“Sotheby’s and Christie’s International, the doyennes of the auctions houses, sold $1.7 billion of work during their evening sales of high-value contemporary art in New York and London, according to calculations made by Scott Reyburn at Bloomberg, up from $1.2 billion in 2010 and $482.3 million in 2009… Among living artists, the 79-year-old German painter Gerhard Richter commanded the highest prices. Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, for example, bought a 1997 work by Mr. Richter, ‘Abstraktes Bild,’ [at right] for $20.8 million.” — Patricia Cohen in the New York Times, Dec. 29. 2011.
“The trouble with art-world gossip is that it is often wrong, yet it goes around and around so fast that speculation becomes fact. Here’s a recent example: After the best of a group of abstract canvases by Gerhard Richter sold at Sotheby’s in November for $20.8 million, some spectators at the sale decided that the anonymous telephone buyer had been the French billionaire Bernard Arnault. … It turns out, however, that Mr. Arnault did not buy the Richter. Lily Safra did.” — Carol Vogel in the New York Times, Jan. 13, 2012.
Yesterday the Israel Museum in Jerusalem announced that Safra had donated the work to the museum.
The Times has not corrected its earlier report “gossip.”