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Germany to investigate mass art seizures by the Stasi

13 April 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Germany to investigate Cold War era art seizures by the Stasi | The German government is setting aside funds to investigate the expropriation of works of art by authorities in communist East Germany, reports the Art Newspaper. The probe will begin by looking into the ‘Aktion Licht’ of January 1962 – a state-sanctioned raid on private vaults which had been abandoned by those fleeing the country. Widespread plunder of private collections also took place following the victory of the Red Army in 1945, and in the 1970s when East German authorities would levy unaffordable tax bills on collectors, accepting works of art in lieu of payment. Many of the objects seized were sold to the West to raise cash for the regime. The investigation will be carried out by the German Lost Art Foundation, which is also responsible for researching Nazi looting and restitution cases.

Musée d’Orsay accused of discrimination | Paris’s Musée d’Orsay has come under fire over ticketing restrictions perceived as discriminatory towards school groups from ‘priority’ – or less advantaged – postcodes. According to Le Figaro (French language article), a social media user posted a screen-grab taken from the museum’s website stating that school groups of up to 20 children from Priority Education Zones (ZEPs) were eligible for free entry. For other school groups, however, the number of pupils eligible for free entry rose to 30. After interventions from education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and culture minister Audrey Azoulay, the museum issued a statement describing the entry guidelines on its website as ‘erroneous’. ‘All school groups are of course welcome at Orsay,’ it read. ‘The page on the website has now been modified.’

Warhol Foundation files pre-emptive lawsuit over ‘Prince’ series dispute | The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against a photographer who says that the late artist violated her copyright in 1984, when he produced images of the musician Prince that were based on one of her portraits. Photographer Lynn Goldsmith claims that Warhol’s use of a 1981 image she took of the musician is not fair use. The Warhol Foundation describes her claims as ‘meritless’ and wants the case dismissed as the three-year statue of limitations on copyright claims has already passed.

Robert Ryman donates 21 works to Dia Art Foundation | The artist Robert Ryman has donated 21 works to the Dia Art Foundation, reports the New York Times. The major donation includes works created throughout Ryman’s career, from the late 1950s to the turn of the century. They have long been on display at Dia:Beacon in upstate New York, but their addition to the foundation’s permanent collection marks something of a coup: such a representative group of the artist’s work is unparalleled in any other public collection.

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