Van Gogh's Sunflowers Dying, Modigliani Expert Arrested for Forgery, and More

Van Gogh's Sunflowers Dying, Modigliani Expert Arrested for Forgery, and More
Paul Gauguin's "Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers", 1888 (detail)
(Van Gogh Museum via WikiPaintings)

– van Gogh's Yellows Are Turning Brown: Vincent van Gogh's famous "Sunflower" paintings aren't quite so sunny anymore. Their yellow hue has browned in recent years after prolonged exposure to energy-efficient LED lights installed in art galleries and museums around the world. "LED lights appear to have many advantages but museums should carefully consider that paintings from the van Gogh era could be affected by them," said Claus Habfast, from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France. [Independent]

– Modigliani Institute Pres Arrested: It's a difficult time to authenticate a Modigliani. Christian Parisot, one of two rival authentication experts and the president of the Modigliani Institute in Rome, has been arrested in Italy after a two-year investigation by Italian antiques and forgery squads. Police seized 59 works allegedly falsely attributed to Modigliani, as well as fake certificates of authenticity. All told, the haul was worth $8.89 million, according to prosecutors. [FT]


Scandinavian Joke Artists Create Public Art Program in Munich: In an effort to win back tourists from Berlin, the city of Munich has commissioned Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, famed for their oddball artworks, to create and curate a year-long program of public art in its main squares. Participating artists include Stephen Hall, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Henrik Olesen. Elmgreen & Dragset will also contribute to of their own temporary art interventions, including a "tourist office" inside the city's town hall staffed by art students. [FT]

– Artist Defends Middleton Portrait: Though its unveiling last week at London's National Portrait Gallery spawned criticisms that it made the Duchess of Cambridge look like a vampire — and even a call for "Beast Jesus" creator Cecilia Gimenez to "restore" it — painter Paul Emsley stands behind his portrait of Kate Middleton. "It's very difficult to do an original painting or portrait of someone whose image is so pervasive already in your mind, Emsley said. "But she's a wonderful subject, so there was plenty for me to work with." [Telegraph]

– Picasso Murals Damaged by Terrorist Could Disappear: A pair of multi-story concrete murals that Pablo Picasso created for the Norwegian government between the late-1950s and early-'70s were damaged by the terrorist bombing in Oslo in July 2011. Now, they stand to be removed and relocated if Norway opts to demolish the damaged buildings whose façades they adorn. "If the buildings were demolished and the murals integrated into new ones or brought to another site," said Jørn Holme, head of Norway's Directorate for Cultural Heritage, "they would no longer be the works Picasso intended." [TAN]

 Iconic Frozen Blood Sculpture Almost Melts: One of British artist Marc Quinn's "Self" sculptures — a series of self-portraits the artist creates by freezing nine pints of his blood — nearly turned into a bloody disaster when its cooling mechanism broke down during an exhibition at Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The work was removed from the gallery and re-frozen before it began to thaw. "It was moved to a normal freezer, bought [especially] for [the piece]," said Louisiana Museum spokesperson Susanne Hartz. [TAN]

Meet the Couple Lobbying for D.C. LGBT Museum: Former Smithsonian staffer Tim Gold and his furniture dealer husband Mitchell Gold are leading efforts to create a national museum devoted to LGBT history in Washington, D.C., both by collecting historical artifacts and raising funds for the institution through their charitable organization, the Velvet Foundation. "It is for the LGBT youth," Tim Gold said. "That high school boy or girl who comes from a community that’s not so accepting, maybe a family that’s not so accepting, from a church that’s not so accepting, and at the very least they should be able to walk by this museum and know that it’s okay." [Washington Post]

Hong Kong Gets a New Gallery: Fabio Rossi, co-founder of London's classical and contemporary Asian art gallery Rossi & Rossi, is teaming up with local dealer Jean-Marc Decrop to open a new gallery in Hong Kong. Yallay Space, located in the industrial neighborhood of Aberdeen just outside the city center, opens this week and specializes in Middle Eastern and Asian art. [FT]

Belgium Gets a Holocaust Museum: Belgium has opened a Holocaust and human rights museum at a gruesome site: The Dossin Barracks, a last-stop transit center for the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp run by the Nazis between 1942 and 1944. The number of bricks used to build the four-floor complex, constructed by Flemish architect Bob Van Reeth, is equivalent to the estimated number of people deported to the death camps. [AFP]

– Chelsea Gallery Goes for Gold: Tomorrow night Chelsea's Underline Gallery will open a group exhibition of golden artworks titled "Mine: Take What's Yours" featuring an international roster of 14 artists, all of whom investigate the financial, symbolic, and emotional value of gold. "We were going to the art fairs, and it seemed like gold was trending," explained gallery director Casey Burry. [WSJ]


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