Art Industry News: Aretha Franklin’s Lavish Gowns Head to Auction

Aretha Franklin Gown

Aretha Franklin

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know this Monday, September 10.


Monaco Investigates Dmitry Rybolovlev’s Largesse – The Monaco-based Russian billionaire collector is keeping a lower profile in the principality, fueling speculation that he might be relocating amid growing legal scrutiny. A local magistrate is investigating whether whether he offered law enforcement officials perks, such as free tickets to see his soccer team AS Monaco FC, during his ongoing feud with “freeport king” and art dealer Yves Bouvier. (New York Times)

V&A Director Calls for a Hotel Tax – Tristram Hunt says he enthusiastically supports a “hotel tax” on tourists to help fund free entry to the UK’s national and local museums, as well as other “cultural infrastructure.” When he was an MP, he questioned the policy—but now that he runs the V&A, he thinks it is a good idea, especially amid growing funding cuts for culture. “[The V&A] have had it bad, but local authority museums have been absolutely smashed over the last few years,” he says. (Telegraph)

Aretha Franklin’s Dresses Head to Auction – Julien’s Auctions is selling 30 outfits worn by the late Queen of Soul in its sale on November 10–11. The items include a red sequined dress designed by Arnold Scaasi that Franklin wore to a 1991 performance at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. Each gown is estimated to fetch around $4,000. Franklin was a fan of high fashion until the end: During her three-day public viewing in Detroit, she was dressed in a different outfit each day. (AFP)

Silent Resistance to Macron on African Restitution – Almost a year after the French president’s declared that “African heritage can’t just be in European private collections and museums,” setting off a global reckoning regarding restitution, two experts are due to deliver their official recommendations to Macron in November. Many observers—including French tribal art dealers and collectors—are waiting with bated breath. None will criticize President Macron directly, but the Brussels-based cultural property lawyer Yves-Bernard Debie says the politician has “sparked a fire that he will have great trouble extinguishing.” (Financial Times)


Paris Looks to Capitalize on Brexit – Dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, who accompanied President Macron on his recent visit to Washington, says Brexit uncertainties have a “silver lining” for the Paris art trade. As pro-business Macron also seeks to reduce some of the country’s wealth taxes, economist Clare McAndrew says France is poised to be in “pole position.” But Paris has a long way to go to overtake London. The UK has a 20 percent share of the global art market compared to France’s 7 percent, according to the latest Art Basel/UBS report. (FT)

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