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US Holocaust Memorial Museum issues statement following White House address

31 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issues statement on remembrance | Washington DC’s Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued a statement underlining the particular significance of Holocaust Memorial Day to the Jewish people. Its publication on Monday comes in the wake of the White House’s controversial Holocaust Memorial Day Address, which made no direct reference to Jewish victims on the grounds that other groups also suffered. Though the museum’s statement did not refer directly to the White House’s address, it stressed that ‘the elimination of Jews was central to Nazi policy’, and ‘an accurate understanding of this history is critical if we are to learn its lessons and honor its victims.’

Co-defendant in art theft trial claims he destroyed stolen masterpieces | One of three men standing trial for a 2010 art theft from Paris’s Museum of Modern Art has claimed that he destroyed or threw away the five masterpieces that were stolen. Yonathan Birn, a luxury watch dealer, says that he was persuaded by a third defendantto buy a Modigliani painting that was stolen in the burglary, and to keep the others in his studio. On hearing that the police were investigating, he claims, he ‘threw them into the trash’. According to Associated Press (via the Guardian), neither the investigating judge nor Birn’s co-defendants believe his claims.

Art thief jailed over theft of 18th-century icon from Chester Cathedral | An art thief who stole an icon from Chester Cathedral in 2014 has been sentenced to nine months in prison, reports ITV News. Crewe resident Vasily Apilats was identified after police recovered traces of his DNA with swabs taken from the picture stand. The icon was discovered wrapped inside a plastic bag in the suspect’s house, alongside several other religious artefacts. In today’s sentencing hearing, the court heard that Apilats, 61, was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. ‘We are delighted to be able to re-instate the stolen 18th-century icon here at the cathedral’, said Chester Cathedral constable Chris Jones.

Art Cologne Prize 2017 goes to Günter Herzog | Professor Günter Herzog, scientific head of the Zentralarchiv des Internationalen Kunsthandels, has been named as the recipient of this year’s Art Cologne prize. Herzog has been at the ZADIK, a Cologne-based research institutions for the preservation of material relating to the art market, for 15 years. The €10,000 prize will be formally presented in April.