09 December 2019

Europe

The Nazis Purged German Museums of Thousands of ‘Degenerate’ Works. Now an Expressionist Painting Sold by Hildebrand Gurlitt Has Gone Home: A German museum has recovered a watercolour the Nazis purged from its collection more than 70 years ago. The so-called “degenerate” painting by the leading German Expressionist Christian Rohlfs was one of the hundreds of confiscated works that passed through the hands of the notorious museum director turned art dealer and Nazi collaborator Hilderbrand Gurlitt.

06.12.2019, Artnet: The Nazis Purged German Museums of Thousands of ‘Degenerate’ Works. Now an Expressionist Painting Sold by Hildebrand Gurlitt Has Gone Home

Quai Branly to send fragment of feather belt worn by first King of Tahiti back to Polynesia: The Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris will send a rediscovered fragment of an 18th-century Polynesian royal feathered belt, or maro ‘ura, to the Museum of Tahiti and the Islands in 2021 on a three-year renewable loan. The rare artefact will be displayed in a collaborative exhibition at the French museum from November 2020 to March 2021 before being returned to Tahiti. 

05.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Quai Branly to send fragment of feather belt worn by first King of Tahiti back to Polynesia 

Rare Tahitian painting by Gauguin sells for €9.5m at Artcurial in Paris: Paul Gauguin’s painting Te Bourao II (The Purao Tree) sold at auction in Paris last night for €9.5m, considerably higher than the €5m-€7m estimate. Artcurial, which handled the sale, says that it was the first Gauguin Tahitian picture to come onto the French market in 22 years.

04.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Rare Tahitian painting by Gauguin sells for €9.5m at Artcurial in Paris 

Danish Court Rules Against Designers Who Planned To Shred Painting By Tal R: A Danish court has issued an injunction against watchmakers Arne Leivsgard and Dann Thorleifsson to prevent them from cutting up the painting Paris Chic, 2017, by artist Tal R and including pieces of the canvas in the decorative faces of their newest line of designer wristwatches. 

03.12.2019, Artforum: Danish Court Rules Against Designers Who Planned To Shred Painting By Tal R

Berlin’s Stasi Museum Is Targeted by Thieves Just Days After Europe’s Biggest Jewel Heist in Dresden: Burglars broke into Berlin’s Stasi Museum under cover of darkness on Saturday night. They escaped with historic artefacts, including jewellery seized by the communist regime from people who tried to flee to the West. The museum is housed in the former headquarters of East Germany’s notorious ministry of state security and its feared secret police.02.12.2019, Artnet: Berlin’s Stasi Museum Is Targeted by Thieves Just Days After Europe’s Biggest Jewel Heist in Dresden

United States

Penn Museum hands over fragments of 387 ancient clay tablets to Iraqi Embassy: Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum have delivered the fragments of 387 clay tablets to Iraq’s embassy in Washington DC in the start of a repatriation process. The museum’s researchers have determined that the tablets, which were excavated nearly a century ago in the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur, were used to document economic transactions.

05.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Penn Museum hands over fragments of 387 ancient clay tablets to Iraqi Embassy 

Freer/Sackler rebrands its identity as the National Museum of Asian Art: The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC say that they will henceforth be known as the National Museum of Asian Art in a “rebranding” that emphasises the focus of their collections.05.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Freer/Sackler rebrands its identity as the National Museum of Asian Art

World

Archaeologist launches private bid to retrieve priceless Egyptian treasures from European museums: Egypt’s famed archaeologist and a former antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, is launching a campaign for the restitution of treasures from Europe’s leading museums. “I am heading a private team of Egyptians and foreigners to encourage restitution,” he told The Art Newspaper at the opening of the Tutankhamun exhibition in London last month.

06.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Archaeologist launches private bid to retrieve priceless Egyptian treasures from European museums 

Why museum partnerships between China and the West are booming: A veritable frenzy of international partnerships is sweeping through mainland Chinese museums. Although the pace of building new museums has slowed, collaborations with overseas, primarily Western, institutions are proliferating, ranging from one-off exhibitions and training programmes to long-term ventures such as the new Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum in Shanghai.

06.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Why museum partnerships between China and the West are booming 

Australia to no longer have a federal arts department: Australia will no longer have a federal department with a major focus on the arts. Last Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a public service overhaul, cutting the number of departments from 18 to 14 from next February.

06.12.2019, SBS News Australia: Australia to no longer have a federal arts department 

Court ruling converting Turkish museum to mosque could set precedent for Hagia Sophia: The stunning mosaics of Istanbul’s 1,000-year-old Chora Church are at risk—not from vandalism or theft but a legal order to transform the museum back into a mosque.

03.12.2019, The Art Newspaper: Court ruling converting Turkish museum to mosque could set precedent for Hagia Sophia 

Art forgers face a new challenge from high-tech authenticators: In a market blighted by fakes and forgeries, art experts have faced legal action and even death threats for refusing to authenticate works as original. After years of mounting pressure, specialists are responding by establishing an organisation to give them confidence to express opinions without fear of retaliation.

02.12.2019, The Financial Times: Art forgers face a new challenge from high-tech authenticators 

By description? Canadian judgment complicates art contracts: In a recent Canadian case, the Court of Appeal for Ontario applied contract law to tackle (or avoid) the issues of authenticity, attribution and provenance.02.12.2019, The Institute of Art and Law: By description? Canadian judgment complicates art contracts

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