14 January 2019

Europe

The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist: Long before the burglar Vjeran Tomic became the talk of Paris, he honed his skills in a graveyard. Père Lachaise, the city’s largest cemetery, is a Gothic maze of tombstones, in the Twentieth Arrondissement, that covers more than a hundred acres. Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, and Oscar Wilde are among those buried there. Tomic recalled that in the nineteen-eighties, when he was an adolescent, the cemetery attracted hippie tourists, who flocked to the grave of Jim Morrison, and also drug dealers and gang members. Tomic was drawn by the tombstones. In one of twenty letters, written in careful cursive French, that he sent me during the past year and a half, he told me, “Observing them gave me the desire to touch them—to climb up to their peaks.” Tomic and his friends turned the cemetery into a parkour playground, leaping from the roof of one mausoleum to the next, daring one another to take ever-bolder risks. 

14.01.2019, The New Yorker: The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist 

Jarman’s art back in frame for Imma as legal row ends: The settling of a legal dispute in London has allowed the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) to stage the first significant exhibition of paintings by Derek Jarman, a film-maker who died of an Aids-related condition in 1994. 

13.01.2019, The Times: Jarman’s art back in frame for Imma as legal row ends 

Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky gets three-year prison sentence, but walks free for time served: A French court on Thursday found the Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky guilty of setting fire to the facade of a state bank building in 2017 and handed down a three-year sentence with two years suspended, but released him immediately due to time served in pre-trial detention. 

11.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky gets three-year prison sentence, but walks free for time served 

11.01.2019, The New York Times: Russian Artist, Sentenced Over Bank Fire, Dedicates Trial to the Marquis de Sade 

11.01.2019, Artnet: Our “Action Was Visionary”: Sentenced to Prison, the Estranged Russian Art Duo That Set a French Bank on Fire Is Unrepentant 

Skateboarding Thieves Stole a Giant $4 Million Coin From a Berlin Museum. Now a Trial Begins—But the Coin’s Still Missing: The enormous gold coin stolen in an audacious break-in at Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017 is still missing as suspects accused of carrying out the heist go on trial. Weighing a staggering 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and made of gold valued at €3.6 million ($4.3 million), the alleged thieves escaped with the giant piece of currency using a ladder, skateboard, and wheelbarrow. 

10.01.2019, Artnet: Skateboarding Thieves Stole a Giant $4 Million Coin From a Berlin Museum. Now a Trial Begins—But the Coin’s Still Missing 

10.01.2019, The Guardian: Four men go on trial for giant gold coin heist from Berlin museum 

10.01.2019, BBC: Giant gold coin trial opens in Berlin 

10.01.2019, The Irish Times: Four go on trial for theft of gold coin from Berlin museum 

Missing in action: African-American art in European public collections: That fakers are moving into the market for contemporary African American art in increasing numbers should not come as a surprise. Wherever the money flows, the scum follows. And it is clear that the market for work by African American artists is surging. It is not just the headline multimillion figures for Kerry James Marshall, Sam Gilliam and Jack Whitten; while works by Faith Ringgold and Betye Saar fetched less stellar numbers, they have been soaring above their estimates—Saar almost doubled her previous record auction price with a $42,500 sale at Swann last October. 

10.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Missing in action: African-American art in European public collections 

French state rejects painting with controversial Caravaggio attribution that was found in an attic: The French government has lifted an export ban on a painting depicting Judith beheading Holofernes, and will not acquire the controversial piece which some specialists claim is by Caravaggio. 

10.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: French state rejects painting with controversial Caravaggio attribution that was found in an attic 

08.01.2019, PR Newswire: The ‘Toulouse Caravaggio’ Will Be Sold To the Highest Bidder, Probably a Long Way From France  

Modern British art dealer launches new website for paintings under £2000 to encourage new buyers: Modern British art specialist Liss Llewellyn has divided its business across two buying platforms to help customers search for and find pictures from its 4000 items of stock more easily. 

10.01.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Modern British art dealer launches new website for paintings under £2000 to encourage new buyers 

Artists May Be the Unwitting Losers in Christie’s Victory Over Resale Royalties in France: Collectors buying art at auction in France are going to have to learn some new math—and artists might lose money in the process. After years of legal battles, the country’s Supreme Court ruled in November that auction houses can now ask buyers to pay artist resale royalties, which since 1920 had been the burden of sellers. The fees offer a percentage of the sale of an artwork to the artist or his or her heirs for 70 years after the artist’s death. 

09.01.2019, Artnet: Artists May Be the Unwitting Losers in Christie’s Victory Over Resale Royalties in France 

Italians block Leonardo loan to Louvre in worsening France feud: Italy is refusing to lend France key artworks for a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Louvre billed as this year’s “greatest cultural event”. The Eurosceptic coalition in Rome escalated its dispute with Paris by withdrawing an offer to do so, with senior officials asserting: “Leonardo is Italian.” 

09.01.2019, The Times: Italians block Leonardo loan to Louvre in worsening France feud 

11.01.2019, Artnet: The Louvre’s da Vinci Blockbuster Could Be a Casualty of Political Tensions Between Italy and France 

09.01.2019, The Times: The Times view on Leonardo loans: Italy should help the Louvre 

07.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Italy blocks Leonardo loans for Louvre anniversary show 

Eurocentrism still sets the terms of restitution of African art: France has a long history—ever since André Malraux served as the first minister of culture (1959-69)—of using art patronage as a means of promoting soft power in Africa. For this reason, commentators immediately discerned political motives behind President Emmanuel Macron’s promise in November 2017 to formulate a five-year plan for the “temporary or definitive restitution of African cultural heritage to Africa.” They suspected that Macron sought to deflect anger over French immigration policy and the presence of French troops in West Africa. Some critics also perceived the gesture as a cheap means to shed France’s colonial legacy. The matter gains urgency at a time when France is losing its economic edge in its former colonies to China, e.g. in the competition for lucrative oil contracts off the coast of Senegal. 

08.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Eurocentrism still sets the terms of restitution of African art 

The Welsh Steelworker Who Owns Banksy’s Newest Mural Needs Help to Protect the Valuable Attraction From Its Fans: The Welsh owner of the garage that Banksy transformed his into latest canvas is having difficulties shouldering the costs of securing the valuable mural. Despite being helped by the Hollywood star Michael Sheen, who grew up in Port Talbot and donated thousands of dollars to protect the artwork, the steelworker Ian Lewis is struggling to care for his surprise Christmas gift from Banksy. 

08.01.2019, Artnet: The Welsh Steelworker Who Owns Banksy’s Newest Mural Needs Help to Protect the Valuable Attraction From Its Fans 

08.01.2019, BBC News: Port Talbot Banksy art could be moved, says council 

10.01.2019, BBC News: Buyer ‘willing to pay £100,000 for Port Talbot Banksy’ 

German museum to show shredded Banksy work: A privately owned museum in the German spa town of Baden-Baden will in February exhibit Banksy’s Love in the Bin, the painting sensationally shredded by remote control at Sotheby’s in London after it was auctioned. 

08.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: German museum to show shredded Banksy work08.01.2019, Artnet: ‘Love Is in the Bin,’ Banky’s Notorious Self-Shredded Artwork, Is Already Getting Its First Museum Show 

We need clarity on customs, say art shippers: UK art shippers are urging the government to speed up Brexit ‘deal or no deal’ preparations at the country’s major ferry ports as the UK prepares to leave the European Union on March 29. 

07.01.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: We need clarity on customs, say art shippers 

It Turns Out That the Gurlitt Trove May Not Be the Kunstmuseum Bern’s Only Gift That Is Tainted by Nazi Loot: Cracks in the reputation of the late art dealer Georges F. Keller, who is one of the Kunstmuseum Bern’s greatest donors, have started to show. The Swiss-Brazilian philanthropist’s business links with a Paris dealer favored by the Nazi Germans has cast a shadow over some of the 116 works that he gave to the Swiss museum, which is no stranger to gifts with problematic provenance. Now, the institution has resolved to investigate the gifts further. 

07.01.2019, Artnet: It Turns Out That the Gurlitt Trove May Not Be the Kunstmuseum Bern’s Only Gift That Is Tainted by Nazi Loot 

11.01.2019, The Japan Times: But is it Nazi art? The business of shedding light on gifts with dark histories 

United States

Thieves Make Off With a Painting From New York’s Team Gallery in Broad Daylight After a Half-Mile Chase: Although movies depict art theft as an Ocean’s 11-style, high-budget crime, the reality is often less sophisticated. New York’s Team Gallery was struck by two thieves on Thursday afternoon, with a man and woman making off on foot with with a blue painting on aluminum by artist Ann Pibal worth $12,000. 

11.01.2019, Artnet: Thieves Make Off With a Painting From New York’s Team Gallery in Broad Daylight After a Half-Mile Chase 

Warhol Foundation Overturns 8-Year Smithsonian Funding Ban: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has announced that it will award $100,000 to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian — ending an eight-year-old ban on providing money to the Smithsonian Institution. 

11.01.2019, The New York Times: Warhol Foundation Overturns 8-Year Smithsonian Funding Ban 

10.01.2019, Art News: Ending Ban on Smithsonian Funding, Andy Warhol Foundation Gives $100,000 for National Museum of the American Indian Show 

A monumental work by Marie Antoinette’s portraitist will headline Sotheby’s Female Triumphant sale: Sotheby’s announced today (10 January) the full line up of the Female Triumphant, a selection of masterworks by 14 female artists from the 16th through the 19th centuries, which will headline its Masters Week sales this January in New York. While anticipation for the sale has been high since the auction house announced the all-female component last November, the works included reveal there is more than socially conscious marketing to the hype. 

10.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: A monumental work by Marie Antoinette’s portraitist will headline Sotheby’s Female Triumphant sale 

Shagalov sues Paul Kasmin Gallery over Stella ownership: The art dealer Anatole Shagalov and his company Nature Morte (no connection to the Delhi gallery of that name) have issued a summons against New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, claiming $8.5m damages for what the filing claims is “[Kasmin’s] defamation of Plaintiffs, negligence, and rescission of contract”. It relates, the document continues, “to [Kasmin] having published materials in 2017 falsely alleging an ownership interest in a work of art owned entirely by [Shagalov], and improperly and without legal justification recording a UCC lien on that same artwork”. At the time of writing, only the summons has been filed, not the full complaint. 

08.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Shagalov sues Paul Kasmin Gallery over Stella ownership 

High court won’t hear lawsuit over art seized during WWII: Heirs of a renowned Jewish art collector won’t be able use U.S courts to sue Hungary’s government for the return of paintings seized during World War II that are worth millions. 

07.01.2019, Associated Press: High court won’t hear lawsuit over art seized during WWII 

No (Legal) Worries for Disney in ‘Hakuna Matata’ Trademark Row: The entertainment giant has been besieged by a campaign against its trademark of the Swahili phrase from its animated blockbuster movie “The Lion King,” following Disney’s promotion of its upcoming live-action version. More than 180,000 people have signed an online petition accusing the entertainment giant of cultural appropriation for trademarking the phrase.

07.01.2019, Bloomberg Law: No (Legal) Worries for Disney in ‘Hakuna Matata’ Trademark Row 

World

Is an art Cold War thaw coming? US and Russian museum leaders and diplomats to discuss loan freeze: Loan agreements between museums in Russia and the US have been stymied for nearly a decade. But a public conversation due to be held on 13 February at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, including a dialogue between the directors of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, will “explore opportunities to end the impasse”. 

11.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Is an art Cold War thaw coming? US and Russian museum leaders and diplomats to discuss loan freeze 

MCH Group ‘indefinitely’ committed to India Art Fair despite decision to pull out as majority shareholder: As it gears up for its 2019 edition, the future of India Art Fair (IAF) is looking unclear following the announcement last year by MCH Group that it plans to sell its majority stake in the event due to the dissolution of its entire regional fair portfolio. The Swiss-based owner of the Art Basel franchise announced in November that it planned to sell its 60.3% shareholding in the subcontinent’s largest Modern and contemporary art fair, which takes place from 31 January to 3 February in New Delhi. 

11.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: MCH Group ‘indefinitely’ committed to India Art Fair despite decision to pull out as majority shareholder 

Treasures of Taiwan: inside one of the world’s great art collections: Taiwan, like Hong Kong, is home to some of the most sophisticated collectors of both traditional and contemporary art in Asia. It’s perhaps hardly surprising, given that the centuries-old Chinese traditions of collecting and connoisseurship were able to survive on both islands. 

11.01.2019, Financial Times: Treasures of Taiwan: inside one of the world’s great art collections 

11.01.2019, Financial Times: Taiwan’s art market: matters of taste 

The World’s Most Expensive Painting Sold at Auction Is Missing, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi Isn’t Panicking: hen the world’s most expensive artwork ever sold at auction was purchased at a Christie’s sale in November 2017, the art world was a little confused. The painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), went for $450 million to Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, an ally of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But in the year after the record-breaking sale, a year in which the Saudi royal family has been in the news for more unsavory reasons, the painting receded from view. Due to premiere at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in September 2018, Salvator Mundi reportedly has been missing since at least this past fall. 

09.01.2019, Vanity Fair: The World’s Most Expensive Painting Sold at Auction Is Missing, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi Isn’t Panicking 

South Korean gallery sues Christie’s for selling Francis Bacon paining in bad faith: On January 2, Seoul-based One and J. Gallery filed a case against Christie’s at the Supreme Court of the State of New York for allegedly selling a Francis Bacon painting for an extremely low purchase price in a private sweetheart deal. The co-buyers, New York-based gallery Van de Weghe and collector David Rogath, who are two of Christie’s high-profile clients, were also served with a summons notice in separate claims filed by the gallery two days later, after the court ordered the auction house to disclose the buyer’s identity. 

09.01.2019, Art Asia Pacific: South Korean gallery sues Christie’s for selling Francis Bacon paining in bad faith 

08.01.2019, Artnet: A Gallery Claims Christie’s Double-Crossed Them by Selling Its Francis Bacon at a ‘Bargain Basement’ Price 

Jair Bolsonaro’s government extinguishes Brazilian ministry of culture: Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has dissolved the ministries of culture, sports and social development, merging them into a single department called the ministry of citizenship. Osmar Terra, the former minister of social development under Bolsonaro’s predecessor, Michel Temer, will lead the department. Taking over on 2 January in Brasília, Terra said that the ministries “have merged, not disappeared”. 

09.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Jair Bolsonaro’s government extinguishes Brazilian ministry of culture 

09.01.2019, Artnet: Brazil’s New Right-Wing President Jair Bolsonaro Has Disbanded the Country’s Ministry of Culture 

Forgers Are Targeting Weak Spots in the Growing African American Art Market: The downside of African American artists’ long-overdue rise in the art market is starting to appear: forgeries. Dealers say they’re seeing a growing number of forged or fake works by 20th-century African American artists due to a potent cocktail of increasing prices and a lack of institutional expertise in previously overlooked figures, according to the Art Newspaper. 

07.01.2019, Artnet: Forgers Are Targeting Weak Spots in the Growing African American Art Market 

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