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Major Fabergé exhibition on hold due to political tensions

Plus: Guy Cogeval to continue at Musée d’Orsay | Eritrean capital seeks UNESCO World Heritage listing | Mayor of Liverpool: funding ‘chasm’ developing between London and the north | Martha Tedeschi appointed director of Harvard Art Museums | Mauritshuis acquires rare Savery still life

10 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Major Fabergé loan cancelled due to diplomatic tension | A joint exhibition between the Fabergé Museum in St Petersburg and Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been put on hold due to rising insurance costs, which are in turn the result of rising political tensions, The Art Newspaper reports. The show, which would have brought the largest collection of Fabergé creations outside Russia to St Petersburg, was due to open late last year. However, plans reached an impasse after the Virginia museum was advised to take out an additional policy costing $1 million to insure its collection while it was in Russia. Though VMFA director Alex Nyerges is hopeful that the show will ultimately go ahead, plans are suspended indefinitely.

Guy Cogeval to continue at Musée d’Orsay | Guy Cogeval, who was due to step down as the director of the Musée d’Orsay when his second three-year-term came to an end this year, has been reappointed for another year (French language article), in a solution recommended by Audrey Azoulay, France’s Culture minister. As previously reported here, Cogeval’s application for a third term prompted six anonymous employees to write to Le Monde declaring him unfit to continue in the role. Cogeval was quick to defend himself and wrote an open letter to the same paper (French language article). Cogeval’s new term will expire in March 2017, when he will leave to direct a new research centre linked to the museum.

Eritrean capital seeks UNESCO World Heritage listing | Reuters reports that Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, is seeking UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The city, a former colony of Italy, is home to some of the finest surviving examples of Italian modernist architecture. The colonial-era core has changed little since the 1940s, and its best buildings are well preserved. It is hoped that UNESCO status will bring the benefits of increased tourism, though widespread criticism of Eritrea’s human rights record (in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, for example, the country ranks at the very bottom of the 180 countries surveyed) could prove an obstacle to these ambitions.

Mayor of Liverpool: funding ‘chasm’ developing between London and the north | Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, has written a column for the Guardian decrying the ‘unnecessary decimation of cultural assets’ in the north of England and claiming that ‘current levels of both public and private money are monumentally stacked in favour of the capital’. The figures Anderson cites are alarming, particularly in light of the swathe of budget cuts to museums across the north of the country.

Martha Tedeschi appointed director of Harvard Art Museums | Harvard University Provost Alan M. Garber has announced that Martha Tedeschi is take over as the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. Tedeschi, who is currently deputy director for art and research at the Art Institute of Chicago, has a background in museums stretching back to the early 1980s, when she began her career as an intern at the AIC.

Mauritshuis acquires rare Savery still life | The Mauritshuis has acquired Vase of Flowers in a Stone Niche, a rare floral still life by the 17th-century Flemish painter Roelant Savery for €6.5 million. ‘Floral still lifes by Savery are very rare and don’t come on the market very often,’ says Mauritshuis director Emilie Gordenker, ‘[…] Vase of Flowers in a Stone Niche is without doubt among the best work of the master.’ The museum was quick to act when it heard the painting was coming up for sale at this year’s TEFAF Maastricht, where it will remain on display until the end of the fair.

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