From an Art Collector’s Triumphant Day in Court to a Brazen Auction-House Robbery in Vienna: The Best and Worst of the Art World

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

This fake Leon Golub, Untitled, was purchased at Christie's by Andrew Hall from Nikolas Gascard for $30,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
This fake Leon Golub, Untitled, was purchased at Christie's by Andrew Hall from Nikolas Gascard for $30,000. Courtesy of Christie's.

BEST👍

France Returns 26 Artifacts to Benin – The move comes on the heels of a restitution report published in France that called on President Macron to take action and permanently return art looted from Africa during colonial rule.

Art Collector Wins His Court Battle – The years-long legal dispute over forged Leon Golub paintings has finally ended, with collector Andrew Hall scoring a victory. The New Hampshire court ordered that Hall be compensated for the phony works, which he bought over the course of two years from a mother and son who claimed the paintings were originals.

A Portrait of Young Jesus Is Discovered – Archaeologists working in Israel’s Negev desert discovered a 1,500-year-old portrait of a young Jesus Christ painted on the wall of a Byzantine church. The image depicts the savior as a short-haired boy, without the flowing locks more typically associated with his countenance.

Collectors Conquests – A group of budding art collectors told artnet News about their most triumphant acquisitions, their process of forging relationships with artists, and how they scope out new talent.

Art Basel-Bound? Here’s What Not to Miss – Before the art world descends on Miami Beach next week, we’ve rounded up the most exciting exhibitions taking place around the city, as well as a slew of satellite fairs that will open during Miami Art Week.

Hauser & Wirth Launches a Research Institute – The gallery behemoth announced the creation of a nonprofit research institute devoted to artist archival preservation and research initiatives, starting with a Franz Kline catalogue raisonné.

Going, Going, Gone (for a Lot of Money) – We’ve rounded up the most expensive objects ever sold at auction, including a bejeweled Barbie Doll, and a stamp considered “the holy grail” for collectors.

WORST👎

Brazen Thieves Boost a Renoir Painting – At Vienna’s Dorotheum auction house, three individuals stole a Renoir landscape painting out of its frame, cutting it straight off the wall. The 19th-century painting was valued at more than $150,000—and the suspects remain at large.

A Proposed Law Earns Protest From Israeli Artists – In a defiant act, several Israeli artists burned their own artwork to protest a proposed “loyalty in culture bill” that they say is creeping dangerously close to censorship. The bill would give the government discretion to withhold funding to artists and institutions whose work did not further the “principles of the state.”

Museums Hoard the Remains of Indigenous Peoples – A disturbing reality in the battle over repatriation of indigenous artifacts and artwork is that, in addition to the artwork taken from native peoples, the human remains of their ancestors are also squirreled away in many museums’ storage facilities.

PETA Condemns Badger Paintbrushes – It turns out not all paintbrushes are created equally. PETA Asia released new information about the shockingly cruel ways that badger fur-paintbrushes are made, and now the animal-rights advocacy group is calling on major retailers like Blick Art Materials to stop their sales of the brushes.

Unauthorized Banksy‘s Seized – Dozens of artwork have been seized from a Brussels show of Banksy works that is now mired in criss-crossing claims of bogus ownership between Steve Lazarides, who used to represent the street artist, and the nonprofit organizing the show.

Robert Morris Is Dead at 87 – One of the founding members of the minimalism art movement passed away at age 87. Morris explored various mediums throughout his career, though he is best known for his early sculptural work included in seminal shows like “Primary Objects.”


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