Van Gogh painting, once looted by Nazis, could fetch $30 million

Over a century since it was last seen in public, a vibrant Vincent van Gogh painting once seized by the Nazis is heading to auction.Meules de ble’ The watercolor of a harvest scene, titled “Meule de ble’” (“Wheat Stacks”), depicts women working in the fields at Arles, France, and is expected to sell for up to $30 million. Van Gogh painted the scene in 1888 after he retreated to the French countryside amid a period of poor health. While in Arles, he became enamored with the pastoral lifestyle around him, and “Meules de blé” was one of several harvest-themed works … Continue reading Van Gogh painting, once looted by Nazis, could fetch $30 million

LOL: A renowned female crime novelist who won a million-euro prize in Spain turned out to be three middle-aged men

The writer Carmen Mola, is a pseudonym of the writers Jorge Diaz, Agustin Martinez and Antonio Mercero. Like a plot twist straight out of a novel, the identity of a respected female crime author was revealed – and it turns out “she” was three men. Speculation on the identity of one of Spain’s most prominent crime thriller writers, who wrote under the name Carmen Mola, ended on Friday when three men rose to accept the 2021 Premio Planeta literary prize – worth one million-euros – for Mola’s currently unreleased work “The Beast.” Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez, and Antonio Mercero are … Continue reading LOL: A renowned female crime novelist who won a million-euro prize in Spain turned out to be three middle-aged men

Actor killed in accident on stage during opera at famous theater

A performer of Russia’s legendary Bolshoi theatre was killed Saturday in an accident on stage during the performance of an opera, the Moscow company said. The theatre said the incident took place during a set change in “Sadko,” a 19th century opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. “The performance was immediately stopped and the audience was asked to leave,” the theatre’s press service told the Interfax news agency.   Moscow’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that it was probing the death of the 37-year-old male performer. They said he received injuries and died before an ambulance arrived. BBC news identified the … Continue reading Actor killed in accident on stage during opera at famous theater

Italian statue of scantily-clad woman sparks sexism row

A bronze statue of a scantily-clad woman to honour a 19th Century poem has sparked a sexism row in Italy, with politicians calling for its removal. The sculpture in the southern town of Sapri is a tribute to La Spigolatrice di Sapri (The Gleaner of Sapri), written by Luigi Mercantini in 1857. It portrays a woman in a transparent dress with one arm over her breasts. Congresswoman Laura Boldrini said the statue was “an offense to women and to the history it should celebrate”. “How can even institutions accept the representation of women as a sexualised body? Male chauvinism is … Continue reading Italian statue of scantily-clad woman sparks sexism row

US to hand over 3,500-year-old ‘Gilgamesh’ tablet to Iraq

The United States will formally return an illegally imported 3,500-year-old tablet recounting the epic of Gilgamesh to Iraq this week, the United Nations’ cultural body UNESCO announced Monday.Mesopotamian clay cones bearing cuneiform inscriptions are displayed during a handover ceremony of a trove of looted Iraqi antiquities returned by the United States to Iraq in July 2021 The ancient tablet, which a wealthy US collector had acquired along with other Iraqi artifacts to display in the Washington Museum of the Bible, will be handed over to Iraqi officials at the Smithsonian Institution on September 23. UNESCO called the repatriation of the … Continue reading US to hand over 3,500-year-old ‘Gilgamesh’ tablet to Iraq

Fashion house in backlash over ‘racist’ $1,190 sweatpants

High end fashion label Balenciaga is facing a backlash, after critics said that a $1,190 (£860) pair of sweatpants it sells rips off black culture. The Trompe L’Oeil pants feature a built-in pair of boxer shorts peeking out from the waistband, mimicking a style popularised by hip hop musicians. A TikTok post which called the pants racist was viewed 1.6m times and black culture experts have raised concerns. Balenciaga said it often combined wardrobe pieces into a single garment. Examples include “jeans layered over tracksuit pants [and] button-up shirts layered over t-shirts”, said chief marketing officer Ludivine Pont. “These Trompe … Continue reading Fashion house in backlash over ‘racist’ $1,190 sweatpants

The city of Amsterdam is returning a $22m Kandinsky painting to its original owners’ heirs

Wassily Kandinsky,Painting with Houses, 1909 Amsterdam officials announced on Friday that the city will return a painting by Wassily Kandinsky to the heirs of its original Jewish owner. The decision ends years-long legal dispute over the painting, which has been in the Stedelijk museum’s collection since 1940. The canvas, seen above, titled Painting with Houses (1909), will be transferred from the city-owned Stedelijk Museum to the family of Irma Klein and Robert Lewenstein. The couple owned the painting before the Nazi regime took over the Netherlands during World War II in 1940. It was auctioned at a price below its market value five months … Continue reading The city of Amsterdam is returning a $22m Kandinsky painting to its original owners’ heirs

Monet painting almost stolen during botched museum raid in the Netherlands

Two men attempted to steal a prized Claude Monet painting from a museum in the Netherlands, though the robbery was foiled and the suspects fled empty-handed, according to Dutch police. Gunshots were fired during the botched raid at the Zaans Museum in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam, though nobody was injured in the incident, a police statement confirmed. The oil painting in question, Monet’s “The Voorzaan and the Westerhem,” is currently being inspected for damage, the museum said over email. The attempted robbery took place at around 10.30 am on Sunday. According to CNN affiliate NOS, museum staff and bystanders intervened … Continue reading Monet painting almost stolen during botched museum raid in the Netherlands

Australia to return 14 artworks of disputed provenance to India

The National Gallery of Australia is to return 14 works of art to India that are suspected of having been stolen, looted or exported illegally. The religious and cultural artefacts include sculptures, photos and a scroll and are worth around $2.2m (£1.57m). Gallery director Nick Mitzevich said their return would close “a very difficult chapter of our history”. All but one of the works are connected to Subhash Kapoor, a former New York art dealer and alleged trafficker. Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in India, denies all charges. Some of the disputed pieces date back to the 12th Century, when … Continue reading Australia to return 14 artworks of disputed provenance to India

Art dealer stole more than £1 million to fund her ‘lavish’ lifestyle

An art dealer who stole more than £1 million spent the money on maintaining a “lavish” lifestyle for her and her husband, including hiring a private jet, a court has heard.Angela Gulbenkian German socialite Angela Gulbenkian, 39, appeared in Southwark crown court on Wednesday (July 28). She pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of theft totalling £1,111,484. Gulbenkian has admitted to fraudulently selling an 81kg (179lb) spotted yellow pumpkin by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama She also admitted to stealing £50,000 from Jacqui Ball, a friend she promised to help invest in art. During the hearing, Gulbenkian appeared … Continue reading Art dealer stole more than £1 million to fund her ‘lavish’ lifestyle

US authorities take ownership of artefact

A federal court has ordered that a rare ancient artefact, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, must be surrendered to authorities. The 3,500-year-old tablet, from what is now Iraq, bears text from the Epic of Gilgamesh – one of the world’s oldest works of literature. Officials say it was illegally imported before being purchased by the Christian-owned brand Hobby Lobby. The rare item was bought to be put on display at the Museum of the Bible. The Washington DC museum, chaired by the craft shop’s president, has been plagued by controversies involving its collection. Officials said the tablet was purchased … Continue reading US authorities take ownership of artefact

Leonardo da Vinci bear sketch fetches over $12m

A tiny sketch of a bear by Leonardo da Vinci sold for over $12 million on Thursday, setting a new auction record for a drawing by the renaissance artist. Measuring less than 8 square inches, the item is one of only eight Leonardo drawings left in private hands, according Christie’s, the auction house behind the sale. The sketch was made on pale pink-beige paper using silverpoint, a technique taught to Leonardo by his master, Andrea del Verrocchio that involves marking chemically treated paper with silver rods or wire. The item has changed hands several times over the centuries in fact, it was … Continue reading Leonardo da Vinci bear sketch fetches over $12m