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National Trust for Scotland set to axe one in four jobs

Plus: Roman coins discovered in Devon shed new light on empire | Clara Drummond wins BP Portrait Award | Contemporary Art Society and Frieze launch acquisition fund for UK museums | State Hermitage Museum to open Barcelona outpost | Picasso’s Femme Assise sets record for Cubist painting at Sotheby’s | and Art Cologne reschedules due to clash with Berlin Gallery Weekend

22 June 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

National Trust for Scotland set to axe more than a quarter of its staff | Faced with a need to reduce running costs by millions of pounds, the National Trust for Scotland has announced that it is to shed more than one in four jobs, reports the Scotsman. NTS, which currently has more than 500 full-time staff, is attempting reduce its costs by 10 per cent and put the savings towards overhauling its finances. It has hinted that the majority of the 142 positions at risk are based at its Edinburgh headquarters. Union officials have objected to the cost-cutting drive: ‘We’re concerned the proposals rely heavily on replacing full-time staff with contractors,’ says Ian Perth of the Prospect Union. ‘Although a move like this can show short-term cost reductions, they risk damaging the trust in the long-term.’

Roman coins discovered in Devon cast new light on Roman empire | A set of Roman coins discovered in a Devon paddock by amateur archaeologists has been hailed as a revelatory discovery. A geophysical survey, which was commissioned after the coins were unearthed, has found significant infrastructure in the area. It was previously thought that that Roman culture in England reached only as far west as Exeter (although finds in Cornwall have challenged this view), but the discovery 20 miles southwest of the town suggests that an imperial road may have stretched as far as Totnes. ‘This has lifted the lid off a whole series of new questions which need to be asked about Roman Devon,’ said the British Museum’s Sam Moorhead.

Clara Drummond wins BP Portrait Award | Painter Clara Drummond has won the BP Portrait Award for her entry Girl in a Liberty Dress. The judges of the £30,000 award praised the painting’s ‘subtle, enigmatic nature’ and the ‘indelible impression’ it makes on the viewer. This is the fifth time Drummond has been featured in the exhibition, having already submitted portraits in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2014.

Contemporary Art Society and Frieze launch acquisition fund for UK museums | The Contemporary Art Society and Frieze London have gone into partnership to create a new acquisition fund to help build the collections of UK regional museums, reports The Art Newspaper. This year’s £50,000 fund has been granted to Middlesbrough’s MIMA, which plans to buy a work addressing the migration crisis at the Frieze London fair this October.

State Hermitage Museum to open outpost in Barcelona | St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum has announced plans to open a satellite museum on Barcelona’s waterfront in 2019 (Spanish language article). Designed by architect Indigo Amézola, the new outpost will take up 37,000 sq ft and contain seven exhibition spaces over five floors.

Picasso’s Femme Assise sets auction record for Cubist painting | Picasso’s 1909 work Femme Assise sold for $63.7 million at Sotheby’s London yesterday, becoming the most expensive Cubist painting ever sold at auction. ‘It has been decades since a Cubist painting of this calibre has been offered at auction,’ says Sotheby’s Helen Newman. ‘Virtually all the significant works of this period are in international museums and institutions.’

Art Cologne reschedules due to clash with Berlin Gallery Weekend | Art Cologne, Germany’s leading art fair, has been forced to bring the dates of its 2017 edition forward in order to avoid a clash with Berlin Gallery Weekend. The fair, which was scheduled to take place between 28 April and 2 May, will now be held on 25–29 April.

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