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Stolen Van Gogh paintings recovered in Italy

30 September 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Italian police recover Van Goghs stolen in Amsterdam | The chief public prosecutor in Naples has announced the recovery of two Van Gogh paintings that were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002. The paintings – Seascape at Scheveningen (1882) and Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884/85) – were among assets seized during an ongoing investigation into a local Camorra family. The theft was considered one of the ‘top 10’ art crimes by the FBI, and resulted in the conviction of two suspects in 2004. ‘The paintings have been found! That I would be able to ever pronounce these words is something I had no longer dared to hope for,’ said Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum.

Centre Pompidou to open museum in Brussels | The Centre Pompidou and the Brussels-Capital region have agreed to open a new modern art museum in the Belgian capital, reports The Art Newspaper. The new museum will be housed in a former Citroën headquarters in the northwest of the city, and is scheduled to open in 2020, although the first temporary exhibition is planned for 2018. The project will be headed by Yves Goldstein, chief of staff to the Minister-President of the Brussels region.

Diane Wilsey remains head of the board of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | Board members of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco group have voted to change Diane (‘Dede’) Wilsey’s title from ‘president’ to ‘board chair’ and two vice-chairs have also been appointed, reports The New York Times. The decision comes after a year of controversy after Wilsey was alleged to have made a payment to a former museum employee without proper authorisation. Wilsey has, however, relinquished her role as CEO to Max Hollein, the new director of the FAMSF.

Stolen 17th-century icon returns to Russia | A 17th-century icon that was stolen from a church in Yaroslavl in 1995 has been repatriated to Russia after being identified in a gallery in Venice, reports The Art Newspaper. Resurrection – Descent into Hell (1640) was spotted by a Russian icon expert from the State Tretyakov Gallery and its return was sponsored by the property developer and collector Mikhail Abramov. The icon will be examined by specialists before being exhibited in Moscow’s Museum of Russian Icon, and it will then return to Yaroslavl.

Recommended reading | The BBC reports on the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri’s decision to close temporarily a museum dedicated to Argentina’s presidency, in which two thirds of exhibits, critics say, were dedicated to his predecessor Cristina Fernandez’s late husband, President Nestor Kirchner. Elsewhere, former UK culture minister Ed Vaizey has written a piece on arts funding for theartsdesk.com. In the USA, meanwhile, an $8 million sculpture by Jeff Koons has been unveiled at a basketball stadium in Sacramento. ‘I think of Jeff Koons as the 21st-century Michelangelo’, Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé told the New York Times