Public sculptures go on view online
A thousand of the UK’s public sculptures have been digitally catalogued with 150,000 to follow by the end of next year. The work by charity Art UK ensures items in the nation’s public collections will be available online, free of charge, to people all over the world.
Formerly known as the Public Catalogue Foundation, Art UK created a website that has already catalogued the thousands of paintings and works on paper which are owned by public institutions.
Art UK began with oil paintings, digitising 200,000 of these, and then extended this to other pictures and works on paper. The works are owned by museums, universities and councils and many are not on public display, meaning the Art UK website (artuk.org) is the only place the public can view them.
Video game sets an auction record
An unopened copy of the classic video game Super Mario Bros set an auction record when it sold in Dallas, Texas, for $80,000/£62,000 (£62,000).
The game is the only known sealed example from a test market release in 1985.
A group of collectors joined forces to purchase the game at Heritage Auctions on February 6. The consortium included Jim Halperin, the founder and co-chairman of Heritage Auctions, Rich Lecce, pioneering video game collector and owner of Robert B Lecce Numismatist of Boca Raton, Florida, and Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Due to its popularity, Nintendo reissued Super Mario Bros numerous times from 1985-94 with 11 different box variations.
Most were made in huge numbers but the first two were available only to customers in New York and Los Angeles during a ‘soft’ launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985-86.
As these were ‘sticker sealed’ rather than shrink wrapped most typically exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years.
Of all the unopened early copies of Super Mario Bros, this is the only known ‘sticker sealed’ copy that has been awarded a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a Seal Rating of A++.
Heritage Auctions began selling vintage video games, each professionally graded by Wata Games, in January.
Alert to the trade after books thefts
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) have asked the book trade to look out for stolen rare books after 20 – with a value of $10,000 – were taken from Baldwin’s Book Barn in Philadelphia in the US.
The books stolen include a first edition of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and a rare edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.
The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) has also issued a list online of items missing as a result of the Carnegie Library theft in Pennsylvania, USA, last year. It said if anyone has knowledge of items from the library they should contact the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.
ILAB is holding a symposium on March 5 in New York called Who owned this? to discuss issues around provenance, theft and forgery.
Three-in-one way to own a Gauguin
A three-in-one opportunity to purchase rare early works by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) is coming up in Paris.
Sotheby’s March 29 sale of Impressionist and Modern painting in the French capital includes a hitherto unpublished oil on canvas by Gauguin that has remained in the same family since the 1920s.
The 2ft 1in x 21in (64 x 54cm) oil on canvas titled Le Jardin de Pissarro, Quai du Pothuis à Pontoise is signed and dated p Gauguin ’81, making it a rare to market example of a work from early in his career.
Gauguin was befriended in 1879 by the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Gauguin often visited the older artist at his home in Pontoise where this view of the garden was painted.
As well as the main view, the reverse of the canvas features two Gauguin self-portraits.
They are thought to have been executed after the garden scene but are nonetheless reckoned to be the earliest Gauguin self-portraits, painted in advance of some of his most famous examples from a few years later.
LAPADA to provide Brexit advice notes
Delegates at The LAPADA Conference, held on February 21 at the House of Lords, heard from a number of speakers offering business advice form succession planning, digital marketing strategies to Brexit planning. The dealers’ association will provide ‘negotiating Brexit’ advice documents for members following the event.
The most clicked-on stories for week February 14-20 on antiquestradegazette.com
1 Richard Green gallery to defend High Court claim over €5m paintings sale
2 Louvre Abu Dhabi revealed as buyer of £8.2m Rembrandt portrait at Sotheby’s
3 Christie’s voluntarily returns group of eight looted antiquities to Italy
4 Two Meiji cloisonné masters emerge in the regions
5 George II chandelier among the five auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes in the last week
The number of visitors to the inaugural Frieze Los Angeles fair that ran from February 14-17. Among the well-known faces in attendance were John McEnroe, James Corden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Billy Idol, Michael Keaton, Al Pacino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Maria Sharapova, Sylvester Stallone and Kanye West.