Art Industry News: Why Does This $10 Million Painting of Dutch Boys Drinking Beer Keep Getting Stolen? + Other Stories

Plus, the BBC is in hot water for tarnishing the reputation of a jewelry dealer and a Salvator Mundi is recovered by Italian police.

Frans Hals, Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer (c. 1626). Collection of the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden, Leerdam, Netherlands.

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, January 19.


German Museums Revise Rules for Handling Human Remains – The German Museum Association is reviewing its eight-year-old guidelines on the handling of human remains. The new guidelines, which will be developed in consultation with the remains’s communities of origin, will be published in German, English, and French before the summer. The goal, according to the association, is to “strengthen the basic understanding of how to deal with human remains in museums.” (Monopol)

An Ancient Archway Has Partly Collapsed in Iraq – Iraq’s Taq Kasra is in “dangerous and critical” condition after the 1,500-year-old archway partially collapsed following heavy rains. The director of the country’s board of antiquities and heritage has issued an urgent call for support to shore up the ancient Persian monument and prevent further damage. Around four meters of the arched roof, which is the world’s largest single-span unreinforced brick vault, has fallen. (Hyperallergic)

Thieves Can’t Stop Stealing This Painting – The New York Times delves into the curious case of Frans Hals’s Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer, which has been stolen three times since 1988. (Most recently, it was pilfered from the tiny Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in the Dutch town of Leerdam in August.) Experts believe the painting has become a regular target precisely because of its history of being stolen, which established its value at around $10 million and makes it likely that there is an insurer and a vested interest in getting it back. (New York Times)

Police Find Stolen Salvator Mundi in Naples – In other art theft news, police have located a 16th-century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi that had been stolen from a basilica museum in Naples. (No, it’s not that Salvator Mundi.) The painting—one of around 20 copies of the original attributed to the school of Leonardo, likely painted by one of his students—was uncovered during a police search in an apartment not far from the Museum of San Domenico Maggiore. The apartment’s owner, reportedly 36 years old, has been taken into police custody. (The Art Newspaper)


Dealer Criticizes BBC Show for Tarnishing His Good Name – The BBC has censured the the British television show Bargain Hunt after the program falsely claimed that a Victorian ring bought from a jewelry dealer was actually made in the 1950s. While the BBC has since issued a correction on its website, the dealer has also demanded an on-air apology. (Times)

Victoria Miro Now Represents Flora Yukhnovich – The European gallery has added the London-based painter, whose lush work is inspired by Rococo, to its roster. Yukhnovich was first included in a group show at Victoria Miro in 2019 and has had two solo exhibitions there since. She will have another in London in 2022. (Press release)


BTS Member Named Art Sponsor of the Year – The singer RM, from South Korea’s top boy band BTS, has been named Arts Council Korea’s “art sponsor of the year.” RM was awarded the distinction after he donated ₩100 million ($90,400) to Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. (The Art Newspaper)

Decision on Looted Pissarro Deferred Again – A resolution in the long-running dispute between the heir of a Nazi-looted artwork by Camille Pissarro and the University of Oklahoma has been pushed back yet again. Lawyers want more time to find a compromise through mediation to determine the fate of La Bergère reentrant des moutons (1886), which was originally due to split time between the US and France as part of a novel sharing agreement. (Le Journal des Arts)


The New-York Historical Society Launches an Oval Office Replica – New York’s Historical Society has built its own replica of the Oval Office for an exhibition about the US presidency. The institution says the exhibit, which is inspired by Ronald Reagan’s office during his second term, has “proved very popular” with visitors. (TAN)

Culture& Launches New Museum School Program – The charity Culture& is launching an advanced program to support alumni of its New Museum School—which funnels new talent into the arts and heritage sector—beyond graduation. “Having listened to the experience of our alumni, we want to address the glass ceiling that they now face,” Culture&’s chief executive Errol Francis says. (Press release)

See Douglas Coupland’s Slogans on Vancouver Billboards – Pithy slogans from the artist Douglas Coupland are now appearing on billboards across Vancouver, Canada, as part of his nine-year-old project “Slogans for the 21st Century.” See a selection here. (The Art Newspaper)


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