Art Industry News: Distant Relatives of Marcel Proust Are Suing Christie’s to Reclaim a Painting They Say Was Looted During WWII + Other Stories

Plus, Londoners vote to keep disputed statues on view at Goldsmiths, and activists stage a "die-in" in front of Guernica.

Adriaen van der Werff, Sainte Marie-Madeleine pénitente (1707).
Adriaen van der Werff, Sainte Marie-Madeleine pénitente (1707).

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 28.


Goldsmiths’ Slavery Statues Will Remain on View Following Vote – London locals voted to keep four statues of historical figures linked to the slave trade installed at Goldsmiths University. Students protested the sculptures of Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake, Cromwellian admiral Robert Blake, Lord Horatio Nelson, and an anonymous naval figure in 2019, but a survey of 8,500 households in the area found 58 percent of 122 respondents disagreed with their removal and instead supported the addition of interpretation panels and resources explaining their history. (Evening Standard

Sculptures Examining Slave Trade to Be Installed Across the U.K. – As part of a national art education project titled the World Reimagined, more than 100 artists will create globe sculptures for seven U.K. cities next month to draw attention to “the reality and impact of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans.” The form of the globe was designed by artist Yinka Shonibare and will be interpreted by more than 100 artists including Lakwena Maciver and Larry Amponsah. (The Art Newspaper)

Proust Heirs Sue Christie’s Over Looted Dutch Painting – The heirs of a French banker whose painting, The Penitent Magdalene (1707) by Dutch artist Adriaen Van Der Werff, was looted by the Nazis in 1942, are suing to reclaim the work after it was consigned to Christie’s. The family, who are distant descendants of Marcel Proust, are suing the house after it refused to return the work, or to disclose the identity of the consignor. A hearing will take place in Paris tomorrow. In a statement, Christie’s said it “is pleased to have been able to trace the… heirs to bring this picture to their attention, and is sorry that they have chosen to pursue legal action.” (ARTnews)

How Photographer Buck Ellison Skewers White Society – Buck Ellison’s staged photographs skewering the white American elite were a talking point at the 2022 Whitney Biennial. The 34-year-artist grew up among one-percenter Democrats in Marin County California, but adopted a critical distance from his upbringing when he moved to Frankfurt to study photography. “They fail as stock photos,” Ellison says of his work. “They fail as pharmaceutical ads, they fail as family snapshots. What you have left is art.” (New York Times)


Roman Mosaics Return to Israeli Museum – A cache of 1,700-year-old Roman mosaics are the star attraction at the newly opened Shelby White and Leon Levy Mosaic Lod Archaeological Center. The 56-foot-long, 30-foot-high series, which dates from the 3rd or 4th century, was originally discovered in 1996; the full collection was unearthed in 2009. It traveled to different museums around the world as Israeli authorities raised funds to open the new museum. (AP)

Banksy “Great Spraycation” Mural Defaced – A section of Banksy’s Norfolk mural depicting hermit crabs carrying signs that read “luxury rentals only” was defaced in an act the district council called “hugely disappointing.” The image is part of the artist’s “Great British Spraycation” spree last summer, when he left murals behind in five English coastal towns. Luckily, this one was covered with a weatherproof coating last year, so the graffiti did not permanently damage it. (BBC)

CCA Lagos Gets Major Revamp – The Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA Lagos), founded by the late curator Bisi Silva, is getting a revamp to improve its facilities. Artists donated works to a Sotheby’s auction to fund the project, which brought in more than £1.3 million ($1.6 million). (Contemporary&)


Extinction Rebellion Protestors Play Dead in Front of Picasso’s Guernica – Anti-war activists from Extinction Rebellion staged a die-in in front of Picasso’s Guernica in Madrid to protest the horrors of war ahead of a NATO summit in the city on Tuesday. The activists blame the military alliance for stoking the war in Ukraine. (Reuters)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In