Our daily round-up of news from the art world
National Portrait Gallery secures £5m donation towards new wing | The Garfield Weston Foundation has awarded a grant of £5m towards the construction of a new wing at the National Portrait Gallery, it was announced today. The Weston Wing, as it will be called, will see a section of the building that was previously inaccessible to the public opened up to house part of the museum’s permanent collection and present special exhibitions. A new street-level entrance will also be created. The project forms a crucial part of the institution’s £35.5m transformation programme.
Artists express concern over UK education policy | Artists including Tacita Dean, Michael Craig-Martin, John Akomfrah, and Cornelia Parker have signed an open letter in the Guardian criticising the British government’s plans to introduce a new school curriculum. According to the signatories, the new English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) will deprive schoolchildren of sufficient access to creative subjects.
Christie’s first Rockefeller sale pulls in $646m | The first instalment of Christie’s Rockefeller collection sale in New York last night broke new records for a single owner sale, netting a total of $646.1m. Eight new records were set for individual artists, including Delacroix, Matisse, Morandi and, most notably, Monet. However, Picasso’s Fillete à la corbeille fleurie (1905) attracted only one bid over the $100m guarantee – a relative disappointment, despite being the artist’s second-highest auction performance. For more detailed coverage, see Susan Moore’s report for Apollo.
Fund announced for arts projects in northern England | At a reception in Downing Street held for members of the creative industries last night, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new £3m fund for community art projects in northern England. According to the Art Newspaper, the proposals are part of a ‘legacy project’ to accompany the Great Exhibition of the North, which will be held in Newcastle and Gateshead later this year.
Met issues call for information on jewel-theft suspect | The Metropolitan Police have issued an appeal to trace Vinko Osmakcic, who is thought to be connected to the theft of £2m worth of jewellery from the Masterpiece art fair in London last year. According to the Evening Standard, Osmakcic is believed to have links to the ‘Pink Panther’ criminal network, and has previously served a sentence for a jewel theft in Las Vegas in 2002.