Christie’s Cancels Heidi Horten Sales, Restitution Lawyer David Rowland Dies at 67, and More: Morning Links for September 1, 2023

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The Headlines

NOT FOR SALE. After facing intense pressure in some corners, Christie’s is canceling its planned sales of late collector Heidi Horten’s jewelry, Artnet News’s Katya Kazakina reports. Some Jewish groups claimed that Christie’s had tried to hide information about Horten’s husband, Helmut Horten, who was a member of the Nazi Party during World War II. The controversy mounted and mounted over the past few months. Christie’s moved forward with one sale in May, netting $200 million in the process; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art called off a conference hosted by the house amid the fallout. Now, there will be no more auctions of the sort. “The sale of the Heidi Horten jewelry collection has provoked intense scrutiny, and the reaction to it has deeply affected us and many others, and we will continue to reflect on it,” Anthea Peers, President of Christie’s EMEA.

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MAKING RETURNS. The lawyer David Rowland, who worked to bring Nazi-looted artworks back to their Jewish heirs, has died at 67, according to the New York Times. One of the many cases he worked involved an Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painting held by New York’s Museum of Modern Art; it was returned after a decade-long period to the heirs of collector Max Fischer in 2015. Meanwhile, a New York judge has ordered the seizure of an ancient Roman sculpture from Ohio’s Cleveland Museum of Art, per The judge said the work may be related to an investigation into the trafficking of antiquities in Turkey. The sculpture is said to be worth $20 million.

The Digest

Canada has sanctioned State Hermitage Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky, who has publicly said he supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So far, only one other country, Ukraine, has sanctioned Piotrovsky. [The Art Newspaper]

Donald Jenkins, a former director of the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, has died. The museum announced his passing on Thursday but did not provide an age or cause of death. [Portland Art Museum]

Matilde Guidelli-Guidi has been promoted to curator and department co-head of the Dia Art Foundation. In her new post, she will serve alongside Jordan Carter. [Artforum]

A truck crashed into Chicago’s Andrew Rafacz Gallery, destroying a sculpture by Roxanne Jackson. Thankfully, no one was harmed. The gallery will remain closed for two months. [Block Club Chicago]

Annie Armstrong reports in her “Wet Paint” column that Karma is looking for a location in New York‘s Chelsea neighborhood. Gallery founder Brendan Dugan didn’t confirm this, but he did say that he planned to keep Karma’s space on 2nd Street. [Artnet News]

The Kicker

ANOTHER RENAISSANCE. The long-awaited visual album of Beyoncé’s latest, Renaissance, may be one step closer to fruition, and it may be in no small part thanks to an artist. That artist is potentially Nadia Lee Cohen, whose film is being shopped around to studios, according to Above the Line. Cohen was the subject of a 2022 solo show at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in Los Angeles that featured photographs of her as heavily done-up personas. “Nadia conceived of the exhibition like a movie,” the gallery’s namesake founder toldArtnet News at the time. Has Cohen done the same for Queen Bey’s music? Time will tell. [NYT]

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