21 October 2019

Europe

Christie’s sells £1.5m of art linked to ‘fraud’ financier: Art dealers have raised concerns over a £1.5 million collection of works being offered by Christie’s because of a connection to a financier under house arrest in London.

19.10.2019, The Times: Christie’s sells £1.5m of art linked to ‘fraud’ financier

Marine Archaeologists Have Recovered Ancient Treasures From the Wreckage of Lord Elgin’s Sunken Ship: More than 200 years after its devastating wreck, marine archaeologists have recovered gold jewelry, cookware, and chess pieces from the remains of the ship that belonged to Lord Elgin, researchers in Greece announced last week.

18.10.2019, Artnet: Marine Archaeologists Have Recovered Ancient Treasures From the Wreckage of Lord Elgin’s Sunken Ship 

The Royal Shakespeare Company severed its ties with British Petroleum: As London is once more taken over by climate change protests, a recent news story from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) serves as yet another reminder that the arts and cultural sector can no longer remain isolated from the climate change debate.

18.10.2019, The Institute of Art and Law : The Royal Shakespeare Company severed its ties with British Petroleum 

Will Brexit Help France’s Flagging Art Market?: “It felt like a decision for the past, not the future,” said the New York art dealer David Zwirner, seated in an apartment above his new gallery in Paris, reflecting on how Britain’s plans to leave the European Union might change the dynamics of the international art world.

18.10.2019, The New York Times: Will Brexit Help France’s Flagging Art Market? 

Theft of Caravaggio in Sicily still shrouded in mystery 50 years on: Fifty years have passed since 17 October 1969, but Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence remains one of the world’s most sought-after works of stolen art.

17.10.2019, The Guardian: Theft of Caravaggio in Sicily still shrouded in mystery 50 years on 

18.10.2019, ARCA: On the 50th anniversary, a tale of two Caravaggio (thefts)

German states establish help desk to handle artefacts acquired in colonial era: The culture ministers of Germany’s 16 states and the federal government have agreed to set up a help desk to inform and advise individuals and institutions from former colonies seeking to repatriate objects looted from their territory during the colonial era.

17.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: German states establish help desk to handle artefacts acquired in colonial era 

Export block for £3.5m Wright of Derby picture bought by Getty museum: The government is hoping to find a buyer to pay £3.5m to keep an 18th century picture by Joseph Wright of Derby in the UK.

17.10.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Export block for £3.5m Wright of Derby picture bought by Getty museum 

A UK Watchdog Has Shut Down Two Fraudulent Art Investment Companies That Scammed Unsuspecting Backers Out of $1.3 Million: Two fraudulent art investment companies in the UK that raked in more than $1.3 million from unsuspecting investors have been shut down. Authorities will now oversee the re-distribution of assets.

16.10.2019, Artnet: A UK Watchdog Has Shut Down Two Fraudulent Art Investment Companies That Scammed Unsuspecting Backers Out of $1.3 Million 

Art and antiques dealers take government to court over Ivory Act: The case to overturn the Ivory Act 2018, ten months after it was passed, is being brought by FACT (Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures), a limited company formed by dealers and collectors who argue the act is incompatible with EU law, which allows trade in pre-1947 ‘worked’ ivory.

16.10.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Art and antiques dealers take government to court over Ivory Act 

18.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: Passions run high as UK’s controversial Ivory Act challenged in court

14.10.2019, The Times: Antique dealers attempt to reverse ivory trading ban 

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man can go to the Louvre, court rules: Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man will join several works at a blockbuster exhibition on the renaissance artist’s life at the Louvre after an Italian court rejected an appeal against the drawing being lent to the Paris museum.

16.10.2019, The Guardian: Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man can go to the Louvre, court rules 

17.10.2019, Le Journal des Arts: L’Italie autorise le prêt des œuvres de Léonard de Vinci au Louvre 

Ancient Bible fragments allegedly stolen by Oxford professor and sold to Hobby Lobby owner will be returned: The Museum of the Bible has been implicated in a seven-year inquiry by the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), a nonprofit that manages Oxford University’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project, to track down at least 11 ancient Bible fragments that were stolen from its collection. The alleged culprit is Professor Dirk Obbink, a renowned Oxford classicist and MacArthur “genius award” grantee who headed the Papyri Project from 1998 until 2016, when concerns about his involvement with the black market were raised.

16.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: Ancient Bible fragments allegedly stolen by Oxford professor and sold to Hobby Lobby owner will be returned 16.10.2019, ARCA: A scandal of biblical proportions: Oxford professor, Dirk Obbink implicated in sale of EES fragments to Hobby Lobby 

British Museum brings an ancient Maya staircase back to life — and back to Mexico:  An ancient Maya monument damaged by erosion has been brought back to life at a temple site in Mexico after a new version was recreated with 3D printing technology using Victorian-era copies preserved in the British Museum.

15.10.2019, The Financial Times: British Museum brings an ancient Maya staircase back to life — and back to Mexico 

When Britain divides, custody of its art must be shared fairly: If Scottish independence follows Brexit, what will happen to the national collection? In 2014, during the last independence referendum, the Scottish government claimed a share of £1.3trn of UK public assets in line with Scotland’s population; 8.4%. But no art was included in the calculation. Does this assume an independent Scotland must be happy with the art that happens to be physically in Scotland at the time of independence? Should a claim be made to a greater share of the UK’s national collection? Or should the rest of the UK even ask for various pictures back?15.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: When Britain divides, custody of its art must be shared fairly

United States

Hollywood executive Ron Meyer files $10m lawsuit over alleged forged Rothko: The Hollywood film executive Ron Meyer has filed a $10m lawsuit against two art dealers who he claims sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting.

18.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: Hollywood executive Ron Meyer files $10m lawsuit over alleged forged Rothko 

Protesters call for removal of MoMA trustee linked to Puerto Rican debt crisis: The newly expanded Museum of Modern Art in New York has yet to officially reopen to the public—and already finds itself under siege. Dozens of protesters plan to crash its opening preview party on Friday 18 October, calling upon the museum to divest itself from private prisons by severing its ties with Bank of America and the investment management firm BlackRock, whose CEO Laurence Fink sits on the museum’s board. Fidelity Investments, which manages MoMA’s pension fund, is also a large owner of private prison stocks.

17.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: Protesters call for removal of MoMA trustee linked to Puerto Rican debt crisis

New York public officials threaten funding cuts for art storage company UOVO due to anti-union efforts: New York elected officials are threatening to pull public funding from the Queens-based fine art moving and storage company UOVO if management continues its “aggressive and coercive tactics” against unionising workers.

16.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: New York public officials threaten funding cuts for art storage company UOVO due to anti-union efforts 

Thief Walks Out of Gallery With a $20,000 Salvador Dalí Etching: For an art heist, it was a simple affair. A man ducked into a San Francisco gallery and walked out less than a minute later holding one of its best pieces: a $20,000 Salvador Dalí etching.

15.10.2019, The New York Times: Thief Walks Out of Gallery With a $20,000 Salvador Dalí Etching 

Brooklyn Museum to Sell Francis Bacon Pope at Auction with $6 M.-to-$8 M. Estimate: The Brooklyn Museum is deaccessioning, a Francis Bacon painting from its collection, Pope (ca. 1958), and offering it for sale at Sotheby’s in New York next month in order to raise money to support its collection. It is estimated to make between $6 million to $8 million on the block.15.10.2019, Art News: Brooklyn Museum to Sell Francis Bacon Pope at Auction with $6 M.-to-$8 M. Estimate

World

Lost art: to save, or not to save, when works are in peril: One must know that a site or a work is at risk. In many cases, objects worth preserving are already under some sort of supervision, but countless structures, particularly ancient monuments and buildings in some state of ruin, remain lost in the sense that their location is forgotten. Their level of preservation is, of course, therefore unknown and no intervention can be made until they are purposely found or stumbled upon.

18.10.2019, The Art Newspaper: Lost art: to save, or not to save, when works are in peril

Syrian filmmakers denounce use of destroyed cities as “cinematic backdrops”: Eighty-seven Syrian filmmakers have signed an open letter condemning the use of footage of towns and cities devastated by Syria’s civil war. On Monday, October 14, Bidayyat published a statement calling out camera crews given permission to document razed buildings and rubble from former homes and businesses for projects sponsored by the Syrian government, labeling the act “cinematic looting.”

16.10.2019, Artforum: Syrian Filmmakers Denounce Use Of Destroyed Cities As “Cinematic Backdrops”

15.10.2019, Frieze: Syrian Filmmakers Condemn ‘Cinematic Looting’ of Destroyed Cities 

Desert X show in Saudi Arabia brings more fallout: A donor pulls out: Desert X’s decision to partner with Saudi Arabia on its next exhibition has more fallout: The MaddocksBrown Foundation, an L.A.-based philanthropy organization that was one of Desert X’s early donors, announced that it was withdrawing funding.

16.10.2019, The Los Angeles Times: Desert X show in Saudi Arabia brings more fallout: A donor pulls out 17.10.2019, Artforum: Desert X Loses Donor Over Controversial Partnership With Saudi Arabia

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