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Major Dutch Old Master drawing collection goes to Harvard

Plus: Republican tax plan seeks to close ‘like-kind’ exchange loophole | Art Dealers Association of America names Maureen Bray as executive director | City of London returns Nazi-looted Dutch Old Master painting | and recommended reading

6 November 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Harvard Art Museums receive 330 Dutch old master drawings | A major gift of 330 Dutch, Flemish, and Netherlandish drawings from the 16th to 18th centuries – including examples by masters such as Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael and Hendrick Goltzius – has been bequeathed to the Harvard Art Museums, the US institution has announced. The donation, from the collection of Harvard alumnus George S. Abrams and his late wife Maida Abrams, is widely considered the best material of its kind in private hands, the Boston Globe reports. At a dinner held on Friday in his honour, Abrams was knighted by the kingdom of the Netherlands, receiving the highest order of Orange-Nassau, for his contributions to the study of Dutch art.

Republican tax plan seeks to close ‘like-kind’ exchange loophole | The Republican party’s new tax plan released by the US House of Representatives last week has caused concern in areas of the art market, due to the proposed partial closing of a loophole – known as the 1031 or ‘like-kind’ exchange rule – that allows investors to avoid high tax rates on certain purchases, including extremely valuable artworks. The proposed plan would eliminate these exchanges, which currently allow buyers to use the proceeds from the sale of an asset to purchase an equivalent piece of property within a short timeframe, without paying capital-gains tax, except for in the case of real estate (the sector in which the loophole is most commonly used). The bill also intends to raise the standards required of private museums hoping to qualify for full tax benefits, specifying that they remain open to the public for at least 1,000 hours a year.

Art Dealers Association of America names Maureen Bray as executive director | The Art Dealers Association of America has announced the appointment of a new executive director: New York-based gallerist Maureen Bray. Bray, who currently directs David Nolan Gallery, will succeed the ADAA’s incumbent director Linda Blumberg, who has stepped down after an 11-year tenure.

City of London returns Nazi-looted Dutch Old Master painting | A 17th-century Dutch oil painting, until now on display at the Lord Mayor of London’s official residence at Mansion House, is today returning to the heirs of its former owner, children’s hospital director J.H. Smidt van Gelder, from whom the work was stolen in the Netherlands by Nazis in 1945. The Oyster Meal (c. 1664–65) by Jacob Ochtervelt was later purchased by property developer Lord Harold Samuel, who bequeathed his collection to the City of London corporation after his death in 1987, on the condition that it hang permanently in Mansion House (his daughters have waived this condition to allow the painting’s return). Researchers from the Commission for Looted Art in Europe traced the work to a group of 14 paintings owned by Smidt van Gelder looted from the town of Arnhem during a Nazi attack, of which five remain missing.

London art dealer Amanda Wilkinson to open new gallery | Amanda Wilkinson, former co-owner of the now-closed Wilkinson Gallery in East London, is opening a new space in Soho, the Art Newspaper reports. The new eponymous gallery, which launches on 18 November with a solo exhibition of work by Korean artist Jewyo Rhii, will represent many of Wilkinson’s former artists, including Joan Jonas, Laurie Simmons, and the estate of Derek Jarman.

Recommended reading | The New York Times interviews Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Carmen C. Bambach, who explains how she managed to attribute a loaned 16th-century drawing to Michelangelo’s hand. In the Guardian’s letters, meanwhile, several readers – including Labour member of the House of Lords Patricia Hollis and ArtWatch UK director Michael Daley – voice their criticisms of David Adjaye’s proposed design for London’s new Holocaust memorial. Finally, at Hyperallergic by Felix Salmon: ‘The Berserk Battle Over the Berkshire Museum and Its Art Collection’, a damning summary of the ongoing legal proceedings regarding the Pittsfield institution’s planned deaccessioning sale.

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