Art Industry News: Holy Mackerel! Experts Say This ‘Fake’ Van Gogh Is Not So Fishy After All and May Be Real + Other Stories

Plus, two almost-stolen Rembrandts return home and rising-star artist Lauren Halsey designs sneakers for Nike.

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with Mackerels and Tomatoes (1886). Oskar Reinhart Collection 'Am Römerholz' in Winterthur, Switzerland.

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 Monday, December 2.


The Rembrandts a Thief Nearly Stole Return Home – The two paintings by Rembrandt that a thief narrowly failed to steal from a London museum have returned home. The Dulwich Picture Gallery has returned Pilgrims at Emmaus (1648) to the Louvre in Paris and Philemon and Baucis (1658) to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The pictures were on loan for a special exhibition, “Rembrandt’s Light,” which has reopened to the public (without the two threatened works) following the attempted robbery on December 13. No arrests have been made so far. (The Art Newspaper)

Pierre Soulages Prepares for His Louvre Honor – The French painter best known for his black monochrome canvases will have a solo show at the Louvre this month. Soulages will be only the third contemporary artist to have a solo exhibition at the storied museum during his lifetime (after Picasso and Chagall). “Soulages at the Louvre,” which opens on December 11, will feature around 20 works spanning his 70-year career. The artist, who celebrates his 100th birthday this year, is still working in his studio: He completed two new “outrenoir,” or “beyond black,” abstracts in August without the help of assistants. (New York Times)

A “Fake” Van Gogh Could Be Genuine – A still life that was downgraded as a forgery could, in fact, be a genuine Van Gogh. Still Life With Mackerels and Tomatoes, which has been in a Swiss collection since 1919, fell from grace in 2003 after an expert declared the brushwork and coloring to be, ahem, fishy. Now, Oliver Tostmann, a curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut, points out the still life’s similarity to two other downgraded Van Goghs that have recently been reattributed to the artist. The director of the Oskar Reinhart “Am Römerholz” Collection in Winterthur, which owns the work, is keen to get a second opinion. Next stop: specialists at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. (TAN)

Spanish Police Seize a Fake Murillo – Police in Spain have seized a religious painting that was on sale for €100,000 ($110,000) as a genuine Murillo, but is not believed to be fake. It bore the signature of the artist and was on offer with authentication papers signed by an Italian “expert.” Real experts, however, believe the work is actually an 18th-century copy of a crucifixion by Murillo owned by the Prado. A court in Málaga has ruled that it should be marked “fake” on the back to hinder any fraudulent sale in the future(El Pais)


Dickensian Portrait Hits the Block – A painting commissioned by Charles Dickens of one his fictional heroines—which had been unseen for more than a century—is going on sale at Sotheby’s London on December 10. William Powell Frith’s painting of Kate Nickleby has been in a private collection in Ireland since 1885. Dickens paid £20 for the painting in 1842. It now has an upper estimate of £20,000 ($26,000). (TAN)

Perrotin Moves His Hong Kong Gallery – Emmanuel Perrotin is moving his Hong Kong gallery from the protest-riddled Central neighborhood to Kowloon, across the river. The French dealer has taken a space near K11 Musea, the billionaire art collector Adrian Cheng’s waterfront development. The move, which will be complete in March, has “nothing to do” with the protests, according to the gallery, and had been in the works long before the unrest began earlier this year. (TAN)

Major Works by Tiepolo and Rubens Head to Auction Sotheby’s New York is offering the last major altarpiece by Tiepolo in private hands. The Madonna of the Rosary with Angels (1735) has an upper estimate of $15 million. Also on offer in the January 29 sale is a work by Rubens that has been in a private UK collection since 1946. The Virgin and Christ Child, With Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist (around 1612) has an upper estimate of $8 million. (Press release


Syndicat National des Antiquaires Elects New President – Anisabelle Berès-Montanari has been named president of the Paris-based antique dealers’ association for the next three years. In her new role, Berès-Montanari will oversee the ongoing transformation of the art and antiques fair La Biennale Paris, which, despite its name, became an annual event in 2017. (Press release)

Lauren Halsey Designs Sneakers for Nike – The sought-after Los Angeles artist has designed a collection for Nike that will be available beginning December 7. The collection, which the artist has been working on for eight months, comprises sneakers, socks, and t-shirts, as well as an Air Force 1 called “Summaeverythang” (which also happens to be the name of her Twitter handle). (ARTnews)

Artist Silvianna Goldsmith Has Died – The pioneering feminist filmmaker and activist has died at the age of 90 in New York. In 1969, Goldsmith co-founded Women Artists in Revolution, a protest group pushing back against the underrepresentation of women in the Whitney Museum Annual (which later became the Whitney Biennial). (ARTnews)


ICA Miami Announces 100 Acquisitions – The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, has been building its collection at a brisk pace. As it prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the museum announced it has acquired more than 100 works of art, including objects by John Baldessari, Liam Gillick, Arthur Jafa, and Anicka Yi. (Artforum)

Meet the Guards Who Keep Kehinde Wiley’s Sculpture Safe – Several “public art ambassadors” for Kehinde Wiley’s monument Rumors of War have the job of explaining the context of the piece to wandering tourists in Times Square. The monument will be moved today to its permanent home outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia. (New York Times)

David Batchelor’s Scaffold Christmas Tree Is Unveiled – Who needs pine when you’ve got LEDs? The artist best known for his light works has unveiled a scaffold Christmas Tree at King’s Cross in London. The 44-foot-tall work is made from LED lights and scaffolding (as well as holiday cheer, of course). (Instagram)


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