With the recent wave of thefts in Nineteenth Century art and Old Master works that has inflicted Europe’s museums over the past few years, you would think that more of these older museums would be taking steps to improve their security. As this article mentions, Odessa Museum officials did not heed the warning to update their system-can you imagine being able to remove a pane of glass to break into any museum in the US?
A world class exhibition of eleven Leonardo drawings and notebook sketches goes down South. The most acclaimed drawing from this exhibition is the preparatory sketch for “The Madonna of the Rocks,” a drawing that the don of all Renaissance connoisseurs, Bernard Berenson, called “the most beautiful drawing in the world.” Another work of note is an incredible anatomical sketch that was used as a preparatory study for “The Battle of Anghiari,” Leonardo’s uncompleted contribution to the walls of the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio. If finished, many believe that this work would have set the stage for the artistic showdown that never was. The Fine Arts Museums of San Fransisco were lucky enough to have this show travel to them afterwards-can we get the Morgan Library or the Frick to lobby for this show to make its way up I-95?
For a country that is as tied to its artistic heritage as Italy, OMNP finds it inconceivable, if not immoral that Berlusconi’s administration would opt for a defacement of such a precious painting by Tiepolo.
Another sign of the heightened amount of restitution claims that affect the Old Masters market today. OMNP wonders if some of these cases are fraught with opportunists looking to cash in on the spat of high profile resititution cases-such as the paintings awarded to the Goudstrikker heirs, or Maria Altman’s sale of the Gustav Klimt portrait of Adele-Bloch Bauer to Ronald Lauder, after having it returned to her from the Austrian government.