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Étienne Terrus Museum discovers half its collection is fake

Plus: Director of Galleria Borghese faces trial for absenteeism | Golden leaves stolen from dome of Vienna’s Secession building | Princess Margriet Award for Culture 2018 goes to Forensic Architecture and Borderland | and recommended reading

30 April 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Étienne Terrus Museum discovers half of its works are fake | The Étienne Terrus Museum in Elne has discovered that some 82 works in its collection may be fakes, reports the BBC. The works account for perhaps more than half of the holdings of the institution, which reopened on Friday after a refurbishment. The art historian Eric Forcada alerted the museum to the presence of the fakes, many of which were purchased in the last five years. Local authorities have filed a complaint against the individuals responsible for ordering, painting or selling the works in question and police are investigating the case, which they say may affect holdings of other regional artists. The mayor of Elne has described the discovery as ‘a disaster for the municipality’.

Director of the Galleria Borghese faces trial for absenteeism | Anna Coliva, the director of Rome’s Galleria Borghese, will stand trial on charges of absenteeism and fraud, reports the Art Newspaper. Acting on an anonymous letter received in 2014, Italy’s culture ministry began an investigation into allegations that Coliva was frequently absent from work. Evidence suggested that she was away from the museum for 41 hours over 12 days; Coliva, who was suspended without pay earlier this month, says that much of the time spent outside the Borghese was devoted to museum-related business, and that hours spent working overtime more than made up for periods of absence.

Golden leaves stolen from dome of Vienna’s Secession building | A number of the distinctive golden leaves adorning the dome of Vienna’s Secession building were stolen last week by thieves taking advantage of the structure’s ongoing restoration. According to a police spokesperson, the thieves used the scaffolding currently in place to scale the building and make off with six of the ‘leaves’, which are individually valued at around $1,200.

Forensic Architecture and Borderland win Princess Margriet Award Culture 2018 | The European Cultural Foundation has awarded this year’s Princess Margriet Award for Culture to UK-based research agency Forensic Architecture and Polish foundation Borderland. Now in its tenth year, the award recognises European organisations who use culture to invigorate democracy, and grants its winners €25,000 each.

Recommended reading | On ArtNet, Julia Halperin looks into the Baltimore Museum of Art’s decision to sell a number of works by major post-war artists in order to create a more diverse collection of contemporary art. In the New Yorker, Zadie Smith writes about the photography of Deana Lawson, while the Observers Laura Cumming looks at the British Museum’s ‘Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece’, and sees the French sculptor’s work in an entirely new light.

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