Monika Grütters confirms continued funding for Gurlitt research

Plus: Cranach’s Venus seized by authorities | Trouble brews at the Musée d’Orsay | Researcher claims to have found the only photograph of Van Gogh as an adult

3 March 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Germany to continue funding research into Gurlitt collection | German culture minister Monika Grütters has confirmed that the government will continue to fund ongoing research into the provenance of works of art discovered in the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt for at least another year. Exactly how many of the works were looted or purchased under duress from Jewish collectors during the Third Reich is unclear. In January, after two years of work, researchers appointed by the culture ministry announced they had identified the rightful owners of just five of the 1,500 works discovered in Gurlitt’s Munich apartment – a result that disappointed many. If one thing is certain, it’s that this investigation needs time and money. It can only be hoped that the budgeted €6 million is sufficient.

Cranach’s Venus seized by authorities | A painting of Venus by Lucas Cranach, a key work in the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein, is to be scrutinised anew following an anonymous complaint as to its authenticity (French language article). The painting, which was due to go on show at the hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence – its first public appearance in France – was seized by the authorities yesterday in order to undergo further examination by experts (French language article). It was acquired for the Liechtenstein collection in 2013 from a British gallery, and authenticated by a panel of ‘recognised experts, specialising in the work of German artists,’ says Eric Morain, the Prince of Liechtenstein’s lawyer. According to Morain, employees at the Princely Collections were ‘surprised’ at the seizure of the painting, as it ‘was not preceded by any exchange with the investigatory services, despite strong and ancient relations [between the principality] and all the great French cultural institutions.’

Trouble brews at the Musée d’Orsay | As Musée d’Orsay president Guy Cogeval approaches the end of his second three-year term, employees are questioning whether he is fit to stand for the post a third time, reports The Art Newspaper. Last month, six (anonymous) curators at the museum contacted Le Monde claiming, among other things, that there was ‘no pilot in the plane’(French language article; £). Cogeval replied in a letter to the same paper, defending his record (French language article).

Researcher claims to have found the only photograph of Van Gogh as an adult | We all think we know what Van Gogh looked like – but do we really? Despite his many, world famous self-portraits, not a single photographic image of the artist taken after he was 19 years old was known to exist – until now. Italian art historian Antonio De Robertis believes that he has identified Vincent Van Gogh in a group photograph taken in Paris towards the end of the 19th century. ‘There is present one person who is, in all probability, Vincent Van Gogh,’ he announced. The picture, De Robertis believes, shows Van Gogh posing in the company of around 30 other artists, including Theo Van Gogh’s brother-in-law Andries Bonger. Is he right? Who knows, but we think we can see the likeness…

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