Issue 252 - December 2013

News | Art Market | Books | Calendar | Comment | Conservation | Diaries | Exhibitions | Features | Focus | Media | Museums | Obituary |


Taiwan can’t lend, won’t lend to London

Taipei government fears British laws are too weak if China tries to claim masterpieces

British Museum expert says griffin returned to Iran is fake

Scepticism grows about confiscated silver vessel handed over by the US as an act of diplomacy

Is this the end of the line for America’s historic houses?

Plagued by physical and financial decline, properties are being sold off as experts warn that there are too many house museums to survive

Royals clung to nation’s paintings for 20 years

National Gallery’s then director, Kenneth Clark, said the actions of the late Queen Mother and King George VI were “unconstitutional”

Comment: What next for the Gurlitt treasures? Free

It is far from clear how the German authorities will deal with the huge hoard of confiscated or stolen art discovered in Munich

Research uncovers lost African school of painting Free

Analysis of illuminated gospels suggests that first Christian manuscript art may have come from Ethiopia

Was Dürer’s father a fine artist too? Free

Painting long assumed to be by his famous son may be a self-portrait

Art Market

Recovery rate for stolen art as low as 1.5% Free

Art crime is a low priority for police forces, and concerns surround the Art Loss Register

Trade let down by court ruling Free

Decision on auction houses’ liability for fakes finds in favour of buyers—but only on a technicality

Sotheby’s performs under pressure from Loeb letter

Auction house results show short-term health, although long term strategy is less apparent

Degas bronzes battle leads to rumble in the legal jungle Free

New York dealer sues Canadian businessman for contract breaches, including no sales to Muhammad Ali

Modern belongs to Sotheby’s

Christie’s lagged in Impressionist and Modern sales

Records tumble as Christie’s makes a $691m auction high

Prices for post-war and contemporary art skyrocket as market climbs and climbs… and climbs some more

Old Masters need new buyers

Dealers in unfashionable older art are carving out ways to compete with their contemporary and Modern counterparts

Fair survives Italy’s tough times

Turin’s Artissima and its new exhibition programme lured both buyers and curators, but local dealers struggled with sky-high VAT

Welcome to the clean-living world of Miami Beach

Party hard? Perhaps not like we used to…


If you read one book this year… Free

Art-world luminaries, from Eli Broad and Marina Warner to Tim Marlow and Xu Bing, pick the best art books they read in 2013

From Adam to Diocletian… and back

This account of the emperor’s influence on the architect is a rollercoaster ride through history

Right time, wrong author

Pavel Tchelitchew is ripe for reconsideration, but this verbose book does the Russian artist few favours

Casting fresh light on Renaissance sculpture

A memorial to the philanthropist Robert Smith takes a panoramic approach to the period’s great works


Anca Petrescu

The Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s favourite architect colluded with his murderous regime


Angels needed in LA Free

Lacma and MoCA need donors to write New York-sized cheques now to make the future bright, says our LA-based correspondent Jori Finkel

We’re all poorer when art is locked up Free

Collectors who keep great works of art hidden away harm the reputation of the artists whose work they own

Once I was found, now I’m lost

Does the popularity of objets trouvés and outsider art mean abandoning the search for a work of art’s original sense and context?

New York sales show how to guarantee success Free

This month’s auctions were carefully choreographed to secure big prices and even bigger headlines


French fall-out over restoration Free

Museum’s treatment of Isenheim Altarpiece exposes rifts in French attitudes towards the care of the country’s cultural treasures

US admits errors in Iraq Free

Concession comes a decade after Donald Rumsfeld, then US secretary of defence, dismissed looting of the National Museum in Baghdad with the comment “stuff happens”

Texas goes big on conservation

The Dallas Museum of Art’s new lab is part of a wider drive to make the state a centre of excellence



Miami makes a bid to become a world-class art city

Jorge Pérez’s gift has helped transform the Miami Art Museum and the Bass intensifies its contemporary art programme

America seen through Spanish eyes

Joaquín Sorolla imported a Mediterranean sensibility that impressed a US president and wealthy patrons

Click, whirr… before instant went digital

The largest ever exhibition in the US of pictures made with Polaroid film

No figures available

The Jameel Prize show at the Victoria and Albert Museum looks for the best in Islamic or Islamic-inspired art

Giacometti: bridging the past and the future

The Swiss superstar sculptor compared and contrasted with the greats of previous centuries


Doug Aitken

The Californian on Darwin, DNA, Ruscha’s cactus omelettes and never having enough time.

Moscow's demolition men

Numerous historic buildings in Moscow are being bulldozed in the name of rampant development— but local activists are fighting back

Fountains dance again in Versailles’s Théâtre d’Eau

Historic choreography inspired the design for a new take on the Water Theatre Grove.


Thank God it’s not all been about multi-million-dollar balloon dogs

The founder and chief executive of The Art Newspaper on the significance of the paper’s increasing global reach

The big stories of 2013

The news that made the headlines in The Art Newspaper and beyond over the past year. Compiled by Toby Skeggs

Beyond the saleroom

Sotheby’s and Christie’s are redefining the role of the auction house in the 21st century

The empire builders are changing the rules

Global mega-galleries are putting the squeeze on smaller operators

Global heritage on the back foot

War and Mammon have wreaked havoc on sites across the world in 2013

Top lots

A look at some of the remarkable objects to have come on to the market in 2013

Triumph of the outsider

The Venice Biennale set the tone for a year of unorthodox visions

Boom and bust point to mixed fortunes

Museums have had an uneven year, with huge amounts of money spent on new buildings while other institutions struggle with reduced budgets

The robust DNA of the museum

As museums continue to spring up across the world, Adrian Ellis sees echoes of the past in this new gilded age

The Art Newspaper Global Digest

The top stories from our sister papers in China, Russia, France and Italy


Artist’s anti-reality show Free

Jamie Shovlin raids the exploitation-movie archive and a related show opens in Manchester next month


Would you like to super-size those tickets?

For $46 you can skip the queue to see a David Hockney show in San Francisco and feel like a VIP

Did the Met really make $742m for New York?

Institution’s calculations exaggerate economic impact of its exhibitions, say leading economists

US round-up


US round-up


US round-up

St Petersburg

Did the Met really make $742m for New York?

Institution’s calculations exaggerate economic impact of its exhibitions, say leading economists

Call for Arts Council to take a tough line

Chinese ceramics and Australian art sell-offs set new precedent

Bright future for Lambert Collection Free

Major step in making Avignon the “Davos of culture”

Rush to remember 1914 Free

Russia sets sights on high-tech war museum without a Marxist-Leninist bias

Italy comes to the aid of Alexandria Free

Funds and expertise from Italy mean the restoration of the Egyptian city’s Greco-Roman Museum will resume after a long delay

Hills alive with the sound of pile-drivers

Sifang Art Museum opens in a Nanjing forest; two private museums in Shanghai near completion