Art Industry News: African Museums Rally Behind Experts’ Call for Macron to Return Looted Art + Other Stories

Plus, a long-lost portrait of a young Charles Dickens has been found and Neko Case calls out the Met for its male-dominated rock and roll show.

French President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform overhaul has met fierce resistance in France. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/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 this Thursday, November 22. Happy Thanksgiving!


Lost Portrait of Charles Dickens Surfaces in South Africa – After being lost for 174 years, Margaret Gillies’s 1843 portrait of the novelist has resurfaced at auction among a tray of trinkets and covered in mold. The London-based dealer and broadcaster Philip Mould confirmed that the small painting shows the young Dickens. Painted when he was a rising star, it was first show at London’s Royal Academy of Arts a year after its completion. The cost of the portrait is not being disclosed, but it is a six-figure sum. (Guardian)

African Museums Rally Behind French Report Backing Restitution – The pressure is on the French President. On Friday, the full document of recommendations on how France should deal with African art collected during the colonial era will be published. Already, prominent African museum directors have spoken in support of the pro-restitution report commissioned by Emmanuel Macron. “We’re just a step away from recovering our history and being finally able to share it on the continent,” says Marie-Cécile Zinsou, daughter of Benin’s former prime minister and president of the country’s Zinsou Art Foundation. (The East African)

The Met Criticized for Male-Dominated Rock and Roll Show – The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition dedicated to rock and roll legends is already coming under fire, before the full artist list is even out. Rockstar Neko Case has taken to Twitter to condemn the museum for what appears to be a male-dominated exhibition in April 2019. So far, the only woman on the roster is indie artist St. Vincent. Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll will display 130 instruments, plus posters and costumes dating from the 1940s to today. (Billboard)


Christie’s Will Sell the Shickman Collection – An Old Masters sale is coming up in May of 2019, featuring the estate of Lila & Herman Shickman. Herman Shickman was an important art dealer who fled to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1938. The collection is led by two significant Spanish still lives, which have a combined low estimate of $10 million. (Art Market Monitor)

Offshore Company to Pay $10.5 Million to Settle Art Tax Fraud Case – Porsal Equities has to pay a $10.75 million settlement to resolve charges of tax fraud related to purchases of millions of dollars worth of art coming from New York establishments. “Wealthy art collectors are not above the law,” stated the New York State Attorney who looked at the case against the offshore art collecting company. (Legal News Line)


Wolfgang Tillmans Gets the Top Spot in Monopol‘s Top 100 – The leading German-language art magazine has released its pick of the top 100 art world players for 2018. The German photographer has taken the top position for his political activism against Brexit and Europe’s surging populism, as well as his defense of the European Union. Close behind him at second is the UK artist Sonia Boyce, whose temporary removal of a work by a Victorian male artist caused at row at the Manchester Art Gallery. (Monopol)

Freelands Award for a Female Artist Is Announced – The artist Veronica Ryan will get a solo show in Bristol’s Spike Island in 2020 thanks to the Freelands Foundation. The generous £100,000 ($129,000) award aims to support a mid-career female artist and fund a new commission. The foundation established by the media executive Elisabeth Murdoch has made supporting female artists a priority. (Press release)

Han Nefkens Video Award Goes to Breakout Vietnamese Artist – The young Vietnam-based artist Thao-Nguyen Phan has won the $15,000 Han Nefkens Foundation award. She will create a new video work, which will be shown at Barcelona’s Fundació Joan Miró to coincide with the festival Loop Barcelona in November 2019. (Art Asia Pacific)


Cai Guo-Qiang Brings His Fireworks to the Uffizi – The Chinese artist, who lit up Florence with his signature fireworks this week, has a major solo show in the city’s Uffizi Gallery. Sixty gunpowder paintings now fill ten galleries in “Flora Commedia.” With Madrid’s Prado and Moscow’s Pushkin Museums under his belt, the Chinese artist stays in Italy for his next explosive show, which is due to open in the Archeological Museum of Naples next February. (Il Reporter)

Calvin Klein Launches Warhol Cookie Jars – The Pop artist loved the creepy-but-cute cookie jars so much he collected 175 of them. Now, Calvin Klein has created a range of 44 retro jars, including Little Red Riding Hood and Dutch Sailor Boy, inspired by the ones Warhol hoarded in his Manhattan home. (Garage)

You Can Buy a Balloon Cloud for Thanksgiving – A limited edition print of the 30-foot-wide balloon Little Cloud that will feature today in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade goes on sale today on eBay. Created by the artist collective FriendsWithYou, each print from the edition of 500 is being offer for $150. iPhone cases are going $50, also on eBay. (Press release)

FriendsWithYou artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III.


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