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UK formally refuses export licence for £30 million Pontormo painting

Plus: Nancy Spector appointed artistic director and chief curator of Guggenheim Museums | Questions raised in Parliament over UK Holocaust Memorial | Historic England criticises Giggs and Neville’s skyscraper proposals | and Bern and Bonn schedule first Gurlitt collection exhibitions

16 February 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

UK government refuses export license for Pontormo painting | UK culture secretary Karen Bradley has formally refused permission to grant an export licence for Pontormo’s Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap to leave the country. US hedge funder Tom Hill, who bought the painting for £30 million in 2015, refused to accept a matching offer from London’s National Gallery, citing the fall of Sterling since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. According to The Art Newspaper, the National Gallery also offered to raise a higher sum of money to cover part of Hill’s exchange rate losses, but the collector decided the sum was insufficient. In response Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar has called for the UK government ‘to undertake a formal review of the process and to introduce these measures now to help better protect our nation’s most important works of art so they may remain in the UK, held in trust for current and future generations.’

Nancy Spector appointed artistic director and chief curator of Guggenheim Museums | The Brooklyn Museum’s Nancy Spector is to head back to the Guggenheim in order to take up the new role of artistic director and chief curator. Spector, who was deputy director of the Guggenheim until she left for Brooklyn in April 2016, will be responsible for conceptual and strategic leadership at the Guggenheim in New York, as well as at its international satellites.

Questions raised in Parliament over UK Holocaust Memorial | Conservative MP Edward Leigh has voiced concern over proposals for a memorial to victims of the Holocaust, to be situated at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to London’s Houses of Parliament. According to the Architects’ Journal, Leigh told the House of Commons that the chosen site was ‘too small for what is needed’ and that its largely subterranean structure would be vulnerable to flooding. ‘When we consider the Victoria Tower Gardens site, we see it is completely unsuited to the role,’ he said, adding that London should look to the similar memorial in Washington, D.C. as a model for the project.

Historic England criticises Giggs and Neville’s skyscraper proposals | Ex-footballers Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville’s multi-million pound plan to build two skyscrapers in central Manchester has been strongly criticised by Historic England, reports the Guardian. The heritage body says that the former Manchester United players’ proposals to construct two bronze towers that incorporate hotel and retail facilities would ‘damage the city’s historic core’ and ‘erase’ the city’s heritage.

Bern and Bonn schedule first Gurlitt collection exhibitions | The Art Newspaper reports that the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn have announced they are to show a selection of works from the collection of the controversial Cornelius Gurlitt. The Bern show, which will open on 2 November, will focus on the modern art collected by Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand, after it was branded ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. The exhibition in Bonn, meanwhile, will tackle the subjects of Nazi art theft and provenance research.

 

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