1210040636910_1210040636910_r.jpgThe autumn 2007 auction season in New York brought robust prices across most categories. Post war and contemporary works in particular, went through the roof. It seemed as if a record was shattered every time there was an auction. Now the spring season is underway.

It's the spring art sale season in New York this month. Despite an economic slowdown, vigorous sales and a rapid ascent in prices are anticipated.

The popular impressionist Claude Monet's "Le Pont du chemin de fer a Argenteuil", is expected to return 35 to 40 million US dollars. The 1873 painting is due to go under the hammer at Christie's, May 6.

Guy Bennett, Christie's Senior Vice President of Impressionist and Modern Art, says the "grandfather of impressionism" enjoys enduring popularity. Guy Bennett said, "It's of Argenteuil, one of the most desirable subjects and a painting or rather an image he only painted five times in his career and this is the only one left in private hands, as I said earlier - the others being in the Musee D'Orsay, the National Gallery of Washington, Philadelphia Museum of Art, so it's a painting of absolute importance."



Superhero fashion invades N.Y.'s Met art museum, Yazzy's at

YPC-21XCE105-2.jpg"Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" runs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from May 7 to September 1 with an opening red-carpet gala on Monday night that was to include former "Batman" star George Clooney and actress Julia Roberts.

The exhibit examines how Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and others have influenced big-name fashion designers. The feminine figure is represented by characters such as Wonder Woman and Catwoman.

In the mirrored exhibition hall, superhero costumes are juxtaposed with the fashion they have influenced, largely a collection of active sportswear and outlandish garb more fit for a Halloween party than a night out at the theater.

Among the costumes on display are the ones worn by the late Christopher Reeve in the 1978 version of "Superman," two versions worn by Tobey Maguire in "Spider-Man 3" from 2007 and the "Catwoman" suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992's "Batman Returns."

The exhibit notes that Superman's costume, inspired by those of circus acrobats and strongmen, "became the standard upon which successive superheroes were styled."

It also digs beneath the meaning of superheroes with superpowers versus those who are mere mortals.

"While Batman relies on a varied arsenal of gadgetry to enable him to fight crime, Iron Man is encased in full body armor. Both serve as metaphors for defensive paranoia," the exhibits says.

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Recap: Hospice Art Makes Life's Final Journey Meaningful, Yazzy's at

YPC-21XCE35-2.jpgAccording to Leila B.'s mother played the piano all day and all night, so much that her children would, as lovingly as they could, ask her to give it a rest once in a while.

But Leila B.'s mother would not stop, and her music swept up the whole family. Leila herself grew up to sing at church. She sang soprano to Sister Maddie Eva's alto. A poem about her life — with an accompanying photo of Leila B. in a stunning hat — is part of a traveling hospice art exhibit at the main rotunda of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

The exhibit includes 40-some pieces — including poems, photographs, mosaics and paintings — in "Completing the Journey: The Art of Hospice," a show of work by, for and about hospice patients, with the help of Connecticut VNA and Connecticut VNA Partners staff.

Members of the VNA complementary therapy team — artists, musicians, massage therapists — work with hospice patients to tell their life stories through art, or to encourage them to say that one thing they want to say. The group is led by Susan E. Rosano.

"When people are in the process of dying, they are more real," said Rosano, whose speciality is mosaics. "They are who they are. It's easier for them to talk about how much they loved their children or where they met their wife and what that meant."

Last week, while Rosano and colleague Alison Ives were hanging the work, Rosano said she'd just come from meeting a man who said "uncommonly beautiful things" about his daughter. They are creating a project together.

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Billionaire Bait: Monet, Bacon, Koons Headline N.Y. Auctions ,Yazzy's at

"Triptych" by Francis Bacon, an oil on pastel on canvas painting in three parts from 1976, may fetch up to $70 million during the Sotheby's New York Contemporary Art - Part I auction on May 14, 2008. Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg News

According to Bloomberg news hoping that the rich are different, Sotheby's and Christie's International aim to sell a record $1.8 billion worth of art over the next two weeks in New York.

Billionaire bait includes a three-paneled aqua-green Francis Bacon painting valued at about $70 million and a pair of Hoover vacuums in plexiglass by Jeff Koons for $10 million.

The lots, which test the market for impressionist, modern and contemporary art, are now on view to the public.

``The estimates are very aggressive,'' said art adviser Cristin Tierney. ``It's not that the auction houses are responding to the market. It's as if they are trying to push the market.''

Christie's May 6 evening sale, which could total up to $405 million, is headlined by Claude Monet's classic 1873 ``Le Pont du chemin de fer a Argenteuil,'' an ode to industrialization with trains chugging over a railway bridge.

Estimated to fetch up to $40 million -- a record for the artist if achieved -- the painting comes from the art-dealing Nahmad family, who acquired the landscape at Christie's in 1988 for $12.4 million.

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Miles Davis Gems Resurface -- in French Comic Book: Mike Zwerin, Yazzy's at

miles.jpgAccording to Bloomberg news -- The French love American art forms that America has ignored -- jazz and comic books of the 1950s and 1960s, for example. Robert Crumb and Miles Davis were stars in France long before America.

The French record company Nocturne has been publishing a series of hard-cover comic books drawn by artists such as Louis Joos and Jacques Ferrandez on just about every significant jazzman since Louis Armstrong, each with two CDs inserted in the covers.

``Miles Davis, Volume 2'' and ``Charles Mingus'' are the most recent.

Davis got slugged on the head by a policeman for no other reason than that he was black and uppity and occupying the Broadway sidewalk in front of Birdland. Mingus could no longer tolerate rich white people not paying taxes, and he did not hesitate to speak his mind.

White Americans have long been shocked when they discover what black people really think of them. Mingus was evicted from his Manhattan apartment. This sort of Americana has long outraged the French.

It was something of an over-simplification to begin with, however, and since France began to be home to so many African immigrants, many have changed their point of view, but that's another story.

The drawings for the Davis are in color and realistic. The Mingus, as is somehow fitting, is impressionistic and in black and white.

These two comic books are about two creative African Americans who were mistreated by the system, and how one of them was surprised to find more sympathetic white people in France. It's the story of the movie ``Round Midnight.'' The French just adore that story.

Picasso, Sartre

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