Issue 266 - March 2015

News | Market | Books | Comment | Conservation | Features | Museums |


First reports from Sumatra earthquake Free

Over 150 sites of cultural and historic significance have been severly damaged

China steps in to censor works of art

New import and export rules are designed to control political portrayals

Spanish queen duped Pope with dud Murillo Free

Research reveals Isabella II knowingly gave a fake painting to Pius IX

Samurai subverted

Web hoaxers target “violent” exhibition

US Supreme Court grills public prosecutor in animal cruelty vs freedom of artistic expression case

Trial, with implications for works of art depicting ill-treatment of animals, is being debated at the highest level

Final question remains in ten-year case between US and Austria

Did museum director know Schiele work was stolen when it was sent to New York?

Are there too many art world awards?

With a host of new prizes, curators attack their validity

Interpol’s online database is incomplete

Although open to everyone, it is not as comprehensive as private registers

Provenance mystery of Courtauld’s Procuress

It may have entered Britain illegally

Provenance mystery of Courtauld’s Procuress

It may have entered Britain illegally

Critics angry at treatment of Munch

Controversy over cancelled award and management of museum

Shaun Gladwell sets off for Afghanistan as Australia’s official war artist

He is creating video and photographic works to document the conflict

Big names line up for hotel

Antony Gormley and Ned Kahn create huge installations

Moscow surprises everybody with biennale hit

Third time lucky as new curator and change of venue wins plaudits for event focused on Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Centre

Zlín: a modernist utopia back on the map

Exhibition highlights the architectural importance of the definitive company town


Art London loses high-profile galleries Free

Visitor numbers down 10%, but lower-level sales still steady

Signs of recovery at Haughtons’ New York fair Free

15 drop-outs but 21 newcomers for the fine art and antiques event

Art Basel Miami Beach ever hopeful Free

Despite loss of 60 galleries, fair returns with redesigned space and more dealers

Contemporary market squeezed

Collectors look for safe havens in tried and tested work

Faith in sculpture

Matthiesen’s devotional show

Top quality old masters under the hammer next month

Rembrandt, Domenichino, Raphael and Van Dyck all on offer, but how many will remain in the UK?

A surprise show of strength

Houses keep their heads above water with wider international selection

Qatar museum takes on all comers in Islamic sales

Avid buyer Sheikh Saud Al-Thani also makes a rare saleroom appearance at Sotheby’s

Bankrupt dealer’s collection auctioned

Sale of Robyn Symes’s stock makes over £500,000

Big names keep sales on track

Contemporary looks respectable but consignors still cautious

Photography stays steady in the storm

“Irrational exuberance” may be gone but market holds up

The fair that goes from strength to strength

Modern masters section keeps the Parisian showcase on the up and up

French modernism wins out over contemporary

Market tested at last month’s Phillips de Pury auction and Pavilion of Art and Design fair


The unsung glories of Croatian art and culture

This scholarly volume of essays is an indispensable introduction to the country’s art, architecture and history

The unsung glories of Croatian art and culture Free

This scholarly volume of essays is an indispensable introduction to the country’s art, architecture and history

Animating the inanimate, stilling the animate

A study of Picasso’s imaginative oscillations between figural and still-life painting

Modern architecture—a con-trick and a cult?

An engineer rails against the pretensions of contemporary architects and their contempt for their critics

Much more than a flower painter

Winifred Nicholson, often dismissed as a lightweight, has her artistic reputation secured by this monograph

An act of adulatory identification

This book on Jacob Epstein provides interesting new material

An artist who outlived himself?

Two books provide an opportunity to reassess James Ensor

Painter in pain—the biography of Benjamin Robert Haydon

Infuriating and tormented though he was, the Romantic artist, and his work, deserve reconsideration

Pontius Pilate—from indifference to hostility

How images of the Roman Procurator, who caused Christ to be crucified, changed around the tenth century

This is not a drawing

The place of draughtsmanship in illuminations and other media

Going native, standing aloof and gone to seed

The Caetani garden at Ninfa and late 19th-century Anglo-American gardens in Florence

Body art: where beauty is literally skin-deep Free

A book on paintings and drawings by tattooists focuses on the skill of the work instead of the application

New light on the Spanish School

The revised catalogue of the paintings in Apsley House


Turning a museum into a vanity space Free

Private collection shows are an insult to scholarship and curators

The recession

Museum growth has to be made sustainable

The Annual Art Awards Private-collector exhibitions

This self-congratulatory art prize sends out all the wrong messages

The Annual Art AwardsPrivate-collector exhibitions

This self-congratulatory art prize sends out all the wrong messages


Illuminating a masterpiece

Cleaning shows that Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks is nearly all by the artist’s hand

Bard’s burial at risk

New roof needed for Shakespeare church

Technology reveals Caravaggio self-portrait

Searching for underdrawings, conservators discover the artist’s reflection

Fracas at ancient caves…

… stimulates preservation efforts

MoMA celebrates film preservation

Artists such as Kara Walker to introduce newly restored works by Kubrick and others

Roman builders leave their mark

Archaeologists find a series of 1,700-year old footprints beneath mosaic


Auction houses encroach on gallery territory with shift to private sales

As auction revenues plummet, Christie’s and Sotheby’s are moving increasing resources away from their traditional businesses

Tim Burton as great as Warhol, says MoMA

The curator of an exhibition which includes over 700 of the film-maker’s drawings, paintings, graphic works and photographs, believes Burton will come to be seen as one of the most influential artists of our time

The man who puts art centre stage

Gérard Mortier believes artists can transform the way we experience opera—just don’t ask them to design a set for Puccini

A global artist with global concerns

Gabriel Orozco says his work is about “space and time, action and philosophy”; here he talks about his upcoming travelling retrospective and the part he has played in developing the Mexican art world

The season for comebacks

Several artists who had disappeared from view are now back with a vengeance

Curators? Bruce can’t be bothered with them

McLean’s got plans for politicians, too…

The desire for beauty is in our DNA

So says critic Matthew Collings in a new film that attempts to pin down the essence of the beautiful in art


Guggenheim Bilbao, part II Free

The Basque museum plans to open a second outpost

Controversy over New Museum's plans to show trustee’s collection Free

Exhibition raises a potential conflict-of-interest between private collectors and public institutions

“I want to add a new complexity to everything we do”

Richard Koshalek, the new director of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, brings in the architects to transform the bunker-like art museum into a centre of debate. But what will they think on Capitol Hill?

New evidence in Nazi loot case against MoMA

Museum disputes heirs’ claim for three works by German painter George Grosz

Ashmolean bridges the cultural divide

East meets west in the University of Oxford’s new-look museum of art and archaeology

Denmark’s Aros museum in dire financial trouble

Bailout and budget cut for museum of big art with low visitor figures

Berlin’s Neues Museum rises from the ashes

Museum Island’s missing link finally reopens, with battle scars on show

Musée d’Orsay’s loan fees spark row

Museum revamp funded by international tour of impressionist works

“I don’t understand the commotion over contemporary art at our museum”

Irina Lebedeva, the new director of Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, on Russians’ negative attitude to new art