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Has the Art World Been Duped Over ‘Leonardo’ Drawing?

30 November 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Convicted Forger Claims to be Behind ‘Leonardo’ Drawing | Shaun Greenhalgh, a Bolton-based forger who was arrested in 2006 and subsequently sentenced to over four years in jail, has claimed that a drawing believed to be Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrait of Ludovico Sforza’s illegitimate daughter is in fact his own handiwork. If his claims are true, it will hardly be the first time Greenhalgh has duped the art world; writing in The Sunday Times, critic Waldemar Januszczak confessed to being fooled by a ‘Gauguin’ sculpture he had made. Meanwhile, art historian Martin Kemp has refuted the claims, describing Greenhalgh’s story as ‘ridiculous’. Whether true or not, it will be good publicity for Greenhalgh’s memoir – which, incidentally, is published by Januszczak’s ZCZ Editions.

Philippines to Create Website to Trace Imelda Marcos’s Missing Art | The government of the Philippines is creating a crowdsourcing website in an attempt to track down around 200 works of art that may once have belonged to former first lady Imelda Marcos. The list of missing works is drawn from documents Marcos and her husband Ferdinand left behind after they were ousted by a popular revolt in 1986. The works are thought to include paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. What consequences the initiative will have for Ms Marcos is unclear; in the past, she has been accused of embezzling state funds to acquire her collection.

Compton Verney Director: ‘UK Art World is not Just About London’ | Stephen Parissien, director of Warwickshire’s Compton Verney gallery, has criticised institutions including the Tate network and the V&A for their lending policies to regional galleries. Parissien attacked the loan fees of some of the London nationals, and accused them of ‘cultural colonialism’. If nothing else, this will surely bring unwanted nuance to Tate Britain’s current ‘Artist & Empire’ exhibition.

Exhibition on Violence Against Women Cancelled in China | Chinese authorities have reportedly forced the closure of an exhibition at a Beijing gallery protesting violence against women. The exhibition was scheduled to coincide with the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and is thought to have been closed down due to its focus on the subject and gender equality. The move follows a worrying pattern of official crackdowns on China’s feminist movement.

Artist Forced off Plane at Newark Liberty International Airport | American artist Kameelah Rasheed was dragged off a scheduled flight to Istanbul at Newark Liberty International Airport and questioned at length by FBI agents, having passed through regular security checks and been allowed to board the plane. Rasheed has described the heavy-handed actions of the security services as leaving her ‘traumatised and shaken’. Her full account is available on Al Jazeera.

Climate Change Activists Stage Protest at Tate Britain | Activists from the Liberate Tate campaign staged a Climate Change protest in Tate Britain last weekend in protest against the institution’s sponsorship arrangement with BP. Thirty-five activists gathered in the museum’s 1840s gallery and tattooed themselves, reasoning that the black ink on their skin symbolised ‘the taint of BP on Tate’. Further demonstrations will take place next weekend, when an ‘unauthorised arts festival’ arrives at Tate Modern.

Strong Evidence that Tutankhamun’s Tomb Contains Hidden Chamber | Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati has announced that his department is ‘90% sure’ that a secret chamber, possibly belonging to Queen Nefertiti, is hidden within the tomb of Tutankhamun. The theory, which was initially advanced by archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, is based on 3D scans made by Factum Arte, who explain the process here. Whether that troublesomely vague ‘10%’ comes into play, we will have to wait and see.

Willem Baron van Dedem 1929–2015 | TEFAF President and highly respected collector Willem Baron van Dedem has died at the age of 86. An expert in Dutch Old Master Paintings, van Dedem became President of TEFAF in 1997. Among his notable achievements were important donations to institutions including London’s National Gallery, the Mauritshuis and the Rijksmuseum. He spoke to Michael Hall for Apollo magazine’s March 2010 issue.