Uffizi Gallery in Florence urges Germany to return 18th-century painting stolen by the Nazis Dutch master Jan van Huysum’s still life Vase of Flowers was originally put on display at the Pitti Palace in Florence in 1824 after it was bought by Grande Duke Leopoldo II for his art collection. After the outbreak of the second World War it was moved to a nearby village.
However, German soldiers seized the painting in 1944 and all trace of it was lost until 1991, shortly after German reunification.
It is currently owned by an unidentified family, who have demanded payment in return for the artwork, which the Uffizi refuses. Meanwhile, Germany says a statute of limitations on crimes committed more than 30 years ago stops it from intervening.
“La Germania restituisca a #Firenze il dipinto rubato dai #nazisti“. Appello del direttore Eike Schmidt. Il quadro “Vaso di fiori” di Jan van Huysum fu sottratto a Palazzo #Pitti da soldati della #Wehrmacht durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale https://t.co/25YQThFmmk pic.twitter.com/rImfrC918L
— Gallerie Uffizi (@UffiziGalleries) January 1, 2019
Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery, told the Guardian: “Because of this affair, the wounds of the second world war and Nazi terror are not yet healed. Germany has a moral duty to return the works to our museum and I hope this will be done as soon as possible, along with every other work of art looted by the Nazi army.”
Earlier this week, a photo of the painting was put up at the Pitti Palace accompanied by the word ‘stolen’ in Italian, German and English. Schmidt said the image will hang at the venue until the work is returned.
Art critic Sister Wendy Beckett dies aged 88 The Roman Catholic nun rose to fame in the early 1990s with her popular BBC television documentaries on the history of art. Her first series Sister Wendy’s Odyssey drew 3.5m viewers at its peak, and she proceeded to make several programs, including Sister Wendy’s Grand Tour and Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting.
She was also a celebrated writer, with her first book Contemporary Women Artists being published in 1988. She went on to write more than two dozen others, including The Gaze of Love in 1993 and Sister Wendy on Prayer in 2006.
Beckett’s success even led to her having a musical written about her, Postcards from God: the Sister Wendy Musical, created by Marcus Reeves, which ran briefly in a small West End venue.
BBC director of arts Jonty Claypole paid tribute, saying: “Beckett had a unique presentation style, a deep knowledge of and passion for the arts. She was a hugely popular BBC presenter and will be fondly remembered by us all.”
Beckett died at the Carmelite monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk on Boxing Day afternoon.
US museums temporarily close after government shutdown results in halt to funding The shutdown began on 22 December when President Trump refused to pass the federal budget due to a dispute with Congress over funding for his proposed border wall between the US and Mexico. Among the closures are all 19 Smithsonian museums in New York and Washington, DC, including the African American Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Air and Space Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the National Zoo.
As Artforum reports, a number of institutions are offering free admission to federal workers with government IDs, a move which significantly increased visitors numbers during shutdowns in the past. These include the Phillips Collection, the National Building Museum, President Lincoln’s Cottage, and the Woodrow Wilson House.
Christie’s France wins artist resale royalty battle The French supreme court has ruled that the buyer rather than the seller of a work of art can be charged the resale royalties that go to artists or their heirs, known as the ‘droit de suite’.
Christie’s France was behind the move to pass on the expense to the buyer because the auction house was ultimately responsible for paying the levy to the collecting agency. However, it now has the right to ask for money from the buyer, as long as this is specified in the sale conditions in the catalogue.
Droit de suite was first introduced in France in 1920, making a seller of art work solely liable for paying the charge either to the living artist or, if within 70 years of their death, to their heirs or estates in line with the jurisdiction of the European Economic Area.
Initially, it was charged only on sales at auction houses, but in 2007 the levy was extended to sales made through dealers and galleries too.
Artist Lina Iris Viktor and rapper Kendrick Lamar resolve copyright infringement case British-Liberian artist Viktor had claimed that her Constellations series of works appeared in the video for ‘All The Stars’ (at the 2:59 mark), a single by Lamar and the singer SZA, without her permission. The song was featured on the soundtrack to the Marvel film Black Panther, which made over $1b at the global box office.
In the original lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year, it was alleged that the creators of the film approached Viktor about using the imagery but she refused as the “financial and artistic terms offered for her collaboration were not acceptable”.
At the time, Viktor told The New York Times: “Why would they do this? It’s an ethical issue because what the whole film purports is that it’s about black empowerment [and] African excellence. That’s the whole concept of the story.”
Explaining the settlement, Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, the Seattle-based gallerist who represents Viktor, told The Art Newspaper: “There is a settlement in principle which the parties are finalising. Lina is happy that it has been resolved. She can now return her focus to her art practice and her upcoming exhibitions in the future.”
1. @UffiziGalleries tweet. Courtesy: Uffizi Gallery