Famous Fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier dies aged 78

Patrick Demarchelier, who photographed famous figures including Princess Diana, Beyonce, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, has died at the age of 78. Described by the princess as a “dream”, he also worked on advertising campaigns for Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Hilfiger and Carolina Herrera. The French photographer’s picture of Diana featured on the cover of Vogue’s 1991 December issue. Demarchelier’s representatives announced his death on Instagram. The photographer, who was namechecked in 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada by Meryl Streep’s infamous magazine editor character – also worked for high-profile titles including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Rolling Stone. Model … Continue reading Famous Fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier dies aged 78

Russian Ballerina Olga Smirnova defects to The Netherlands after denouncing war

A leading Bolshoi prima ballerina, who recently denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is leaving the country to join Dutch National Ballet. Olga Smirnova, 30, said last week she was “against this war with every fibre of my soul” and was supported by other Russian ballerinas. The Dutch National Ballet confirmed the news on Wednesday that Smirnova will start with them immediately. Its director Ted Brandsen described her as an “exceptional dancer”. Smirnova has a Ukrainian grandfather and has described herself as “one-quarter Ukrainian”. Writing earlier this month, Smirnova said: “In a modern and enlightened world, I expect civilized societies to … Continue reading Russian Ballerina Olga Smirnova defects to The Netherlands after denouncing war

Nigeria’s looted Benin bronzes returned, more than a century later

Two Benin bronzes were returned on Saturday to a traditional palace in Nigeria, more than a century after they were pillaged by British troops, raising hopes that thousands more artefacts could finally be returned to their ancestral home. The artefacts, mostly in Europe, were stolen by explorers and colonizers from the once mighty Benin Kingdom, now southwestern Nigeria, and are among Africa’s most significant heritage objects. They were created as early as the 16th century onwards, according to the British Museum. The Oba of Benin Kingdom, Oba Ewuare II receives the stolen Benin artifacts At a colourful ceremony to mark … Continue reading Nigeria’s looted Benin bronzes returned, more than a century later

Russian gallery security guard accused of drawing eyes on painting

A Russian art gallery guard has been accused of doodling on a Soviet-era painting he was responsible for guarding on his first day in the job. During a visit to the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg in December, two visitors spotted eyes drawn in ballpoint pen on Anna Leporskaya’s work Three Figures. The avant-garde painting features three abstract, and usually eyeless, figures. The security guard has since been fired and the police have opened a criminal investigation. In a statement the Yeltsin Center’s executive director Alexander Drozdov said the security guard was employed by a private security organisation. It was also … Continue reading Russian gallery security guard accused of drawing eyes on painting

Maya Angelou becomes the first black poet to feature on the US quarter

The US Treasury has minted coins featuring poet Maya Angelou – the first black woman ever featured on the US 25-cent coin known as a quarter. Angelou, a poet and activist, was the first black woman to write and perform a poem at a presidential inauguration. Coins are planned for other pioneering women, including an astronaut, a tribal chief and an actress – as part of the American Women Quarters programme. The move was hailed by the nation’s first female treasury secretary. “Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country – what … Continue reading Maya Angelou becomes the first black poet to feature on the US quarter

Bell hooks, author and feminist dies aged 69

Acclaimed feminist author and activist bell hooks has died at the age of 69, her family has confirmed. She died on Wednesday at her home in Kentucky “surrounded by her family and friends”, according to a statement. Hooks was considered a trailblazer within the intersectional feminism movement, and published some 40 books during her life. Her real name was Gloria Jean Watkins but she adopted her great-grandmother’s name Bell Blair Hooks for her writing. However, hooks deliberately styled her own name with lower case letters to focus attention on her message rather than herself. She said she wanted readers to … Continue reading Bell hooks, author and feminist dies aged 69

New York’s Met museum to remove Sackler name from exhibits

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Sackler family members have announced the famed museum will drop their name, linked to opioid-maker Purdue Pharma, from its exhibit halls. The Sacklers founded the company, which manufactured drugs like OxyContin, blamed for fuelling the opioid crisis. In 2019, the Met announced that it would no longer accept gifts from the family amid increased public scrutiny. A total of seven exhibition spaces at the Met bear the Sackler name. In a joint statement released on Thursday, the Met and members of the Sackler family said that the action was “mutually agreed” in … Continue reading New York’s Met museum to remove Sackler name from exhibits

Netherlands to buy Rembrandt Standard Bearer self-portrait

The Netherlands government says it is planning to buy an iconic self-portrait of the 17th Century Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn. It is seeking parliamentary approval for the purchase of the Standard Bearer, a work seen as hugely important for Dutch culture and history. The 1636 masterpiece has been owned by private collectors including the Rothschilds for centuries. It will go on tour before being displayed in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. “The Standard Bearer is coming home for good after a journey of several centuries,” Culture Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said in a statement. The government is setting aside €150m (£129m; $170m) … Continue reading Netherlands to buy Rembrandt Standard Bearer self-portrait

US billionaire Michael Steinhardt hands over antiquities worth $70m

A US billionaire has been banned for life from buying antiquities after an investigation found that items he owned had been looted and illegally smuggled. Michael Steinhardt has surrendered treasures worth $70m (£53m) as part of a deal which means he will not face criminal charges. The ban on the hedge-fund pioneer acquiring more antiquities was the first of its kind, prosecutors said. Many of the antiquities appeared to be without provenance, they said. Mr Steinhardt denies any criminal wrongdoing in the matter; the deal put an end to a grand jury investigation into his affairs. Among the 180 items … Continue reading US billionaire Michael Steinhardt hands over antiquities worth $70m

Racism: Photographer sorry for ‘small eyes’ Dior picture

A Chinese fashion photographer has apologised for her “ignorance” after a picture she shot for French luxury brand Dior sparked outrage. Chen Man’s photo showed a woman who some Chinese netizens said perpetuated Western stereotypes of Asian faces. “I blame myself for my immaturity and ignorance [in my past works],” Ms Chen, 41, wrote on social platform Weibo. Dior said the photo, which was recently displayed at a Shanghai exhibition, has since been removed. “Dior, as always, respects the sentiments of the Chinese people… If any errors happen, [Dior] must be open to receiving feedback and correct them in time,” … Continue reading Racism: Photographer sorry for ‘small eyes’ Dior picture

Frida Kahlo art fetches record $34.9m at auction

A painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has sold at Sotheby’s auction house in New York for a record $34.9m (£25m). It is the highest price paid at auction for a Latin American artwork. The record had previously been set by a work by Diego Rivera, with whom Kahlo had a decades-long tumultuous relationship. His piece sold for $9.76m in 2018. Kahlo’s painting “Diego y Yo” was was one of her final self-portraits. The work depicts a tearful Kahlo with her husband Rivera painted above her eyes. It was described by Sotheby’s at the auction on Tuesday as “one of the … Continue reading Frida Kahlo art fetches record $34.9m at auction

South African author Damon Galgut wins Booker Prize for ‘The Promise’

South African writer Damon Galgut won the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction on Wednesday with ‘The Promise’, a novel about one white family’s reckoning with South Africa’s racist history.Author Damon Galgut at the 2021 Booker Prize Awards Ceremony in London, Wednesday Nov. 3, 2021. Galgut had been British bookmakers’ runaway favorite to win the 50,000-pound ($69,000) prize with his story of a troubled Afrikaner family and its broken promise to a Black employee, a tale that reflects bigger themes in South Africa’s transition from apartheid. Galgut took the prize on his third time as a finalist, for a book the judges … Continue reading South African author Damon Galgut wins Booker Prize for ‘The Promise’