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Temporary export bar for Bol portrait

26 January 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Temporary Export Bar for Bol’s Portrait of a Boy | UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has imposed a temporary export bar on 17th-century Dutch painter Ferdinand Bol’s Portrait of a Boy, warning that the work may leave Britain for good unless a buyer can be found from within the country. The work, described as one of the most important child portraits of the Dutch Golden Age, was painted in 1652 and bought by the Earl of Carlisle in 1825, since when it has hung in Castle Howard, Yorkshire. The painting was sold at Sotheby’s alongside other treasures from Castle Howard for nearly £5.2 million – almost twice the estimate – last July. The decision to grant an export licence will be deferred until April, with a possibility of this being extended until September. Given the Culture Minister’s recent record, the bar cannot be described as surprising. Can the millions necessary to save it for the nation be found in time?

Banksy’s Calais Mural is Boarded Up | A Banksy mural daubed onto the side of a building near the French Embassy in London has been covered up by building developers, in an apparent attempt to preserve it. The mural co-opts a famous image from the musical of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables into a criticism of the French police’s use of tear gas in the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp – a political statement that gained it considerable exposure after it appeared on Saturday night. Knowing the value that Banksy murals can fetch, some enterprising passers by attempted to steal it, causing damage to the work. The mural is just the latest of Banksy’s statements on the European refugee crisis, and far from the most powerful. Yet the coverage it has attracted has turned it into something of a cause célèbre. One wonders whether it might yet become a defining image of these troubled times – or indeed whether it should.

Art Recovery Group Accuses Art Loss Register of ‘Breaches of Competition Law’ | The Art Newspaper has published a report on a standoff between two global art recovery services, providing a detailed analysis of Art Recovery Group founder Chris Marinello’s decision to report the Art Loss Register to the UK Competition & Markets Authority for ‘systemic breaches of competition law.’ The ALR, which once counted Marinello as an employee, was founded in 1991 as a commercial database of lost or stolen works of art, and currently charges an annual fee for a fixed number of searches. Marinello left to found the Art Recovery Group in 2013, also offering art recovery services.

Swiss Museum Sued over Constable Restitution Claim | The Jewish heirs to a John Constable painting looted during the Second World War have sued the Musée des Beaux-Arts in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in an attempt to reclaim the work. The dispute has been rumbling since 2006, when the descendants of collector Anna Jaffé first claimed the right of ownership to the artist’s 1813 painting Dedham from Langham, which was seized by pro-Nazi Vichy authorities in France in 1942 and auctioned off. Officials in La Chaux-de-Fonds have long asserted that the painting was given to the museum in good faith, but have offered concessions to the claimants, including acknowledgment that they are indeed the rightful heirs to the work.

MONA Founder Explains why he Accepted Australia Day Honour | David Walsh, the outspoken founder of Tasmania’s Museum of Old & New Art has penned a piece for the museum’s blog, explaining why he has chosen to accept his appointment to the Order of Australia. ‘I suspect it will surprise you that I accepted,’ Walsh wrote: ‘It certainly surprised me.’ Walsh has in the past been a vocal critic of Australia’s Conservative government, and stresses that his position hasn’t changed. Hypocrisy? Not really. But his reasoning does make for an amusing read.

Painting the Modern Garden, Royal Academy: The Verdict so Far | The first reviews are in for the Royal Academy’s ‘Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse’, and the praise has been very high indeed. ‘You don’t have to be the slightest bit interested in gardening’ to find it ‘a moving experience’, writes Mark Hudson in the Daily Telegraph. In the Times (£), Rachel Campbell-Johnston praises the show’s ‘giddying profusion of colour’ but complains of its lack of English artists. In the Guardian, meanwhile, Jonathan Jones is apparently overwhelmed. ‘I am falling. I am drowning in beauty’, he writes. Time to book tickets?

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