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Bonhams chief executive Matthew Girling steps down

11 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Bonhams chief executive Matthew Girling steps down | The global CEO of Bonhams, Matthew Girling, has announced his resignation after 32 years at the company. Girling first joined Bonhams in 1988 and, after six years at Christie’s, rejoined in 1996 as head of the jewellery department. In 1999, he became a member of the auction house’s management team, and was appointed CEO in 2015. Executive chairman Bruno Vinciguerra will assume the role in addition to his existing responsibilities. 

Trump’s annual budget renews threat against National Endowment for the Arts | The Trump administration’s proposed annual budget for 2021, released by the White House yesterday, threatens to eliminate federal funding to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the fourth year in a row. The budget states: ‘Activities funded by the NEA/NEH are not considered core Federal responsibilities and make up only a small fraction of the billions spent each year by arts and humanities nonprofit organizations.’ The proposal has yet to be approved by Congress, which has in the past rejected the administration’s attempts to defund federal arts programmes. 

Sofie Scheerlinck appointed interim managing director of TEFAF | TEFAF has named Sofie Scheerlinck as its interim managing director, following the resignation of Patrick van Maris. Scheerlinck served as managing director of TEFAF New York since 2018; she assumes the role on 1 April. 

Caroline Baumann resigns as director of Cooper Hewitt | Caroline Baumann has stepped down as director of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, after seven years in the role. She had previously served as associate director, acting director and deputy director of the museum. She will be temporarily replaced by the Smithsonian’s provost/under secretary for museums, education and research, John Davis, while the museum finds a replacement. 

Lewisham and Croydon named London Boroughs of Culture | Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced today that Lewisham will be the London Borough of Culture 2021, with Croydon named for 2023. The title, which was first awarded by the Mayor to Waltham Forest in 2017, comes with £1.35m of funding for each borough, which will be put towards a year-long programme of cultural activities around their proposed themes, each of which relates to climate action and sustainability. Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey and Sutton are each recipients of the £200,000 Cultural Impact Award. 

Rembrandt discovered at small Pennsylvania Museum | Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania has discovered a Rembrandt in its collection. Routine conservation using new techniques revealed that beneath the layers of varnish and overpaint on Portrait of a Young Lady (1632) lies evidence of the Old Master’s brushstroke. When the Kress Foundation, which oversees the Renaissance collection of Samuel Kress, donated the painting to the regional museum in 1961, it was attributed to Rembrandt, but Netherlandish researchers declared the work a product of the artist’s workshop during the 1970s.