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A Japanese company in the court over an allegedly Nazi-Looted Van Gogh; Insights from the Art World


While we focus on Indian art, we can’t obviously function in a vacuum. It’s a small world and everything is connected, especially on the web. So, let’s train our spotlight across the world map to see what’s going on — from art trends to socio-political issues to everything that affects the great aesthetic global consciousness. Or, let’s just travel the world and have some fun!

Cologne hands back 92 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria


As Germany continues to make advancements in repatriating their holdings of Benin Bronzes, the ownership of 92 sculptures has been handed back to Nigeria by the city of Cologne. The new agreement concerns pieces from the collection of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, and was signed on Thursday by the mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, and Abba Isa Tijani, the director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums. This was the outcome of a vote by the Cologne City Council held on December 8. The artifacts were stolen by British colonialists during a raid of the former Kingdom of Benin in 1897. Their loot was auctioned off, with Germany acquiring more than 1,000 of the bronzes. Read more on Art Newspaper.

Photo historian and artist Deborah Willis wins the $200,000 Don Tyson prize


Deborah Willis, an artist and historian whose game-changing exhibitions and books have reshaped the study of photography, has won the Don Tyson Prize for the Advancement of American Art, an award given out by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Much of Willis’s work has dealt with the history of Black photography, specifically as it relates to gender. She is currently chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. “She understood the power of photography to provide connectivity, access, and inspiration well in advance of social media’s dawn, and she has been at the forefront of scholarship on African-American art, sharing her inquisitive vision and deep knowledge with students and artists in noteworthy exhibitions, books, and conferences,” art historian Cheryl Finley wrote in ARTnews in 2020. Read more on Robb Report.

Legal heirs of a German Jewish banker seek to recover Nazi looted Van Gogh


The legal heirs of a German Jewish banker who was forced to sell his art collection to avoid persecution by the Nazis are suing a Japanese holding company to reclaim ownership of a painting by Vincent van Gogh. Three heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, based in New York and Germany, filed a lawsuit on December 13 in an Illinois district court against Sompo Holdings, an insurance company based in Japan, to dispute its legal title to the painting Sunflowers (1888). The claim states that Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was a “casualty” of Nazi-era policies and economic sanctions that forced him to sell his collection, which included works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and August Renoir, among others, in the mid-1930s. He sold the van Gogh painting in 1934. Details on Art News.


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