegen Bridge in the Netherlands, in September 1944.

The watch has a hand-carved inscription on the reverse detailing the British soldier’s name, rank and the year the piece was acquired.

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Italian Panerai diver watch estimated at £30,000- 40,000 at Fellows.

It has remained in single ownership since it was passed down to Rowson’s son and has been worn only a few times. The watch comes with a hand-written account of the event by Rowson, and even a section of the rubber diving suit acquired from the German.

The Panerai watch is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

Philadelphia show given a shake-up

Sponsorship – and organisation – of the Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show is changing hands. From next year, the venerable show, founded in 1962 as a fundraiser for Penn Medicine, will be run by the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA).

At this year’s fair, running from April 20-22 at the Navy Yard, Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be joint beneficiaries with the PMA expected to assume full responsibility for running the event in 2019.

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