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Miguel Zugaza to leave Prado for Museum of Fine Art Bilbao

Plus: Van Gogh Museum criticises scholars for ‘excessively easygoing’ attitude to authentication | Disputed Beethoven score fails to sell at auction | French government returns painting attributed to Joos Van Cleve to heirs of Jewish collectors | and Pérez Art Museum receives $10 million plus collection of Cuban art

30 November 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Miguel Zugaza to step down from Prado in 2017 | Prado director Miguel Zugaza has announced that he is to leave the museum next year after 15 years in the position (Spanish language article). Zugaza intends to reassume the leadership of Bilbao’s Museum of Fine Arts, a role he held from 1995 to 2001, when its current director departs. Zugaza’s departure will come at a crucial juncture for the Madrid museum, which will celebrate its bicentenary in 2019. The Prado recently announced plans for its expansion into a palace that formerly housed Spain’s Army Museum.

Van Gogh Museum criticises scholars for ‘excessively easygoing’ attitude to authentication | The Van Gogh Museum has issued a statement criticising two experts behind a recently published book, which reproduces 65 drawings purportedly created by the artist between 1888 and 1890. The museum, which disputes the drawings’ authorship, has described Ronald Pickvance and Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov’s approach to authentication as ‘excessively easygoing’, adding that the sketches in question were ‘not made by Van Gogh’. According to The Art Newspaper, the museum’s own specialists have raised multiple doubts about the drawings, including problems with the type of ink used and its apparent discolouration.

Disputed Beethoven score fails to sell at auction | A musical score thought to have been written by Ludwig van Beethoven that was expected to fetch up to £200,000 has failed to sell at a Sotheby’s London auction. According to the Guardian, the auction house has criticised Professor Barry Cooper, a Manchester-based academic who believes the manuscript in question to be the work of a copyist, for weighing in publicly on the matter. According to Cooper, the score possesses ‘several aspects which prove absolutely that it couldn’t possibly be Beethoven’s hand’. A spokesperson for Sotheby’s, however, has said that the auction house considers it ‘irresponsible for a third party to raise doubts’ about the manuscript without seeing it first-hand. ‘This unfortunately had a direct impact on the auction sale, but Sotheby’s stands by its description of the manuscript as an authentic and important piece of musical history’.

French government returns painting attributed to Joos Van Cleve to heirs of Jewish collectors | The French government has returned a painting attributed to Joos Van Cleve to Henrietta Schubert and Christopher Bromberg, the heirs of two Jewish collectors who were forced to sell it under duress just before the Second World War. Hertha and Henry Bromberg sold the painting in Paris in 1938 when they fled to the USA: it eventually found its way into the collection of the German Reich Chancellery. It was taken back to France in 1949, where it ended up on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chambéry.

Pérez Art Museum receives $10 million plus collection of Cuban art | Miami’s Pérez Art Museum has received a gift of $10 million, along with a collection of some 200 works by Cuban artists valued at around $5 million. Jorge M. Pérez, the real estate developer and philanthropist who made the donation, has previously given more than $40 million to the museum, which was renamed in his honour. ‘I think if one place should have a strong Cuban collection, it should be Miami’, he said, adding that the donation was ‘peanuts’ compared to what he would donate in future.

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