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Sekhemka statue granted export licence

4 April 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Sekhemka to leave the UK | The UK Government has confirmed that it will now issue an export licence to the Sekhemka statue that was sold at Christie’s in 2014 by the Northampton Museum. The export bar placed on the statue was extended until 29 March, having originally been levied in July 2015. Many possible arrangements to keep the statue in the UK were mooted, including a last-minute ‘sharing’ agreement between Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and the British Museum. However, it seems that there is no arrangement to match the statue’s £15.8 million asking price. As a spokesperson for DCMS explains, ‘no buyer has come forward to purchase the Sekhemka statue […] an export licence will now be issued to the owner.’

Celebrities petition British Museum to abandon BP partnership | In a letter to the Guardian, nearly 100 figures from the arts, sciences, and politics have urged the British Museum to cut its ties with BP. The letter urges Dr Hartwig Fischer, who takes up his post as director of the BM today, to abandon the institution’s longstanding ties with the oil giant, which it deems ‘unethical’. Signatories to the petition include actors Emma Thompson and Mark Ruffalo, designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, and Green party MP Caroline Lucas. Former director Neil MacGregor has previously defended the museum’s arrangements with BP, arguing that it is a laudable way for the company to spend its profits. It remains to be seen if Fischer agrees.

Derain’s Les Voiles Rouges comes up for sale at Sotheby’s New York | Sotheby’s is to auction André Derain’s masterpiece Les Voiles Rouges on 9 May, with an estimated sale price of $15 to $20 million. The work, which was inspired by the artist’s visit to London in 1906, depicts a view of sailboats on the Thames, painted as a reaction to Monet’s earlier views of the river. Should the estimate be reached, the work will become one of the most expensive Fauvist paintings ever sold. As the Daily Telegraph states, only four major Fauvist paintings have been sold since 2010, when Sotheby’s sold Derain’s Arbres à Collioure for an even more impressive $24.2 million.

Pompidou ‘pop ups’ for South Korea and China | Following the success of its branded temporary space in Malaga and the announcement of further events in Japan and Singapore, the Pompidou Centre has revealed that it is to launch its next ‘pop up’ galleries in Seoul and in China. According to The Art Newspaper, the Seoul space should open in the first half of next year, with a gallery in China to follow in 2018, possibly in Shanghai. Possibly due to the sensitivity of such arrangements – as TAN states, a similar venture in China fell through in 2007 – the Pompidou has declined to discuss the new projects further.

The weekend’s best reviews and comment | In Le Monde, (French language article) Florence Evin traces the history Titian’s newly restored Pardo Venus, now back on display at the Louvre. Elsewhere, tributes poured in for Zaha Hadid, who died last week aged 65. For an informative overview of her career, look to Michael Kimmelman’s piece for the New York Times, while Rowan Moore’s appreciation in the Observer honestly addresses the highs and lows of her built legacy. In the Boston Globe, meanwhile, Sebastian Smee welcomes a ‘first rate’ show devoted to Edmund Charles Tarbell at New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Historical Society. Also worth investigating is Becky Shaw’s piece for the Art Law & More blog about the implications for the art market if Britain votes to leave the European Union. Her findings, for the most part, are not terribly encouraging.