Police Save Stolen $108-Million Cezanne, Magritte Becomes Kids Lit Hero, and More Must-Read Art News

Police Save Stolen $108-Million Cezanne, Magritte Becomes Kids Lit Hero, and More Must-Read Art News
Paul Cézanne, "The Boy in the Red Waistcoat," 1888-89 (detail)
(Courtesy Wikipaintings)

$108 Million Stolen Cézanne Saved in Serbia: Last night police in Belgrade rescued "The Boy in the Red Waistcoat" (1888-89), a painting by Paul Cézanne that was stolen at gunpoint from Zurich's Emil Georg Bührle gallery in 2008, along with classic works by Claude Monet, Edgard Degas, and Vincent van Gogh, in what was the biggest art heist in Switzerland's history. The Cézanne work alone is estimated to be worth a staggering £68 million ($108 million). While the Monet and van Gogh were recovered shortly therafter, the Degas remains missing; three suspects are being held in connection with the just-recovered Cézanne, while Swiss experts are en route to confirm its authenticity. [Guardian, Libération]

— Magritte for the Kids: Does your little one have a taste for the odd puzzle-paintings of Rene Magritte? If so, then you are in luck! D.B. Johnson's new children's picture book "Magritte's Marvelous Hat," aims to make Belgian Surrealist's unique sensibility accessible to the average preschooler. Johnson — who published the M.C. Escher-themed kids' book "Palazzo Inverso" two years ago — cast the Swiss Surrealist as a dog whose bowler hat floats mysteriously over his head. [Wired]

— A Very Sweet 30 for Prince William: The Finnish candy company Panda Liquorice has commissioned the most scrumtious royal portrait ever to mark Prince William's 30th birthday, which happens to coincide with the company's three-decade anniversary. The 20-foot mural, currently on view at Spinningfields in Manchester, took four artists five hours and 3,000 pieces of liquorice to build. Panda Liquorice spokesperson Lisa Gawthorne said: "We're delighted to be sharing our 30th with him and hope this tribute brings a smile to the faces of both Wills and Kate." [HuffPoUK]

Guggenheim and UBS Team Up to Tap the Developing World's Art Treasures: Today the Guggenheim Foundation and UBS will announce a five-year program, the awkwardly named "Guggenheim UBS Map Global Art Initiative," to work with artists and curators from South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America while acquiring works from those regions for the Guggenheim's permanent collection, to be the focus of major traveling exhibitions. Curators from each global region will be granted overlapping two-year residencies at the New York museum as part of the program. [NYT]

British Police Mistakenly Release Art Thief: One of five suspects in an organized crime ring arrested last weekend for stealing Chinese artifacts worth £2 million ($3.2 million) from Durham's Oriental Museum was accidentally let go on Tuesday, and has disappeared, prompting a nationwide manhunt. Lee Wildman, 35, was granted bail Monday night, but before the police could re-arrest him for questioning he'd vanished. Four other prime suspects remain in custody. [NorthernEcho]

Aussies Outgrow Venice Annex: After exhibiting in Philip Cox's temporary building for a quarter-century, Australia will build a new pavilion designed by Denton Corker Marshall for the 2015 Venice Biennale. The new AUS$6 million (US$ 6.2 million), to be built in the Giardini, will take the place of Cox's structure, and will be a solemn box of black granite — in high contrast to the conventional white cube. [BrisbaneTimes]

Irish Artist Builds Billion-Euro House: Entitled "Expressions of Recession," Franck Buckley's Dublin House has been mostly constructed from shredded decommissioned bank notes given to him by the national mint under strict conditions, and formerly worth some €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). The artist is now welcoming visitors into the three-room house and gallery, in which he's been living since last December. Some of his paintings are on sale within, but at significantly more affordable prices. [Artlyst]

 Pinta Returns to London: After a successful second edition in 2011, Pinta, the art fair dedicated to art from Latin America, has announced it will hold a third edition and introduce artists from Portugal and Spain for the first time. Three sections will be presented in 2012: Galleries, Solo Exhibitions, and Art Projects curated by Pablo Leon de la Barra. [Artdaily]

New Director for Barcelona's Picasso Museum: Bernardo Laniado-Romero, who was formerly director of the Picasso Museum in Malaga, has been appointed the director of the much larger Barcelona institution of the same name. He also worked for the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's European Painting department. [Connaissance des Arts]

Chinese Art Collection Breaks Auction Records: Paintings, sculptures, and objets d’art belonging to an unnamed Milwaukee family went under the hammer at a Kaminski auction in Beverly, Massachusetts, late last month. Among the prized works were five paintings by the 20th century artist Qi Bashi, which sold for a record $2.3 million. [Auction Central News]

Turkey Demands Artifact's Return, Mid-Exhibition: An increasingly assertive Turkish government is demanding the return of a statue brought to the British Museum in the 1920s, and that is a highlight of the current exhibition “Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam.” The demand, first articulated by Ankara's government in in 2005, is one of many works Turkey has requested from U.S. and British institutions — it's also the second ongoing high-profile case involving the British Museum, which is under pressure from Greece to return the Elgin marbles. [NYT]


Surrealism for kids — Magritte's Marvelous Hat by author/illustrator D. B. Johnson: