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Gemeentemuseum discovers water lilies under wisteria painting by Monet

Plus: Natural History Museum director to retire | and Camille Billops (1933–2019)

4 June 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gemeentemuseum discovers water lilies underneath Monet wisteria painting | Ruth Hoppe, a conservator at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, recently made an ‘extraordinary’ discovery, reports the New York Times: one of Monet’s wisteria paintings, completed at Giverny during the last decades of the artist’s life, was in fact painted over another work depicting water lilies. Hoppe came across the hidden painting when she X-rayed the work, curious about the source of touch-ups that covered small holes in the canvas. Gemeentemuseum curator Frouke van Dijke speculated that the painting might have been an ‘experiment’ and said: ‘To my eye, this is a bridge between the water lilies and the wisteria.’

Natural History Museum director to retire | Michael Dixon will retire after a 17-year tenure as director of the Natural History Museum in London. Dixon will depart at the end of March 2021, giving the museum’s board ample time to appoint a successor. He was knighted in 2014 in recognition of his service to museums. 

Camille Billops (1933–2019) | Artist and documentarian Camille Billops has died at the age of 85. Billops was a pioneering film-maker, sculptor, and archivist known for her 1991 work Finding Christa, in which she reconnects with her daughter 20 years after giving her up for adoption. Her work was included in the recent exhibition ‘We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965–85’, which opened at the Brooklyn Museum in 2017.

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