News

The rest of last month’s news at a glance, February 2017

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Berlin cancels show of Tehran’s Modern art

28 December 2016

In a setback to German-Iranian relations, Berlin museum authorities cancelled a loan exhibition of Modern art from the collection of Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art after the Iranian authorities failed to meet a deadline to issue export permits for paintings by Picasso, Pollock and others, which have not been shown in the West for decades. Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said he “greatly regrets” the situation.

French government places export ban on €15m Leonardo drawing

4 January

The French government placed a temporary export bar on a rare double-sided drawing attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. It now has 30 months to buy the work at its market value of around €15m. The work belongs to a retired doctor who brought it into the Paris-based auction house Tajan. It depicts Saint Sebastian bound to a tree on one side, and optical studies of light and shadow with text by Da Vinci on the reverse.

George Lucas picks Los Angeles for museum of narrative art

11 January

After a nearly decade-long search, which stretched from California to Chicago, George Lucas has decided to build his museum of narrative art in Los Angeles. The Star Wars creator chose a central plot in the city’s Exposition Park over a more remote site, which would need decontamination, proposed by San Francisco on the city’s Treasure Island. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is due to begin construction this year and aims to open by 2021.

Government to appeal in Wildenstein case

13 January

France’s national prosecutor for finance plans to appeal against a ruling issued by a criminal court that cleared the art heir and dealer Guy Wildenstein of charges of tax fraud and money laundering. Wildenstein and seven co-defendants had been accused of hiding paintings and properties worth hundreds of millions of euros from the French taxman. Citing statements from the verdict that indicated a “clear attempt” at concealment, the prosecution called an appeal “essential”.

Software billionaire opens museum outside Berlin

23 January

Hasso Plattner, the founder of the software company SAP, opened the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, which is funded by his foundation. The museum, housed in a replica 18th-century palace that was destroyed in the Second World War, was described by the German chancellor Angela Merkel as “breathtaking”. The opening exhibition includes paintings from Plattner’s personal collection, as well as loans.