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Charles Saatchi's latest buy
Colin Gleadell rounds up the latest developments in the art market
Charles Saatchi's latest acquisition is a portrait of Heinrich Himmler, the SS commander who controlled the Nazi concentration camps. However, Saatchi, who is of Iraqi-Jewish descent, has not bought the painting for shock value. A spokesman said simply that he liked it.

The portrait (right) is part of The Beauty Show, an exhibition of paintings by young British artist Jasper Joffe, which opened recently at the V22 gallery in east London. One room is devoted to paintings inspired by Vogue fashion models in the 1970s; the other to portraits of 'ugly' people, such as Himmler.

Joffe says that he is commenting on the relentless pursuit of aesthetic beauty by the fashion industry, which he calls 'fashism'.

Guests at the opening were asked to separate into each room depending on whether they thought they were beautiful or ugly. Not many turned up, according to the artist. Saatchi viewed the show the next day and bought the portrait of Himmler, which was priced at 3,000.

Bonhams has announced plans to raise its profile in New York with a move to a three-storey space on the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue that previously housed the Dahesh Museum, a specialised private museum for 19th-century Orientalist art.

The company has also revealed that, having sold its Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh, it will be staying in the city centre, moving to new premises in Queen Street. The two moves represent what chief executive Malcolm Barber describes as 'substantial investment'.

Dorset auctioneers Duke's of Dorchester has negotiated the sale to the nation of two important pre-Raphaelite paintings with a combined value of more than 1.2 million.

Music, an oil painting by Burne-Jones, and a watercolour of Hamlet and Ophelia by Rossetti both belonged to Miss Jean Preston, a former museum curator who died last year, aged 77. When Duke's visited her house to value the contents, they unexpectedly found not only pre-Raphaelites but a pair of altar panels by Fra Angelico, which they sold for almost 2 million.

The works by Burne-Jones and Rossetti are earmarked for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, according to the terms of Miss Preston's will.

The annual Watercolours and Drawings fair opens in the Royal Academy's Burlington Gardens galleries on Thursday with a much broader scope than usual.

Once the preserve of Victorian pictures of country-cottage gardens, it now embraces vintage photographs, artists' books and modern and contemporary art. As a special feature, Kule Ingozi, a former child soldier from Sierra Leone, will exhibit drawings made with his own blood, as a metaphor for the socio-political turmoil in Africa. They are priced from 350.

Text by Telegraph, UK
 


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