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The Met to return ancient coffin to Egypt

Plus: Nan Goldin threatens to boycott National Portrait Gallery show over Sackler funding | Royal Academy receives £10 million from Hans and Julia Rausing | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art sells Rothko | and Recommended Reading

18 February 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

The Met to return ancient coffin to Egypt | The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has agreed to return an ancient coffin to Egypt after the Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed that the artefact was recently looted, having been sold with a forged Egyptian export license from 1971. Dating to the 1st century BC, the gilded coffin was sold to the museum in 2017 for $4 million by an undisclosed Parisian art dealer. Daniel Weiss, the museum’s president, has apologised to Khaled El-Enany, Egypt’s minister of antiquities, and promised to reconsider the institution’s acquisitions process.

Nan Goldin threatens to boycott National Portrait Gallery show over Sackler funding | The Guardian reports that artist Nan Goldin has vowed to refuse a retrospective of her work at London’s National Portrait Gallery if the museum accepts a gift of £1 million from the Sackler family, who own the US pharmaceutical company that makes the addictive prescription painkiller Oxycontin. The NPG’s director, Nicholas Cullinan, has stated that a decision on the matter will be made in March.

Royal Academy receives £10 million from Hans and Julia Rausing | Swedish Tetra Pak billionaire Hans Rausing and his wife Julia have donated £10 million to the Royal Academy of Arts postgraduate school. Founded in 1769, the RA Schools provides free tuition for up to 17 artists every year, with its alumni including JMW Turner, John Constable, William Blake, and more recently Anthony Gormley and Cornelia Parker. The donation will go towards a project of renewal and expansion on the site, beginning in 2021.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art sells Rothko | In an attempt to raise funds for new acquisitions, SFMoMA has announced it will be selling Mark Rothko’s Untitled (1960) at Sotheby’s on 16 May. Director Neal Benezra commented that the proceeds will go towards enhancing accessibility and addressing art-historical gaps in the museum’s collection, which is currently dependent upon donations. The estimate for the work is $35–$50million.

Recommended Reading | Catherine G. Wagley at Hyperallergic considers Los Angeles’ inaugural Frieze art fair, which has ‘flattened everything into commodity’ and sold a ‘fantasy of Los Angeles’ | Mark Wilding at the Guardian discusses the rising pressure for British museums to repatriate artefacts, after a spike in high-profile restitution claims.

 

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