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Cornelius Gurlitt’s controversial collection to go on public display

Plus: Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet goes on display in Cardiff | Another ‘Rembrandt’ is unveiled in Amsterdam | Jan Fabre resigns as artistic director of Athens and Epidaurus Festival | Has a ‘lost’ Caravaggio painting been discovered in France? | and Klaus Biesenbach awarded Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit

5 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gurlitt collection to be exhibited later this year | Plans are afoot to mount a major exhibition of Cornelius Gurlitt’s art collection, even though many questions about the provenance and future of the works remain unanswered. In a project initiated by German culture minister Monika Grütters, the Kunstmuseum Bern (to which Gurlitt bequeathed the collection in his will) and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn have announced a joint display, which the institutions hope will ‘contribute to finding clues about the unknown provenance of works.’ According to The Art Newspaper, not everyone is happy. ‘This exhibition planning is premature,’ says Louis Rönsberg, a Munich lawyer representing Gurlitt’s cousin, Uta Werner, who challenged the collector’s will on the grounds that he was not of sound mind. Munich courts have yet to make a final ruling about the fate of the collection, and Rönsberg believes the German culture ministry’s plans are intended to ‘pressure the court into making a quick decision.’

Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet goes on display in Cardiff | The buyer of Rembrandt’s portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet has agreed to loan the painting to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff for a period of three years. The portrait was briefly subject to a temporary export bar last year, when a provisional sale to the private overseas buyer led to an application for an export licence, but that application was withdrawn and the sale proceeded when the buyer agreed to keep to the work in the UK for the foreseeable future. ‘We’re delighted that Rembrandt’s Catrina will soon be on display in Cardiff for everyone to enjoy,’ said Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar. ‘Last year the Art Fund planned an appeal to bring it into permanent public ownership, and we haven’t given up hope that this may one day be achieved.’

… and another ‘Rembrandt’ is unveiled in Amsterdam | A team of data scientists, engineers, developers and art historians have today unveiled a work they are calling ‘the Next Rembrandt’ in Amsterdam, made with the backing of institutions including the Mauritshuis and the Rembrandt House Museum. Although the work bears striking similarities to the painter’s own, it is in fact a new digital creation, painstakingly constructed using some 148 million pixels, and based on fragments of thousands of Rembrandt paintings. Advertising executive Bas Korsten, the brains behind the initiative, explains: ‘We are creating something new from his work. Only Rembrandt could create a Rembrandt.’ Which may be stating the obvious, but it pays to be clear.

Jan Fabre resigns as artistic director of Athens and Epidaurus Festival | Following criticism of his programme for this year’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival, Jean Fabre has stepped down as artistic director of the event. Some in Greece have been angered by Fabre’s decision to award eight out of the festival’s 10 artistic productions to artists from his native Belgium. Established in 1955, the festival is an important event in Greece’s cultural calendar. ‘I do not want to work in a hostile artistic environment in which I came with an open mind and heart,’ Fabre declared in a statement announcing his resignation. Fabre is to be succeeded by director Vangelis Theodoropoulos.

Has a ‘lost’ Caravaggio painting been discovered in France? | The French culture ministry has placed export restrictions on a painting of Judith beheading Holofernes, which experts believe may be the handiwork of none other than Caravaggio. (French language article.) Details remain murky, but information released so far suggests that it was discovered only recently, and that an American museum had expressed an interest in acquiring it.

Klaus Biesenbach awarded Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit | MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, who also holds the title of MoMA’s ‘chief curator at large’, has received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in a ceremony at the New York home of consul general Brita Wagener.

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