Art Industry News: A Stolen Klimt Painting That Was Stashed Behind a Wall for 20 Years Is Finally Going on Public View + Other Stories

Plus, Kapwani Kiwanga wins France's top art prize and European museums grapple with plummeting attendance.

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of a Lady (c. 1916–17).
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of a Lady (c. 1916–17).

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, October 20.


Christopher Knight on Baltimore’s Sell-Off While a Petition Gains Steam – Critic Christopher Knight calls the number of museums taking advantage of the AAMD’s temporary relaxation of its rules on deaccessioning “a colossal art museum scandal.” In particular, the Baltimore Museum of Art’s plans to sell paintings for more than $60 million to raise money for collection care and acquisitions, rather to than offset the financial fallout from the pandemic, is an “ethical breach,” he claims. Meanwhile, more than 150 people, including a former director of the Brooklyn Museum, Arnold Lehman, have signed an open letter to the state of Maryland demanding an investigation into the museum’s move. (Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic)

Tourism Is Plummeting at European Museums – Despite many European museums having reopened back in May with new safety precautions in place, attendance has plummeted by around two-thirds. Institutions that benefit from government support are faring better than those reliant on ticket sales, which are cutting staff and restructuring their business models. In response to the visitor shortfall, museums are also rethinking their target audiences and reorienting programming toward local, younger, and less vulnerable audiences. (New York Times)

Stolen Klimt Painting Will See the Light of Day – A portrait by Gustav Klimt that was recovered last year tucked behind a wall will go on view in Italy. A gardener found the painting after removing a metal plate on an exterior wall of the Ricci Oddi gallery in the northern city of Piacenza, more than 20 years after it had been stolen from the gallery in 1997. Now, the painting, which is valued at €60 million ($70.8 million), will go on view at the gallery’s main exhibition space on November 28 as part of a series of shows dedicated to Klimt. Don’t worry—it will be protected by a safety case. (The Art Newspaper)

New York Lawmakers to Weigh Arts Bailout – State officials in New York are discussing the impact of the pandemic on the arts in a roundtable with museum leaders on Wednesday. A nationwide report by the Brookings Institution has estimated that more than 280,000 jobs have been lost in the sector, as well as more than $26.8 billion in sales. Following the consultation, legislators will report on policy changes to help New York’s hard-hit arts sector recover. (TAN)


Dana Schutz’s Unflattering Donald Trump Portrait Heads to Auction – A painting of Donald Trump coming down an escalator by Dana Schutz is being sold at Phillips’s evening sale tonight, with an upper estimate of $750,000. The image is a reference to the moment in 2015 at Trump Tower when Trump announced his presidential bid. (Bloomberg)

UNTITLED, ART Miami Beach Goes Online – UNTITLED, ART is running an online viewing room during Miami Art Week. The art fair’s viewing room, designed by Artland, will be open from December 2 through 6. (Press release)


Kapwani Kiwanga Wins France’s Top Art Prize – The Canadian artist has won this year’s prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize, which comes with a purse of €35,000 ($41,000). Her ongoing project Flowers for Africa, for which she researches archival imagery related to African independence and commissions florists to recreate flower arrangements she finds in the images, is on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris until January 4. (Press release)

Yale Art Gallery Closes Due to COVID – All athletic facilities and campus museums, including the Yale Art Gallery, have been closed until further notice after 18 members of university’s men’s ice hockey team tested positive for coronavirus. (Hartford Courant)

Florida Museum Gets a Tiffany Treasure – The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida added to what was already billed as “the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany” with the purchase of a one-of-a-kind fireplace hood the artist created for his mansion on East 72nd Street. The museum purchased the massive cast-iron object, which is inlaid with antique Japanese tsube (samuarai sword guards), at TEFAF in New York in November; it goes on permanent view today. (Press release)


Oklahoma Plans a $175 Million Native Art Museum – Twenty-five years after planning first began, First Americans Museum will finally open in September 2021 in Oklahoma City. The $175 million institution will host new commissions as well as objects on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. (TAN

Gardner Documentary Provides Clues to Heist – A documentary about the 1990 Gardner Museum heist that just aired on BBC4 suggests that the 13 stolen artworks are now in Ireland. Art detective Charley Hill follows a tip from an Irish gangster, Martin “The Viper” Foley, that the priceless works are stashed behind a wall in a West Dublin house. (Spoiler: they don’t actually find them.) (TAN)

A Man Broke Into Versailles  A 31-year-old man was arrested after breaking into the Chateau Versailles in Paris. He allegedly took a cab to the palace and was wearing a sheet, “as if he were a king,” according to the driver, who promptly called the police. (Le Figaro)

Olafur Eliasson Has Installed a Sculptural Pavilion on an Italian Mountain Top – The Icelandic-Danish artist’s newest public work, Our glacial perspectives, now stands on top of Mount Grawand in Southern Tirol. The work consists of a carved path along the glacial ridge, as well as nine gates that are spaced according to the durations of Earth’s ice ages. Eliasson has also installed a steel pavilion with a viewing deck. (Press release)

Olafur Eliasson Our glacial perspectives (2020). Photo: David Orru, Studio Olafur Eliasson.

Olafur Eliasson Our glacial perspectives (2020). Studio Olafur Eliasson.

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