Art News: Pampidou and Guggenheim announce partnership for Hong Kong proposal

This partnership affirms a wish to provide Hong Kong with a world-class cultural complex devoted to the fields of modern and contemporary art, the moving image, and design.

Bruno Racine, President of the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, have announced that their institutions have agreed to cooperate and put forward a joint proposal for the development of a new museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong (WKCD). According to the Guggenheim and the Pompidou, which have collaborated on major projects in the past, this new partnership affirms a wish to provide Hong Kong with a world-class cultural complex devoted to the fields of modern and contemporary art, the moving image, and design. Krens, who once tried to make the Guggenheim the world's premier international art institution, has recently been forced to withdraw a number of his grandiose schemes, including a major waterfront complex in New York City. In addition, one of the Guggenheim's major financial supporters recently resigned in protest of Krens's attempts at expansion. The Hong Kong scheme appears to be Krens's answer to his critics. SOTHEBY'S LATEST sale of Contemporary Art made GBP9.3 million, the highest total ever for a mid-season contemporary sale. Bidding was strong from overseas and British collectors alike, and 10 new records were established. Only 26 of the 206 lots failed to sell. Top lot at GBP736,000 ($1,298,893) was the late Jean-Michel Basquiat's Untitled (Leonardo and his Five Grotesque Heads), 1983; and another earlier Basquiat went for GBP344,000 ($607,091). Others in the top 10 were Donald Judd, Alexander Calder, Bridget Riley, Keith Haring, Martin Kippenberger, Damien Hirst and yes, Victor Vasarely. THE OLDEST complete set of silver cutlery in existence will be offered at Christie's London on December 1. It is estimated to realize between GBP300,000 and GBP500,000. The German basse-taille enamelled silver and parcel-gilt service, which appeared during a routine Christie's valuation in Europe, is a set of 12 knives, 12 spoons, and 12 sweetmeat forks, as well as three slightly earlier salt-cellars. The service, dated 1615, was made and decorated by the Augsburg goldsmith David Altenstetter, one of the finest enamellers of the Renaissance. The table-knives have tapered handles with silver-gilt molded borders, the tops decorated with cherub's bust and scrolls to front and back. The face and reverse of each knife handle are enamelled with an extraordinary variety of scenes, including a trotting horse, a monkey with bagpipes, a dancing bear and a winged dragon holding a snail with its claw. Each of the knives is signed with Altenstetter's initials, with one dated 1615. Fewer than half a dozen examples of his signed works are known to survive today, including those in the Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich. The spoons and forks are decorated with running scrolls, geometric ornaments and foliage, and are struck with a maker's mark only recently ascribed to Altenstetter, an attribution surely confirmed by their appearance in the same set with his signed work. The three salt-cellars, made by a different Augsburg maker circa 1595, are almost certainly also enamelled by Altenstetter, this time with foliage and a variety of subjects, including exotic birds, winged dragons and leaping stags. The service comes complete with a late 18th century brass-mounted, velvet-lined leather case which has contributed to its exceptional state of preservation. The service descended to the present owners among the contents of a castle formerly owned by the von M nch family. In the 18th century Christian I von M nch (1690-1751) was an extremely successful Augsburg banker. Letters discovered by Christie's in the Wittelsbach family archives reveal that in 1743-1744, Duke Charles Albert, who became Holy Roman Emperor in 1742 as Charles VII, was pawning silver to von M nch to help pay for military expenses during the War of the Austrian Succession. It is highly probable that the service was acquired by von M nch in this way and, if so, it is a possibility that the service was originally owned by Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria. David Altenstetter was born in Colmar, Alosace, in 1547. He became a master of the Augsburg goldsmith's guild in 1573, and his patrons included Rudolph II of Prague. A painting of the 1590s in the Polish National Museum entitled The Banquet of the Hapsburg Monarchs suggests that a service like this one would have been used by the grandest of nobility at small, intimate dinners. "GLOVES," A sculpture by the late Zvi Malkin, will be auctioned at Claudio's 80th sale on November 12 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Tel Aviv. Malkin, the former Mossad member who bundled Eichmann into a car in the Argentine before helping bring him to Israel, cast the gloves he wore when he grabbed Eichmann 45 years ago. Just 15 of the bronzes were made and given as mementos to the men who participated in the operation. Malkin took up art after his retirement. Gloves has an estimated value of $5,000-$8,000. The 400 Claudio lots include antiques, paintings and Judaica. Heading the top lots are paintings by Uri Lifshitz (Toreador, oil on canvas, $5000-$6000); Yohanan Simon (Landscape 1961, oil on canvas, $4000-$5000); and Lea Nikel (Collage, oil on canvas, $4,000-$5,000). Preview begins November 8. For details see or call Claudio's at 03-5522307.