Some of the stories and discussions we’ve spotted online this week
Lost Leonardo seized from Swiss vault
A painting attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci has been confiscated from a private bank vault in Lugano during a fraud investigation. Italian police claim the work was illegally exported and was about to be sold for some £90 million. The portrait Isabella d’Este – an influential Renaissance noblewoman and patron – will be taken back to Italy.
Gauguin painting sells for record-breaking $300 million
Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) is reported to have sold for an astonishing $300 million to the Qatar Museums Authority. The painting has been on loan to the Kunstmuseum Basel for decades; and it is not the only work now departing the museum. The Rudolf Staechelin Family Foundation, which sold the Gauguin, has also terminated the loans of 17 other paintings.
Picasso’s electrician accused of stealing the artist’s work
The estate of Pablo Picasso have taken Pierre Le Guennec and his wife Danielle to court, after it emerged that the couple were in possession of 271 of the artist’s works. They say they were given the items (which are believed to be worth around £50 million) in 1970 by Picasso’s then-wife, but the artist’s son Claude has dismissed the idea as ‘ridiculous’.
Human Rights Watch criticises labour conditions in Abu Dhabi
Working conditions on Saadiyat Island are under scrutiny again after the Human Rights Watch released its third report on migrant workers’ rights on the site. The 82-page document suggests that many promised reforms have been inadequately instigated and enforced.
Artists speak out against Cuba’s detention of Tania Bruguera
Artists and institutions around the world have voiced their support for Tania Bruguera, who was detained in Cuba late last year after planning a public performance highlighting limitations on free speech in her home country.
Moscow State Tretyakov director dismissed
The Russian Ministry of Culture announced this week that it had dismissed Irina Lebedeva on account of a succession of managerial failures. She’ll be replaced by Zelfira Tregulova, a former deputy director of the museum who is currently in charge of the culture ministry’s exhibition branch.
Michael Lynch leaves the WKCDA
The CEO of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority’s will take early retirement this summer. Lynch, who has been at the helm of the major cultural development project in Hong Kong since July 2011.
No Selfie Sticks
As the New York Observer reports, visitors to some of New York’s biggest museums will have to make do without their selfie sticks from now on…
‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)