Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our Art Newsletter for February 5, 2015, Picasso, Karamanli Mosque, Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism, Pierre Bonnard, Beirut Contemporary, Toulouse-Lautrec, Spanish Forgeries, BARA..mariage à Annaba, ISIS Looting, John Constable

Pablo Picasso pioneered Cubism from 1907 to 1911. On Oct. 8, 1911, The Times weighed in, finding the entire school of art “eccentric,” its theories “crazy” and Picasso himself “the wildest of wild men

Karamanli Mosque (image via Wikimedia)
 In 2011, a gang busted into a concrete underground vault in Benghazi and stole 7,700 ancient coins, a heist described by one expert as among “the greatest thefts in archaeological history.” In 2012, Islamist militants razed countless Sufi shrines and gravesthroughout the country. And last year, gunmen in Tripoli stripped the 18th-century Karamanli Mosque of its intricate ceramic tiles and marble decorations, while Sabha castle was blasted by rockets....  Hyperallergic Media

Detail from The Favourite of the Emir by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
(Washington, National Gallery of Art Courtesy of the United States Naval Academy Museum)
Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin-Constant in His Time. Uncovering a forgotten master may be every art historian’s dream. It can be fun for the rest of us, too, though seldom such conflicted fun as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is offering in the first big Canadian exhibition devoted to Orientalism.
The show’s specific focus is Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, who in his day (1845-1902) gained an international reputation for his vivid paintings of harems, emirs and Moroccan street scenes. These were all executed in his Paris studio, a colourful workspace-cum-showroom that was crowded with props gathered during his youthful trips to Morocco and Granada...The Globe and Mail

The retired Italian factory worker who bought two paintings for £20 which turned out to be worth more than £25m may be in for a nasty shock. He bought the Paul Gauguin still life and the Pierre Bonnard at a lost property sale in 1975, and hung them in his home for the next 40 years.
When a friend of the pensioner tried to sell the paintings last year, it emerged how valuable they were — but also that they had been stolen from the London home of a Marks and Spencer heiress in 1961.
The rediscovery made headlines worldwide when the Italian authorities pronounced the Italian pensioner to be the rightful owner... THE FINANCIAL TIMES

“I am often asked, ‘Why a museum? Why here? Why now?’” Rita Nammour told her audience. “For us, Lebanon has long been the home of forward-looking thinkers and a hub of artistic creation, the cultural and intellectual beacon of the Middle East.

“After many years of conflict and political division, Beirut not only persists. It is thriving artistically.”

The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce its new exhibit — Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910 — on view through April 26, 2015. This special exhibition is a journey into Paris in its most dynamic years, when the city was a breeding ground for artistic and literary movements.

Officials announcing the forgery ring bust with the purported Goya at the center.
Via: El Pais
Police in Spain have uncovered a ring of art forgers specialized in the creation of counterfeit Old Masters, El Pais reports. Announcing the bust earlier this week, police said that they recovered 27 artworks from several locations...

BARA..mariage à Annaba
Ahmed Salah :

 “This is the greatest scale of looting we have seen since the Second World War."
In an effort to cut off ISIS revenue streams, politicians in the UK have encouraged greater international coordination to limit the smuggling of illicit antiquities from Iraq and Syria, the Art Newspaper reports. After the sale of oil, extortion, and ransom payments, the trade of illegal artefacts is said to be an important source of revenue for the organization. A parliamentary debate on looted antiquities is scheduled to take place in the near future.ArtNews

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows sold for $5.2 million today at Sotheby's. It was confirmed as the work of John Constable thanks to the efforts of the buyer who purchased it for $5,300 in July 2013. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.ArtNet