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Paintings stolen in Verona heist recovered in Ukraine

Plus: New York’s auction ‘gigaweek’ concludes with mixed results | Vincent Price Art Museum names new director | Roger Khawam (1922–2016) | and recommended reading

13 May 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

17 Old Master paintings stolen from Verona surface in Ukraine | Authorities in Ukraine have recovered 17 Old Master paintings stolen from Verona’s Castelvecchio Museum last November. The works were seized on Turunchuk island, close to the border with the Moldova. The Ukrainian government has invited Italian specialists to authenticate the trove, which includes paintings by Rubens, Tintoretto and Pisanello. ‘Today, this brilliant operation reminds the world about the efficient struggle of Ukraine against smuggling and corruption, inter alia, smuggling of works of art,’ the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said in a statement.

New York’s auction ‘gigaweek’ concludes with mixed results | Last night’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale at Christie’s rounded off an mixed week for New York’s auction houses with further uneven results. The sale brought in $141.5 million, surpassing Christie’s low estimate of $134 million but disappointing many with underwhelming prices for works by Modigliani and Picasso. In conclusion: Manhattan’s auction ‘gigaweek’ was not the disaster many in the art market had feared, but few beyond the collectors who avoided escalating prices would describe it as a triumph.

Vincent Price Art Museum names new director | Former LACMA cultural initiatives coordinator Pilar Tompkins Rivas has been named as the new director of Los Angeles East College’s Vincent Price Art Museum. Rivas, who has worked in the museum sector since 2002, has been involved with a large number of major exhibitions in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Roger Khawam (1922–2016) | Egyptologist and antiquities dealer Roger Khawam has died in Paris at the age of 94 (£). Khawam was born in Cairo in 1922, and despite youthful ambitions to become an aerobatics pilot, was persuaded to follow his father into the antiquities trade. Running his business first in Cairo, then in Paris, Khawam worked closely with the Egyptology departments of institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre. Khawam is survived by his sons, to whom he passed the family business after his retirement in 2005.

Recommended reading | ‘How will US museums remember Trayvon Martin?’ asks the BBC’s Jessica Lussenhop. Following George Zimmerman’s (refuted) claims that the Smithsonian Museum was interested in acquiring the gun with which he killed unarmed black teenager Martin, the question seems particularly pressing. Elsewhere, in a piece for The Guardian, Richard Calvocoressi tells the seldom recounted story of Yves Klein’s adventures in London, where he worked illegally in a South Kensington frame shop from 1949–50.

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