ArtistsGalleries 24-10-2016

October 24 | Syrian painter Marwan passes away aged 82

Syrian artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi (1934-2016), known simply as Marwan, has passed away aged 82.

Considered one of the most important Arab painters of his generation, Marwan was based in Berlin for most of his life, where he was influenced by German art of the postwar period, particularly that of Georg Baselitz, whom he first met 1957 when they were both students. His works in oil are preoccupied with the face and the infinite spectrum of human emotion. The human head has been one of the most constant motifs running through his oeuvre. For many years, Marwan taught at the Darat al Funun Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman, Jordan during the summer and in 1994 he became the first Arab member of the Akademie der Künste in Germany. Marwan was represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler in Hamburg and Beirut. More info on Artforum.

American collector couple Spencer and Marlene Hays have recently donated their collection of French art — estimated at $380 million — to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. From the 1970s onwards, the duo amassed a rich array of artworks including paintings by impressionist heavyweights such as Edgar Degas and Gustave Caillebotte. Paintings by the artists of the Nabis group, headed by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, also feature in the collection. 187 works were donated in total, and the rest of the collection will be bequeathed to the Musée d’Orsay following the death of the couple. The Hayes collection will be on display in a 9687-square-foot room in the museum. More via artnet News.

Christie’s Paris sale of Claude Berri’s collection (October 22) — the French writer and filmmaker — has realized €8.3 million. Berri’s famously eclectic tastes are reflected in his collection, which includes works by Cy Twombly, Yves Klein, Jean Dubuffet and Alberto Giacometti. Leading the sale was a rare work on paper by one of the most famous figures within the Italian Arte Povera mouvement, Jannis Kounellis. His Untitled(1960) sold for €1.5 million, greatly exceeding its high estimate of €800,000. Yves Klein’s Untitled Monogold (1961) and Daniel Buren’s Variable Forms Painting (1966) were the other top lots, realizing €1.2 million and €986,500 respectively. Art Market Monitor has further sales listings.

Two of the UK’s most important regional museums — the New Art Gallery Walsall in the West Midlands of England and Inverleith House in Edinburgh — now face closure after potential cuts to their funding. The New Art Gallery learned on Wednesday that its funding from the local council could be reduced by 25% each year for the next four years, a £500,000 cut between 2017 and 2020. Cuts are already stretching public services thin in Walsall, and the further reductions in funding would likely end up forcing the gallery to close. Inverleith House, located in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens and attracting around 200,000 visitors a year, is facing similar potential cuts. The institution will close permanently as a contemporary art gallery once its current exhibition —  “I Still Believe in Miracles” — comes to a close. The Guardian has more.

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