Taking Names: Taylor-owned van Gogh, other paintings to be sold

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Taylor-owned van Gogh, other paintings to be sold

A Vincent van Gogh landscape and other paintings from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor will be auctioned in London next month.

Christie’s auction house said 38 works belonging to the late actress will be included in sales of impressionist and modern works Feb. 7 and 8.

They include van Gogh’s autumn landscape “Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy,” estimated at $7.6 million to $11 million, as well as an Edgar Degas self-portrait and works by Camille Pissarro and Auguste Renoir.

The daughter of a London art dealer, Taylor amassed a significant collection of 19th- and 20th-century works.

Her father, Francis Taylor, bought the van Gogh painting in 1963 on his daughter’s behalf for $257,600 at a Sotheby’s auction in London.

It was later the subject of an ownership battle that ended in 2007, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a claim brought by descendants of a former owner, a Jewish woman who had fled Germany in 1939.

Taylor’s jewelry, fashions and movie memorabilia raised $156 million at a series of New York auctions last month, with one buyer paying $8.8 million for a 33.19-carat diamond ring given to Taylor by Richard Burton, the actor she married twice.

The screen goddess - whose films included “Cleopatra,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” - died in March aged 79.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.

Muhammad Ali marks 70th with first of five parties

At 70, Muhammad Ali is still “the greatest” to friends and admirers worldwide.

The boxing champ basked in chants of “Ali! Ali!” as hundreds of supporters cheered him on Saturday night with a hearty rendering of “Happy Birthday” during his 70th birthday celebration in his Kentucky hometown. Never mind that Mr. Ali actually turns 70 on Tuesday: The private party in his hometown is the first of five planned in the next few months.

As partygoers mingled in a lobby of the Muhammad Ali Center before the festivities, Mr. Ali walked slowly to a second-floor balcony overlooking them. The crowd immediately began to clap, then broke into effusive chants and singing. The three-time world heavyweight champion, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, leaned against a rail and raised his right hand to wave to the crowd. Then he joined his party out of view of the public and the press.

The guest list numbered 350 for the private party, which doubled as a $1,000-per-person fundraiser for the Ali Center, a 6-year-old cultural and education complex designed to be a legacy to his social activism. The six-story center also retraces Mr. Ali’s career, including his epic bouts against Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Sonny Liston.

‘Bootylicious’ horsefly named after Beyonce

A newly discovered horsefly in Australia was so “bootylicious” with its golden-haired bum, there was only one name worthy of its beauty: Beyonce.

Previously published results from Bryan Lessard, a 24-year-old researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, were announced recently. The species had been sitting in a fly collection since it was captured in 1981 - the same year pop diva Beyonce was born.

He said he wanted to pay respect to the insect’s beauty by naming it Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae.

Mr. Lessard said Beyonce would be “in the nature history books forever” and that the fly now bearing her name is “pretty bootylicious” with its golden backside.

“Bootylicious” was the title of a song by Beyonce’s previous group, Destiny’s Child.

Mr. Lessard said he hasn’t heard from Beyonce, who recently gave birth to her first child, but he is a fan and said he hopes she will take his scientific gesture as a compliment. He also said the name was picked to help draw attention to the importance of his field and the need for more researchers to catalog and study insects.

Penn’s humanitarian group raises $5 million for Haiti

A publicist said $5 million was raised in Los Angeles for actor Sean Penn’s humanitarian group based in Haiti.

The money will go toward Mr. Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which he set up a few months after the 2010 earthquake to oversee a settlement camp where thousands of people displaced by the disaster lived.

Mr. Penn also was named “ambassador at large to Haiti” by Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Lamothe at the Saturday event in Beverly Hills, which was attended by celebrities and Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,.

Haiti marked the two-year anniversary of the massive earthquake last week with a string of quiet services and news conferences.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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