Joan Altabe

Art: Best of the Best Art Galleries: Pace Wildenstein

Once a year for the eight years following his father’s 1963 death, art dealer Daniel Wil-denstein sent Georgiana Blois, who was friendly with many British noble families, to ask the Earl of Radnor if he would sell Wildenstein his 17th-century portrait by Diego Velázquez, titled Juan de Pareja. Wildenstein wanted it as a memorial to […]

Art: Gilty Pleasures

Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s Manhattan townhouse was the epitome of grandeur and grace during the 1880s. The largest of several Vanderbilt family homes along Fifth Avenue, it was staffed with 37 liveried servants and its facade resembled a fairy-tale version of a French château. In the dining room, guests were dwarfed by a towering mahogany mantelpiece, […]

Art: Resale Value

There is no such thing as a permanent collection. The artworks that you donate to your favorite museum can be deaccessed—sold off to the highest bidder as it prunes its holdings to make room for, and fund the purchase of, new works. In practice, it means that the museum curator takes a second look at […]

Leisure: The Guggenheim Gamble

Sheldon Adelson throws his arms up, waves them with a flourish, and declares, “Not even Bugsy Siegel would have thought of this!” Adelson is presiding over the October opening of the Guggenheim Las Vegas and Guggenheim Hermitage museums of modern art at The Venetian, his Las Vegas resort. This is the art museum event of […]

Art: A Brazen Act

Visit the Smith College art exhibition Corot to Picasso, now on a two-year tour of American museums, and you will see a work by Edgar Degas that the artist never wanted displayed. In fact, some critics contend that the bronze sculpture attributed to him, Dancer Moving Forward, Arms Raised, Right Leg Forward, is not even […]