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Renaissance masterpieces, including a priceless painting by Raphael, are warping dramatically because of a failure to repair a broken air-conditioning system in one of Italy's best-known museums, experts warned on Thursday.

"The Deposition," painted by Raphael in 1507 and showing Christ being carried from the cross, is one of the paintings most at risk from humidity in the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the largest U.S. art institution, named Daniel H. Weiss president as the museum embarks on new initiatives and a long-term capital campaign.

Weiss, 57, an art historian and president of Haverford College, will oversee 1,500 of the 2,200 full and part-time employees in areas including finance, legal affairs and development, the museum said Tuesday in a statement.

He was formally elected by the Met’s board on Tuesday and will assume his new post this summer, after the semester ends at Haverford.

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The Rhode Island School of Design has received $2.5 million from David Rockefeller to endow a curatorial position at the school’s museum and to support a new gallery.

RISD announced Monday that Rockefeller’s pledge would fund and expand the museum’s collection of decorative arts and design.

RISD says the majority of the money will go toward a position to lead the department of decorative arts and design.

Published in News
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 11:30

Paris’ Centre Pompidou Names New President

Serge Lasvignes, a high-level French government official, was nominated this week to head the Pompidou Center, in a surprise choice to replace Alain Seban.

Mr. Seban’s term of service is ending after eight years in which he drove the expansion of the Paris museum, which houses one of the largest collections of modern art in Europe.

The succession — the topic of rumors for weeks — must still be approved by a government council, which will weigh the appointment of Mr. Lasvignes, 61, whose hiring was unexpected because of his low profile in the art world. (When Mr. Seban was hired in 2007, he had no museum management experience.)

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015 11:56

Paris’ Musée Maillol Closes Indefinitely

It is a sad 20th birthday for the Musée Maillol in Paris, which shut its doors indefinitely this weekend. The museum has posted a message on its website that says the closure is due to planned renovation work, but there is more to the story. On February 5, the company that manages the museum, Tecniarte, filed for bankruptcy.

According to court filings, with only €11,000 in cash in its coffers, Tecniarte could not possibly cover its €3.3m debt, which is “due immediately.” The list of creditors has not been made public and the foundation that runs the museum has declined to comment since the bankruptcy filing.

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Iruña to the Basques—the historical capital of the old Kingdom of Navarre in northern Spain, has hitherto been known mainly for its annual Festival of San Fermín, with its running-of-the-bulls immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in “The Sun Also Rises”, and as a stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Now the small city is seeking a different form of cultural validation, by taking a path well-trodden in Spain: the opening of a snazzy new museum.

The Museo Universidad de Navarra, tucked into a hillside outside the city center, is most obviously inspired by nearby Bilbao, where the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim has been breathing life into post-industrial torpor since 1997.

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Towns and cities across France will soon be able to boost their culture offerings by hosting pop-up branches of the Centre Pompidou. The Paris museum is expanding its empire, and aims to establish domestic temporary outposts. “We will soon launch an open call for candidates [to select a French city],” says a spokesman for the Centre Pompidou. These pop-ups will remain open for four years.

The city authorities in Libourne, a town in southwestern France, have already expressed an interest in opening a temporary Centre Pompidou venue.

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Barely a month in office, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has shelved a plan to turn the former Franklin School downtown into a contemporary art museum and has begun seeking other companies interested in redeveloping the building.

Dani Levinas, a local art collector who was selected a year ago by then-Mayor Vincent C. Gray to turn the crumbling brick building into a home for contemporary art exhibitions, said that despite being told by economic development staff shortly after Bowser took office that the project was being reviewed, he was stunned by the decision.

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Museum-goers are anticipating this fall’s debut of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, part of a long-term cultural agreement with the French government. One recent acquisition may surprise visitors: Museum officials in Abu Dhabi say they have paid Los Angeles’s Armand Hammer Foundation an undisclosed sum for a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington.

The 1822 painting shows the first American president sitting at a desk, one hand resting on a document, the other cradling a sword hilt. Other Washington portraits by Stuart have sold for around $8 million, according to dealers and auction records.

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The renovation and expansion of the Columbus Museum of Art received a $1 million boost yesterday — a donation from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The gift honors the memory of John G. McCoy, the late patriarch of Bank One Corp., whose family has supported the museum for decades.

In addition, JPMorgan Chase is donating to the museum a work from its corporate art collection. The sculpture — "John T. Ward Transporting Fugitives in Columbus, Ohio to Freedom, 1800s" — is a showcase piece by Columbus artist Aminah Robinson.

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