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Italian police investigate vandalism claims at Pompeii

Plus: Israel reverses decision to join EU arts programme | Spanish police arrest three in connection with Bacon theft | Glafira Rosales will not serve further jail time for Knoedler scandal | and Charles Saatchi to auction works in order to keep gallery free

1 February 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Italian police are investigating claims of deliberate vandalism by Pompeii staff | Police in Italy are investigating claims that staff at Pompeii deliberately tore down a wall after clashes with the site’s management. Staff are suspected of having toppled a 1.5m sq section of wall at the ruined city’s House of the Citharist, in an area of the site not covered by CCTV, according to the Times (£). A union leader has denied any wrongdoing on the part of his staff.

Israel reverses decision to join EU arts programme | Israel’s culture and sports minister is pulling her support for a proposal to join Creative Europe, reports Artforum. Miri Regev has reportedly rejected the plans having previously put her name to them, on the grounds that the programme – which would allow Israeli artists to apply for nearly $1.6 billion in EU grants – would exclude funding for cultural programmes on the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in East Jerusalem. ‘Had Israel joined Creative Europe, they would have, in effect, recognised this European boycott of contentious territories’, her office said in a statement.

Spanish police arrest three in connection with Bacon theft | Spanish police have arrested three men in connection with the theft of five paintings by Francis Bacon in Madrid in 2015, reports the Times (£). The arrests are the latest to be made following the theft, in which works believed to be worth £21 million bequeathed by Bacon to his lover José Capelo were stolen from a house near the Spanish parliament. Last year, seven men were apprehended on a tip-off from a British company that traces stolen art.

Glafira Rosales will not serve further jail time for Knoedler scandal | Long Island art dealer Glafira Rosales, whose business was at the heart of the $80 million Knoedler forgery scandal, will not go back to jail, reports The Art Newspaper. On 31 January, a federal judge in New York sentenced Rosales to the 82 days she had already spent in detention following her 2013 arrest, nine months of house detention and three years of supervised release. Rosales, who pleaded guilty to several charges including wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in 2013, is said to have given the US government ‘valuable information’ for tracking bank accounts thought to be connected with the scandal.

Charles Saatchi to auction works in order to keep gallery free | Charles Saatchi is to sell off around 100 works from his collection in order to keep entrance to his London gallery free of charge, reports the London Evening Standard. Saatchi, who last made a significant sale in 2013, will auction works at Christie’s in New York and London in March. ‘If you are not going to charge for admission you have to find a way to support it’, Christie’s post-war and contemporary head Francis Outred told the Times (£).

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