Art Industry News: The National Gallery Is Employing a Technique Typically Used to Study Mars to See If Its Vermeers Are Real + Other Stories

Plus, Kasmin will represent the James Rosenquist estate and a rediscovered Fragonard painting sells for $9.2 million.

Young Girl with a Flute (c.1665-70), one of the Vermeers under examination by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo by Art Images via Getty Images
Young Girl with a Flute (c.1665-70), one of the Vermeers under examination by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo by Art Images via Getty Images

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 29.


Banksy Fans Are Not Happy About L.A.’s New Banksy Show – An unauthorized exhibition called “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” is opening on August 30 and already it is generating excitement—and some hesitation. The artist himself had already indirectly condemned an earlier iteration of the show, saying he would not charge people to see his art. Jeffrey Deitch, for one, said, “Banksy is very, very thoughtful about how he presents his work to the public… So in this unauthorized show, you don’t get the full Banksy.” Tickets for the partial Banksy cost $30. (Los Angeles Times)

Former Egyptian MP Detained Over Looted Antiquities – A former Egyptian government official is facing allegations of leading a smuggling gang that is responsible for the illegal excavation of 201 Pharaonic, Greek, and Roman artifacts. Alaa Hassanein, a flamboyant former member of President Hosni Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party, was among 18 people arrested on Thursday in connection with the ring. According to published reports, he has previously claimed to have “dabbled in black magic and exorcisms.” (Arab News)

The High-Tech Tools Examining Vermeer – The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is working with a scientist who used to design cameras for reconnaissance planes to engage in a different sort of complex mission: to determine whether two of paintings in its collection, long cautiously believed to be by Johannes Vermeer, are indeed by the hand of the Dutch master. The same high-tech imaging technique is used to study Mars. (New York Times

Jan Fabre Stands Trial for Sexual Harassment – The Belgian artist and choreographer will face criminal charges of sexual harassment in the workplace following complaints first issued in 2018 from 20 employees of his Troubleyn Theatre Company, who claimed Fabre regularly humiliated and tried to obtain sexual favors from dancers. Fabre and the company have previously denied the allegations. (AFP)


Kasmin Now Represents Estate of James Rosenquist – The New York gallery plans to stage a major show of the late Pop artist’s work in 2022. The artist’s estate will continue to be represented by Thaddaeus Ropac in Europe. (Press release)

Rediscovered Fragonard Painting Sells for $9.2 Million – An 18th-century painting by the Rococo master Jean-Honoré Fragonard sold for £6.6 million ($9.2 million) with fees at the the French auction house Encheres-Champagne. Philosopher Reading was long considered “insignificant” by its owners, who inherited it through their family, but it ended up going for more than three times its £1.7 million high estimate. (The Art Newspaper)


Philadelphia Museum of Art Names Diversity Officer – Alphonso Atkins Jr. will be the Philadelphia Museum’s first-ever deputy director for diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Atkins, who previously worked for the University of South Carolina, joins the PMA after a turbulent year marked by staff protests(Philadelphia Inquirer)

Cultural Critic Lauren Berlant Has Died – The influential scholar and critic died on June 28 at the age of 63 from cancer. In their work, Berlant explored the forces that shape human belonging, which they argued were driven by emotion rather than rational thought. (Artforum)


The Prado’s Revenue Drops 76 Percent – The Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid saw a 75.5 percent decrease in its revenue in 2020, ending the year with a total loss of €18.5 million ($22 million). The lockdown resulted in a whopping 84 percent decline in ticket sales. (ARTnews)

Les Lalanne Descends on Versailles There is some new and playful wildlife on the French palatial grounds thanks to the late design duo Les Lalanne. Bronze ducks, donkeys, doves, and an owl designed by the couple have been installed across the grounds of Versailles—and visitors are welcome to sit on some of them. The donkey sculpture is actually a writing desk. (Financial Times)

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