Art Industry News: Jodie Foster Is Directing a Movie About the Ill-Fated Theft That Made the Mona Lisa a Legend + Other Stories

Plus, LACMA gets a $50 million gift for its stalled renovation and thieves swipe Salvador Dalí bronzes from a Swedish gallery.

Director Jodie Foster at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/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 Friday, January 31.


Thieves Swipe Salvador Dalí Work From a Swedish Gallery – Thieves have stolen bronze sculptures and etchings by Salvador Dalí from a gallery in Stockholm in a smash-and-grab raid. Robbers broke into Couleur gallery in Stockholm and took bronze sculptures and etchings by Dalí that had been on loan from Switzerland for an exhibition. The works were worth about £16,000 to £40,000 ($21,000 to $52,500) each. Local police who are investigating the scene said the thieves smashed the gallery’s glass entrance early on Thursday morning. (Guardian)

Martin Kemp on What We Lose by Not Seeing Salvator Mundi – In a new essay, the venerable art historian and Leonardo expert decries the fact that Salvator Mundi was not included in the Louvre’s blockbuster Leonardo exhibition—but he says the painting has actually disappeared in more than one sense of the word. Like the Mona Lisa, “it is almost impossible to see her afresh through the obscuring fogs of misapprehension and legend.” Kemp discusses the role the press has played in perpetuating this regrettable double loss. “If someone says the record-breaking Leonardo is not a Leonardo, that is news. To say it is by Leonardo is not news,” writes Kemp. “My hope is that after the fevered pace of Leonardo’s 500th anniversary year, some sort of measured sanity might prevail.” (The Art Newspaper)

Jodie Foster Is Directing a Movie About the Mona Lisa – In other Leonardo news, Jodie Foster is set to direct a drama based on the true story of the 1911 theft of the master’s most famous painting. The film, which is being written by Bill Wheeler, is based on a book by Seymour Reit called The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa. The incredible theft involved three Italian handymen, who hid in a supply closet before swiping the painting and its protective glass. They managed to get it onto a French subway train out of Paris before anyone noticed it was gone. The robbery inadvertently sealed the Mona Lisa’s worldwide fame. (The Wrap)

LACMA Gets a $50 Million Gift for Stalled Renovation – The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has secured a $50 million pledge from the W.M. Keck Foundation to put toward its long-in-the-works $750 million renovation project. The money ends a fundraising drought for the museum, which has struggled to raise the final millions needed for its planned single-story exhibition hall designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and named the David Geffen Galleries (after the music industry impresario who pledged $150 million earlier on in the campaign). Construction work is scheduled to start at the end of February. (Los Angeles Times)


Will Millennials Save the Art Market? – Figuring out how to sell art to the new millennial generation of budding art collectors—those born between 1981 and 1996—was a major thread throughout the Talking Galleries conference in Barcelona earlier this month. Rich millennials and those standing to inherit a large amount of money from their families have a different buying style than their predecessors. Generally, experts find they want more transparency through clear price lists; galleries can gather clues about their buying habits from trends in the broader retail world. (TAN)

Antwaun Sargent Will Organize a Special Section at Paris Photo New York – The New York–based art critic and writer will curate the emerging artist sector at Paris Photo’s inaugural edition in New York. The fair will be held at Pier 94 from April 2 to April 5. (Artforum)


Dallas Museum Removes Suspected Stolen Work From View – The Dallas Museum of Art removed a deity from display after an artist recognized it and informed the museum that it had actually been stolen from a temple in Nepal. The stele of Lakshmi-Narayana was on loan from a lender, David T. Owsley, who had bought it in good faith from Sotheby’s. (Dallas Morning News)

Toledo Museum Names New Director – The chief executive of the Cummer Museum, Adam Levine, is leaving his post after just over a year. He is returning to the Toledo Museum of Art, where he previously served as deputy director and curator of ancient art, to become director. His last day at the Cummer is April 24. (WJCT)

Museum Dedicated to Artist-Built Environments Is Coming – A new $40 million museum dedicated to artist-built environments and immersive works is opening in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in August. Run by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the Art Preserve will provide 56,000 square feet of exhibition space for the art center’s collection, which includes works by Lenore Tawney, Stella Waitzkin, and Ray Yoshida. (Artforum)


How Police Use Art to Become Better Investigators – The NYPD has hired art historian Amy Herman to teach a course on the art of perception to officers. Herman is convinced that looking at fine art can test and strengthen your perception skills, and enable you to challenge your own prejudices. (CNN)

How One UK Museum Is Going Green – The Horniman Museum and Gardens in London has published a climate and ecology manifesto declaring how it will reduce its environmental impact and advocate for climate justice. Among other things, it will highlight the environment in its programming, will cut carbon emissions across the museum, and will switch to renewable electricity. (TAN)

See Juergen Teller’s Vivienne Westwood Campaign – Vivienne Westwood’s Spring/Summer 2020 campaign was shot by the artist and fashion photographer Juergen Teller. Filmed in Paris, the campaign features Westwood herself, her husband Andreas Kronthaler, and supermodel Naomi Campbell. (Dazed)

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