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British Museum Names German Art Historian as New Director

25 September 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

British Museum Names Hartwig Fischer as New Director | The British Museum has named German art historian Hartwig Fischer as its replacement for outgoing director Neil MacGregor, and is currently awaiting approval from the Prime Minister. Fischer, who is currently director general of Dresden State Art Collections, will be the first foreigner to occupy a senior position at the museum in almost 150 years. In many ways, it is an unenviable honour: MacGregor’s widely lauded 13-year tenure is going to be a hard act to follow.

France Prepared to Split Rembrandt Costs with Netherlands | The French Culture Ministry has announced that it is ‘ready to acquire’ one of two Rembrandt portraits that have come up for sale, reports Le Journal des Arts. The news follows the Dutch government’s pledge of €80 million – half the sum needed – to buy the paintings from banker Eric de Rothschild. The unorthodox international cost-splitting may see the two paintings installed, respectively, in the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum ‘within a few weeks’.

Russian Collector to Return ‘Stolen’ Picassos | The Russian billionaire collector Dmitry Rybolovlev is poised to return two works by Picasso to the artist’s stepdaughter, reports the New York Times. Rybolovlev bought the works from Swiss art shipper Yves Bouvier in 2013 without knowledge of their allegedly dubious provenance. Larry Gagosian has described Bouvier’s practice as ‘posing a terrible conflict of interest’.

‘Mona Lisa Bones’ Discovered in Florence | Experts in Florence have dug up bones they believe to have belonged to Leonardo’s model for the Mona Lisa, reports The Times. Despite the fact that a skull is yet to be discovered, art historian Silvano Vinceti has described the identification as a ‘probability’ – is his optimism justified?

Rauschenberg Foundation Calls for Projects Addressing Racial Injustice | The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has called for artists to submit ‘ambitious projects’ addressing ‘racial injustice through the lens of mass incarceration’, reports The Art Newspaper. Successful applicants will be accepted onto a two-year fellowship and awarded up to $100,000. In further Rauschenberg news, an exhibition of the artist’s late works is to open at PACE New York on 23 October.