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Disputed Cranach works can stay at Norton Simon Museum, rules judge

18 August 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

California judge rules that Norton Simon Museum can keep disputed Cranach works | A judge in California has dismissed a restitution claim for two Lucas Cranach paintings in the collection of Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum, reports The Art Newspaper. The plaintiff, a descendent of collector and dealer Jacques Goudstikker, maintains that the works were stolen from his family by the Nazis during the Second World War, after which they became the property of the Dutch state. They were subsequently passed to an exiled Russian aristocrat who claimed his family had owned the works prior to the Bolshevik revolution. He then sold them to collector Norton Simon, who put them on display at the museum. The case prompts many ambiguities over restitution: as a report by law firm Sullivan & Worcester makes clear.

Jack Lang condemns renovation of Paris’s Galerie Vivienne | Former French culture minister Jack Lang has spoken out against a controversial renovation of the Galerie Vivienne, a historic 19th-century arcade in central Paris (French language article). Lang, who is now director of the Institut du monde arabe, wrote to culture minister Audrey Azoulay, denouncing the ‘destructive renovation’ of the arcade. He then called on the minister to bring the project to a close. A petition launched in protest at the renovations has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.

Ethics Committee ruling on BP sponsorship sparks debate | This week, the Museums Association’s Ethics Committee dismissed allegations that museums accepting sponsorship from BP had breached ethical codes. The Committee found that evidence presented in a report by the Art Not Oil coalition in fact reflected ‘normal practice in the relationship between an institution and a sponsor’. The pressure group has since issued its own statement, claiming that ‘when it comes to fossil fuels, we urgently need to go beyond “standard practice”, both in our cultural institutions and in society.’

Bede’s World museum to reopen as Jarrow Hall | Following its closure in February due to financial difficulties, Tyneside’s Bede’s World museum is to reopen under a new name, reports the BBC. The museum, which was dedicated to the life and times of 7th-century monk the Venerable Bede, will relaunch as Jarrow Hall – Anglo Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum in October. ‘This is a new dawn for this well-known, well-loved and highly important history centre’, said Andrew Watts of Groundwork North East & Cumbria, the charity that has taken over the running of the site.

London mayor abandons ‘Olympicopolis’ name for east London culture hub | London mayor Sadiq Khan is to announce further plans for the east London redevelopment area on the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. Perhaps symbolically, Khan has decided to drop ‘Olympicopolis’, the name that his predecessor Boris Johnson bestowed on the initiative. The project has been provisionally renamed ‘East London’s Heritage and Cultural Quarter’, though as The Art Newspaper suggests, this may well be abridged to something ‘snappier’.