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Ukrainian Militia Attempt to Sell Stolen Dutch Paintings

8 December 2015

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Ukrainian Militia Offer Stolen Dutch Paintings for Sale | According to officials at the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, Netherlands, members of the Ukrainian security service (SBU) and the country’s far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party have collaborated with ‘art criminals’ in an attempt to sell 24 stolen Dutch Golden Age paintings. The works in question were stolen from the museum in 2005. The militia in possession of the works has offered to sell them back for a ‘finder’s fee’ of €5 million – substantially more than the paintings’ market value, which the museum estimates at around €500,000.

Scientist Claims to have Found ‘Secret’ Portrait Beneath Mona Lisa | In yet more Leonardo related news, a French scientist claims to have discovered a ‘secret’ portrait beneath the surface of the artist’s masterpiece. After a decade’s work, Pascal Cotte has concluded that the likeness of a completely different woman lies below the portrait, and has reconstructed an image of the work. However, not everyone is convinced; art historian Martin Kemp has described Cotte’s thesis as ‘untenable’. Stand by for more Leonardo controversy after Andrew Graham-Dixon airs his Secrets of the Mona Lisa on BBC2 tomorrow night…

Grayson Perry Apologises for Comments on Aboriginal Art | Grayson Perry has voiced regret over a statement he made questioning whether Australian Aboriginal painting could be classed as Contemporary Art. Perry, who is currently in Sydney for a major exhibition of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, admitted that his words had been ‘a bit clumsy’ and that he ‘wasn’t very well-informed’. Nice to see a bit of humility.

Assemble’s Turner Win Sparks Debate over Nomination | Architectural collective Assemble’s Turner Prize victory last night has provoked mixed reactions. While commentators including the Guardian’s Adrian Searle have welcomed the win as a step forward for the prize, others including critics Mark Hudson and Waldemar Januszczak have been less enthusiastic. Where do you stand on the debate?

Camille Henrot Wins Rebooted Edvard Munch Prize | Artist Camille Henrot has been awarded this year’s Edvard Munch Prize. The award, which has been reinstated after a 10-year hiatus, and carries with it a reward of some $59,000 and an exhibition at Oslo’s Munch Museum. Earlier this year, Apollo chose Henrot as a frontrunner for its ‘40 under 40‘ list. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Columbia Threadneedle Prize Announces Shortlist | The Columbia Threadneedle Prize for Figurative Art has announced its shortlist for 2016. Work by six artists – Peter Clossick, Lewis Hazelwood-Horner, Nicholas Holmes, J. Carlos Naranjo, Laura Smith and Chris Thomas – has been selected from 3,828 entries submitted by 1,973 artists. The finalists will exhibit their work at London’s Mall Galleries in February and later at Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi.