While it is undeniable that the pandemic did cast a pall of gloom and inertia on the art world, the latter half of 2021 did see the picking of pace in the global arts scene. In fact, despite Covid scare, the year was peppered with some highly interesting, or shall we say downright amusing, incidents throughout. We diligently brought you the news the year around and thought it would be a great idea to rewind to all the significant stories that called for attention in 2021.
It was a year of recovering stolen paintings, too! Head of a Woman — a painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen nine years ago during a heist at a Greek gallery was recovered this year. The BBC reported the police saying that a 49-year-old builder was arrested for the theft of the painting, and a second work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. On the other hand, a rediscovered portrait by Indian artist Amrita Shergil fetched millions at a rare auction appearance. CNN Style reported that the painting depicted one of Sher-Gil’s friends, art critic Denyse Proutaux, in the ‘Portrait of Denyse’, and dated back to around 1932, when the artist was just 19.
French president Emmanuel Macron nominated the next president of the Musée d’Orsay, Laurence des Cars, to helm the Louvre. Artnet News reported how this development was a major shake-up at the world-famous Paris institution and marked the first time a woman was named for the top job at the Louvre. The 54-year-old expert on 19th and early 20th century art took up her new position on September 1, beating out candidates like current president Jean-Luc Martinez, Picasso museum president Laurent Le Bon, and Guimet museum president Sophie Makariou.
The world’s largest painting sold for $62 million at an auction in Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm Hotel this March. At 17,000 square feet, ART news reported, Sacha Jafri’s The Journey of Humanity (2020) is an abstraction featuring drips, whorls, and splatters of various hues, and breaks the painting size record as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
In November, British artist Stuart Semple launched what he calls the “world’s whitest white paint” after developing the world’s “pinkest pink” and the “blackest black” paints. He claimed that White 2.0 was over 50 per cent brighter than the best-selling white acrylic paint. Moneycontrol reported that according to the website that sells the colour, it can be applied with a brush or sprayed on a surface. It apparently sticks to just about anything — paper, card, plaster, wood, metal, and glass. A 150 ml bottle of the Semple’s white paint costs £19.99 (Rs. 2,002.08).