Russian Raphael Painting Withdrawn From London Show – Jeff Koons Loses Another Court Battle – Metropolitan Museum To Deaccess $30m Picasso Bronze

One of the centrepieces of the National Galleries’ long-awaited Raphael exhibition has been withdrawn due to the escalating war in Ukraine. Raphael’s The Holy Family, part of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum collection, in St Petersburg will not be exhibited.

This is a direct result of the situation that has arisen due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

London’s National Gallery said, “As a result of the situation that has arisen due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Raphael’s The Holy Family, in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, is no longer included in The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael.

Raphael was a painter, draughtsman, architect, designer and archaeologist who captured in his art the human and the divine, love, friendship, learning, and power, and who gave us quintessential images of beauty and civilisation: Raphael’s life was short, his work prolific, and his legacy immortal.

In his brief career, spanning just two decades, Raffaello Santi (1483–1520) shaped the course of Western culture like few artists before or since. This exhibition examines not just his celebrated paintings and drawings – but also his not so widely known work in architecture, archaeology and poetry, as well as his designs for sculpture, tapestry, prints, and the applied arts. The aim is to do something no previous Raphael exhibition has ever done – explore every aspect of his multimedia activity.

With more than 90 exhibits, all by Raphael, except those in media, he did not practise himself but for which he provided designs, ‘The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael’ demonstrates why the artist plays such a pivotal role in the history of Western art.

The National Gallery’s Raphael show was due to open in October 2020 but was delayed by Covid-19. It will now run from 9 April to 31 July.

Jeff Koons Lawsuit

Jeff Koons Loses Another Court Battle

The American artist Jeff Koons has lost a protracted legal battle in Italy this week. The lawsuit arose over an eight-million dollar sculpture from his 1988 Banality series depicting two snakes. The artist claimed it was a fake. However, it was found by a court in Milan to be an original by the artist.

The sculpture’s provenance was in order as it was created by the Milanese producer Fidia S.n.c. for Koons’s Banality exhibition in Cologne in 1988. The work was thought to have been lost but turned up in a lost property railway auction selling for £500. Problems arose when a dealer tried to consign the work to Christie’s. It was withdrawn after Koons’ legal team disputed the artwork’s authenticity.

The Milan court supported a previous ruling issued in 2019 which found the sculpture was “an authorised authentic artwork of Mr Jeffrey Koons”. Not a prototype as later claimed by the artist. They also concluded that Koons’ lawsuit was unfounded. The case now heads for Italy’s Court of Cassation.

Metropolitan Museum To Deaccess $30m Picasso Bronze

Metropolitan Museum To Deaccess $30m Picasso Bronze

The Metropolitan Museum in New York is deaccessioning a Cubist bronze bust by Pablo Picasso. It is expected to realise up to $30m for the cash strapped, COVID hit institution.

Tête de femme (Fernande), is considered one of the first Cubist sculptures. It was donated to the Met 25 years ago by the May Department Stores heiress Florene M. Schoenborn, who died in 1995. The museum also owns a second casting of the work, which cosmetics heir Leonard A. Lauder recently donated.

Deaccessioning is a controversial practice and many high profile institutions have been sanctioned by both donors and museum-goers for selling off parts of their collections. However, in this instance, it is a duplicate work and the funds raised will go into further acquisitions.

“The Met annually deaccessions work, following comprehensive review with a focus on similar or duplicate works,” the Met’s director Max Hollein said in a statement. “We are extraordinarily privileged to have had two casts of Picasso’s first Cubist sculpture—a masterpiece—thanks to the generosity of great patrons past and present. In addition, the funds from this sale will enable the museum further to prioritise acquisitions of major outstanding works of art.”

The work will be auctioned at Christie’s in the Spring.

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