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Francis Bacon paintings worth €30 million stolen in Madrid

Plus: Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opens in LA | National Portrait Gallery to show Leon Golub’s political portraits | Ed Vaizey to meet local MPs over Bradford museum debate | and the weekend’s best reviews & comment

14 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Francis Bacon paintings stolen in Madrid | Five paintings by Francis Bacon have been stolen from the home of a Madrid collector, reports El Pais (Spanish language article). According to the paper’s sources, the robbery – thought to be a professional operation – took place last June, and it is unclear as to why it has been made public only now. There has been a great deal of speculation as to which Bacon works were taken and why they were targeted. Agence France-Presse Madrid quotes one anonymous specialist, ‘It is not at all easy to sell a Francis Bacon, large or small, without that getting to the ears of those who pore over such a rarefied sector.’ A mystery, then…

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel opens in LA | The newest addition to the Hauser & Wirth gallery empire opened this weekend, this time in Los Angeles’ downtown arts district. The new space, which is run by partner Paul Schimmel, is the gallery’s sixth outpost. In other West Coast art news, Gagosian is to open a new branch in San Francisco in May. Could California be the new New York?

National Portrait Gallery to show Leon Golub’s political portraits | ‘My portraits depict people who, if they act at all, do it irrationally, irregularly – puppets on a string even if they claim to be running the show,’ said painter Leon Golub of his paintings of religious, military and political leaders in 1982. The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it is to give these works their first public showing in the UK. The exhibition, which opens on 18 March, will feature portraits of figures including General Franco, Henry Kissinger and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Given the praise Golub’s Serpentine show attracted last year, the NPG is sure to have a hit on its hands.

Ed Vaizey to meet local MPs over Bradford museum debate | After continued petitioning against the moving of objects from the Royal Photographic Society collection housed at Bradford’s National Media Museum to London’s V&A, the Guardian reports that UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has agreed to meet local MPs to hear their case. Meanwhile, the former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, a Yorkshireman, has described the planned move as ‘thoughtless’.

The weekend’s best reviews & comment | Unlike many critics, the Sunday Times’s (£) Waldemar Januszczak was won over by the V&A’s unconventional ‘Botticelli Reimagined’, while the Sunday Telegraph’s Alastair Sooke visited the new home of the Portland Collection in Nottinghamshire, and liked what he saw. Meanwhile in the Guardian, Oliver Wainwright explores the lasting legacy of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian 1975 novel HighRise. And in Saturday’s Times (£), Rachel Campbell-Johnston spoke to Julia Peyton Jones about her post-Serpentine plans. ‘I’ll be cooking and entertaining at home — eight to twelve people — and regularly,’ says JPJ.

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