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UAE detains Swiss journalists covering Louvre Abu Dhabi opening

Plus: Jerwood Charitable Foundation appoints Lilli Geissendorfer as director | Seven-figure settlement finalised in Ross Bleckner painting case | and Christie’s Impressionist and modern art sale records highest total in a decade

14 November 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

UAE detains Swiss journalists covering Louvre Abu Dhabi opening | Two journalists who were in the United Arab Emirates capital last week reporting on the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi were arrested and detained for over 50 hours, and many of their belongings were confiscated, according to their employer the Swiss broadcaster RTS (French-language article). Writer Serge Enderlin and cameraman Jon Bjorgvinsson – who were accredited to cover the museum opening and to interview its architect Jean Nouvel – were taking photographs in an open-air market last Thursday when they were stopped by UAE security forces. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Enderlin stated that the journalists had wanted to ‘put the opening of the Louvre in a wider context – as a flip-side to the glitz of the museum we wanted to show the migrant workers who actually built it.’ Both Enderlin and Bjorgvinsson were released and allowed to return to Zurich on Saturday night.

Jerwood Charitable Foundation appoints Lilli Geissendorfer as director | The Jerwood Charitable Foundation has announced the appointment of its new director: Lilli Geissendorfer, a theatre producer who joins the arts grant-making organisation from the Almeida Theatre in London. Geissendorfer will take up her new position in January 2018; until then the foundation will continue to be led by deputy director Jon Opie, who has been in charge since former director Shonagh Manson took up a new role working for the mayor of London in October.

Seven-figure settlement finalised in Ross Bleckner painting case | A resolution has been reached in the long-fought legal dispute between actor Alec Baldwin and New York art dealer Mary Boone over a $190,000 painting by Ross Bleckner, which Baldwin claimed he was tricked into buying. Baldwin thought he was buying a 1996 work titled Sea and Mirror, although both artist and dealer subsequently admitted that the purchased object was a later reproduction. In an interview with the New Yorker, the actor confirmed that a settlement was agreed out of court last week. Baldwin will receive a seven-figure sum as well as several existing Bleckner paintings and a new commissioned work.

Christie’s Impressionist and modern art sale records highest total in a decade | In the first of its New York November auctions, Christie’s beat its pre-sale high estimate and brought in a total of $479.3m at its Impressionist and modern art sale yesterday evening – the highest sum the auction house has achieved in a decade (the record set in November 2006 of $491.4m remains unbroken). The biggest sale was of a painting by Vincent van Gogh from 1889 painting, which sold for $81.3m including fees.

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