Wednesday’s Art Notes

BY Arts Desk  December 30, 2009 at 10:10 AM EDT

Paintings on the ceiling in one of several rooms at Tavern on the Green in New York. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Paintings on the ceiling in one of several rooms at Tavern on the Green in New York. Diners will give last orders Thursday at Tavern on the Green, the storied New York restaurant known as much for its opulent decor of Tiffany murals and etched mirrors as for the food. The restaurant, opened in 1934 in Central Park at the height of the Great Depression, is bowing to modern economic pressures with the decision to close January 1 due to bankruptcy. But fans of the Tavern, where John Lennon used to drop by and play the piano, won’t be entirely starved: the over-the-top interior is being stripped out and put on the auction block January 13-15. Baccarat chandeliers, Tiffany stained-glass murals, mirrors, copper weathervanes, silver candelabras, and place settings are among the items listed for sale. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

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David Levine, the illustrator whose caricatures for the New York Review of Books became the publication’s “visual trademark,” died Tuesday at the age of 83 in Manhattan. We’ll have an interview with Robert Silvers, Editor of the New York Review, later today.

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Italian police recovered a tiny toy guitar Picasso had made for his daughter Paloma from a businessman who had been given a commission to build a glass case for its display in a museum. Instead, the businessman had kept it in a shoebox at his home for two years.

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Another treasure will come out of hiding next month when the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond goes on exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. In 1664, Philip IV of Spain gave the dark blue diamond to his daughter for her engagement to the Emperor of Austria. The gem has not been publically displayed for 50 years.

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With two days left, here are two assessments of the year’s biggest art headlines: The Wall Street Journal gives us the not so pretty financial picture of 2009, while Artnet counts down their choices for most important art news.