Our Art News Letter for March 31. 2015 - Getty, Pablo Picasso, Rembrant, Pierre-Auguste Renoir,

Museum staff at Syria's National Museum of Damascus have been working overtime to evacuate the institution's collection of priceless antiquities, AFP reports.
Under the direction of the museum's head of antiquities Maamoun Abdulkarim, appointed in the middle of Syria's civil war, approximately 300,000 artifacts and manuscripts from 34 museums have been wrapped and transported to secret locations for safekeeping. More

Romania's former Finance Minister Darius Valcov stands accused of corruption and bribery in an ongoing crackdown, Reuters reports.
Investigators alleged that the politician accepted bribes during his time as mayor of the southwestern town of Slatina after discovering gold bars, three paintings, including a work by the French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso and $410,000 in cash in a safe. More

Pablo Picasso’s bronze sculpture ‘She-Goat’ (1950)
Pablo Picasso is best known for his paintings, bold works such as “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and “Guernica” that profoundly influenced the course of modern art.
This fall, the Museum of Modern Art plans to showcase a less-celebrated aspect of Picasso’s output—his sculpture—with a major survey of three-dimensional works that spans the artist’s entire career. More

Pablo Picasso Femmes d'Alger (1955)
In May, Christie's will offer Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger (1955), a painting at an estimate of $140 Million. The Picasso was part of the Victor and Sally Ganz auction that took place at Christie's in 1997, when it was bought for $31.9 million. The consignor to the upcoming Christie's sale is a European client who has not been publicly identified. More at: Artnet

Matisse’s Sitting Woman (left) and Liebermann’s Two Riders at the Beach (right)
Germany has signed an agreement to return an Henri Matisse painting that was seized under Nazi rule to its rightful owner. A similar agreement was signed last week for a painting by Max Liebermann. More at: Independent

El Greco, Portrait of a Gentleman 1570, oil on canvas. (Photo courtesy CLAE)
A Gestapo-looted El Greco returned to its rightful owners. In a rare deal announced by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, representing the original owners, and Art Recovery International, representing the art gallery which acquired the looted painting in 2010, Portrait of a Gentleman has been returned to the heirs of the collection of Julius Priester. This deal took several months to arrange after seven long decades searching for the masterpiece. Read more 

The masterpiece, "Old Man in Military Costume" by Dutch painter Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn, resides at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Scientists had noticed the painting bears faint traces of another portrait beneath its surface. More

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