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Court rules that Gurlitt collection should go to Bern

Plus: Guillaume Cerutti to replace Patricia Barbizet as chief executive at Christie’s | Jennifer Scott appointed director of Dulwich Picture Gallery | Deborah de Robertis on trial for exhibitionism | Ilaria Bonacossa named director of ARTISSIMA | Nazy Vassegh to leave Masterpiece | and Christy MacLear to leave Rauschenberg Foundation for Sotheby’s

15 December 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Kunstmuseum Bern will inherit Gurlitt collection | A court in Munich has dismissed a challenge to the will of controversial collector Cornelius Gurlitt, allowing his collection to pass into the hands of Bern’s Kunstmuseum, reports The Art Newspaper. As previously reported here, Gurlitt’s will was contested by his cousin Uta Werner on the grounds that the elderly collector was not of sound mind when the document was drafted. Although the Munich court acknowledged that Gurlitt may have been sporadically ‘delusional’, there was no indication that the condition affected his judgement. The Swiss museum has greeted the ruling with ‘joy and relief’, and will cooperate with Germany’s Lost Art Foundation to research the provenance of the collection, which contains some 1,500 works by artists including Monet, Dix and Courbet.

Guillaume Cerutti to replace Patricia Barbizet as chief executive at Christie’s | Christie’s Europe president Guillaume Cerutti is to take up the post of chief executive at the auction house, replacing Patricia Barbizet, who will step down in January after two years as CEO. Cerutti, who joined the auction house from Sotheby’s last year, praised his predecessor’s achievements in the role, citing the ‘exceptional talents’ available at Christie’s. François Pinault, the owner of Christie’s will assume the role of chairman, with Barbizet as vice chairman. Barbizet will also remain chief executive of the Artémis Group, the investment company founded by Pinault.

Jennifer Scott appointed director of Dulwich Picture Gallery | Holburne Museum director Jennifer Scott is to take over the leadership of south London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery in April, replacing Ian Dejardin after 12 years in the role. Scott, who has been at the head of the Bath institution since 2014, was previously a curator at the Royal Collection. Dejardin, meanwhile, will move to Ontario to become chief executive of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. ‘I feel I am leaving the Holburne in a position of great strength for the future,’ said Scott. ‘I now look forward with excitement to my new role at Dulwich Picture Gallery.’

Deborah de Robertis on trial for exhibitionism | Franco-Luxembourgish artist Deborah de Robertis has gone on trial at a correctional tribunal in Paris on charges of sexual exhibitionism, following two unauthorised nude performances in museums. According to Le Figaro (French language article), the artist, who stripped off for performances at the Musée d’Orsay and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie earlier this year, has defended herself on the grounds that she was attempting to ‘show a real woman’s body’ in the context of images promoting idealised, and arguably sexualised visions of femininity. A verdict is expected on 1 February, and de Robertis faces a fine of up to €2,000 if found guilty.

Ilaria Bonacossa named director of ARTISSIMA | Curator and art historian Ilaria Bonacossa is to replace Sarah Cosulich as director of Turin’s ARTISSIMA contemporary art fair. ‘I take up this important legacy with responsibility and enthusiasm,’ Bonacossa said in a statement in which she praised the ‘strength and international excellence’ of Turin’s cultural institutions. Cosulich, who has directed ARTISSIMA for five years, described the fair as a ‘unique experimental and curatorial identity which has become one of the most respected international events’.

Nazy Vassegh to leave Masterpiece | Nazy Vassegh, CEO of London’s Masterpiece art fair, is to step down at the end of this month. Vassegh, who previously worked at Sotheby’s before leaving to become an independent art consultant, joined Masterpiece in January 2013. A spokesperson for the fair told Antiques Trade Gazette that it would begin the search for a replacement to take up the role in the New Year. In the meantime, Chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor says he will work closely with the Masterpiece team until a new CEO is chosen.

Christy MacLear to leave Rauschenberg Foundation for Sotheby’s | Robert Rauschenberg Foundation CEO Christy MacLear is to leave the organisation to take up the post of vice chair of Sotheby’s fine arts division in January. MacLear’s brief is to strengthen the auction house’s advisory service for artists and artists’ estates, working closely with art advisor Allan Schwartzman, head of Art Agency, Partners, which the auction house acquired earlier this year. ‘It can be a costly error not to have an experienced person between your lawyer and your gallery,’ MacLear commented. ‘[…] having a financial and organisational plan in advance helps optimise an artist’s legacy.’

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