Vjeran Tomic is charged with stealing cultural property and, given he has a prior record, faces 20 years in prison if convicted. His two alleged accomplices face 10-year sentences if convicted on charges receiving stolen goods. In 2010, five works of art—valued at €100 million and often described as priceless—were stolen from Paris’s Musée d’Art Moderne. The thief eluded security systems and dozing security guards. Works by Picasso, Léger, Braque, Matisse, and Modigliani were carefully removed from their frames and vanished into the night. At the time, the city’s mayor Bertrand Delanoë called it an “an intolerable attack on the universal cultural heritage of Paris.” Now, six years later, the burglar, nicknamed “the spider-man,” and two accomplices are on trial. One of those accomplices says he panicked after the robbery and threw the works of art into the trash—though the presiding judge and his co-defendants don’t believe the claim. A verdict is expected on February 20th.
04 Sotheby’s has appointed Lord Harry Dalmeny as its U.K. Chairman.
The 26-year veteran of the auction house fills the post, which has been vacant since James Stourton left Sotheby’s in 2012. He will now helm all of the house’s activities and strategy in the U.K. and Ireland. CEO Tad Smith called Lord Dalmeny “one of those remarkable forces of nature” and “a master on the rostrum” in announcing the 49-year-old’s promotion. Sotheby’s commended Lord Dalmeny’s skill in securing single-owner sales, connecting this acumen to his earliest experience at Sotheby’s in 1977, when the house sold his family possessions after the death of his grandmother. The move is somewhat of a departure from Smith’s recent hiring strategy for the U.S. arm of Sotheby’s, which has seen focus shift from the traditionally aristocratic business of auctioneering to recruiting individuals from the business and finance sectors, amidst moves for the house to increase its service offering to its clients, alongside its role as an auctioneer.
05 Florence’s Uffizi Gallery will exhibit more works by female artists.
The world-famous museum, known for its collection of works by Italian artists such as
, is also home to “arguably the largest collection of [works by] female artists before the 19th century,” Eike Schmidt, the museum’s German-born director, told The Art Newspaper.
The effort to exhibit more women stemmed from a 2015 conversation between Schmidt and the feminist collective
, who have been waging a decades-long battle against the underrepresentation of women in the art world. Schmidt said the museum plans to make women artists more prominent, both in its permanent displays and through regular exhibitions at the Uffizi
and the nearby Pitti Palace, of which Schmidt is also director. “This is not just a special initiative to do for three or five years. I don’t know if I’m still going to be director, but I think we could easily go on for 20 years,” he said. The effort kicks off with a show of paintings by
nun Suor Plautilla Nelli, scheduled to open on March 8th, International Women’s Day.
06 In a last-minute reversal, Israel will not join the EU’s culture program Creative Europe, which would have boycotted funding artists outside the country’s 1967 borders.
Miri Regev, Israel’s controversial right-wing Minister of Culture and Sport, announced that she would be withdrawing her support for joining Creative Europe after it was revealed that the program would implement a boycott on funding for artists living in the Israeli occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights. Instead, funding would only be distributed within the country’s 1967 borders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to present the Creative Europe proposal to a cabinet meeting on Sunday but that plan has since been dropped by Regev. “I do not have to pursue anything that I do not agree with. Any international agreement with Israel must include the West Bank,” she said. The position is broadly in line with the conservative Israeli government, which has announced further settlements in the West Bank following the election of Donald Trump. But the move is a blow to Israel’s cultural sector, as Creative Europe would have allowed artists from within the country to apply for EU arts grants
07 Public funding for the arts will continue in Mississippi after bills aiming to dissolve the state’s arts commission died on Tuesday.