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Constable’s The Lock Fetches £9.1 million at Sotheby’s

10 December 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Constable’s The Lock Sells for £9.1 million | In one of the most highly anticipated auctions of the year, a second version of John Constable’s masterpiece The Lock fetched £9.1 million at Sotheby’s London Evening Sale last night. It was the first time the ‘Foster Version’ of the painting had appeared on the market since 1855, when it sold to Worcestershire industrialist William Orme Foster for £860. Despite the painting’s enormous significance, it sold towards the lower end of its £8-12 million estimate – and for rather less than an earlier version of the painting, which sold for £20 million three years ago. Will it take another 160 years for the painting to come up for sale again?

Has the Tomb of Suleyman the Magnificent been Discovered? | According to Professor Norbert Pap of the university of Pecs, the tomb of the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent has ‘almost certainly’ been discovered in Hungary, where he died in combat in 1566. Though excavations of the site near the Croatian border have ceased for the winter, research will resume in the spring. If Professor Pap is correct, this could prove to be one of the discoveries of the century.

Former Pompidou Centre Director General Placed in Custody | Agnès Saal, former director general of Paris’s Pompidou Centre, has been put in custody for the second time following a police investigation into her expenses. It is alleged that during her time at the head of France’s Institut National de l’audiovisuel (INA) between 2014 to 2015, Saal incurred some €40,000 worth of taxi fees. In April, Fleur Pellerin, the French culture asked Saal to resign with immediate effect. In her tenure at the Pompidou between 2013–14, she is thought to have racked up a further €38,000 of taxi travel at the public expense.

Hundreds Protest Oil Sponsorship at the Louvre | Following large-scale protests at Tate Modern and Tate Britain over the past few weeks, hundreds of environmental activists from around the world have gathered outside the Louvre to call on museums to end sponsorship arrangements with oil companies. At the time of writing, 10 protesters had been arrested for walking barefoot through fake oil spilled in the museum’s atrium.

Art Historian Launches Successful Appeal over Fake Ernst Attribution | In further news connected to the Paris Modern Art gallery, Art historian and Max Ernst expert Werner Spies has successfully appealed against a ruling ordering him to pay a fine for mistakenly attributing a painting as the work of the German surrealist. Spies, a former Pompidou director, had attributed the work in 2002, and in 2013 was ordered to compensate the collector who bought it after the forgery was detected. The court of appeal judged that Spies could not be found responsible, having expressed his opinion outside the terms of the individual sale.