Top Ten Art World Headlines of 2013

Review the top 10 art related events of 2013: From daring heists, to incredible museum gifts, the burning of famous works of art, record-breaking auctions, and lost masterpieces found.

Written by on December 24, 2013

TOP TEN ART WORLD HEADLINES OF 2013The art world, as always, had another year of mystery, controversy, car chaises and multi-million dollar heists and auctions. Like a good “Bond” movie, the art world keeps delivering suspense and glamour all wrapped up in the beauty and elegance of the most coveted art pieces in history.

Here are the top 10 art related events of 2013:

Chunk of Hitler's Collection of Degenerate Art found in Munich1. One Billion Euro in Art Stolen by Nazis Was Recovered But Kept Secret…

April 2013/November 7, 2013. In 2011 about 1500 paintings by master artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Franz Marc and many more recovered during a tax raid in Germany. The collection is part of Hitler’s personal ‘degenerate art’ looting of Jews during World War II. The artists among the works are such names as Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. ’Focus’, a German news magazine, broke the story as recently as April of 2013.

2. Francis Bacon breaks auction record with $142M

November 13, 2013. A Francis Bacon triptych that became the most expensive art work ever sold at auction, Christie’s New York Post’s War & Contemporary Art evening sale blew past pre-sale expectations, bringing in a total of $691,583,000. The auction was one of two (another post-war and contemporary art sale taking place in May, $495M) of Christie’s that represented “9% of the total value of global auction sales.”

3. FBI: We Know Who Was Behind Massive 1990 Boston Art Theftoverstockart_2294_5124341726

March 18, 2013. Exactly 23 years ago, on March 18, 1990 two thieves disguised as Boston police officers robbed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, making off with 13 priceless paintings, previously valued at $580 million. It is said to be the most “valuable collection of stolen artwork in history: $580 million worth of famous works, including Rembrandt’s only seascape, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” and Vermeer’s “The Concert,” a masterpiece valued at more than $200 million.” The FBI stated the suspects are “members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England.”  Though the FBI won’t release the suspects names, it seems the statute of limitations has run out so it can’t charge anyone with the theft and the question of recovering the art hangs in the air.

4. The Met is a Billion Dollars Richer in Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art gets $1B Leonard Lauder Cubist collectionApril 12, 2013. Philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder promised seventy-eight individual Cubist works of paintings, sculpture, and photography to the Met. It is cited as one of the most substantial gifts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s history. Many of the works in Mr. Lauder’s collection have historical significance. Two landscapes are from the 1908 Kahnweiler exhibition: Braque’s “Terrace at the Hotel Mistral,” from 1907, and his “Trees at L’Estaque,” from 1908. Even the Met notes that “The Trees at L’Estaque’ is considered one of the very first Cubist pictures that recognizes a new type of perspective in the landscape, which Braque arrived at upon analysis of Cezanne’s work.

5. The Degas Debate: Analyzing the Controversial Plastersoverstockart_2294_6516573282

June 5, 2013. In July of 2010, 74 Edgar Degas sculptures were found  in a storeroom and heralded as a possible great art find of the century, if questions of authenticity could be put to rest. A Degas scholar outlines the reasons for controversy and boldly challenges the meaning of “original” as we have known it.

6. Michelangelo Sculpture Heads To Jail

February 4, 2013. La Pietà Rondaninione of Michelangelo’s magnificent unfinished sculptures was moved to a Milanese jail, despite art historian protests. The master artist worked on the sculpture from around 1552 until his death in 1564. The city’s government planned the move due to the sculpture’s home Castello Sforzesco undergoing much-needed renovations.

7. Dutch Art Heist Paintings May Have Been Burned By Suspect’s Mother

Dutch Art Heist Paintings May Have Been Burned By Suspect’s MotherJuly 17, 2013. Ash from an oven contained paint, canvas and nails owned by Olga Dogaru, whose son was charged with stealing seven multi-million dollar paintings, including works by Matisse, Picasso and Monet. The discovery could be evidence that Olga Dogaru was telling the truth when she claimed to have burned the paintings, which were taken from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal gallery in 2012.

8.  Grisly Warhol Painting Fetches $104.5 Million, Auction High For Artist

Grisly Warhol Painting Fetches $104.5 Million, Auction High For ArtistNovember 13, 2013. As only one of four double-paneled car crash paintings Warhol rendered in 1963, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), was the only work to have remained in private hands among the four. One of Andy Warhol’s more startling images — a lifeless body amid the wreckage of a car crash — sold for $104.5 million at Sotheby’s art auction, making it “the highest price ever paid at auction for the Pop artist.”

9. Top 10 Art Sales Of 2013 Over 5% Of Market

December 19, 2013. Though many major contemporary art houses struggled this year, Forbes shares an ArtNet finding that “the ten most expensive lots sold in action so far have accounted for 669 million or over 5% of total global auction sales by value in 2013,” from the post-war and contemporary art category. Christies May and November 2013 auctions in this category accounted for “9% of the total value of global auction sales.”

Christie’s India Debut Auction Nets $15M10. Christie’s India Debut Auction Nets $15M

December 20, 2013. Described as the “Rothko of India,”  Vasudeo S. Gaitonde set a record for an Indian artist at auction, after selling for 237 million rupees ($3.7 million) at Christie’s International Plc in Mumbai on December 19, 2013. 83 works were sold at the debut auction covering the last 100 years of Indian art achieving a net amount of $15 million.

Records were set in 2013, particularly by auctions in November of 2013. What do you think of the authenticity of the Degas sculptures? Is Olga Dogaru insane for burning such art treasures? What art headlines of 2013 blew you away?

We hope 2014 will yield more interesting art related events. Art is such a vital part of our world, and we need to cherish the greats and appreciate the artists that devoted their lives to their passion.

Art is a language that all people speak that cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhances cultural appreciation and awareness. Without art; life would basically become boring, lifeless and plain.

ReproduceTHIS: Know Your Art

Written by on October 22, 2010

This week’s post is all about patterns. Guess what painting was made by who. This will be your last chance to see what was in the mystery box. Which I will uncover in a couple weeks.

This will be the last game board for a while so Good Luck!

Last chance to see if you can claim this hidden visual prize. Come back in 2 weeks to see who wins it.

ReproduceTHIS: Know your Art

Written by on August 20, 2010

How well do you know your Art? Below are images of paintings from currently available in our online gallery. If you think you can identify the artist and title of each work, please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We will provide the correct answers  in one week (on Friday, August 27th), along with our next ReproduceTHIS: Do you know your Art? challenge.

Good Luck! We will also be posting a congratulations to one weekly winner.

The Legacy of Norman Rockwell

Written by on June 2, 2010

Many artists, particularly painters, have made a name for themselves for their artistic ingenuity. They’ve painted and brought new Norman Rockwell - Freedom from Wantmeaning to an object or a scene or an event. However there are seldom artists who make use of their craft in addressing day to day issues, such as poverty, love, freedom, communication, bravery, work and everyday mundane activity of human life. Norman Rockwell is one of those few.

Norman Rockwell has made a great impact not only in terms of his art, but also in terms of his social contribution.

To give you a glimpse of who Norman Rockwell was and what he’s done that has made an indelible mark in history is to bring you back to the city of New York where he was born on February 1894. This is where he cultivated his gift under the tutelage of instructors from Chase Art School, the Academy of Design and finally the Art Students League. His artistic style was influenced by his instructors Thomas Fogarty, George Bridgman, and Frank Vincent Dumond.

Norman’s first major breakthrough came in 1912 at age eighteen with his first book illustration for Carl H. Claudy’s Tell Me Why: Stories about Mother Nature. This catapulted him to become the art editor of Boys’ Life published by the Boy Scouts of America. Unfortunately, his streak was cut abruptly with an imminent war.

Rockwell’s family moved to New Rochelle, New York (The same suburban town from the movie “Catch me if you Can” starring Leonardo De’Caprio) when Norman was 21 years old and shared a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe, who worked for The Saturday Evening Post. With Forsythe’s help, he submitted his first successful cover painting to the Post in 1916. Norman Rockwell published a total of 322 original covers for The Saturday Evening Post for over 47 years. Rockwell’s success on the cover of the Post led to covers for other magazines of the day, most notably LIFE Magazine.

In 1943, during the Second World War, Mr. Rockwell continued on to produce his most famous four part series of paintings of the most powerful war caricatures inspired by the famous Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech – Four Freedoms. These masterpieces as described were the four principles for universal rights: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, and Freedom from Fear.

During his long career, he was commissioned to paint the portraits for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, as well as those of foreign figures, including Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru. One of his last works was a portrait of Judy Garland in 1969.

For “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country,” Rockwell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, in 1977.

Rockwell died November 8, 1978 of emphysema at age 84 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. First Lady Rosalynn Carter attended his funeral.

To see more of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. The Museum’s collection is the world’s largest, including more than 700 original Rockwell paintings, drawings, and studies.

Gustav Klimt brought to life

Written by on March 24, 2010

I ran across these recreations of Gustav Klimt‘s work on the Behance network and simply had to share them with you.

This collection of beautiful and artistic photos is called “La Esencia de Klimt” which translates to “Klimt’s Essence”.

As a long time admirer of the Austrian Art Nouveau painter, these fashionable, real-life recreations of his works captured my immediate attention. A group of talented folks have combined their photography, digital art, illustration, make-up, hair and styling (all found through Kattaca) to recreate some of Gustav’s most famous paintings.

I’ve added Klimt’s original paintings for contrast:
Adam and Eve - Gustav Klimt oil painting
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I - Gustav Klimt oil paintingDanae -  Gustav Klimt Oil PaintingThe Kiss (Fullview) -  Gusrav Klimt oil paintingThe Dancer - Gustav Klimt oil paintingThe Virgin - Gustav Klimt oil painting

“Women in Art” Twitter Sweepstakes

Written by on March 10, 2010

In honor of National Women’s History Month, the popular online gallery,, is hosting the “Women in Art” Twitter® sweepstakes. The sweepstakes commences on International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8, 2010.

To participate in our FREE Oil Painting Giveaway. All you need to do is include the #overstockart tag in any tweet on twitter. Three winners will be selected at the end of the sweepstakes period. You can be creative with your tweet or re-tweet of our message, don't forget to follow @overstockart to find out if you've won.

Celebrate Women’s History Month and win a Hand Painted Oil Painting! #overstockart

Tweet this!

You can tweet #overstockart as often as you like. Each of these tweets will be eligible and a winner will be chosen at random using an algorithm. No bots or automated scripts please, this is meant to be a bit of fun!

Three (3) winners can choose from any of our 20"x24" inch oil paintings featured in our Women's Gallery. After the oil painting is selected, we'll deliver it to your door!

Don't forget to follow @overstockart to find out if you've won.

Checkout our official sweepstakes page for the complete set of rules and to see if you are one of three lucky winners!

All Children Are Born Artists

Written by on March 3, 2010

The month of March is Youth Art Month – an annual observance to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs. one might ask, what is so important about art that we need an annual event to observe it?

If we sit and observe whenever little kids draw, finger paint or play, it’s intriguing how they seem without self-doubt, judgment or fear of doing it wrong. A preconceived expectation of the end product doesn’t seem to play a role in what they are engaged in and in that moment they simply get lost in the doing of it. It’s as if they approach their art, free of inhibitions and with an openness to take risks, experiment and most importantly have fun. It’s as if being fully present in the moment and entering that space of spontaneity, comes so easily.

I recently spoke to someone who runs a local community art school. She shared with me that they had noticed a decreased attendance in their children’s art classes. When I asked why, she speculated that it was the result of kids being less and less encouraged to do art for the sake of the experience and for play. Instead, in order for parents to feel they were getting their money’s worth they were expecting their kids to produce a nice finished product at the end of each class. If the art piece resembled something out of preschool, their child must not be learning something valuable.

Is it possible that in this day and age of video games and computers, where shapes are colored within the clean lines of digital images, we’ve suppressed the urge to color outside of the margins? Are our children losing touch of their innate nature to create something in the mud, draw in the sand and venture down the road of their own imaginations? Is the art of trial and error no longer valued?

As we “grow up” the courage to create slowly moves into the background of our lives and we measure what we produce with labels of “Success” or “Fail” with nothing in between. We develop an apprehensiveness towards taking risks and the fear of doing it wrong keeps us from looking foolish in the process. Is learning to suppress free expression, suppressing our own imaginative instincts that we were naturally born with when we first entered this world?

“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

I once heard a grade school teacher encourage parents to, “Praise the effort rather then the outcome.” We often have the bad habit of discounting the process in it self. Undermining the steps in the middle that hold moments of exploration while focusing too much on the end product. If we approach our careers or our art giving value to the effort perhaps we will resurrect the courage to create; remembering what it was like to drenched our fingers in paint and draw out of the lines.

Sir Ken Robinson said it best, the ecology of our education will need to change and adapt. Art and creativity will need to take an active and central role for this world to develop and the only way we can do it is by seeing our children for the hope that they are.

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