Art Industry News: A New Book Details Van Gogh’s Harrowing Time in a Mental Asylum + Other Stories

Plus, John McCain's memorial receives visitors in Vietnam and a Henry Moore sketch is discovered among the Gurlitt hoard.

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889). Courtesy the Courtauld Gallery, London.
Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889). Courtesy the Courtauld Gallery, London.

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 this Monday, August 27.


German Art Register Under Fire Over Missing Schieles – The heirs of Jewish art collector Fritz Grünbaum have criticized the German Lost Art Foundation for removing 63 works by Egon Schiele from its list of stolen art as a result of lobbying by dealers who specialize in the artist’s work. The Magdeburg-based organization maintains that Grünbaum sent the works to relatives outside Nazi Germany after the war and later sold them fair and square. His heirs claim that the documentation that supports the foundation and dealers’ claims is forged. (New York Times)

Unidentified Henry Moore Found Thanks to BBC TV – Experts on the BBC One program Fake or Fortune? have concluded that an early watercolor sketch of nudes that was part of the art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt’s recently discovered art hoard is, in fact, an authentic Henry Moore. The piece had been confiscated from a German museum during the Nazi crackdown on “degenerate art.” (We reported on the discovery ahead of the show’s premiere.) The work will now be shown at the Museum of Fine Art in Bern, Switzerland. (Independent)

Van Gogh’s Harrowing Stay at an Asylum, Revealed – Martin Bailey’s new book uncovers grim details of Vincent van Gogh’s time in an asylum in France. On several occasions, the artist attempted to poison himself, either by swallowing oil paint or lamp kerosene. The evidence of his mental state in the Saint-Paul asylum “makes it incontrovertible” that he died by suicide two months later, Bailey concludes, contradicting more recent theories that the artist was secretly murdered. (Guardian)

Proposed Chinese Tariffs Roil the Art World – The Trump administration’s planned 25 percent tariff on Chinese art and antiquities, among other objects, has been strongly criticized by dealers, auction houses, and American museums. The tax would apply to paintings, drawings, sculptures, and antiques more than 100 years old that originated in China. Marc Glimcher of Pace, which is opening a show of Chinese contemporary art in New York next month, says that “any protection of the US art market will have the opposite effect.” (NYT)


Titanic Victim’s Watch Sells for $57,000 – A pocket watch found on the body of a Russian immigrant who died on the Titanic sold for $57,000 at Heritage Auctions. The buyer was the founder of the Miottel Museum, which owns other Titanic timepieces. The watch’s original owner, Sinai Kantor, managed to get his wife onto a lifeboat before going down with the ship. (Art Daily)

Cosmoscow Announces Lineup – Around 70 galleries from countries including the Kingdom of Bahrain, Lithuania, and Norway are due to take part in the Moscow fair, which runs from September 7 to 9. The event includes a new section called Frame for galleries “in transit” that do not have a permanent space. It is an attempt to reform the “auction- and mega-galleries-driven ecosystem,” says Olga Temnikova, a member of Cosmoscow’s expert committee. (Art Daily)


Abstract Artist Nicolas Manev Dies – The French-Bulgarian artist Nicolas Manev, who is known for his landscape compositions and colorful abstractions, died in Paris on Sunday at age 78. Some 3,000 of his artworks are housed in more than 30 countries around the world. (Art Daily)

Bruegel Museum Mired in Red Tape – The 16th-century Flemish Old Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder is a celebrated part of Belgian history, but his namesake museum is on hold, mired in Belgium’s notorious bureaucracy. The Bruegel House was due to open in October 2019—but the government has sill not released funds for the project. (Guardian)

Linda Marrinon Nabs 2018 Don Macfarlane Prize – The Australian artist has been awarded the AU$36,000 (US $26,300) award for her “unwavering, agenda-setting arts practice and contribution to Australian art.” Marrinon plans to use the money to focus on enlarging her clay sculptures. (Artforum)


Monet and American Abstraction Is a Paris Blockbuster – Musée de L’Orangerie’s exhibition “Waterlilies: American Abstract Painting and the Last Monet” has been a hit with the public, drawing 400,000 visitors. The success of the show, which takes a unique look at Monet’s influence among American abstract painters from the 1950s, will likely make it one of the top 10 most-attended exhibitions in 2018. (Le Figaro)

Lost Barbizon School Painting Found in Milwaukee – A sketch by Théodore Rousseau was hiding in plain sight at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The work had been misattributed for 140 years to landscape painter John Constable, but is in fact a study for Rousseau’s major work at the 1833 Paris Salon. The final version, View on the Outskirts of Granville, is in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. (Art Daily)

US Tribal Colleges Get a Gift Worth Half a Million Dollars – A major US foundation, a group of private donors, and the Minneapolis gallery Christopher Cardozo Fine Art have donated sets of the compendium The North American Indian by Edward Curtis to 12 tribal colleges across the US. The gift, valued at $500,000, includes several hundred photographs and a digitized collection of materials originally assembled by Edward Curtis for the landmark photo-ethnographic publication. (Art Daily)

Vietnam Remembers John McCain – A statue commemorating the war veteran, Senator John McCain, received flowers and a visit from the US ambassador over the weekend. The sculpture depicts McCain, a prisoner during the Vietnam War, being captured after his plane was shot down. McCain died after a battle with brain cancer on August 25 at age 81. (Daily Sabah)


US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink pays tribute before a sculpture depicting the capture the then-US Navy pilot John McCain. NHAC NGUYEN/AFP/Getty Images.

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