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Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic photography book, “The Decisive Moment,” has been republished, 62 years after the highly influential collection of his early work was first released.

The new publication by the German publisher Steidl is a facsimile of the original book, with 126 photographs taken by Cartier-Bresson between 1932 and 1952 and an elegant collage cover by Matisse.

“It is a book that has already gone down in photography history, and that will continue to do so,” said Irène Attinger, head of the library and bookstore at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a contemporary photographic art center in Paris, which now has both original and republished copies of the book.

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A five-volume catalogue raisonné of Francisco de Goya’s drawings will be developed in a rare collaboration between the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Santander- and Madrid-based Fundación Botín. The project, which kicks off this month and is due to run for at least five years, will involve researching, cataloguing and conserving nearly 1,000 drawings by Goya, and will conclude with two exhibitions: one at the future Botín Center in Santander, when the first volume is published in 2016, and another at El Prado in 2019—for the museum’s 200th anniversary—when the rest of the volumes are due to be finished.

“The indisputable novelty of the catalogue is in its collaborative execution,” says an official release from the Fundación Botín. The foundation has dedicated €1.7 million to the editorial coordination and management of the project.

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Michelangelo's famous statue of the biblical figure David is at risk of collapse due to the weakening of the artwork's legs and ankles, according to a report published this week by art experts.

The findings, which were made public by Italy's National Research Council, show micro-fractures in the ankle and leg areas.

The "David" statue dates from the early 16th century and is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence. The results of the report were published this week in the Journal of Cultural Heritage, a publication devoted to research into the conservation of culturally significant works of art and buildings.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 17:39

Revered Bayou Bend Curator Passes Away

Michael K. Brown, a longtime curator at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, passed away on September 8, 2013 following a heart transplant. Brown, a leading scholar in the field of American decorative arts, was 60 years old. He touched many lives as a scholar and as one of the most gracious and kind lights of the decorative arts world.

Bayou Bend, one of the nation’s premier collections of American paintings and decorative arts, welcomed Brown as associate curator in 1980. An authority on American silver and a specialist in the work of 19th-century New York cabinetmaker, Duncan Phyfe, Brown leaves behind an inspiring legacy. During his time at Bayou Bend, Brown worked tirelessly to better the institution and helped lead a renovation and restoration to the room settings that are the museum’s landmark.

In addition to his work at Bayou Bend, Brown published dozens of books and articles on American decorative arts, architecture and history and regularly spoke at forums and symposia. He was also an active board member for Houston’s Heritage Society, Preservation Houston and the Victorian Society in America.

David B. Warren, founding director emeritus of Bayou Bend, said, “Michael Brown was my colleague at Bayou Bend for more than two decades; he was a quiet, intense man, who always pursued excellence. As a curator his work was marked by impeccable scholarship, diligent research and, exercising an extraordinary eye, an intrepid pursuit of acquisitions of the most superb quality, whether large or small.”

Brown is survived by his three brothers and their families along with Bart Truxillo of Houston. The museum will hold a memorial in October. Contributions may be made to the Bayou Bend Collection Accessions Fund in Memory of Michael K. Brown; or, to the Michael K. Brown Metals Endowment Fund, c/o Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, P.O. Box 6826, Houston, Texas, 77265.

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Graham Beal, the Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, published a letter in the New York Times addressing the rampant rumors that have dogged the institution recently. Media outlets ran countless stories speculating about the museum’s future and that of its artworks after Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked for an appraisal of the D.I.A.’s collection.

In his letter, Beal specifically responded to an article published in the New York Times comparing the Detroit Institute of Arts to the shuttered Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California. Beal said, “True, any successful effort to liquidate D.I.A. art would precipitate a series of events likely to lead to its closing, but we are a very long way from actions that would denude its prestigious collection of its most valuable art works. We believe that a healthy D.I.A. is, in fact, a crucial component in any recovery of the city of Detroit.”

Beal’s letter can be read in its entirety at the New York Times.

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Sometime after 1994, a former employee of Sweden’s National Library stole approximately 56 rare antique books once belonging to the country’s royal family. The thief, Anders Burius, eventually confessed to the theft, consigned the objects to the German auction house, Ketterer Kunst, and subsequently committed suicide.

In 1998, investigators were able to track 13 of the stolen volumes from Ketterer Kunst to the U.S. where Stephan Loewentheil, a Baltimore-based book dealer, bought two of the volumes, unaware that they were stolen. On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the FBI were finally able to return the objects to the Swedish government, whereby officials honored Loewentheil for his assistance in recovering the books.

The recovered books include a 19th century German volume about the Mississippi River by Henry Lewis and a 17th century French book about the Louisiana territory by Louis Hennepin. The latter features the first published description of Niagara Falls and the first published landscape of the Louisiana Territory.

While Sweden and the National Library are thrilled to have the volumes back, a large portion of the works stolen by Burius are still missing.

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To celebrate their sponsorship of the George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonné Supplement, Rachel Cozad Fine Art in Kansas City, MO presents an exhibition of four paintings by the American artist George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879). Three of the paintings on view were recently discovered and have never been on public display. The works on view, which have been added to the artist’s updated Catalogue Raisonné, are Baiting the Hook, Horse Thief, and two portraits.

Since 2005, 15 newly authenticated paintings by Bingham have been added to his oeuvre of approximately 500-recorded paintings. Renowned art historian E. Maurice Bloch and the University of Missouri Press first published The Paintings of George Caleb Bingham: A Catalogue Raisonné in 1986; the comprehensive Catalogue included all of Bingham’s known paintings at the time of publication. In 2005, art historian Fred R. Kline and the Kline Art Research Associates launched The George Caleb Bingham Catalogue Raisonné Supplement. The ongoing project is aimed at updating Bloch’s Catalogue while maintaining the high standard of scholarship on Bingham’s life and work that Bloch set in motion.

 Rachel Cozad Fine Art, which specializes in modern and contemporary art as well as 19th and 20th century American art, has a special focus devoted to Bingham. Bingham, who is best known for his paintings of American life on the frontier along the Missouri River, was a pioneer Luminism, a landscape painting style characterized by its careful depiction of light, the use of aerial perspective, and the practice of concealing visible brushstrokes.

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This summer the Royal Collection will present Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of a Man, an exhibition that will place a selection of Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) anatomical drawings alongside modern 3D films as well as CT and MRI scans of the human body. Da Vinci worked tirelessly to gain an understanding of the inner workings of the human body, often dissecting corpses and recording his findings in comprehensive drawings. The Mechanics of a Man will illustrate how deeply the Renaissance master came to understand human anatomy through his exhaustive studies.

The drawings, which will go on view at the Queen’s Gallery Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, are part of the Royal Collection and many have never been exhibited in Britain. The drawings were brought to England during the 17th century, bound into an album, and most likely purchased by King Charles II. The works, which include da Vinci’s Anatomical Manuscript A, 18 sheets crammed with 240 drawings and nearly 13,000 words of notes, have been in the Royal Collection since at least 1690.

Although da Vinci’s scientific findings were never published, he came extraordinarily close to discovering the role of the beating heart in circulating blood throughout the body. He also recorded accurately for the first time cirrhosis of the liver and narrowing of the arteries after dissecting a 100-year-old man in 1508. In 1510-1511, while working as a professor of anatomy, he created many multi-layered drawings portraying nearly every bone in the body, accurately depicting the spine for the first time as well as many of the major muscle groups.

The Mechanics of Man will present da Vinci’s famous drawing of a baby in a womb alongside a 3D ultrasound scan of a fetus. The exhibition will also place his drawings of a hand, which include the layers of bones, muscles, and tendons, beside a film of a dissected hand in high definition 3D. The exhibition will vividly illustrate just how groundbreaking da Vinci’s work was.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of a Man will be on view from August 2, 2013 through November 10, 2013.

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French senator Corinne Bouchoux is urging French museum officials to take closer looks at their prized holdings as many public art collections contain works looted by Nazis during World War II. Bouchoux has led an investigative committee devoted to uncovering Nazi-looted artwork in France, which prompted her to ask museums to be more thorough in their provenance research.

Bouchoux revealed that out of the 100,000 artworks stolen from Jewish families in France and Belgium, approximately 2,000 of those works were still present in French museums. Many of these museums were designated “national museums of recovery,” which allowed the institutions to keep the works as long as they did not become property of the state and if identified, the rightful owners could reclaim them.

Bouchoux wrote her doctoral thesis, which has just been published as a book, on Nazi-looted art in France and has suggested nine proposals to direct the stolen works back to their rightful owners or offer restitution for them.

In line with Bouchoux’s efforts, the Shoal Memorial in Paris presents the exhibition Looting of the Jews: A State Policy (1940-44), which grants visitors a glimpse of the goods, including artworks, that originally belonged to Jews in France. The show is on view through September 29, 2013.

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On a recent visit to the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York, gallerist Daniel Blau was allowed a glimpse of rare, early drawings by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) that had remained out of public view for over 20 years. The 300 drawings, which were completed in the 1950s, will be published for the first time next week.

The drawings stand in sharp contrast to Warhol’s highly recognizable pop art works and reveal a lesser-known side of the artist as a talented draughtsman. The works will be published in a book edited by Blau and are currently being exhibited at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark (on view through February 21, 2013). After another exhibition in The Netherlands, the drawings will be put up for sale, surely a welcomed addition to the highly sought after Warhol works currently on the market.

Blau has a longstanding relationship with the Andy Warhol Foundation and organized his first show of the artist’s work in 1995. He has held a number of Warhol shows since then. From Silverpoint to Silver Screen, Warhol: The 1950s Drawings, which is being published by Hirmer, will be available on January 28, 2013.  

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