Fire damages Easter Island’s statues – and more art news –

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The headlines

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT. In a tough break for fans of Johannes Vermeerthat National Gallery of Art said Friday that after high-tech investigation, it has determined that its painting Girl with a flute (ca. 1669/1675) is not the work by the 17th-century Dutch, as it had previously believed, Zachary Small reports in New York Times . While closed during the pandemic, the Washington, DC institution examined the portrait using “microscopic pigment analysis and advanced imaging technology,” per Timesas part of a Vermeer exhibition (recently previewed by ART news), which has just been opened. The creator of the work may have been someone close to Vermeer, NGA’s Marjorie E. Wieseman told Timesbut though their identity is unknown, crit Philip Kennicott argues in Washington Postto doesn’t make it a bad painting. There may be “as many great paintings and sculptures without attribution as there are great works firmly attributed to well-known artists,” he writes.

related articles

Johannes Vermeer's The Milkmaid, 1657–58, examined with a Macro-XRPD scanner.

GRACE GLUECK, the pioneering art journalist and critic knows New York Timeshave died aged 96, the paper reports. Glueck began his tenure on Times in 1951, and in the 1960s began writing a column called “Art People” that reported on the art world up close, turning the fast-growing industry into a dedicated beat upon publication for the first time. “She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or report the truth,” the arts patron Agnes Gund told the Times. She brought that approach to her employer when she became part of a class action lawsuit in 1974 accusing it of gender discrimination. In a 1978 settlement, the organization agreed to hire more women for jobs at a variety of levels. Glueck also had a run as a critic and writer New York: The Painted Citya 1992 volume that looks at how artists have depicted the city whose creative scene she spent decades documenting.


Billy Al Bengston“a painter whose unclassifiable semi-abstractions made him a pivotal figure in Los Angeles’ postwar art scene,” died Saturday of natural causes, Alex Greenberger reports. He was 88. [ARTnews]

Silk Otto Knappwho created spare, enchanting landscapes and portraits by applying layers of watercolor to canvas, died aged 52 after a battle with ovarian cancer. [ARTnews]

A fire on Easter Islandallegedly triggered by his Rano Raku volcano, has caused damage to its famous stone-carved Moai statues that is “irreparable”, according to an official who heads Rapa Nui National Parkwhich includes the objects. [CNN]

As the strike continues at Philadelphia Museum of Artsaid a spokesman for the museum that it plans to open a much-anticipated Henri Matisse show “on schedule,” October 20. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Two climate activists on The National Gallery of Victoria stuck to Pablo Picasso‘s painting from 1951 Massacre in Korea on Sunday. They were arrested. [Sky News]

An 11.15 carat pink diamond is sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for the equivalent of about $49.9 million, a per-carat record for a diamond on the block and more than double the $21 million estimate. The result proves “the resilience of top diamonds in a shaky economy,” diamond expert Tobias Kormind said. [The Associated Press/Bloomberg]

The kicker

DUE DILIGENCE. In it New York Timesjournalist Sam Roberts marked what would have been his 141st birthday on Saturday Vincenzo Peruggiawho stole Mona Lisa from Louvre in 1911, with a rolling tale of the strange story. A highlight: the head of France’s national museums, Jean Theophile Homolle , was on vacation at the time and refused to believe that the painting had actually been taken, figuring that it must somehow have been misplaced. (Which also seems bad.) “You might as well pretend you could steal the towers off Our Lady“, he allegedly said. He was released, Peruggia was eventually arrested in Italy, and of course the painting was recovered and returned to the Louvre. [NYT]

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