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Art News Daily

Cornelius Gurlitt deemed sane when making museum bequest

23 December 2015

Our daily round up of news from the art world

Gurlitt Deemed Sound of Mind When he Wrote his Will | It seems Cornelius Gurlitt was sound of mind when he bequeathed his collection to a Swiss museum before his death. The findings, which were presented by a medical expert in a Munich court this week, weakens the counter-claim put forward by some of his relatives. Gurlitt’s father Hildebrand acquired most of the hoard during the Third Reich era, and when the collection was discovered in a Munich flat in 2012, many assumed that the majority of its content had been stolen from Jewish collectors during the Second World War. In fact, as The Local reports this week, experts examining the collection have identified just five works that were demonstrably looted by the Nazis.

Fire Torches Museum of the Portuguese Language in São Paolo | Fire engulfed São Paolo’s Museum of the Portuguese Language on Monday, gutting parts of its historic edifice. The museum is housed in the Estação da Luz, a commuter railway station designed by British architect Charles Henry Driver in 1901. A fireman was killed attempting to contain the blaze, but as the museum is closed on Mondays, no one else was harmed.

Nicolas Cage Agrees to Return Stolen Dinosaur | No – you didn’t dream that sub-header. In 2007, actor and notoriously eccentric collector Nicolas Cage spent $276,000 outbidding Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull of a Tyrannosaurus, provoking complaints that important scientific artefacts were disappearing into the hands of the super rich. Eight years later, he is handing it back to the Mongolian state, from whom (unbeknownst to Mr Cage) it was stolen some years before. As the New York Times reports, there is something of an industry for trafficking stolen dino bones; could this be a good plot for Mr Cage’s next star vehicle?

Miniature Tudor Treasure Hoard Found in Thames Mud | A hoard of tiny gold objects dating from the early 16th century has been dug up from the muddy banks of the river Thames. According to the Guardian, experts believe that the miniscule objects may once have decorated a single piece of ornate clothing that was probably blown overboard on a ferry crossing.

‘Strange Object’ Found in Jerusalem Turns out to be Stranger than Thought | A ridged golden object dug up in a Jerusalem cemetery is baffling experts, reports Israel National News. The object – rather like a rod – was initially thought to be an archaeological artefact. Now, though, a German company has claimed it as one of its products, describing it as an ‘Isis Beamer’. Don’t jump out of your seat too fast: it apparently bears no connection to the self-styled Caliphate; it is, apparently, a tool used for ‘energy healing’. No, us neither.

That’s it from Art News Daily for the next few days. Merry Christmas!

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