Archive for January, 2010

AO Auction Results: Old Master’s Week at Christie’s and Sotheby’s New York – the majority of works sell above estimate, with many works reaching record-breaking prices

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Diana and Callisto, Gaetano Gandolfi. Estimate: $800,000 – $1,200,000. Price Realized: $4,114,500

After the success of London’s ‘Old Master Week’ that took place in December 2009, expectations were high for the Old Master auctions that took place this week at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York. While perhaps not as rousing as the sales in London, the Old Master auctions in New York marked the first opportunity to verify suspicions that buyers were returning to the art market with confidence. Christie’s two days of sales included the two-part auction of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolors on Wednesday and a special private collection sale, A Cabinet of Curiosities: Selections from the Peter Tillou Collections on Thursday, achieved a combined total of $40,858,500. While these auctions were successful, the auction that led the week was Thursday’s sale of Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture at Sotheby’s, which brought $61,599,250 – twelve lots sold for more than $1 million, and almost 60% of the works sold brought prices above the high estimate.

More text, images and related links after the jump….

Go See – New York: Damien Hirst’s ‘End of an Era’ at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue through March 6th

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

End of an Era
(2009) by Damien Hirst, via the Gagosian Gallery

Currently on view at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue are new sculptures and paintings by Damien Hirst.  The exhibition takes its title, “End of an Era,” from the central sculpture of the exhibition: a severed bull’s head with golden horns and a solid gold circular disc cast in formaldehyde and encased in a gold vitrine on a marble pedestal.  Hirst’s September 2008 monumental Sotheby’s London auction, where he famously circumvented his dealers, is widely recognized as marking the top of the recent art market rise. In this this auction the centerpiece was the “The Golden Calf” which sold for £10,345,250 with buyer’s premium and was cited as a reference to Hirst’s representation of cultural excess, worshipping false idols and likely Hirst’s own myth making.  The current exhibition title, and the decapitated head of basically the same artistic work, certainly has Hirst again presenting self-referential messages in light of his work’s current cultural and economic context.

Painful Memories/ Forgotten Tears
(2008) by Damien Hirst, via Gagosian Gallery

more images, text and links after the jump…


Go See – Los Angeles: Art Los Angeles Contmporary Art Fair through Janaury 31, 2010

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The first Art Los Angeles Contemporary annual international contemporary art fair kicked off last night at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California. Open through January 31st,  the fair presents 55+ galleries from around the world, with an emphasis on leading Los Angeles based galleries. The fair’s opening reception presented a playground for art patrons, designers, musicians, actors and architects alike in an appropriate closing to Los Angeles’ January Arts Month. While some Angelenos remain skeptical of another Art Fair, a critique set off in domino effect by the LA Times’ announcement of the fair, Curator Helen Varola arranged a diverse series of speakers and panels, in addition to securing an eclectic group of galleries and artists from around the world. Highlights included Los Angeles galleries such as David Kordansky, Kim Light / Light Box, Blum & Poe and Honor Frasier, as well as spaces with international arms, such as Peres Projects, and Crisp, and New York favorite Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.


AO Auction Preview – Old Master’s Week, New York City

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

La Belle Ferronnière, Follower of Leonardo da Vinci – probably before 1750

Dubbed as “an historic event for the art market,” Christie’s Old Master & 19th Century Art sale in London in December realized £68,380,250 – the highest ever total for an Old Masters auction. Following this ground- breaking success, expectations are high as Christie’s kick-off ‘Old Master Week’ in New York today, January 27, with their two-part sale of Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings, and Watercolors. This sale will present over 320 works from Lucas Cranach the Elder, Jan Brueghel II, Thomas Gainsborough, Gaetano Gandolfi, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, and Samuel Palmer, among others. Total sales are expected to achieve in excess of $48 million. Sotheby’s “Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture” auction will take place on Thursday, January 28 and is dominated by a Rembrandt portrait of a young woman from 1632 estimated at $8m-$12m, along with the controversial painting linked to Leonardo da Vinci - ‘La Belle Ferronnière.’

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AO On Site – Stockholm: Sol Lewitt “Seven Wall Drawings” at Magasin 3 Konsthall through June 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Installation of Sol Lewitt’s ”Wall Drawing #422” (November 1984) via Magasin 3

Currently on view at Magasin 3 Konsthall is “Seven Wall Drawings” by Sol Lewitt.  The exhibition, spanning the artists’ prolific career, takes the line as its theme. It is a motif to which Lewitt constantly returned, working, according to the exhibition’s curator Elisabeth Melqvist, “with exceptional consequence.”

Installation View: Sol Lewitt, ”Wall Drawing #51” (June 1970)

Ten thousand lines, measuring a total of 22 meters, cover the gallery’s walls from floor to ceiling. These lines truly reflect the creativity that can exist within a simple restriction. ”The descriptions and instructions sound bone dry but the result is startling,” shares Mellqvist. “It is beautiful, chaotic and overwhelming.” In addition to his investigation of possible line combinations, Lewitt also expanded his formal language in later years to encompass geometric shapes and color.

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AO Breaking News – Pablo Picasso Painting Incurs 6-inch Tear at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Pablo Picasso's The Actor

A Pablo Picasso painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was damaged last Friday, Janauary 22, when a woman attending an adult education class lost her balance and fell into the piece. “The Actor” (1904-5) incurred an irregular vertical tear 6 inches in length in the lower right-hand corner.

more story and links after the jump…


Go See-New York: Diane Arbus ‘In the Absence of Others’ and William Eggleston ’21st Century’ at Cheim & Read Gallery through February 13th 2010

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

(Newspaper on Ground, Grass, California) (2000) by William Eggleston, via Cheim & Read Gallery

Currently on view at Cheim & Read Gallery in New York are two concurrent photography exhibitions featuring rarely shown photographs by Diane Arbus and William Eggleston.  The works by Diane Arbus are grouped under the “In the Absence of Others” and feature empty rooms  and artificial rooms taken during the 1960s. The exhibition of Eggleston’s works is entitled “21st Century” and highlights his most recent works.

An Empty Movie Theater
(1971), by Diane Arbus, via T Magazine

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Go See – New York: Frank Stella's 'Exotic Birds' at L&M Arts through January 30th 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Exhibition View, by Frank Stella, via L & M Gallery

Currently on view at L & M Gallery in New York is Frank Stella’s “Exotic Birds.” The exhibition features work the artist executed in 1975  in the form of twenty-eight graph paper drawings which he then converted into Foamcore maquettes.  In 1976, he transformed the maquettes into a series of large-scale aluminum reliefs known as “Exotic Birds.” According to renowned curator William Rubin, the series signaled a transition in Stella’s work, “that was radical on the levels of both method and pictorial language.”

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Go See – New York: Omer Fast at Postmasters Gallery through February 13 and Whitney Museum of American Art through February 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Omer Fast’s Nostalgia III, 2009 – production still super 16mm film transferred to HD video running time: 32:48 minutes via Whitney Museum of American Art

Now on view at Postmasters Gallery and Whitney Museum of American Art are concurrent exhibitions by the iconoclastic video artist Omer Fast, known for his non-sequential cut ups of tragedy and humanity. Splicing disjunctive narratives of traumatized subjects – actual, staged or imitated – Fast’s dystopian imaginings shun aesthetic formality and evoke what truth lies in the ambiguity of storytelling. As highly interpretive mash ups collapsing space and time, his films recall the intimacy of reality and fantasy through mingling documentary and fictional styles.

Omer Fast’s Take a Deep Breath, 2008 – production still two channel HD video running time: 27:07 minutes

Chronicling the plight of the refugee, Omer Fast’s Nostalgia, showing at Whitney Museum of American Art, pinpoints feelings of longing and dislocation in a labyrinthian network of disparate ethnic voices. Tracing themes of displacement, war and loss through the recurrent motif of an animal trap, jumbled bits of dialogue and streams of overlaid images, Fast explores different permutations of cross-cultural encounters.

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Go See – New York: Phase 3 – Artur Zmijewski at X Initiative through February 2010

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Artur Zmijewski, “Powtorzenie” (Repetition), DVD, master DV, 2005 via Culture PL.

Currently on view at X Initiative as part of Phase 3 is a comprehensive solo exhibition of work by the controversial artist Artur Zmijewski.  It is easy to misunderstand and disprove of Zmijewski’s intentions, and easier to feel uncomfortable and conflicted by his video propositions.  This conclusive installation in a year-long experimental non-profit space marks a culmination of its mission to “inspire and challenge us to think about new possibilities for experiencing and producing contemporary art.”  Mr. Zmijewski reminds us that the experience of art can be as challenging as its production. The subject matter he explores is often heavy, the manner of delivery – raw, frank, often unedited – documentary.  The videos resemble an archive of a continuous social experiment where social situations, belief systems, reality and memory are test-driven for their endurance.

“80064”, DVD, master DV, 9’20”, 2004 via NY Times and Culture PL.

Zmijewski’s work is politically oriented as much as it is emotionally moving and complex. He acts as an activating agent by creating scenarios and situations in which initially passive and apathetic participants are galvanized and stirred, their actions documented and on view.

More text, images and related links after the jump…

Go See – London: Emily Prince’s ‘The American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, nor the Iraqis, nor the Afghans’ at The Saatchi Gallery, London, through May 7th

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Emily Prince in front of her installation at the Saatchi Gallery
Emily Prince in front of her installation at the Saatchi Gallery, via the Guardian

An installation by Emily Prince, featuring graphite pencil miniature portraits of slain U.S. soldiers, is drawing additional attention to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional troops to bolster the mission in Central Asia. The installation, titled American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, nor the Iraqis, nor the Afghans, features almost 5,300 sketched portraits and is on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London through May 7th.

The 28 year old artist, only a few years out of Stanford and UC Berkeley but who already has participated in a Venice Biennale, was motivated to draw the portraits by her frustration following George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. “I was feeling hopeless and frustrated, and I think I somehow needed to channel that energy,” Ms Prince expressed via Bloomberg. She was also quoted by the Daily Telegraph, saying that “I am disturbed about how easy it is to be disassociated from the war if like me you don’t have a relative who is involved.”  Based in San Francisco, she will continue to produce the drawings until the conflicts come to an end.

Andre D Tyson Riverside, CA Date of Death: April 22, 2007 by Emily Prince
Andre D Tyson Riverside, CA Date of Death: April 22, 2007 by Emily Prince, via Saatchi Gallery, via Saatchi Gallery

more images text and links after the jump…


Newslinks for Friday January 15th, 2010

Friday, January 15th, 2010

New MOCA Director, Jeffrey Deitch. Via LATimes

More on  MOCA’s new director, Jeffrey Deitch, who brings his more business-oriented background to the Museum in LA: [Bloomberg] Deitch’s contract with the museum has certain safeguards against conflicts of interest that might arise from his foot in the business world– among the new rules, Deitch must notify the museum’s board of anything he adds to or sells from his collection. [LATimes]

Eli Broad and his Broad Art Foundation reveal that they are considering 3 different Westside locations on which to build and endow a museum for his art collection. The third site was recently revealed as being a ten-acre parcel on the campus of West LA College in Culver City.  [LA Times]

Works by Picasso and Henri Rousseau have been stolen from a private villa in the South of France, marking the country’s second major art robbery in that week– (work by impressionist painter Edgar Degas was stolen from the Cantini Museum in Marseilles only days before). [FT]

To stay apprised of the latest relevant news of the art world…


Go See – Milan: Yayoi Kusama ‘I Want to Live Forever’ at Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea through February 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

An installation view of Kusama’s ‘I want to Live Forever’ exhibit in Milan

Currently showing at Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan is an exhibition by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, entitled ‘I Want to Live Forever.’  The show focuses on the artist’ s figurative paintings, large-scale sculpture and installations from the last decade, along with more formative drawings from the 50’s and 60’s.  Also on show is ‘Narcissus Garden,’  a sculptural installation consisting of an interactive environment of 1,500 mirror balls mounted in a field.  The work was first exhibited at the 33rd Biennale di Venezia in 1966– breaking away  from the usual ‘covert commercial aspects’ of the Biennale, Kusama, (known for her talent in merchandising), dressed in a traditional Japanese Kimono and sold each mirror ball for 1,200 lire on the lawns of the Italian Pavilion. More than forty years later, the installation piece now comes to Milan for the first time. Qualities of Kusama’s work are driven by a mental illness (hallucinations and obsessive thoughts) that the artist has struggled with since childhood. Her art often reveals an obsession  for filling spaces with repetitive, identical patterns. Early on in her career, she began covering surfaces with the polka-dots that would eventually become the trademark of her work. These fields of polka-dots, or ‘infinity nets,’ were drawn directly from her hallucinations. “These strange, uncanny things…drove me half into madness for many years,” the artist has said. “The only way to free myself from them was to control them myself–by reproducing them on paper…”

Kusama’s interactive ‘Narcissus Garden,’ consists of 1500 mirror balls. 2009, Via Design Boom

More text, images and related after the jump…


Go See – Paris: Hernan Bas at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin through March 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

View of the exhibition “Considering Henry” (2010)

Now showing at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris is a look at the Miami-based artist Hernan Bas, unprecedented in France. The exhibition, entitled “Considering Henry,” is on view through March 13, 2010 and borrows new works from major collections belonging to the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, MOCA (both Los Angeles and Miami), The Rubell Family Collection, The Saatchi Collection, SFMOMA and the Hirshhorn. Tracing prevalent themes of solitude and reflection in Bas’s romantically-inflected oeuvre, the exhibition follows the artist’s steadfast inspiration in nineteenth-century literature and painting.

Hernan Bas’s The landmark (or the laser point) 2009
Acrylic and airbrush on linen over panel
4 x 5 feet / 122 x 152,5 cm

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AO Breaking News: Jeffrey Deitch Named New Director of Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Via MOCA

Ending a week of speculation, Jeffrey Deitch has been named the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA– becoming the only art dealer and commercial gallery owner to take on the leadership of a major American museum. The decision marks a kind of turning point from the more traditional approach whereby museums draw their directors from pools of established curators or academics. Deitch stated this afternoon that “(…) it’s my goal to position MOCA as the most innovative and influential contemporary art museum in the world.  I am excited by the opportunity to play a role in making MOCA and Los Angeles the leading contemporary art destination.” Founded in 1979, MOCA occupies two buildings in downtown LA and is renown for its collection which includes around 6,000 pieces of international artwork produced in the past 70 years. Jeffrey Deitch, 57, founded his own gallery, Deitch Projects LLC, in 1996 and operates from three different spaces–two in Soho and one in Long Island City. Known for having experimental projects and programs in his galleries–sometimes crossing over into music, theater and other disciplines– Dietch started his career as a Citi Group Vice President, where he developed an art advisory and art financing business. “He will cease to be involved with any commercial activity by June 1st,” MOCA’s Director of Communications, Lyn Winter, has stated (Bloomberg).

Jeffrey Deitch, the new director of MOCA. Via LATimes

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AO On Site – Stockholm: Dali Dali featuring Francesco Vezzoli at the Moderna Museet through January 17th 2010

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Salvador Dalí
, Francesco Vezzoli (1998, cotton embroidery on canvas) via Art Forum

With only two weeks left in the exhibition, all of Stockholm was out to see “Dalí Dalí featuring Francesco Vezzoli” at Moderna Museet. The exhibition presents a retrospective of Salvador Dali, as well as his influence on contemporary artist Francesco Vezzoli. According to the exhibition’ curator, John Peter Nilsson, the show “examines the role of the artist in today’s celebrity-obsessed society, and of these two artists’ disingenuous relationship with mass media and power.” At once, it puts Dali’s oeuvre in a contemporary context and creates a historical perspective through which Vezzoli’s work may be understood.

for more story and relevant links after the jump…


Go See: St. Petersburg, Russia – Newspeak. British Art Now. The State Hermitage and Saatchi Gallery through January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Nikolaevsky Hall, via State Hermitage Museum

Currently on view at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is a collaborative project between the renowned London based Saatchi Gallery and the initiative “Hermitage 20/21” titled “Newspeak: British Art Now.”  The exhibition features works by British artists that recently gained recognition in the United Kingdom through their alliance with Charles Saatchi. The exhibition at the State Hermitage is their international debut.

Steven Claydon

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Go See – Berlin: Cyprien Gaillard at Sprueth Magers through January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Cyprien Gaillard’s Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009)

Currently on view  is the first exhibition of iconoclastic French artist Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980) to be shown at Sprueth Magers Berlin. Comprised of the 16mm film Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009) and the photographic works Geographical Analogies (2006-2009), the exhibition follows Gaillard’s concern with the controlled and shimmering demolition of natural and man-made monuments.

Film still of Cyprien Gaillard’s Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009)

As an artist, “interested in things failing, in the beauty of failure, and the fall in general,” Gaillard has sought to map the human imprint on architecture and geography by vandalizing historical landmarks and receptacles of memory, then slowly retracting his hand from the course of the destruction. Describing his art as “post-entropic – in pursuit of the big moment after the chaos,” the artist has documented in sculpture, painting, etching, photography, video, performance and large scale, public interventions, cataclysmic shifts that engulf time and hasten modern ruins.

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Go See – New York: The Bruce High Quality Foundation University at Susan Inglett through January 23, 2010

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Inside the Bruce High Quality Foundation University exhibition at Susan Inglett gallery. 2009, Via Susan Inglett.

Currently showing at Susan Inglett is an exhibition by members of the artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation. The artist group, which  consists of five anonymous Bruces– all graduates of Cooper Union– launched their own free and unaccredited ‘University’ in September of 2009. Admission to the school is granted through peer-recommendation and lessons in areas such as ‘metaphor manipulation’ are offered. The current exhibition, entitled the ‘Bruce High Quality Foundation University,’ (B.H.Q.F.U.), marks the end of the group’s  ‘University’ semester and displays work that speaks on behalf of the school’s curriculum and studied themes. The show also explores project plans for the school’s future. Perhaps the most critical issues addressed are those pertaining to the ‘over commercialization’ and ‘market-driven’ nature of the contemporary art school system.

Part of the Bruce High Quality Foundation University exhibition at Susan Inglett gallery. 2009, Via Susan Inglett. It’s been said that the five anonymous Bruces “guard their anonymity fiercely.”

More text, images and related links after the jump…


Go See – Berlin: Isa Genzken at Galerie Daniel Buchholz through January 30, 2010

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Isa Genzken’s Wind II (Michael Jackson) (2009)
plastic foil, colour prints on paper, mirror foil, spray paint, perspex, tape, metal
174 x 230 cm

Currently on view at Galerie Daniel Buchholz through January 30, and running concurrently with an exhibition at Gallery Neugerriemschneider also in Berlin, is a collection of new works by the German artist Isa Genzken (b. 1948). Displaying provocative sculptures and collages blending paper, metal, paint, fabric and ceramics, the exhibition is the artist’s ninth solo show at the gallery since 1987.

Installation view of Isa Genzken’s Wind (2009)

Embodying the artist’s idiomatic style of arranging chintzy, ready-made materials, Wind constitutes a series of textured, totemic structures replete with fanciful juxtapositions. While the sculptures exude playful irony in their myriad associations, the artist’s saturated approach also levels a more serious critique at our contemporary society fueled by excessive consumerist urges.

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Related Links:

Official Website: [OHWOW]

Go See – Berlin: Jake & Dinos Chapman’s ‘Shitrospective’ at Contemporary Fine Arts through January 14, 2010

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Hell 63 Years B.C. (2009), by Jake and Dinos Chapman, via Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin

Currently on view at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin is ‘Shitrospective’, the gallery’s first solo show by Jake and Dinos Chapman. In this exhibition the Chapman brothers recreate the most important sculptures and installations from their career together in miniature format made in cardboard and poster paint.

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Go See – Kleve, Germany: A forty-work retrospective of Alex Katz at Museum Kurhaus Kleve through Feb. 21, 2010

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Alex Katz’s Fashion 2 (2008)

Now on view at the Museum Kurhaus Kleve through February 21 is the exhibition, An American Way of Seeing, including over 40 works from 1957-2008 by the American painter Alex Katz (b. 1927) and encompassing the artist’s breadth of skill and influence in the genre of figurative painting.  Realized in cooperation with the Sara Hilden Art Museum, Tampere, Finland, and the Musee de Grenoble, France (and following a recent exhibition at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Paris showcasing the artist’s fashion studies), An American Way of Seeing will trace Katz’s contribution to the disciplines of portraiture and landscape through canvases of striking luminosity and spirit.

Alex Katz’s Coleman Pond (2008)

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Art Theft News Roundup: Degas Pastel Discovered Stolen on New Year’s Eve from the Cantini Museum in Marseilles, France

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Edgar Degas‘s Les Choristes (1876-77) via AFP

A valuable pastel by the 19th century Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas (b. Paris, 1834; d. 1917) was discovered missing from the Cantini Museum in Marseille, France, Thursday, December 31. The stolen piece, Les Choristes (also referred to as Les Figurants), measures 27cm by 32cm, and was on loan from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris for an exhibition showcasing twenty Degas works portraying a common theatre theme. It depicts a line of male choir singers preparing for a stage performance. While a museum guard was arrested on Friday in connection with the overnight heist, further investigation is pending and the suspect has been subsequently released. Authorities are continuing to examine CCTV footage in order to ascertain whether or not museum insiders or intruders can be blamed for the theft. Jacques Dallest, a prosecutor leading the case, reports no apparent signs of a break-in and that the pastel appears to have been unscrewed from the wall. Rumors of the work’s value were circulating at upwards of $30 million. However, authorities have since corrected this lofty estimation to assert the pastel’s actual value at £800,000 or $1.14 million.

More text, images and related links after the jump…