Secret Service Has No Audio or Transcripts of Any Tapes Made in Trump White House 

Photo: jonathan ernst/Reuters

Photo: jonathan ernst/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Louise Radnofsky reports: The U.S. Secret Service has no audio copies or transcripts of any tapes recorded within President Donald Trump’s White House, the agency said on Monday.

The agency’s response to a freedom of information request submitted by The Wall Street Journal doesn’t exclude the possibility that recordings could have been created by another entity.

The Secret Service handled recording systems within the White House for past presidents, including Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

The question of a White House recording system has lingered for more than a month since Mr. Trump first raised the possibility in a provocative tweet about former FBI Director James Comey.

In recent days, the two men have offered differing accounts of whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey in private conversations within the White House complex to ease off the FBI’s probe of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

On Friday, Mr. Trump kept the tapes mystery alive, telling reporters in the White House Rose Garden, “I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” He added, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mad Men’ Memorabilia for Sale: Nearly 1,400 Props, Costumes in Online Auction

mad-men-premiere-don writes: AMC’s “Mad Men” may have driven off into the sunset, but now fans of the retro show will have a chance to buy props, wardrobe pieces and set decorations used in the series — including Don Draper’s suits and his 1965 Cadillac Coupe de Ville from the final season.

“Mad Men collectibles on offer include Joan’s emerald necklace, Stan Rizzo’s bongos; Bert Cooper’s tea set; plus a wide assortment of vintage barware, ashtrays, briefcases, luggage, lamps, carpets and period toys.”

Nearly 1,400 items from the Lionsgate-produced series will open for online bidding at ScreenBid, starting Friday, July 31, at 12 p.m. PT. Lots will begin closing Aug. 6.

Don-Draper-Mad-Men-Portable

In addition to the Coupe de Ville (bids start at $1,500), items on the block include Draper’s Brooks Brothers suits, sunglasses and business cards; wardrobe, office accessories and personal effects for every major character including Peggy Olsen, Pete Campbell, Roger Sterling, Betty Draper and Joan Harris; Megan Draper’s wedding ring; and Don Draper’s Manhattan penthouse furnishings. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Sacré Bleu! Rare Photograph: The Rediscovered Face of Vincent Van Gogh

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It looks like any other old photograph you might find at an estate sale, but the gentleman highlighted in the 2nd image is someone who’s never been seen in photographic form: Vincent Van Gogh.

A pair of collectors found the image at an estate sale and brought it to a team of experts in France who verified that it really was the famous painter.

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FRANCE – For loeildelaphotographie, Serge Plantureux writes: 

On a December morning, two somewhat hesitant people stood on the sidewalk of the Boulevard Haussmann, looking for a pop-up gallery we had opened for a period of six months next to the Musée Jacquemart André.

They had traveled over 800 kilometers, inquiring with different people who discouraged them and said their search seemed impossible. Perhaps the most difficult part was finding me, but thanks to their perseverance, and the kindness of a neighbor, Frédéric, the meeting happened.

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The photograph they had brought to show me was small, dark and rather difficult to see. Six characters were around a table. The light was pale, perhaps it was a winter afternoon.

They told me, still hesitant, that they thought they recognized the people in it, artists in whom they had long been interested. They were collectors and liked the painters of the late 19th century, in particular the neo-impressionists. They also said it was possible that one of the figures around the table was someone whose true face had never been seen.

I tried to avoid making a judgment too quickly and considered how I should react. I didn’t want to start doing what Americans call “wishful thinking,” that trap into which collectors and researchers fall, where their reasoning is governed only by what they want to see.

I asked them if they could describe the circumstances in which they had discovered the object. To my delight, they were extremely precise, talking about their quest for old paper, old books and old trinkets. Sometimes what’s left in a house wouldn’t be worth the cost of moving to an auction house so everything is sold on site. That’s where the photograph had come from, two years before. And they remembered perfectly having found a similar photograph, manuscripts, a letter from a major poet of the time, and the archives and catalogue of a bookseller named Ronald Davis.

They said his name without any particular emphasis on it, and it was as though a beam of light had shone down on me. Ronald Davis’s name had been long forgotten, but I had recently encountered it by chance while researching a portrait of Charles Baudelaire.

Davis had been a figure in Paris in the 1920s, a model for many sellers of old books. He was known for being an editor and friend of Paul Valéry. One of his clients was the wealthy Myriam de Rothschild. Read the rest of this entry »


This Picasso Painting Just Set a World Record for Art at Auction: $179 Million

This undated photo provided by Christie's, courtesy of the Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, shows Pablo Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)," which is being offered for sale at Christie's in New York on May 11, 2015, as part of New York City's spring art auctions. The 1955 masterpiece, estimated to bring more than $140 million, is poised to become the most expensive artwork sold at auction. (2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Christie's via AP)

A Picasso painting became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction on Monday, going for more than $179 million.

Christie’s said “Women of Algiers (Version O)” sold for $179,365,000. That figure, which the Associated Press reports to include the auction house’s premium, surpasses a Francis Bacon work called “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” that held the top spot, also selling at Christie’s for $142.4 million in 2013.

Picasso painted the work as part of a 15-painting series…(read more)

[TIME]


Picasso, Munch, Van Gogh, Giacometti, Oh My: Poised to Set Records at NYC Auctions

Spring Art Auctions Preview

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s spring art auctions get underway Tuesday with exceptional pieces by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Vincent Van Gogh and others whose work continues to fuel a robust market for impressionist, modern and contemporary art.

Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O),” estimated to bring over $140 million, is poised to become the most expensive artwork sold at auction, while Giacometti’s “Pointing Man” could set an auction record for a sculpture if bidding soars to an expected $130 million.

Both are being offered at Christie’s on May 11.

Experts say the once unimaginable prices are fueled by established and wealthy new buyers and the desire by collectors to own the best works.

“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” said Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen. “Buyers will flock in from the Far East, the Gulf and Europe.”

In 2012, Edvard Munch‘s “The Scream” fetched nearly $120 million only to be bested a year later when Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $142.4 million.

Now Picasso’s 1955 “Women of Algiers” could potentially eclipse that stratospheric price tag. The vibrantly colorful work featuring a scantily attired female amid smaller nudes is part of a 15-work series that Picasso created in 1954-1955. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.

Giacometti’s 1947 “Pointing Man,” a life-size bronze of an elongated figure with extended arms, has been in the same private collection for 45 years. Giacometti, who died in 1966, made six casts of the work; four are in museums, the others are in private hands and a foundation collection.

His “Walking Man I” holds the auction record for a sculpture. It sold in 2010 for $104.3 million. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Argentinean Movie Poster: ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ Universal, 1935

Heritage-Frankenstein

Argentinean Poster: ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ Universal, 1935

 via Heritage Auctions


Whiskey Content Not Disclosed: A Vial of Winston Churchill’s Blood Now Up for Auction

Churchill In Croydon

…Churchill famously said he had nothing to offer but “blood, toil, tears and sweat” and now some of that blood is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Duke’s Auctioneers on March 12.

“…the most poignant and unique memorabilia we’ve ever had…the closest you can get to Churchill.”

— Timothy Medhurst, an auctioneer and appraiser at Duke’s

The blood was collected when Churchill was in the hospital for a fractured hip in 1962. Typically vials of blood are discarded when they are no longer medically 51hrU8b98BL._SL250_necessary, but the nurse who collected it, an apparent fan of the former Prime Minister, received special permission to keep the vial.

[Or, you can order this Churchill book “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Great Speeches” from Amazon]

Upon the nurse’s death, it was bequeathed to a friend who decided to sell the historical medical waste to mark the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death. Read the rest of this entry »


Art Auction Records Shattered in London

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London, United Kingdom – It took a breathtaking span of 26 hours in London for more records to fall in the thriving global art market.

Works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly were among those that set the pace at the post-war and contemporary art sales hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The highest priced lot took place on Tuesday when Richter’s Abstraktes Bild surprised the packed auction room on Bond Street with aggressive phone bids coming in at 2 million British pound increments ($3.1m).

The final sale price of 30.4 million pounds ($46.8m) established a new auction record by a living European artist.

Gallery technicians hanging a picture by Gerhard Richter at Sotheby's

The anonymous bidder, reported to be an American, was represented by Sotheby’s worldwide co-head of contemporary art, Cheyenne Westphal.

“I think I can genuinely say it went to someone who truly wanted this painting, and he was set on buying it tonight,” Westphal said, noting Richter also happened to be her favourite artist.

A sister painting of the large abstract work was sold by

Eric Clapton in 2012 for a then-record of 21 million pounds ($32m).

The artwork, which measures 3 x 2.5 metres draped with jagged lines of reds and greens, was last sold on auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $607,500, generating a return of 32.4 percent annually.

“Richter is not hot all of a sudden, he has always been sought after,” said Arianne Levene Piper, founder of the New Art World consultancy

“There are plenty of ultra-high net worth collectors who are willing to pay for top works.

This explains why a great painting by a great artist will sell for high prices at auction.”

Works by another European artist, Francis Bacon, failed to make headlines this auction season, despite drumming up a buzz prior to the sales. Read the rest of this entry »


Action Comics #1: First Superman Comic Book Sells for $3.2 Million

action-comics-no-1-super-man-comic-auction

A pristine edition of “Action Comics No. 1,” which first introduced Superman, has sold for $3.2 million in an auction conducted on eBay.

[FLASHBACK: First Superman Comic Book Expected to Fetch Millions When it Goes Up for Auction on eBay – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Bidding ended Sunday evening, with 48 bids received.

A copy of “Action Comics No. 1″ was put up for auction on eBay on Aug. 14, with parts of the final price going to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Bidding began at $1 million…(read more) Variety

Read the rest of this entry »


This Chip Launched Modern Computing. It’s Expected to Sell for $2 Million at Auction