Art News – weekly round-up

  • 6 February 2015

Magna Carta manuscripts, Marlene Dumas and record-breaking auctions – we round up the week's top art news

Monet's Le Grand Canal was sold at Sotheby's for £23 million

Monet's Le Grand Canal was sold at Sotheby's for £23 million

Sotheby's sale breaks records 

A string of valuable Monets has helped Sotheby's break the sales record for any auction held in London. According to the Evening Standard bidders from 35 countries and every continent — more than ever previously seen — took part in the sale of Impressionist, modern and surreal art, which raised £186.44 million. Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association told the Guardian that the booming art market was adding pressure to cash-strapped museums, who must be inventive in finding ways around budget cuts, such as joint acquisitions and turning to the Art Fund.

Magna Carta manuscripts on display

The four surviving original manuscripts of the Magna Carta have gone on display together in the House of Lords for one day only (6 February). The event marks the 800th anniversary of the charter which was sealed at Runnymede on June 15, 1215 and first laid the foundations of the rule of law. According to The Independent two of the manuscripts are usually held by the British Library and one each by Lincoln and Salisbury cathedrals.

Van Gogh sketch discovered

A rare sketch of Vincent Van Gogh has been found hidden inside a 130-year-old scrapbook in a German museum. The Telegraph reports that the postcard-sized picture was created by French artist Emile Bernard, a close friend of the Dutch master, in about 1887.

Marlene Dumas retrospective opens

Tate Modern opened a major retrospective of the South African painter this week, to rave reviews. The Guardian calls her world ‘beautiful and flawed’ while Alastair Smart says ‘even in a world awash with imagery, painting can still move’.

And finally...

Artist John Gerrard has beaten Google at its own game. After being refused permission to photograph the company's 'data farm' he decided to hire a chopper and take aerial shots. Jonathan Jones reveals all.