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New York Museum Turns Over Possible Nazi-Looted Art to FBI and Other Art Headlines


by Jana Farmer on November 7, 2019


The following summaries of news articles are separated by geographic region for your browsing convenience.


Suspected Nazi-Looted Painting Turned Over to FBI by New York Museum
According to the FBI, Gari Melchers’s painting Winter, which was in the collection of the Arkell Museum in New York, was allegedly looted by the Nazis from Jewish media mogul Rudolf Mosse.

In the United States, a thief cannot convey good title to stolen goods, not even to a good faith purchaser for value. The museum willingly turned over the painting to the FBI and the museum director expressed a desire to hold a return ceremony next year.

Another Forged Rothko? Hollywood Film Executive Files $10 Million Lawsuit
Hollywood film executive Ron Meyer filed suit against two art dealers he claims tricked him into buying what he now believes is a forged Mark Rothko painting. Meyer’s suit makes claims for fraud and breach of warranty and alternatively rescission and a full refund of the funds paid for the painting. Meyer seeks $10 million in damages, which is the amount the Complaint suggests the painting would be worth today if it were authentic.

MIT Researchers Test and Validate da Vinci’s Bridge Plans
Researchers at MIT recreated Leonardo da Vinci’s 1502 design plan for the never-constructed parabolic-arch bridge to connect Istanbul with the city of Galata. The research verified that the plans would have worked if the bridge had been built, making it the longest bridge in the world 10 times over.

Yayoi Kusama Works with Balloon Specialists to Create Floating Art Display “Love Flies Up to the Sky” for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Artist Yayoi Kusama has joined forces with a balloon design team to create a 30-foot long balloon piece for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The piece will feature a sun-like figure from Kusama’s “My Eternal Soul” paintings and include her trademark polka dots and tentacles.

Artist Applications Open for New York Black History Monuments
New York opened applications from artists for two planned monuments to honor the history of African American families in the city.

NY’s Morgan Library and Museum Acquires Collection of French Manuscripts and Bindings
The Morgan Library and Museum received a collection of 18th Century French manuscripts and bindings from New York collector Jayne Wrightsman, who passed away earlier this year. The collection included 19 manuscripts, 149 printed books and 10 botanical watercolors. An exhibition centered on the bequest is planned for February 2021.


Thieves Storm Medieval Cathedral, Ramming It with a Tree Trunk
Three perpetrators rammed into Oloron-Sainte-Marie Cathedrale, now St. Mary’s Church, in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France, with a tree trunk strapped to their vehicle and escaped with a trove of silver chalices, gold crosses dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and other treasures. The cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site. Local police are examining CCTV footage and forensic investigators were called in to assist.

Art Dealer Arrested in Berlin Fraud Investigation
Berlin police arrested a prominent art dealer who is suspected of defrauding high-end art purchasers, with several million euros in damages.

Renaissance Artist’s Last Supper Restored
A depiction of the Last Supper painted by Renaissance artist and Dominican nun Sister Plautilla Nelli has been publicly revealed in Florence after a four-year restoration by the U.S.-registered Advancing Women Artists Foundation. The painting is believed to be the only Renaissance depiction of the Last Supper painted by a female artist.

United States Returns Stolen Italian Statue
The U.S. Ambassador to Italy returned the head of the mythical character Pan to Italian officials during the 50th anniversary celebration of a Carabinieri unit dedicated to recovery of cultural artifacts. The head was stolen by an unknown thief from an archeological site in Rome in 1968 and entered the United States in the mid-2000s.


Political Protests Consume Beirut: Art Institutes and Galleries Close in Support
Anti-government protestors have held massive demonstrations since October 17 in Beirut and across Lebanon, prompting art spaces to close “until further notice” in support of the protestors. Beirut Art Center, Dar El-Nimer, Sfeir-Semler Gallery and the Sursock Museum are among the locations that shut their doors for now as two million people joined the demonstrations. The uprisings began in response to a proposed tax on Facebook’s WhatsApp Messenger calls placed within Lebanon, but then expanded to corruption concerns in the midst of a severe economic crisis.