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A MAJOR ART-LAW DISPUTE IS HEADED TO WASHINGTON. The U.S. Supreme Court said that it will hear a case about the ownership of a Nazi-looted Camille Pissarro painting that has been going on for 15 years, Courthouse News reports. The work in question is an 1897 cityscape that a Jewish woman in Berlin named Lilly Cassirer sold under duress to the Nazis in 1939. After the war, with the whereabouts of the painting unknown, she received $13,000 in restitution. Her grandson found it hanging in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid around 2000, and later filed suit in California, where a collector had owned it years earlier. (The San Diego Union-Tribune lays out the chronology.) The museum has maintained that, when it acquired it in 1993 from Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, it acted in good faith and was unaware of the work’s past. Under Spanish law, it holds title to the work. The somewhat complicated issue is whether U.S. law or California law applies in the suit. Last year, as ARTnews reported, an appellate panel said that it is federal law, which defers to Spanish rules. However, in court filings, the family’s lawyer, David Boies, argues instead for the statutes of California, where “a holder of stolen property . . . can never acquire good title.”
THERE MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE AIR. Because there is a bevy of artist profiles today. George Condo, who just opened a retrospective at the Long Museum in Shanghai, tells CNN that he is hard at work “eliminating my own style.” DeSe Escobar is in Cultured. Sarah Cain, who has a show at Broadway in Manhattan, spoke with the New York Times. And Lorna Simpson, who has an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles, chatted with T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
In early September, four works by artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne/Arapaho) that were shown near the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas were vandalized, and then removed for safekeeping. Now the one piece that remained on view has been stolen. [The Kansas City Star]
Sotheby’s will soon open a 4,300-square-foot West Coast flagship branch in Beverly Hills, near Gagosian and Christie’s. First up in the new space: selections from the storied $600 million Macklowe Collection, which ARTnews previewed earlier this month. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Film director Gus Van Sant (Good Willing Hunting, 1997, and many more), has premiered his first directorial effort in theater—a musical about Andy Warhol, in Lisbon. Musicals like The Book of Mormon (2011) and Hamilton (2015) got him interested in the form, he said in an interview. “I thought stuff was happening, and I thought it applied to Andy obliquely.” [The Guardian]
In an open letter to the government of British Columbia, archaeologists said that work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory could destroy Indigenous artifacts and that the Wet’suwet’en had not been properly consulted on the project. The firm behind the pipeline, TC Energy, has rejected the claims. [The Globe and Mail]
At the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, text messages introduced by prosecutors show the onetime Theranos chief celebrating a $150 million investment from Alice Walton, the Walmart heir, Crystal Bridges museum founder, and ARTnews Top 200 Collector. Walton is on the prosecution’s witness list; it is not known if she will testify. [Courthouse News Service]
The Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired a portrait of Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted by fellow artist Frédéric Bazille in 1867. Three years later, Bazille was killed in the Franco-Prussian War at the age of 28. [Cleveland.com]
IS THIS THE END? Artist David Hockney has penned a stemwinder of a column in the Art Newspaper that ranges across a wide, wide variety of topics. The juiciest line: “Abstraction, I think, is now over. It’s run its course.” Along with explicating that piquant idea, Hockney discusses the Second Commandment, the development of perspective, and cameras. He also has some choice words about art historians: “unlike the historians of science or even music, they don’t seem to be interested in art practice today. They are not interested in how art was made.” [The Art Newspaper]
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