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NPG launches appeal to acquire portrait of the Duke of Wellington

Plus: Ai Weiwei urges West to tackle China on human rights | Uruguayan authorities censor artist’s depiction of former president in the nude | Paul Kasmin Gallery chosen to represent legacy of Lee Krasner | and Kristen Shepherd appointed director of Museum of Fine Arts St Petersburg

3 November 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

National Portrait Gallery launches appeal to acquire portrait of the Duke of Wellington | London’s National Portrait Gallery has launched a public appeal to acquire Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. The portrait, which has been offered to the institution for £1.3 million, was commissioned a year after Wellington became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but was still unfinished when Lawrence died in 1830. Together with the Art Fund, which has donated £350,000 to the cause, the NPG has already raised £1 million to acquire the painting. ‘We have been searching for a portrait that can do justice to this iconic British hero since 1856. The lack of a suitable depiction of the Duke of Wellington has long been identified as the biggest gap in our Collection,’ said NPG director Nicholas Cullinan.

Ai Weiwei urges West to tackle China on human rights | Artist Ai Weiwei has urged Western nations to challenge China on questions relating to human rights abuses, reports the Guardian. Speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Ai spoke passionately about the plight of artists and activists in his home country, and implored Western governments not to overlook China’s human rights in order to cement economic ties. ‘It doesn’t matter it will hurt me or not, you have to do what you think is right,’ Ai said.

Uruguayan authorities censor artist’s depiction of former president in the nude | Uruguayan art dealer Diana Saravia has been summoned to a police station after exhibiting a work by artist Julio de Sosa depicting former president José ‘Pepe’ Mujica and his wife naked. According to the BBC’s Spanish language service (Spanish language article), police arrived at Saravia’s gallery without a warrant and removed the painting, claiming to have been issued with ‘orders from above’.

Paul Kasmin Gallery chosen to represent legacy of Lee Krasner | The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the successor to the estates of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, has announced that New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery is to represent the holdings of work by the latter. ‘The reputation of Paul Kasmin Gallery and its worldwide following give us great hope for the continuing and increasing recognition of Lee Krasner’s artistic achievements,’ said Foundation president Samuel Sachs II.

Kristen Shepherd appointed director of Museum of Fine Arts St Petersburg | The Museum of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, Florida, has named LACMA’s associate vice president of audience strategy Kristen Shepherd as its next director, reports Artforum. Shepherd, who has been at the LA institution since 2003 and previously worked at New York’s Whitney Museum, succeeds Kent Lydecker in the role, which she will take up in December.

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