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David Rago launched his firm in 1984.

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Three US design salerooms united

New Jersey decorative arts and design firm Rago Wright has expanded its operations to the West Coast with the acquisition of LA Modern Auctions (LAMA). The merger effectively brings together the three strongest, independently owned design auction houses in the US.

All three houses will continue to work under their individual names while sharing technology, expertise and marketing efforts. The newly merged entity will host its first auction with LAMA in October.

LAMA was founded in 1992 by 24-year-old Peter Loughrey (1968-2020) and was the first US auction house to specialise in selling 20th century modern art and design. After Loughrey died of cancer, his wife Shannon Loughrey became president of the firm.

The addition of LAMA to David Rago’s stable builds on a merger with Wright of Chicago in 2020.

In 2021, with a team of 55 in Chicago, Lambertville and New York, Rago Wright presented nearly 16,000 lots across 56 auctions with sales totalling more than $56m. In the first six months of 2021, the firm has already held 27 auctions with combined sales of $43m.

Money laundering rules consultation

The UK government is seeking views on amendments to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

The changes are to ensure that the UK continues to meet international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force.

The government said they will also strengthen and give clarity on how the anti-money laundering regime operates, following feedback from industry and supervisors on the implementation of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

The consultation closes on October 14, 2021.

Germany forms antiquities panel

The German minister for culture and the media and the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States have launched a new expert panel to help advise on looted antiquities.

The Competence Network for the Protection of Cultural Property (known as NEXUD in German) launched earlier this year as a three-year pilot.

NEXUD is a national network of experts providing sustainable scholarly support to the federal and land authorities in addressing the illicit trafficking in ancient cultural objects, and particularly in enforcing the Cultural Property Protection Act.

Feedback wanted on markets ideas

Antiques dealers, market traders, local businesses, residents and visitors are invited to give feedback on more than 50 proposals to improve visiting and trading at markets in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea including Portobello Road market.

They include topics such as creating more space, ease of movement, attracting new cus t omer s , safet y, sustainability, events, travel and new enterprises. The council said the feedback given will contribute towards its Markets Plan 2021-26.

Covering both council-owned and independent markets, the proposals were created following consultation with traders, residents of the borough and local businesses earlier in the year.

To take part visit consult.rbkc.gov.uk/communities/markets-plan by Friday, September 17.

For a paper copy, email street.trading@rbkc.gov.uk or call 020 7727 7684.

Sotheby’s to offer 11 Picasso works

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Pablo Picasso’s 'Buste d’homme', 1969, is estimated at $10m-15m.

Sotheby’s is to auction 11 Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) pictures from the collection of US entertainment and hotel group MGM Resorts that had been col lected by casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn.

MGM is selling the works to raise funds to purchase Contemporary artworks and “diversify” its portfolio.

The pictures, valued at a total of $70m, had been on display at a Picasso-themed restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The auction will be conducted live from Bellagio on October 23 – the first time Sotheby’s has hosted an evening sale in the US outside its New York auction venue.

An exhibition of the pictures will take place at Sotheby’s New York on September 7-13 and at the Bellagio on October 21-23. Some of the works will also be taken to exhibitions in Taipei (September 17-18) and Hong Kong (October 7–11).

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In Numbers

61

The 61st edition of the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair now been postponed because of coronavirus. It was due to take place on September 9-12 but cancellations from exhibitors have led to the organisers calling it off and aiming for a new date in April 2022.