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

Portugal’s top art collector Joe Berardo arrested over fraud allegations

A prominent Portuguese businessman and art collector has been detained by police investigating fraud and money laundering allegations. Joe Berardo was arrested on Tuesday as police raided several homes and banks. Mr Berardo, 76, is the founder of a modern art museum – a major tourist attraction in the capital, Lisbon. He is accused of shifting valuable artworks into a trust to protect them from creditors. Mr Berardo has not commented. He is expected in court in the next two days. The tycoon founded the Museu Coleção Berardo, showcasing major works by Miró and Mondrian, in 2006. Authorities began a … Continue reading Portugal’s top art collector Joe Berardo arrested over fraud allegations

Picasso painting found in Athens years after gallery heist

A painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen nine years ago during a heist at a Greek gallery has been recovered. On Monday, police in Athens said Picasso’s Woman’s Head had been found along with a 1905 painting of a windmill by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Both were taken, along with a third artwork, during an elaborate 2012 heist at the Athens National Gallery. The artworks were stripped from their frames in the early morning raid which only took minutes to carry out. The Reuters news agency, citing an anonymous police official, reported that a Greek man has been arrested … Continue reading Picasso painting found in Athens years after gallery heist

Incredible: David Bowie painting bought for $5 expected to fetch thousands

A rare painting by legendary musician David Bowie that was found at a Canadian rubbish tip is set to be auctioned for thousands of dollars. The artwork purchased at the entrance to an Ontario landfill for C$5 (roughly $4; £3) is expected to draw at least C$12,000, organisers say. Experts say the striking signature on the back of the artwork proves that it was made by Ziggy Stardust himself. The auction closes on 24 June, with bidding at C$38,100 as of Thursday. According to the Cowley Abbott auction house, the painting was discovered by an anonymous woman at a donation centre … Continue reading Incredible: David Bowie painting bought for $5 expected to fetch thousands

Amazing: $65M scroll join history’s most expensive Chinese artworks

A rare 18th-century scroll has become one of the most expensive Chinese artworks ever to sell at auction. The 61-foot-long artwork fetched 414 million yuan (almost $65 million) when it went under the hammer in Beijing on Sunday. The handscroll is the work of Xu Yang, who was recruited as a court painter by the Qianlong Emperor in the 1750s. It depicts scenes in Beijing during the aftermath of military campaigns to consolidate the emperor’s power in China’s west, conflicts that would later form part of his so-called “Ten Great Campaigns.” Although often titled “Settling Down the Western Regions and Presenting … Continue reading Amazing: $65M scroll join history’s most expensive Chinese artworks

Mona Lisa replica set to fetch up to €300,000 at auction

A replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting is going on sale in Paris, where it is expected to fetch up to €300,000 ($365,645; £257,813). Said to have been created by a follower of da Vinci in the early 17th Century, it is widely known as the Mona Lisa Hekking after ex-owner Raymond Hekking. Hekking, who died in 1977, cast doubt on the authenticity of the original masterpiece now at the Louvre museum. The early replica will be sold at Christie’s auction house in Paris. Hekking acquired the canvas in the 1950s from an art dealer in Nice. … Continue reading Mona Lisa replica set to fetch up to €300,000 at auction

David Diop becomes first French winner of the International Booker Prize

David Diop has become the first French writer to win the International Booker Prize, judges announced on Wednesday. His second novel, At Night All Blood is Black, was inspired by his Senegalese great-grandfather’s silence about his experiences in World War One. The £50,000 prize will be split between Diop and the book’s translator – US author and poet Anna Moschovakis. It fended off competition from five other shortlisted titles, including Éric Vuillard’s The War of the Poor. The International Booker Prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or … Continue reading David Diop becomes first French winner of the International Booker Prize

Greece approves Dior shoot at key ancient sites

Greece’s top archaeological advisory body Wednesday approved use of several key sites including the Acropolis for an upcoming shoot by French fashion house Dior, a culture ministry source said.The Acropolis The photo shoots will be held for material to be presented during a runway show in Athens next month, the ministry official said. The trip will pay homage to an iconic photo session at the Acropolis 70 years ago for an haute couture collection by Christian Dior.  The official said the central archaeological council had “unanimously” approved the shoots. In addition to the Acropolis, photo shoots will be held at … Continue reading Greece approves Dior shoot at key ancient sites

The former chairman of Valentino just sold a Basquiat skull painting at auction

A woman looks at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “In This Case” Valentino cofounder Giancarlo Giammetti just sold a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat at auction in New York for $93.1 million, James Tarmey reported for Bloomberg. The six-by-six-foot painting exceeded its expected roughly $50 million sale price by more than $40 million, according to Christie’s Auction House, which conducted the sale. The new owner of the painting has not been identified, but Art News reported that the sale came after a bidding war between at least six people from New York and Hong Kong. Christie’s declined to comment on the identity of the buyer. The 1983 painting, titled … Continue reading The former chairman of Valentino just sold a Basquiat skull painting at auction