Dutch Court Says Crimean Artifacts Should Go to Ukraine, YSL Dress Soars at Auction, and More: Morning Links for October 27, 2021

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The Headlines

A WEDNESDAY RESTITUTION ROUNDUP. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has given back to Turkey an ancient Anatolian gold ewer that it believes was looted, ARTnews reports. Meanwhile, a collector has returned a Mayan stone carving to Guatemala, which flagged it as stolen when it was set to appear at auction in Paris in 2019, BBC News reports. The National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Guatemala City will soon display it. And an Amsterdam appellate court ruled that 300 artifacts temporarily in the country from museums in Crimea should be returned to Ukraine, and not Crimea, which Russia annexed from the country in 2014, the Associated Press reports. The works were in the Netherlands for an exhibition when the peninsula was taken over. “We always regain what’s ours,”  Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted. Russia said it would appeal the decision.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS. In court in Jersey (the island, not the U.S. state), art dealer Andy Valmorbida admitted to forging documents to make it appear that he owned high-profile works by Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, and others, in order to obtain loans, the Art Newspaper reports. On two occasions, the court apparently warned him about self-incrimination. The proceedings concerned a civil case over allegedly unpaid debts. If Valmorbida sounds familiar, it may be because he was in a New York Times story last week about the resurgence in interest in the “Shadowman” paintings of the late street artist Richard Hambleton, whose copyright the dealer said he acquired for $1 million. Valmorbida plans to create a London “experience” devoted to Hambleton, like the many for Vincent Van Gogh. “I always believed in him and knew his work deserved recognition,” he told the Times.

The Digest

The Museo di Santa Giulia in Brescia, Italy, has received a letter form the Chinese government that calls on it to cancel a show of work by the Chinese artist Badiucao, whose work is often critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Officials in the city have rejected the demand. “I am not compromising an inch,” the artist said. [The Art Newspaper]

An evening dress from a 1979 Yves Saint Laurent collection sold at Christie’s in Paris for €112,500 (about $130,500), more than ten times its high estimate. The piece had been informed by Pablo Picasso’s work for the Ballet Russe. [WWD]

Adobe Photoshop will soon have a “prepare as NFT” option, allowing users to confirm that they have created a given work. The move could cut down on theft in the rough-and-tumble blockchain market.
[The Verge]

The National Gallery in London removed an image from its website of an Albrecht Dürer that will appear in an upcoming show about the artist, following a complaint over its antisemitic content. A spokesperson said the museum “felt that in this format there was not adequate space for the interpretation required for this work.” [Jewish News]

Art critic Roger Kimball, who is editor and publisher of the New Criterion, argues in a new essay that the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol “was much more hoax than insurrection,” and laments that “that America is fast mutating from a republic, in which individual liberty is paramount, into an oligarchy, in which conformity is increasingly demanded and enforced.” [Imprimis]

The Cape Cod, Massachusetts estate of the late art collector Bunny Mellon sold for $19 million. It sports more than seven acres of land, a main house with seven bedrooms, and a guest house with two. An unnamed local family with plans to keep the property intact is said to be the buyer. [Architectural Digest]

The Kicker

STAMP OF APPROVAL. The first “penny black” stamp, which allowed Britons to send letters for a penny when it was printed in 1840, will hit the block at Sotheby’s in December with an estimate up to £6 million (about $8.26 million), the Guardian reports. Sotheby’s senior director Henry House said that the piece is “bursting with history,” and that it is “unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist.” Some 68 million of the stamps, which feature Queen Victoria , were sold. [The Guardian]

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