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National Galleries of Scotland acquire two Raeburn portraits

Plus: NEA chair Jane Chu to step down | Columbia MFA students demand refunds | Hollywood producer sues Gagosian over non-delivery of Koons sculpture | and David Zwirner proposes to ‘subsidise’ small galleries at art fairs

1 May 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

National Galleries of Scotland receive two major Raeburn portraits through acceptance in lieu scheme | Two important portraits by Sir Henry Raeburn have entered the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland thanks to the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. The paintings depict the two eldest sons of banker and art collector William Forbes, and were commissioned between 1809 and 1811. Their transfer into public ownership from the Forbes of Pitsligo Collection settled £631,600 of tax. Prior to the allocation, the National Galleries of Scotland held only one example of Raeburn’s child portraiture.

NEA chair to step down | Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, has announced that she will step down from her position in June. Previously chief executive of Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Chu has led the federal body since 2014, and has overseen a period of uncertainty for the NEA: in 2017 and 2018, President Trump’s budget proposals called for cutting federal funding to the NEA and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), although a bill was subsequently passed increasing funding to both organisations.

Columbia MFA students demand tuition refunds | According to the Columbia Spectator, 51 of 54 students enrolled in Columbia University’s Visual Arts MFA programme have asked for full reimbursement of tuition fees ($63,961) for the academic year 2017–18, claiming they were not receiving the quality of education they had paid for. Students were granted an audience with provost John Coatsworth, who reportedly acknowledged that the state of the programme is a ‘disgrace’ but stated that the university will be unable to provide full tuition refunds.

Hollywood producer sues Gagosian over non-delivery of Koons sculpture | Film producer Joel Silver has filed a legal complaint against Gagosian, claiming that the gallery failed to deliver a Jeff Koons sculpture for which he had already paid $3.2 million in instalments. According ArtNet, Silver says that he agreed to buy a new Koons sculpture for $8m, but later requested to cancel the deal when the delivery date of the work was pushed back. The gallery then told him he would have to forfeit the money paid so far. The lawsuit follows a similar non-delivery complaint filed against Gagosian and Koons last month by businessman Steven Tananbaum.

David Zwirner proposes to ‘subsidise’ small galleries at art fairs | Gallerist David Zwirner has proposed that large art galleries should pay more for space at art fairs in order to help smaller dealerships take part. ‘I wouldn’t have any problem if we would pay a little more, we the larger galleries, so that some younger galleries are supported and can show their work in the fair,’ he told an audience at the New York Times Art Leaders Network in Berlin.

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