ritish Museum to Exhibit Stolen Gems—and More Art News – ARTnews.com


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The Headlines

CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ON VIEW. As promised, the British Museum will exhibit some of the small Roman gems stolen and recently recovered, among the nearly 2000 objects missing, damaged, and allegedly pocketed by a former senior curator at the museum. Some 350 items have been recovered to date, in the ongoing investigation that continues to shake the institution. Among the pieces to be displayed later this month, is a bust of Cupid from the 1st or 2nd Century BCE. “We promised we’d show the world the gems that were stolen and recovered – rather than hide them away,” George Osborne, chair of the museum Board of Trustees, told the BBC.

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Glass cameo with bust of Cupid or Eros in three quarter view, in three layers brown on white on purple glass. Roman, 1st or 2nd c. AD

FRANKENTHALER FEUD. An amended legal complaint was filed against the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, by Frederick Iseman, the artist’s nephew. He has expanded on earlier allegations against members of the artist’s family, including his cousin, the artist Clifford Ross, whom he says was using foundation funds to bolster his own artistic career in a “pay-to-display machine.” [ARTnews]

The Digest

The Museum of Art at the University of New Hampshire will permanently close amid declining enrollment, and the attempts to reduce annual expenses by $14 million. The UNH laid off 75 of its 3,700 employees in mid-January. [ARTnews] 

Local critics and feminist groups are blasting an exhibition in Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale for describing in detail the rape of the artist Artemisia Gentileschi in 1611, via a multimedia installation, they say amounts to “voyeurism,” and “pornography of pain.” The exhibit called “Artemisia Gentileschi: Courage and Passion” includes some 50 paintings by the artist, and an unavoidable, darkened room detailing her rape at the age of 17 by the artist Agostino Tasso, which led to his trial. [The Art Newspaper]

A rediscovered William Turner watercolor painting found in the attic of a rural England estate will head to auction. Probably completed in 1796, when the artist was 21, the painting of Hampton Court, Herefordshire, is estimated to fetch between $38,000 and $63,000 in March at Minster Auctions in the UK. [BBC]

$1.6 million worth of rare wine was stolen from the historic, La Tour d’Argent restaurant. The 1582-founded restaurant discovered some 80 bottles of fine wines were missing, including from the costly Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, during an inventory check, and filed a criminal complaint last week. [Le Parisien]

The Centre Pompidou in Paris has launched a new collection of “urban art,” encompassing street and ephemeral art installations. It includes art by Gérard Zlotykamien, the artist duo Lek & Sowat, and the artist Miss.Tic, who passed away in 2022. [Le Quotidien de l’Art]

Unionized Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) staff say management refuses to implement their agreement, which ended a historic strike at the institution. [The Art Newspaper]

The Italian parliament has postponed a no confidence vote against Vittorio Sgarbi, the junior culture minister and art critic investigated for laundering a 17th-century painting. [The Art Newspaper]

[Update 2/2/24: The Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter originally stated that a new complaint had been filed against the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. The newsletter has been updated to reflect that Frederick Iseman, the artist’s nephew, expanded on a prior complaint.]

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