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The Michigan state Senate has taken measures to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) works from being sold as a means to help revive the city’s grim economy. On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the Senate’s General Government Committee approved a bill that aims to codify the ethical standards implemented by the American Alliance of Museums, which bans institutions from selling artworks for any reason other than the enhancement of its collection.

The Senate decided to take action after Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked for an appraisal of the DIA’s collection. Orr was considering whether the museum’s multi-billion dollar collection could be considered an asset to Detroit, which could potentially be sold to help cover the city’s $15 billion debt. Orr’s inquiry sparked an immediate reaction and DIA hired bankruptcy lawyer Richard Levin of Cravath, Swaine & Moore to protect the collection from any possible losses.

DIA is a unique public museum as Detroit retains ownership of its building and collection while a separate nonprofit institution manages its day-to-day operations. DIA’s collection includes major works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Many of these masterpieces were donated by the city’s finest collectors, some of who have put restrictions on the works stipulating what DIA or the city can do with the works.

The bill, which was approved on a 5-0 vote, will now move to the full state Senate where it will be reviewed later this week.

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While many museums post photos of their illustrious collections online, the images are not for public use. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is about to change all of that. The institution, which focuses on the art and history of the Netherlands, is allowing visitors to download high-resolution images off of their website at no cost. They’re even going so far as to encourage patrons to copy, alter, and share the images.

The Rijksmuseum, whose collection includes works by Rembrandt (1606-1669), Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), has already made 125,000 images available through Rijksstudio, an interactive section of their website. Officials aim to add 40,000 images per year until the entire collection, which is comprised of 1 million artworks, is available to the public. The decision to make all of the museum’s images public stems from the notion that they are a public institution, making the art and objects in their collection communal property. The proliferation of the Internet has also made image policing extremely difficult and officials would rather the public use high-quality images instead of poor reproductions.

Rijkstudio has seen over 2.17 million visitors since going live in October 2012 and approximately 200,000 people have downloaded images.

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In a last-ditch effort to help revive Detroit’s dismal economy, emergency manager Kevyn Orr has asked for an appraisal of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) collection. While nothing has been finalized, Orr is considering whether the museum’s multi-billion dollar collection could be considered an asset to Detroit that could potentially be sold to help cover the city’s $15 billion debt.

Orr’s inquiry sparked an immediate reaction and DIA has hired bankruptcy lawyer Richard Levin of Cravath, Swaine & Moore to advise it in troubling situations and to protect the collection from any possible losses. Orr’s spokesman, Bill Nowling, assured the public that the appraisal is not a sign that they will be selling off the collection, an act that would surely be controversial, complicated, and mired by opposition. DIA is a unique public museum as Detroit retains ownership of its building and collection while a separate nonprofit institution manages its day-to-day operations.

While Nowling is adamant that Orr is not considering selling DIA’s collection, he did say that he would consider the museum’s holdings as assets of the city, especially as Detroit might be filing for bankruptcy. DIA’s collection includes major works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Many of these masterpieces were donated by the city’s finest collectors, some of who have put restrictions on the works stipulating what DIA or the city can do with the works. If Orr does decide to sell works from DIA’s collection, it will undoubtedly prohibit the institution from receiving future donations and support.

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Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is selling a limited number of replicas of the artist’s sketchbooks for the first time ever. While only four of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) sketchbooks exist today, together they offer a rare insight into the artist’s life and artistic process.

Executed in pencil and black charcoal as well as ink and chalk, the entries include scribblings, quickly drawn notes, copies of poems, and a number of thought-out studies for later paintings including The Sower (1888). The publication marks the first time that all four sketchbooks will be replicated. A limited number of 1,000 editions are currently on sale at the museum’s shop and online sales are slated to start next week. A box set containing the four sketchbooks and a short commentary is retailing for $850.

Three of the four original sketchbooks are currently part of the Van Gogh Museum’s exhibition Van Gogh at Work. The show, which inaugurated the museum’s newly renovated space, coincides with the 160th anniversary of the artist’s birth and offers an extensive overview of van Gogh’s oeuvre.

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Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is gearing up to re-open to the public after closing earlier this year for renovations. Masterpieces such as Sunflowers, The Bedroom, Irises, and The Potato Eaters were returned to the museum on Friday, April 26, 2013 after seven months on view at the Hermitage Museum. The museum is slated to re-open on May 1, 2013 with the exhibition Van Gogh at Work inaugurating the newly updated space.

Updates to the Van Gogh Museum began in 2010 after intensification in fire safety regulations. Most of the recent refurbishments centered on the replacement of the museum’s air conditioning installations. The museum is now equipped with a modern and sustainable air conditioning unit that allows the right climatic conditions to be set for each room. The structure’s roof was also replaced and outfitted with extra insulation, the floors have been replaced, and the walls are newly repainted.

The Van Gogh Museum, which opened in 1973, houses the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) paintings and drawings in the world. Van Gogh at Work will coincide with the 160th anniversary of the artist’s birth and offers an extensive overview of Van Gogh’s oeuvre. The exhibition will be on view through January 12, 2014.

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After closing earlier this year for renovations, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam announced that it will re-open on May 1, 2013. The exhibition Van Gogh at Work will inaugurate the newly updated space. The Van Gogh Museum’s collection was relocated to Amsterdam’s Hermitage Museum during the closure; the works will remain on view there through April 25, 2013.

Updates to the Van Gogh Museum began in 2010 after intensification in fire safety regulations. Most of the recent refurbishments centered on the replacement of the museum’s air conditioning installations. The museum is now equipped with a modern and sustainable air condition unit that allows the right climatic conditions to be set for each room. The structure’s roof was also replaced and outfitted with extra insulation, the floors have been replaced, and the walls are newly repainted.

The Van Gogh Museum, which opened in 1973, houses the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) paintings and drawings in the world. Van Gogh at Work will coincide with the 160th anniversary of the artist’s birth and offers an extensive overview of Van Gogh’s oeuvre. The exhibition will be on view through January 12, 2014.

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Steven Cohen, an American hedge fund manager and founder of SAC Capital Advisors LP, purchased Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) La Reve (1932) from casino tycoon Steve Wynn for $155 million. The sale marks the highest price paid by a U.S. collector for an artwork.

Cohen and Wynn have been in discussion about the sale since 2006. Originally, Wynn agreed to sell the painting to Cohen for $139 million but the transaction was cancelled after Wynn, whose vision is compromised, put his elbow through the canvas. The work has since been restored and the repair was factored into the selling price.

The sale comes less than two weeks after SAC Capital settled an ongoing insider trading case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for $600 million; it was the largest insider trading settlement in history. Cohen, who started collecting art in 2001, has an expansive collection that includes works by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Jasper Johns (b. 1930), and Gerhard Richter (b. 1932).

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On February 19, 2013 the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will present one of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) most well known paintings, Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles, to the public. The work, which is being loaned to the DIA by the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, will be exhibited in the museum’s Dutch galleries along with three other van Gogh paintings owned by the Detroit Institute.

Van Gogh created three nearly identical paintings of his bedroom; the first rendition was completed in 1888 and is currently part of the Van Gogh Museum’s collection in Amsterdam. After the initial work was damaged in a flood, van Gogh made two copies of the painting, one of which is in the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection and the other, which belongs to the Musée D’Orsay.

The additional works to be exhibited alongside Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles are The Diggers, an interpretation of Jean-Francois Millet’s (1814-1875) painting by the same name, The Portrait of the Postman Roulin, which was painted in van Gogh’s house in Arles, and Self-Portrait, which was completed just before van Gogh moved to Arles from Paris.

The van Gogh paintings will be on view at the DIA through May 28, 2013.

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Energy efficient LED lighting, which is widely used in museums across the world, has altered the color of Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) famous Sunflowers (1888). Once a vivid yellow hue, van Gogh’s masterpieces are darkening; scientists have discovered that certain yellow pigments from the 19th century become unstable after exposure to LED lights, turning them a brownish green over time.

Researchers in France and Germany sampled 14 works dating from 1887 to 1890 and tested for the reaction, which affects the oil paint color chrome yellow. A popular pigment at the time, artists such as Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) often used chrome yellow in their paintings. Upon their discovery, researchers suggested that museums avoid using LED lighting on certain works and switch to a safer illumination alternative.

Van Gogh painted his sunflower series as a welcoming present for his friend, Gauguin, and planned to hang the works in the room where he was to stay while in Arles. A copy by van Gogh from the original series is on view at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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Between 1938 and his death in 1956, G. David Thompson, a steel tycoon and passionate art collector made a number of sizable donations to his alma mater, Peru High School in Indiana. Thompson’s generous gifts were in honor of his art teacher, John Whittenberger, who inspired the former troublemaker to change and his ways and helped set him on the path that led to his eventual success.

Thompson graduated from Peru High School in 1913 and established his own investment banking company in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression. By 1945, he was at the helm of four steel companies in the city. With ample funds, Thompson became a fervent art collector, often buying works by unknown artists who went on to become quite established. His multi-million dollar collection included works by Paul Klee (1879-1940), Georges Braque (1882-1963), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Jackson Pollack (1912-1956), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), and Edgar Degas (1834-1917).

While Thompson made a number of donations to major museums, he ultimately gifted 75 paintings and prints, one sculpture, and 54 pieces of oriental pottery to Peru High School. The exhibition Hidden Treasures: The John Whittenberger Collection of G. David Thompson at Peru High School at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art features a portion of the dozens of works Thompson sent to Whittenberger. Works on view include pieces by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Hidden Treasures is on view through February 24, 2013.  

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