Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Stolen Dutch Master Paintings recovered in Ukraine | Ukrainian authorities say they have recovered four of the 24 paintings stolen from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn in 2005. According to Ukraine’s foreign minister, the works were ‘in the possession of criminal groups’, but he offered no further details as to how the paintings had been recovered. According to officials at the Westfries Museum, two men presented one of the paintings to the Dutch embassy in Kiev in December. The Dutch media reported that they had found the entire missing haul and were demanding millions of euros for its return.
Tate Modern reveals extension plans | Tate Modern has released details of its £260 million extension, which is due to open this summer. Tate group director Nicholas Serota has described it as an attempt to create ‘a new museum for the 21st century that reflects a truly international view of art’. This means a strategy that will focus on international artists, as well as a greater proportion of space devoted to women artists. ‘It isn’t like we are celebrating women for six months and then all the chaps come back,’ Tate Modern’s new director Frances Morris says. ‘There is a commitment now to show the real history of art and the contribution made by many women who have been overlooked for many reasons.’
A request to rename the Musée du Quai Branly | Stéphane Martin, director of Paris’s Musée du Quai Branly, has submitted a request to the French culture ministry, asking for the institution to be renamed in honour of Jacques Chirac, the former President under whose watch the museum was founded. ‘The museum would not have existed without Jacques Chirac’s drive and willpower,’ Martin says. Whether others agree remains to be seen: Chirac is something of a divisive figure in France, and in 2011 was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence for corruption during his time as mayor of Paris.
Belgium scraps anti-trafficking taskforce | Belgium has decided to scrap a federal police unit dedicated to combatting the illegal trafficking of cultural property (French language article). The reason appears to be stretched resources, no doubt strained further after the terrorist attacks in Brussels last month, ‘Given that crime related to art and antiquities is not considered a priority, its management is integrated into the regular work of the police,’ says the Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon.
Villa Antonori put up for sale | If ever you’ve wanted to live the lifestyle of Leonardo’s enigmatic Mona Lisa, now’s your chance – provided you have a spare €10 million in the bank. According to Le Figaro (French language article), the Villa Antonori – once the home of Lisa Gherardini, widely thought to have been the artist’s model for the portrait – has been put up for sale, with an estimated sale price of more than €10million. The villa, which is three miles outside Florence, is also world-famous for the Chianti produced in its vineyards. Time to take out a loan…
Malick Sidibé (1935/36–2016) | Malian photographer Malick Sidibé has died at the age of 80. He earned the nickname ‘the eye of Bamako’ for his black and white studio portraits and images of the city’s nightlife, and in 2007 became the first African artist to be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. ‘I believe with my heart and soul in the power of the image, but you also have to be sociable. I’m lucky. It’s in my nature,’ he told the Guardian in 2010. ‘It’s a world, someone’s face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world.’