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Met museum sells Chinese artworks

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has consigned a collection of more than 300 Chinese works of art to Sotheby’s.

All the lots were part of the major gift of 1275 Asian works given to the Met in 2015 by collectors Florence and Herbert Irving.

The collection was donated with the understanding that many items would be offloaded in future sales to raise funds toward acquisitions. Proceeds from the auction, therefore, will be used to build up the Met’s Asian art holdings.

Taking place in New York on September 10, the auction will be one of Sotheby’s Asia Week sales.

CITES vote over mammoth ivory

The mammoth, a species that last roamed the Earth about 4000 years ago, may soon be classed as ‘threatened’ in order to regulate trade in the extinct mammal’s ivory.

At the global CITES summit in Geneva last week, the 183 signatories to the treaty were considering whether to approve the change. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species rules on the buying and selling of animal and plant species at risk of extinction around the world.

The Israeli delegation has proposed to include mammoths under CITES, whereby an exporting country would have to prove the ivory came from a mammoth.

Some conservationists argue mammoth ivory is hard to distinguish from the elephant variety and is being passed off as the latter, helping to fuel modern elephant poaching.

Mammoth ivory appears on the antiques market in the form of carved ornamental tusks, boxes and jewellery.

Voting on the proposal at the CITES conference will be held this week.

Clars of California under new owner

A private investment group has bought Californian firm Clars Auction Gallery from president and owner Redge Martin.


Richard Unruh of Clars.

Richard Unruh, Clars’ vice president and director of fine arts, is part of the investment group and will become CEO and president.

Martin bought the company 23 years ago from founder Harvey Clar, who established Clars in 1972.

Millais painting export on hold

A Sir John Everett Millais (1829-96) picture valued at £9.5m will be exported overseas unless funding can be raised to keep it in the UK.

Painted in 1849- 50, Ferdinand Lured by Ariel has been in the family of its current owner since 1897 but it was recently offered for sale and an export licence to take it overseas was applied for.

Arts minister Rebecca Pow issued a temporary block on its export until November 15 in the hope a museum or gallery can raise the necessary funds to keep it in the UK.


'Ferdinand Lured by Ariel' by Millais is subject to a temporary export bar.

According to The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, it was purchased by HF Makins in 1897 (Makins Collection) and has then passed by descent to the present owner.

The decision on the export licence could be extended until May 15, 2020.

Winter Olympia details announced

The Winter Art & Antiques Fair, Olympia returns for the second edition in its new format this November.

The event hosts 70 dealers standing on the gallery level of the Kensington exhibition centre from November 5-10 following a preview evening on November 4.

Dealers already confirmed include Haynes Fine Art, Anthea AG Antiques, Mark Goodger, Mary Cooke Antiques and Jeroen Markies Art Deco. An estimated 20,000 objects will be on show.

A programme of expert talks is also planned.

Giacometti ruling revealed at last

An Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) sculpture once knocked over by a cat has been authenticated on BBC art show Fake or Fortune? after a lengthy delay.


The sculpture confirmed as a work by Alberto Giacometti.

The episode on sculpture was first broadcast in summer 2018 (during series seven) but a conclusion had not been reached as the owners were still awaiting a decision from The Giacometti Committee in Paris. Owner Claire Clark-Hall and her daughter Henrietta Plunkett later received the news that it was indeed ascribed to Giacometti.

They sold the sculpture at The Art Of The Surreal Evening Sale at Christie’s in London in February at a hammer price of £500,000.

The BBC programme was then rebroadcast on August 22 during the eighth series of the show, revealing its new attribution.

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In Numbers


The number of years (approximately) since a species of mammoth last roamed the Earth. The extinct mammal may be classified as 'threatened' to regulate the trade in its ivory. See story on facing page.