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Berkshire Museum strikes agreement over proposed sale

12 February 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Berkshire Museum and Massachusetts AGO reach agreement over deaccession plans | After months of deadlock, the Berkshire Museum and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office have filed paperwork asking the state’s Supreme Judicial Court to approve a deal allowing the museum to sell up to forty works from its collection. According to ArtNews, the agreement will see Norman Rockwell’s painting Shuffleton’s Barbershop, worth an estimated $30 million, acquired by an as yet unnamed public institution in the US, where it will be kept ‘prominently on view’. Additionally, the filing recommends that the Berkshire Museum will be allowed to raise up to $55 million by selling the work in three tranches. If the quoted sum is met in the sales of the first or second tranches, the remaining items will not be sold.

Grand Palais to close for renovations from December 2020 | French culture minister Françoise Nyssen has confirmed that Paris’s Grand Palais will close for renovations from December 2020, reports Le Monde (French language article). The project (reported here in January 2017) has been under discussion for several years, delayed several times due to budgetary concerns. The renovations are now seen as a matter of urgency if the Palais is to be ready in time to act as a venue for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The current plan foresees the central area and exhibition space reopening in Spring 2023, while the Palais de la Découverte – a science museum situated in the building – will be closed until June 2024. According to Le Monde, the FIAC fair, which takes place in the Grand Palais, has yet to decide on an alternative host venue in the interim period.

Kawamura Museum of Art announces plan to sell holdings | The Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Sakura, Japan, has announced plans to sell off all of its holdings by Japanese artists. These include notable pictures such as an Azuchi-Momoyama period folding screen painting by Hasegawa Tohaku, which is designated as ‘Important Cultural Property’ by the Japanese government. Officials at the privately-owned museum have said that it aims to use the proceeds from the sale to bolster its collection of ‘works of abstract expressionism and also works of its subsequent generations’, Asahi Shimbun reports.

Harry ‘Hunk’ Anderson (1922–2018) | The art collector and philanthropist Harry ‘Hunk’ Anderson died last week at the age of 95. Anderson made his fortune through the food service company Saga Corporation, and along with his wife Mary became an avid collector. Together, they amassed one of the world’s most significant collections of 20th-century American art. In 2014, the Andersons made a major donation of 121 works from their collection to Stanford University, a bequest they discussed in interview with Apollo’s Louise Nicholson in March 2015.

Recommended reading | In ArtNews, Andrew Russeth hails Danh Vo’s new Guggenheim survey as ‘essential viewing’, while in London, the Observers Laura Cumming is similarly enthralled by an exhibition of Nancy Rubins’s ‘heavy yet lightsome’ work at Gagosian. In the same paper, Andrew Anthony investigates the disappointing visitor figures posted by the National Gallery in 2017, while the Art Newspapers Jori Finkel looks at the Getty’s current – and unprecedented – fundraising drive. ‘if I were working at a major museum [in Los Angeles] I would be pretty angry’, reveals one interviewee. Lastly, the New York Times responds to the Barack and Michelle Obama portraits unveiled today at Washington D.C.s National Portrait Gallery, ‘each radiating, in its different way, gravitas (his) and glam (hers).’