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National Gallery acquires Bellotto masterpiece

Plus: Documenta 14 director responds to far-right politician’s comments on Kassel obelisk | Charlottesville to shroud Confederate statues | and shortlisted plans for Clandon Park restoration revealed

22 August 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

National Gallery acquires Bellotto masterpiece | The National Gallery in London has successfully raised £11.7m to acquire Bernardo Bellotto’s Fortress of Königstein from the North (1756–58), a painting that was due to be exported from Britain after selling to an overseas buyer. The landscape, by Canaletto’s nephew, is the first major 18th-century painting in the collection to depict a northern European view. ‘This superb painting, which has been saved for the nation, shows Bellotto as one of the greatest view painters of his time,’ said National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi in a statement. ‘It is a truly significant acquisition.’

Documenta 14 director responds to far-right politician’s comments on Kassel obelisk | Adam Szymczyk, artistic director of Documenta 14, has said that he is ‘appalled’ at a German politician’s inflammatory remarks about a sculpture presented at the exhibition. The work in question, an obelisk bearing the phrase ‘I was a stranger and you took me in’ in English, Arabic, German and Turkish, was created by Nigerian artist Olu Oguibe and is installed in Kassel’s Königsplatz. At a local council meeting to discuss possible acquisitions of Documenta artworks, Thomas Materner of the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) reportedly described the monument as ‘ideologically polarising, deformed art’ and suggested that his party would call for demonstrations were it to remain in the city.

Charlottesville to shroud Confederate statues | Charlottesville is to cover statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson in black fabric, in a gesture of respect to Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in the city earlier this month. According to the Daily Progress, Charlottesville city council voted for the motion unanimously.

Shortlisted plans for Clandon Park restoration revealed | Six shortlisted proposals to rebuild the fire-damaged manor house at Clandon Park, Surrey, have been released to the public. The architects were asked to envisage how the renovation of the building and its damaged interiors might be realised in keeping with the wider garden setting. According to the BBC, the National Trust will work with the contenders to develop their ideas before a winner is announced next year.

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