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US Supreme Court to rule on dispute over Warhol’s use of Prince photograph

Plus: The Met returns looted statues to Libya | Ashton Hawkins (1937–2022) | Delfina Entrecanales (1927–2022) | Qatar to build three new museums in Doha

1 April 2022

The US Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will rule on a dispute between the Warhol Foundation and the photographer Lynn Goldsmith. At issue is whether the foundation can copyright Warhol’s use of a photograph taken by Goldsmith that is itself in copyright; Goldsmith’s portrait of 1981 is the basis for the artist’s silkscreen portrait of the musician, created for Vanity Fair in 1984. Seeking to determine whether Warhol’s silkscreen painting series suitably ‘transforms’ the portrait taken by Goldsmith, the case will examine the foundation’s claim that the Warhol paintings constitute ‘entirely new creations’.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has returned two statues from the ancient Greek colony of Cyrene in its collection to Libya. One of the artefacts, a Hellenistic bust of a veiled woman from c. 350 BC, was recently valued at around $470,000 and is believed to have been looted from the necropolis near the modern-day city of Shahat. The second item, Bearded Bust of a Man, had reportedly been circulating on the art market for decades. The Met has stated its support for ‘the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigation and of the return of the object to Libya’.

Ashton Hawkins, a pioneer in the field of art law, has died at the age of 84. Hawkins was celebrated for his work with donors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was first secretary and then counsel to the trustees, and at the Dia Art Foundation. He was chairman of Dia from 1985 to 1996 and stepped down as the Met’s executive vice president in 2001 after 32 years at the museum. Describing Hawkins when he retired from the Met, the museum’s then-director, Philip de Montebello, said, ‘Ashton Hawkins is himself an institution, within an institution.’

The Delfina Foundation has announced that its founder Delfina Entrecanales has died at the age of 94. Entrancanales was a committed supporter of contemporary artists, setting up grants and residencies through the Delfina Studio Trust and subsequently, Delfina Foundation. Entrecanales once said, ‘I collect artists, not art.’ Artists she helped include Chantal Joffe, Haegue Yang and Mark Wallinger.

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup this November, Qatar has announced plans to build three new museums. They include the Lusail Museum, which is to be designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and which will house ‘the world’s most extensive collection of Orientalist’ art.