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Manchester Museum names Esme Ward as next director

Plus: National Portrait Gallery closes for fashion show | Scans reveal hidden landscape beneath Picasso painting | Finland’s National Gallery releases collections online | and recommended reading

19 February 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Manchester Museum names Esme Ward as next director | The 125-year-old Manchester Museum has announced the appointment of Esme Ward as its next director. Ward is set to begin her new role in April, succeeding Nick Merriman, who is departing to join London’s Horniman Museum as chief executive. Previously, Ward served as education officer at the Whitworth in Manchester, before taking up her current role as head of learning and engagement for both the Whitworth and Manchester Museum.

National Portrait Gallery closes for fashion show | The National Portrait Gallery in London is today (19 February) closed to the public, due to the decision to host a private fashion show for the designer Erdem. The unusual move was approved by the NPG’s board of trustees. Speaking to the Art Newspaper last week, a spokesperson for the gallery defended the temporary closure, stating that  the public institution ‘has to self-generate over 70% of the funds needed’.

Scans reveal hidden landscape beneath Picasso painting | Scans have revealed a previously unknown painting hidden beneath the Picasso painting Crouching Woman (1902), according to results of an analysis published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The non-invasive imaging has uncovered a landscape scene, thought to depict the Parc del Laberint d’Horta in Barcelon, by an unknown painter. The scans have also made visible alterations made by Picasso to the posture of the crouching figure in his painting.

Finland’s National Gallery releases collections online | The Finnish National Gallery has released almost 12,000 images with accompanying information of works from the collections of its three museum units. Images of the works, from the Ateneum Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, are now available under the Creative Commons license to all members of the public for sharing and modification.

Recommended reading | Writing for the New York Review of BooksLisa Appignanesi delves into the work of Charlotte Salomon, currently on view at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Ruth Schuster hypothesises on potential motives behind the creation of life-sized stone camel reliefs from 2,000 years ago in Haaretz, following their discovery in a deserted province of Saudi Arabia. And, in the London Review of Books, Adrian West recounts the success of Spanish artist Mariano Fortuny y Marsal during his lifetime, arguing that the current Prado exhibition of the mostly-forgotten painter reveals ‘a watercolourist of genius, a meticulous draughtsman and engraver, and a peculiar kind of Impressionist [… of] amazing technical virtuosity’.

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