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Brazilian collector sues Detroit Institute of Art over allegedly stolen Van Gogh

13 January 2023

The Brazilian collector Gustavo Soter has filed a lawsuit, claiming that a painting by Vincent van Gogh, currently on loan to the Detroit Institute of Art for its exhibition ‘Van Gogh in America’, was stolen from him. Soter alleges that his company Brokerarte Capital Partners purchased The Novel Reader (1888) for $3.7m in 2017, before transferring possession to a third party, which then absconded with the work. Since then, the lawsuit claims, Soter was unaware of the whereabouts of the painting until he learned of its inclusion in the exhibition. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday; on Wednesday, a US District Judge ordered the museum not to move the painting before a court hearing on 19 January.

The Canadian artist and film-maker Michael Snow has died at the age of 94. Snow remains best known for his film Wavelength (1967), regarded as a milestone in the history of experimental cinema for the ways in which it foregrounded the materiality of film in place of plot. Over the course of his long career, Snow also worked extensively with painting, sculpture and film and performed widely as a jazz pianist. He represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1970, and his work was shown at exhibitions including a major retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2014.

Renée Gailhoustet, the architect behind many of the most innovative social housing schemes in Paris, has died at the age 93. Gailhoustet is best known for the schemes in the banlieue of Ivry-sur-Seine she designed with her husband, Jean Renaudie. The grands ensembles they completed between 1969–75 marked a new direction for social housing, in which large apartment complexes with a terraced approach combining buildings with both public and private functions; similar schemes followed at Aubervilliers, Saint-Denis and Villejuif. Born in Algeria in 1929, Gailhoustet established her practice in Paris in 1964. Last year, she won the prestigious Royal Academy Architecture Prize.

The art historian Hans Belting, whose scholarship presented innovative ways for considering the role played by images in Western societies from the medieval period to the present, has died at the age of 87. Over the course of a long academic career, Belting held posts at universities in Hamburg, Heidelberg, Munich and Karlsruhe; he is perhaps best known for his essay The End of Art History? (1983) and Likeness and Presence (1990), an extended study of the function and context of images in late antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The National Glass Centre looks set to move from its home in Sunderland owing to costly and essential repairs to the building. The University of Sunderland, which owns the institution, is looking at the possibility of a relocation to premises in the centre of the city.

Authorities in Egypt have foiled an attempt to steal a colossal statue of Ramesses II. The suspected culprits were apprehended in a quarry south of the city of Aswan, while carrying manual digging equipment and a crane; the Antiques Authority of Aswan has estimated the weight of the statue at ‘approximately 10 tonnes’. Announcing the news on Facebook on Tuesday, the Public Prosecution stated that it had ‘ordered three defendants [to] be held in custody for four days pending investigations’.