Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #74 - from 24 January 2008 to 30 January 2008

Art Of The Day Weekly

#74 - from 24 January 2008 to 30 January 2008


Forgery a plenty

The case of Gauguin's false faun, a statue bought by the Art Institute of Chicago, has created great embarassment for the great American museum, a victim of a rather strange family. Vincent Noce drew up the portrait of these rather strange characters in the January edition of the French daily "Libération". The 84 year old patriarch, George Greenhalgh, just appeared in his wheelchair and slippers in front of a judge in Manchester, in the company of his 47 year old son. For years, and in their garage they produced Assyrian bas reliefs, Egyptian figurines or Anglo-Saxon reliquaries from the Xth century. These pieces ended up in great museums and auction houses, where curators and experts with few scrupules always found proof of their authenticity when needed. Another case that has been a favorite news topic was the cancelation, mid December, by the Ethnographic Museum of Hamburg, of a retrospective of the famous Chinese terracotta warriors. They were all false. The argument of the organizing company that the warriors were the same size and in the same material as the originals did not catch. Times are not so changing. Already in 1985, the Getty Museum had bought a Greek statue for 10 million dollars. Temperamental art historian Federico Zeri had resigned then from the famous museum to dissociate himself from the purchase of what he viewed as a crude forgery.In face of the increase of false works of art, why not follow the example of the Getty institution? Given their doubts, the persons in charge had then exhibited the statue with a humor-filled label:«Greek marble. Circa 530 B.C. or false modern».

The article of Vincent Noce in Libération (in French)


Würth a Picasso

ERSTEIN (Alsace) - In the beginning he was the second novice in the small screw shop of his father's. Today, at the age of 73, Reinhold Würth is at the head of an empire with a revenue of 8 billion €. Mr Würth does not only manufacture screws and screwdrivers. He also has a passion for culture. Aside from patronizing various musical and litterary events, the restauration of historical monuments (the Palatine chapel in Palermo), he has collected contemporary art works for the last fifty years. He has something of the old fashioned patron of the past, and therefore wants his employees to benefit from this as well. The museum, inaugurated on 27 January in the industrial zone of Erstein, in Alsacia, is the twelfth he opens, after the ones in Switzerland, Germany, Spain or Norway. It was designed by architects Jacques and Clément Vergély, and will offer over 800 m2 temporary exhibitions of the Würth fund. It includes today 10 000 works by Monet, Picasso and from Kirchner to Magritte, Poliakoff and Baselitz.

The website of the Würth museum


Action painting shows its muscle

BASEL – Pollock bent over his giant canvas, flat on the floor, the paintbrush in his hand dripping with paint. This is one of the emblematic images of modern art and the symbol of America's take over. The exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler of course gives a large place to the damned hero, killed in a car accident before he even turned 50, who has become the most expensive artist in the world, far ahead of Picasso and Klimt, with a transaction for 150 million dollars in 2006. But it also opens up to all of this current of gestural painting, by including other great Americans from the 50s, such as Kooning, Sam Francis and Clyfford Still, as well as Europeans such as Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Pierre Soulages, now on the outer circle of the most burning art…

  • Action Painting at the Fondation Beyeler from 27 January to 12 May 2008

    The website of the Beyeler Foundation

  • Russian loans

    LONDON – An exhibition that barely made it: just a month ago the Russian government had announced that no work of art from the Hermitage nor the Russian museum(in Saint-Petersburg), from the Tretiakov gallery nor the Pushkin museum (in Moscow), could leave the country, for fear they could be the object of law suits on the British soil, by heirs of the former owners who feel robbed by the Russian state. A section of the exhibition is indeed dedicated to the great collectors Morozov and Chtchoukine, patrons of Matisse and other artists. A quick change in the British in the wee hours of 2008 pushed aside this danger. The nearly 120 paintings, said to be ensured for one billion sterling pounds, have arrived in London with the traditional warning: «one will never see such a collections of masterpieces». Thi sbeing said, it is true that to bring together Dance by Matisse, the Black square by Malevitch and the Composition VII by Kandinsky, next to first level works by Vrubel, Maliavin and Serov is enough to entice a wide public.

  • From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings 1870-1925 at the Royal Academy of Arts from 26 January to 18 April 2008

    The website of the Royal Academy of Arts

  • The charge of the Barbarians

    VENICE – It was now seen as a haven for contemporary art, with the staging of François Pinault's collection. And yet the Palazzo Grassi, on the banks of the Great Canal, is faithful to its first loves, from the time it belonged to the Agnelli family: the great exhibits on civilizations. We all recall the ones on Magna Grecia or on the Phoenicians. Today it hosts the Barbarians, the people who made life tough for the Romans and finally toppled over the Empire. A millennium of European history that could not be easily resumed. With curator Jean-Jacques Aillagon, we have a deluge of objects that rain down on the palazzo remodeled by Tadao Ando. There are nearly 1700 - sculpted sarcophagus, marble busts, carved weapons, jewelry, evangelistaries, etc - originating from 25 countries, from Bulgaria to Tunisia.

  • Rome and the Barbarians at the Palazzo Grassi, from 26 January to 20 July 2008

    The website of the Palazzo Grassi


    Karen Knorr, Fables, 2007

    Karen Knorr

    PARIS - In the completely renovated museum of the Chasse et de la Nature, photographer Karen Knorr presents the animals that so pleased French fable writer La Fontaine, as well as the antique philosophers. Stuffed owls, taxidermized stags, rabbits and turtles are strewn all over the wooden floors, between paintings and damask hangings, under chandeliers with pendants and set to music. Karen Knorr likes to work by series and to put forward our relation with animals. Some may remember the monkeys she let loose in the Orsay

    museum some twenty years ago or the snapshots of dog packs, taken at Cheverny. Karen Knorr excells in finding in animal societies similitudes with certain human groups with rigid rules and refined customs, like in the English clubs…

  • Karen Knorr at the musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, from 15 January to 11 May 2008. The artist is represented by the Filles du Calvaire gallery.

    The website of the musée de la Chasse et de la Nature


    Between football and cooking

    A focus on certain creative tendencies in Marseille: this is what this book offers by happily combining cuisine (with creations by Gérald Passedat, at the Petit Nice, or by Lionel Lévy, one of the founders of the Génération C association), football and visual arts. What binds them together is a certain aptitude to recycle, to accommodate and aesthetize leftovers, to inject fun into daily life. This capacity to overcome obstacles, to assemble, to go around, the « cabanon» spirit -for the typical huts on the coast- as defined by one of the artists active on site, Guy André Lagesse, is often expressed by interventions in the fallows or the more "sensitive" districts. These interventions are worthy but not sure to go on to posterity: we can see it for example in the installation at the Cité des Cèdres by Richard Baquié, one of the fleeting stars of art in Marseille (died at age 40 in 1995), totally absorbed by the cement and the tags. The author skips easily from one theme to another, strenghthening his speech with the results of the local football team, drawing a touching portrait of a committed creation we can currently see in the collective exhibition «Marseille artistes associés», presented in various museums in the city.

  • Marseille révélée par l’art contemporain by Marc Rosmini, Jeanne Laffitte publishers, 2007, 176 p., 24,50 €, ISBN : 978-2-86276-453-5

    Buy that book from Amazon


    BOLOGNA-The 32nd edition of the Arte Fiera will be held from 24 to 28 January with the participation of over 200 galleries. The section «Art nouveau» is dedicated to galleries less than 5 years old while an itinerary of installations has been organized in the city.

    The website of Arte Fiera

    ATHENS – A notebook said to have been Vincent Van Gogh's, with some 60 pages of drawings, was discovered among the belongings of a former Greek partisan. The Van Gogh museum in Asmterdam must still verify its authenticity.

    FLORENCE - The regional Cultural counsellor for the region of Tuscany, Paolo Cocchi, has just suggested the famous David by Michel-Angelo, currently in the Galleria dell'Accademia, be moved towards the futur Music Park, currently being refurbished near the former Leopolda station. The initiative has caused a general outcry.

    MADRID-The Spanish Ministry of CUlture is organizing the first editon of Art is Action, an encounter between artists specialized in performances, in the atrium of the Reina Sofia museum, from 24 to 26 January.

    Know more

    PARIS - The eclectic fund of collector Jean Albou will be auctioned at Artcurial during two days of sales, on 29 and 30 January. From César to Raymond Hains, from Barbier to Fauguet, il repersents a panorama of French creation of the last 50 years, with an important section on photography.

    The website of Artcurial

    PARIS - The Pompidou Center received 5.5 million visitors in 2007, that is 5% more than the previous year.The exhibition "Airs de Paris" hosted 223 000 visitors, ahead of Annete Messager (185 000). The Giacometti retrospective, currenly on, has just gone past the 300 000 barrier.

    Know more

    PARIS - The minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, has announced that the work by Daniel Buren at the Palais-Royal, Deux Plateaux, will be restaured next summer. The cost of the rehabilitation is evaluated at 3 million euros.

    PARIS - The School Gallery (81 rue du Temple, 75003) is inaugurated on 24 January with an exhibition dedicated to Naji Kamouche.


    This week, do not miss

    Hannah Höch: All beginnings are DADA!

    BASEL-Hannah Höch (1889-1978), the only woman in the Dada group of Berlin, next to George Grosz or Raoul Hausmann (with whom she had a long relationship) is finally being celebrated as she deserves. The Tinguely museum is dedicating a complete retrospective to her, allowing us to discover her whole itinerary, from her first works to the photocollages of her older years.

    Know more