1. Suspected Rembrandt Appears in New Jersey
Earlier this week a painting sold at auction in Bloomfield, New Jersey for $870,000 — a whopping more than 1,000% increase from its pre-auction estimate of $500-$800. Why ? Because some believe that “Oil on Board, Portrait with Lady Fainting,” may be a lost panel painted by Rembrandt in his teenage years.
The 12.5 x 10 in unsigned panel includes some wood cracks and paint loss but is believed to be a 1625 depiction of “smell,” part of Rembrandt’s series on the five senses. The series is thought to be some of the first works created by Rembrandt, perhaps even painted while he was still a student. The work was previously owned by an unidentified Essex County man who kept the panel in his basement.
2. Protests Cancel Musée d’Orsay’s Exhibit Opening
The opening of Paris’ Musée d’Orsay’s latest exhibit on Tuesday certainly did not go as planed. The unveiling of “Splendor and Misery: Images of Prostitution 1850–1910” and the museum itself were shut down by a strike of the museum’s workers.
The workers closed the museum for two days with demonstrations against plans to open the museum to visitors seven days a week, doing away with the museum’s current closure every Monday. While France’s President François Hollande sought out the measure to avoid overcrowding at the museum (which received 3.5 million visitors last year), museum workers worry they are already drastically understaffed. After two days of negotiations the workers and museum leadership were able to compromise and the museum officially opened its new exhibit, Orsay’s first major show to investigate depictions of prostitution in Paris.
3. Tate Modern Sets Date for Opening of Renovated Spaces
On June 17, 2016 a very new Tate Modern will open to the public, with refocused display spaces, 60% more gallery area and a new 10-story addition.
The museum will completely rehang its collection in preparation for the opening, which will focus its gallery spaces toward interaction, debate and discussion — allowing for more dynamic artwork experiences. The redesign was originally slated to be unveiled alongside the 2012 London Olympic games. However, the project has taken longer than expected and gone £45 million over its initial budget in the process, to ultimately cost an estimated£260 million.
4. Egypt Approves Investigation Into Nefertiti’s Tomb
British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves seemed rather radical when he theorized earlier this summer that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt could be accessible through King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber. This week, making major news in the world of ancient art and antiquities, the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry approved Reeves to test his wild hypothesis.
Reeves will travel to Egypt on September 28 to begin examining (with non-invasive radar technology) Tutankhamun’s chamber for possible access points to the tomb of Nefertiti, who Reeves believes may have been King Tut’s mother. The theory is incredibly appealing, as King Tut was written into history when archeologists discovered his tomb intact, having not been looted by grave robbers. The idea that the tomb of Nefertiti, who in her time was a much more major figure to Egypt than her perhaps son, could be similarly untouched suggests that Reeves could be on the verge of discovering some of major ancient Egyptian art and artifacts.
5. The Local Success of Banksy’s Dismaland
For as much as Dismaland is a lament against the evils of modern consumerist culture, celebrity-obsessed society and capitalism, the satirical theme park has brought about some definite good from the very capitalist practices it so detests.
The opening of the park, located in Britain’s resort town Weston-super-Mare, has lead to a £20 million spike in the local economy, three times as much as local officials predicted the theme park would generate. The large influx in cash flow is due to the 150,000 park goers that have visited the town since Dismaland’s opening in late August, each paying just £5 for a ticket. The uptick in visitors is a welcome change for the seaside town, which normally sees a sharp economic decline in late September.