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Jack Whitten (1939–2018)

22 January 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Jack Whitten (1939–2018) | The abstract painter and sculptor has died in New York at the age of 78, his gallery Hauser & Wirth announced on Sunday. In recent years, Whitten’s best known body of work has been the ongoing Black Monoliths series, begun in the 90s, which uses acrylic and mixed medium to create mosaics of black artists, writers, and political thinkers such as Jacob Lawrence and Malcolm X. A major survey of Whitten work opens at the Baltimore Museum of Art in April, and travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in the autumn. Marc Payot, a partner and vice president of Hauser & Wirth, described Whitten as a ‘remarkable man – an artist of endless inventiveness, originality, and honesty, as well as a wonderful friend’.

Stedelijk Museum cancels upcoming Ettore Sottsass exhibition | The Stedelijk has called off its retrospective (scheduled for this spring) of the work of the designer Ettore Sottsass, citing disagreements with his heirs and the gallery representing Sottsass. Jan Willem Sieburgh, the interim director of Stedelijk, said in a statement issued by the museum, ‘we cannot and will not allow the way in which we conceive our exhibitions to be dictated to us’.

Titian painting once belonging to King Charles I’s plumber set for auction | A painting of Saint Margaret (c. 1550) by Titian will be put up for sale at Sotheby’s New York on 1 February, reports the Guardian. Originally part of Charles I’s collection, it was sold after his execution to pay off the monarch’s debts. This particular work, then valued at £100, went to John Embry royal plumber. The painting depicts Margaret of Antioch freeing herself from the clutches of a dragon and the estimate is set at £1.5m–£2m.

TEFAF discontinues annual art-market report | The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) will stop commissioning its yearly report on the art market, reports the Financial Times. TEFAF has stated that it will instead produce ‘very in-depth and focused reports that concentrate on a variety of subjects’.

Recommended reading | In the Guardian, Nan Goldin talks about her campaign against the members of the Sackler family on the board of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Michael Prodger retells the story of Charles I’s art collection in the New Statesman, while in the New York Review of Books Colin B. Bailey describes the bonhomie adorable to be found Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s ‘fantasy portraits’ at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.. In the Paris Review, Elisa Wouk Almino writes about Brazilian painter José Leonilson.