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Experts appointed to reshape France’s approach to restitution

7 March 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

President Macron appoints experts to advise on restitution claims | French president Emmanuel Macron has hired the writer and economist Felwine Sarr and art historian Bénédicte Savoy to work on materials relating to the restitution of works of art illegally exported from Africa during the colonial era (French language article). Sarr and Savoy will be tasked with examining the conditions necessary to repatriate artefacts and ensure that they are suitably protected once restored to their countries of origin. The appointments come in the wake of a speech Macron gave in Burkina Faso in November, in which he pledged to commit resources to returning contested artefacts to Africa.

Rhode Island School of Design refutes claim to Picasso painting | Trustees of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design have denied a claim that a Picasso painting in the collection of its museum was stolen from a Jewish collector during the German occupation of France in the Second World War. According to the Art Newspaper, provenance experts commissioned by RISD have concluded that Picasso’s Femme assise au livre, which the museum purchased from the Carstairs Gallery in 1951, was once owned by the collector Alphonse Kann, but likely sold or exchanged in legitimate circumstances.

Art Newspaper launches French edition | The Art Newspaper has announced that it is launching a French language edition, operating under the title The Art Newspaper Daily – Édition Française. The edition will be headed by Quotidien de l’Art founder Philippe Régnier, who previously served as editor-in-chief of TAN’s sometime sister paper, Le Journal des Arts. As Le Monde writes (French language article), the paper’s title has been chosen to avoid confusion with the two aforementioned French language publications.

Yoko Ott named executive director of Portland’s Yale Union art centre | Yoko Ott, the director of the New Foundation Seattle, has been chosen as the next director of Portland’s Yale Union contemporary art centre. Ott, who has worked in leadership positions with a broad range of contemporary art residencies and programmes, will succeed Curtis Knapp, who resigned from the institution on 1 March.