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Art Outlook: 5 February

5 February 2015

Some of the stories and discussions we’ve spotted online this week

Met curator Walter Liedtke killed in Metro-North train crash

Walter Liedtke, curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was one of six people killed this Tuesday when a Metro-North train hit a vehicle at Valhalla. A specialist in Dutch and Flemish art, he had worked at the gallery for 35 years and was described by the director Thomas P. Campbell as ‘a brilliant, respected curator and scholar’.

National Gallery staff go on strike

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union have picketed the National Gallery in London this week in protest against its plans to privatise services. Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian, said the situation at the gallery was ’emblematic of low-pay Britain’; but Nicholas Penny hit back in the same publication, claiming that the institution was ‘committed to ensuring a fair deal for everyone affected’.

Two bronzes attributed to Michelangelo

A team led by the Fitzwilliam Museum and University of Cambridge has attributed two bronze sculptures, which depict muscular naked men riding panthers, to Michelangelo. If the attribution is correct, they are the artist’s only known surviving bronzes.

Picasso’s granddaughter goes it alone to sell his work

Marina Picasso is making the art market nervous by selling her grandfather’s artworks privately to fund her philanthropic projects, the New York Times reports. She inherited some 10,000 works, including around 300 paintings, and has previously sold through dealers and auction houses.

Three suspected art forgers arrested in Spain

Three people were arrested in the cities of Zaragoza and Tarragona this week and charged with crimes against intellectual property and fraud. Police were alerted to the alleged art forgery ring when a man was found with a set of drawings supposedly signed by Miró at the border between Spain and Andorra.

New Royal Academicians elected

Rebecca Salter and Eva Rothschild have been elected Royal Academicians; Rose Wylie – winner of last year’s John Moores Painting Prize – becomes a Senior Royal Academician, and Jim Dine and William Kentridge become Honorary RAs.

Parts of Paolozzi’s mosaic scheme dismantled at Tottenham Court Road

Three of four decorated arches that form part of Eduardo Paolozzi’s artistic scheme at Tottenham Court Road station have been dismantled during improvement works, despite calls from the public and conservation groups to preserve them. The Twentieth Century Society has subsequently called for a register of public artworks from the last century to help ensure their protection.

Reports of book-burning in Iraq

The Islamic State is thought to have burnt thousands of books and manuscripts from the Central Library of Mosul, the University of Mosul, and other sites in Iraq, according to a report in the Art Newspaper.

Bust of Hadrian uncovered in Murcia

A large marble bust of the Emperor Hadrian, believed to date from the year 135 AD, has been found at the Los Torrejones site in Yecla, Spain. The piece is comparable to items held at the British Museum, the Prado, the Uffizi and the Museum of Israel. It’s currently on display at the town’s archaeological museum.