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Tourist killed by falling masonry in Basilica di Santa Croce

Plus: Victory for Matisse family in long-running court battle | Lebanese police seize painting thought to be a stolen Dalí work | Deborah de Robertis acquitted of sexual exhibitionism charges | and recommended reading

20 October 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Tourist killed by falling masonry in the Basilica di Santa Croce | A Spanish tourist has been killed after being struck by falling masonry in the Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence. The accident occurred when a piece of decorative stone fell from a height of 20 metres, prompting urgent questions as to the conservation of the 15th-century basilica. Speaking from New York, Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said that an investigation would be launched to determine whether maintenance failures were to blame.

Victory for Matisse family in long-running court battle | The Art Newspaper reports that the family of Pierre Matisse, youngest son of Henri Matisse, have won a legal battle against a French art dealer who attempted to sell two of the artist’s cut-outs at auction in 2008. A court in Versailles has ordered dealer Jérôme Le Blay to hand over the works to the Matisse family, stating that his company had not ‘acted in good faith’ by claiming to own them.

Lebanese police seize painting thought to be a stolen Dalí work | Lebanese authorities have seized a painting that is thought to be a stolen original by Salvador Dalí. Portrait of Mrs Reeves (1954) is recorded as having sold for £89,500 at Christie’s 20 years ago into a private collection. Police say that it was probably stolen from a country neighbouring Lebanon, and have detained three Syrians and a Lebanese national who were allegedly attempting to sell on the work.

Deborah de Robertis acquitted of sexual exhibitionism charges | Paris’s High Court has acquitted artist Deborah de Robertis of sexual exhibitionism charges following her controversial nude performance in front of the Mona Lisa earlier this year. According to Le Monde (French language article), the court found that de Robertis’s peformance was non-sexual in nature. The artist will, however, serve 35 hours of community work for having bitten a museum steward’s arm at the moment of her arrest. For more on this story in English, see here.

Recommended reading | In the Guardian, Oliver Wainwright visits the Kazakhstani capital of Astana, and comes back disquieted by the regime’s use of modern architecture as a power projector. In the same paper, Rory Carroll looks at gentrification in Los Angeles, where protests and counter-protests have been taking place around art galleries located in traditionally working class, Chicano neighbourhoods. And in Artforum, Linda Yablonsky gets a dose of FIAC fever in Paris.

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