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Germany returns final Nazi-looted work from pensioner's trove

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2017 a visitor reads informations about the exhibition "Gurlitt: Status Report, Nazi Art Theft and its Consequences" ("Bestandsaufnahme Gurlitt") at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, western Germany. Germany said on January 13, 2021 it had returned to their rightful owners all the works of art identified as looted by the Nazis from the spectacular collection hoarded by Cornelius Gurlitt. PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP.

by Deborah Cole

BERLIN (AFP).- Germany said on Wednesday it had returned to its rightful owners the last artwork confirmed as looted by the Nazis uncovered in the collection of a reclusive Munich pensioner. Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said a total of 14 pieces had been handed back since a giant trove held by Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer, came to light eight years ago. The final work to be restituted was "Klavierspiel" (Playing the Piano), a drawing by German artist Carl Spitzweg. It was given on Tuesday to Christie's auction house according to the wishes of the heirs of music publisher Henri Hinrichsen, who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942. The transfer was arranged with the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, which inherited Gurlitt's collection when he died in 2014. Gruetters said it sent "an important message" that with the Spitzweg drawing "all art identified as looted from the Gurlitt art trove has been returned to the heirs of the victims". "Behind every one of these pictures is a tragi ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Diego Rivera mural to get landmark status, blocking potential sale   High Museum announces 2020 acquisitions including rare Ruth Clement Bond quilt, European prints & more   Italy to reopen museums but anti-virus curbs extended

“The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City” by Diego Rivera, on display at the San Francisco Art Institute. SFAI via The New York Times.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to start the process to designate a beloved Diego Rivera mural as a landmark after the San Francisco Art Institute, which owns the $50 million painting, said that selling it would help pay off $19.7 million of debt. Designating the mural as a landmark would severely limit how the 150-year-old institution could leverage it, and public officials behind the measure say that selling it is likely to be off the table for now. Removing the mural with landmark status would require approval from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, which has broad authority. “There’s a lot of money in this town,” said Andrew Peskin, a board member from the district where the institute resides and a sponsor of the proposal. “There are better ways to get out of their mess than a harebrained scheme of selling the mural.” During a public hearing on the resolution Monday, officials of the Art ... More

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), The Englishman at the Moulin Rouge (L’Anglais au Moulin Rouge), 1892, brush and spatter lithograph in seven colors on laid paper, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, gift of Irene and Howard Stein, 2020.77.

ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art continued to expand its collection in 2020 with new acquisitions, including the purchase of a rare quilt designed by Ruth Clement Bond and important gifts of American sculpture and European works. The acquisitions contribute to the High’s decorative arts and design, folk and self-taught and European art departments; enhance conversations between these departments and the greater collection; and bolster the Museum’s commitment to forging a diverse and expansive collection. “We are grateful to our patrons for their generous gifts and proud of our curators for their steadfast work to seek out and secure acquisitions that exemplify our dedication to diversifying the collection through the range of artists, media, time periods and cultures represented,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. Chief Curator Kevin W. Tucker added, “These acquisitions ... More

Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza addresses lawmakers on new coronavirus restrictions on January 13, 2021 at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

ROME (AFP).- Italy's health minister announced Wednesday a partial reopening of museums, while most other coronavirus restrictions were due to be extended. "It is the intention of the government to reopen museums, symbolic places of our country's culture," Roberto Speranza told lawmakers. The measure would apply only to less-infected "yellow" regions, while "respecting all social distancing measures". Italy, which has recorded nearly 80,000 deaths from the pandemic, has had colour-coded regional virus restrictions since November, when all the museums were shut. Five regions are currently in the intermediate orange category, while 15 are classified as yellow. Regions change colour depending on virus trends. Speranza said 12 regions were now at "high risk", and liable for orange-level curbs. "This week we have seen a general worsening of the country's epidemiological situation," he said, adding: "The next months will be very difficult. ... More

Moynihan Train Hall: It's stunning. And, a first step.   Nationalmuseum acquires a sculpture by Alice Nordin   Rare Tintin painting could break auction record

A visitor takes in “Go,” a stained glass triptych by Kehinde Wiley at the Moynihan Train Hall, in New York on Jan. 9, 2021. Bryan Derballa/The New York Times.

by Michael Kimmelman

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall opened at dawn on New Year’s morning — on budget, too, even a couple of months early. Instagram swooned. Tweeters channeled Stefon from “Saturday Night Live.” In the midst of everything else, we needed this. New York needs this. No, the huge, lofty train hall, with its soaring skylights, doesn’t magically resurrect the old Pennsylvania Station or extinguish the raging dumpster fire that is the current one. It leaves all sorts of herculean challenges and tasks around Penn Station unresolved. But it delivers on its promise, giving the city the uplifting gateway it deserves. When was the last time you could say something like that about a public works project? We’ll get to what Moynihan doesn’t do. First: ... More

Alice Nordin, A Memory, 1904. Photo: Linn Ahlgren/Nationalmuseum.

STOCKHOLM.- Nationalmuseum has acquired a sculpture created by the artist Alice Nordin. It is made of patinated plaster and depicts a woman resting the side of her face against her clasped hands. Research by the museum indicates that it is likely to be the sculpture A Memory from 1904. The woman’s eyes are closed, but her upturned face bears an emotional expression. The style reflects the era’s taste for symbolism and Art nouveau, where dreamy expressions and soft lines were central components. The acquired sculpture is by Alice Nordin (1871–1948) and the museum has concluded that it is likely to be A Memory, which she created in 1904. Nordin herself stated that the model was the artist Gerda Nordling, who was a family friend. The memory in question can be traced back to both a previously created work and a meeting. The meeting took place in Paris, where Nordin and Hugo Alfvén (1872–1960) met ... More

The small painting being offered on Thursday, measuring 34 cm square (13 inches), features Tintin and his dog Snowy emerging from a porcelain jar in front of a menacing depiction of a Chinese dragon.

PARIS (AFP).- An original painting by Tintin creator Herge could set a new record for a comic book sale when it goes to auction in Paris on Thursday. The online sale is widely expected to confirm the huge appetite for memorabilia of Tintin, whose adventures have entertained people of all ages since the 1930s. The previous world record for comic book art was set in 2014, when a double-page ink drawing that served as the inside cover for Tintin volumes published from 1937 to 1958 sold for 2.65 million euros ($3.6 million at the time). The small painting being offered on Thursday, measuring 34 cm square (13 inches), features Tintin and his dog Snowy emerging from a porcelain jar in front of a menacing depiction of a Chinese dragon. It was intended for the cover of "The Blue Lotus" from 1936 but was judged too ... More

Greater Reston Arts Center changes name to Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art   Smithsonian scales back $2 billion expansion plan   Exhibition of recent photographs by Thomas Ruff opens at David Zwirner's Paris location

The repositioning emerged as the institution’s programs, audience, and impact continued to evolve over the past several years, and the name Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) no longer aligned with its reach and vision.

RESTON, VA.- Greater Reston Arts Center, a 501c3 non-profit located in Reston, Virginia, has announced a significant rebrand, introducing the organization as Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art (Tephra ICA). The repositioning emerged as the institution’s programs, audience, and impact continued to evolve over the past several years, and the original name and acronym no longer aligned with the organization’s reach and vision. Tephra ICA is a non-profit, non-collecting institution committed to promoting innovative contemporary art and thinking. Leading with curiosity and care, the organization is a catalyst, generator, and advocate for visual arts. The institution is devoted to celebrating artists and values the power of art to broaden and shift perspectives, start difficult conversations, and consider ... More

The Smithsonian spent $5.5 million on architecture and research fees for the master plan unveiled in 2014.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The Smithsonian’s eye-popping $2 billion expansion plan was supposed to propel the institution into the 21st century. Complete with an ambitious expansion of its 19th-century red administration building, the Castle, that would have added dining, retail and restrooms, and new National Mall-facing entrances to the National Museum of African Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the concept designs for its south campus were unveiled with great fanfare in 2014. The first phase, which included repairs to the exterior of the Hirshhorn Museum, was already underway. But on Wednesday, the museum said its master plan would no longer include any of those elements, and had instead been revised to focus on restorations to the interior and exterior of the Castle, and interior and underground improvements to the Arts and Industries Building, which has been largely closed since 2004 for renovations. Ann ... More

Thomas Ruff, tableau chinois_09 2019 © Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.

PARIS.- David Zwirner is presenting recent photographs by the German artist Thomas Ruff at the gallery’s Paris location. The exhibition will feature works from Ruff’s tableaux chinois series (2019–), which debuted in fall 2020 as a part of his solo exhibition at K20 - Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, on view through February 7, 2021. Works from tableaux chinois, alongside fifteen other series dating back to 1989, will be included in after.images, a major solo exhibition of the artist's work curated by Martin Germann at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, opening in March 2021. Ruff rose to international prominence in the late 1980s as a member of the Düsseldorf School, a group of young photographers who had studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and became known for their experimental approach to the medium and its evolving technological ... More

Marian Goodman Gallery announces initiative in honor of Okwui Enwezor   Forum Gallery opens its first exhibition of works by Claudio Bravo   Kevin Gover named Under Secretary for Museums and Culture for Smithsonian

Portrait of Okwui Enwezor, photographed by Jeff Weiss.

NEW YORK, NY.- Marian Goodman Gallery will honor the late Okwui Enwezor with the launch of a new initiative to create educational and research opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) curators. The initiative is conceived by artist Steve McQueen, in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI) and will support ICI’s professional development programs and research fellowships. A curator, art critic, writer, poet, and educator, Enwezor (1963-2019) championed the agency of African art, challenged the long-established narrative of European and North American art, and embraced a global perspective which opened countless doors for new voices and critical inquiry in the curatorial field. In this spirit, the initiative will empower emerging curators and support their thinking and practice. “I hope with all my heart that this initiative can help to bring about a shift – and, of course, ... More

Claudio Bravo, Nude Male Leaning on Column, 1979 (detail). Oil on canvas, 38 x 34 1/8 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Opening January 14, 2021, Forum Gallery presents its first exhibition of works by Claudio Bravo (1936 – 2011), whose estate the Gallery now represents. The exhibition of paintings, pastels and drawings includes works exhibited publicly for the first time in the United States. In his catalogue essay, Art in America contributing editor David Ebony writes, “Gifted with technical virtuosity, Bravo commands a seemingly effortless sleight-of-hand to enthrall viewers in unexpected ways. Like a modern-day alchemist, he manages to transform everyday objects and ordinary subjects into something inimitable, rarified and extraordinary. Even his most austere and nearly abstract compositions can inspire awe in their transcendental allure”. Claudio Bravo was a painter of color and light. It was the extraordinary light of Morocco that drew Bravo to the country ... More

Gover has led the museum to pursue equity and social justice for Native people through education, inspiration and empowerment, and the museum has worked to expand people’s ideas of what it means to be Native American.

WASHINGTON, DC.- Kevin Gover, the director of the National Museum of the American Indian, has been named the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, effective Jan. 17. The position oversees the Smithsonian’s history and art museums, its cultural centers, and the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Exhibits and the National Collections Program. Gover has served as Under Secretary in an acting capacity since February 2020. He reports to Meroe Park, the Smithsonian’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. Gover, a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, began as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2007. As director, he oversaw the ... More

More News
Dick McDonough Collection of Golf Illustration offered at Swann
NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Galleries will open the winter 2021 season on Thursday, January 28 with a sale of Illustration Art featuring the Dick McDonough Collection of Golf Illustration. Golf advertisements, cover art, calendar designs, cartoons, and more, as well as a curated selection of sports illustrations, are among an offering of works from the avid collector and esteemed author on the subject, Dick McDonough. Highlights include Howard Chandler Christy’s watercolor story illustration for Arthur Ruhl’s A Break in Training published in Scribner’s July 1902 issue ($8,000-12,000); Edward Penfield’s Golf Calendar for 1900, with nine prints, each representing a hole on a nine-hole course ($8,000-12,000); J.C. Leyendecker’s circa-1920 study for a cigarette advertisement, featuring a golfer lighting a cigarette ($7,000-10,000); Ruth Eastman’s Hitting ... More

Low-key Kennedy Center arts awards to honor Joan Baez, Dick Van Dyke
WASHINGTON (AFP).- Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke and folk icon Joan Baez are among those receiving this year's Kennedy Center Honors, one of America's most prestigious arts awards, which will be distributed at a scaled-back event reimagined due to the pandemic. Choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, country singer-songwriter Garth Brooks and violinist Midori round out the 43rd class of honorees. The Kennedy Center -- Washington's performing arts complex that serves as a living monument to slain president John F. Kennedy -- was forced to twice postpone its night of red-carpet glitz traditionally held in December due to the coronavirus. Instead of a single gala, a series of small in-person events with socially distant audiences and virtual tributes is now slated for May 17-22. The honorees will receive their medals during that week. ... More

"Christopher Gregory-Rivera: Las Carpetas" opens at New York City's Abrons Arts Center
NEW YORK, NY.- Abrons Arts Center presents "Christopher Gregory-Rivera: Las Carpetas" -- a new exhibition that examines the bureaucratic residue of a 40-year-long secret surveillance program by the Puerto Rican Police Department and the FBI that aimed to destroy the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. The exhibition will be on view from January 14-March 14th at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street at Pitt Street). Through still-lives, archival appropriation, and investigation, Christopher Gregory-Rivera provides a counter-history to the way many understand this period of time and its aftermath. By rescuing, displaying, and photographing the contents of the surveillance files, Las Carpetas questions what forces have control over what and how we remember. Curated by Natalia Viera Salgado, as part of La Residencia - a co-located ... More

Orange County Museum of Art appoints Heidi Zuckerman as CEO and Director
COSTA MESA, CA.- The Orange County Museum of Art today announced the appointment of Heidi Zuckerman to serve as its new CEO and Director, starting in February. Zuckerman, a globally recognized leader in contemporary art, previously served as CEO and Director of the Aspen Art Museum. She was selected through an international search conducted by members of the OCMA Board of Trustees and will succeed Todd D. Smith, who led the Museum from August 2014 until his departure last summer. Zuckerman will start at OCMA on February 8, 2021. “Heidi is an innovative and inspiring museum leader who combines a deep love for art and artists with an exceptional record of leading museums to be entrepreneurial, vibrant, and sustainable,” said Craig Wells, the Co-Chair of the search committee and OCMA Board Chair. “The programmatic ... More

The Phillips announces 2021 centennial year
WASHINGTON, DC.- The Phillips Collection announces its centennial celebration in 2021. America’s first museum of modern art, founded in 1921, will feature Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century, a special exhibition drawn from its growing permanent collection of 6,000 works. This expansive project will be followed by a juried invitational for artists of DC and the region, as well as a rich array of monographic exhibitions devoted to key artists, including Jacob Lawrence, David Driskell, Alma Thomas, Marley Dawson, and Sanford Biggers. The 100th year celebration will encompass engaging programs and new initiatives in partnership with local artists and the museum’s many community partners, including THEARC and the University of Maryland. The centennial year will represent 100 years of the Phillips as a welcoming space ... More

Praz-Delavallade presents a group exhibition: La terre est bleue comme une orange
PARIS.- Praz-Delavallade wanted to end 2020 on a more hopeful note with a group exhibition that invokes colour in all its forms and whose guest artists feel and see the world so keenly that colour is empowered. Although the theme is apparently simple, when you set out to address this subject you are confronted with the ambiguous nature of the very notion of colour. Colour provides information that helps us understand the world all around us and at the same time “colours” our experience of it. In other words, colour is informative and yet it provides a subjective experience and therein lies the complexity of the question. The first thought that comes to mind is that perception of colour is influenced by the filter that each individual applies to what they see, and that colour is therefore a very personal matter. After all, we don’t all perceive colour ... More

Bruce Museum announces temporary closure
GREENWICH, CONN.- The Bruce Museum announced that it will be temporarily closed to the public effective Tuesday, January 12, 2021, due to challenges encountered during the ongoing construction project to create the New Bruce, which make it difficult to keep the public galleries open. Museum staff will continue to work, and public programs, which are all online already due to the pandemic, will continue as planned. This closure comes as the Museum looks to the future, with the construction of a major 43,000-square-foot addition that will double the size of the Museum by fall of 2022. “We are enduring some of the growing pains associated with any major expansion,” said Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “We had two really great special exhibitions on view, and were hearing from our visitors how much they were ... More

Artists Suchitra Mattai and Alexandros Vasmoulakis join Hollis Taggart Gallery
NEW YORK, NY.- Hollis Taggart announced the representation of artists Suchitra Mattai and Alexandros Vasmoulakis, who join the gallery’s growing contemporary program. Both artists were featured in group exhibitions at Hollis Taggart in 2020. Mattai was included in the two-person exhibition History Reclaimed in March as well as the summer group presentation Look Again, while Vasmoulakis’s work was shown in the exhibitions Perceived Realities in June and Remix in the fall. The gallery is currently scheduling solo shows for both artists for after 2021. It will share representation of Mattai with the Denver-based gallery K Contemporary and grayDUCK Gallery in Austin. Hollis Taggart will represent the Athens and Windsor-based Vasmoulakis in the United States. Suchitra Mattai was born in Guyana, South America, but has ... More

Frank Kimbrough, pianist with a subtle touch, is dead at 64
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Frank Kimbrough, a deft and subtle jazz pianist known for his work in the Maria Schneider Orchestra and other prominent groups, and as the leader of his own small ensembles, died Dec. 30 at his home in Queens, New York. He was 64. Ann Braithwaite, his publicist, said that the cause was not yet known but that it was believed to be a heart attack. Casual of gesture but deeply focused in demeanor, Kimbrough had an understated style that could nonetheless hold the spotlight in trio settings, or fit slyly into Schneider’s 18-piece big band. In many ways, his playing reflected the romantic, floating manner of his first jazz influence, Bill Evans. But his off-kilter style as both a player and a composer also called back to two of his more rugged bebop-era influences: Herbie Nichols and Thelonious ... More

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art exhibits contemporary collection
MONTECITO, CA.- The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art highlights works donated to or purchased for to the museum. “Selections from the Permanent Collection of Contemporary Art” will run from January 14-March 27, 2021. The exhibition will be available online at The exhibition features pieces from two major private collectors who have helped shape the museum’s collection: Barry Berkus and his son, Jeff; and Arnold and Marie Forde. “They were private collectors willing and eager to donate parts of their collections to museums, so everyone could enjoy the art,” says Judy L. Larson, Askew professor of art history and museum director. The Berkus collection includes John Walker’s “The Centre, #2,” Kiki Smith’s “Kneeling Woman with Rabbit” and Los Carpinteros’ “Tanque le Aqua.” The exhibition will include works by Al ... More

Sapar Contemporary Gallery + Incubator opens an exhibition of works by Aida Mahmudova
NEW YORK, NY.- Sapar Contemporary Incubator is presenting Aida Mahmudova: PASTPRESENTFUTURE, a new series exploring the fragmentary nature of being through distorted memories across time and landscape. As part of the gallery’s opening effort in supporting leading female artists working across Central Asia and Caucasus, PASTPRESENTFUTURE marks the artist’s second solo-show in the United States. In the new body of work, the artist conflates past, present, and future to create works which exist beyond external constraints - ideological, political, or religious – to forefront a purely emotive and instinctive process of creation. The result is powerful works of unguarded conception, taking direct inspiration from the relationship between the artist and medium. Using grass and dry plants within her impressionistic brushstrokes, ... More

A Social History of Algorithms

On a day like today, French painter and lithographer Henri Fantin-Latour was born
January 14, 1836. Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 - 25 August 1904) was a French painter and lithographer best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers. His first major UK gallery exhibition in 40 years took place at the Bowes Museum in April 2011.[3] Musée du Luxembourg presented a retrospective exhibition of his work in 2016-7 entitled "À fleur de peau". In this image: Henri Fantin-Latour, La leçon de dessin ou Portraits. Oil on canvas, 145 x 170 cm Musées Royaux des Beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels.

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