Stolen Francis Bacon Recovered in Spain, French Police Find Trove of Looted Antiques, Fotografiska New York Plans Move, and More: Morning Links for May 23, 2024

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LOST, NOW FOUND. Spanish police have recovered a stolen Francis Bacon painting worth an estimated $5.4 million. The 1989 portrait of Bacon’s friend, the banker José Capelo, is one of five works by the Dublin-born artist, robbed from Capelo’s Madrid home in 2015, worth over $27 million all told. Three other paintings from the same loot were recovered in 2017, and two suspects reportedly helped investigators find this most recent, fourth missing painting. They are among a total of 16 other suspects arrested in connection to the major 2015 theft, which also included a snatched safe of jewelry and coins. As for the last missing painting, investigators said they were “continuing to locate the remaining work and arrest those in possession of it, with the focus on Spanish nationals with links to organized groups from Eastern Europe,” reports the BBC.

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE. French investigators suspect Moscow may have given orders for the recent vandalism of Paris’ Holocaust memorial. Using video surveillance, authorities have identified three suspects who came from Bulgaria and allegedly painted over 30, large, red hands on the Wall of the Righteous, located on the northern side of the museum, in the Marais district.The investigative journal Canard Enchaîné first reported French intelligence services have “privileged the hypothesis” that Russian influence is behind the incident, and other French media have since corroborated the scoop. The memorial wall lists the names of thousands who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi extermination, and is part of the museum. French foreign minister Stéphane Séjourné linked the incident to multiple Star-of-David tags found on Paris buildings after October 7, which were also reportedly tied to Russian sources. Both are cases of individuals being “paid to destabilize and trigger divisions in French society,” he told BFM TV.


French police have found a trove of 92 stolen antiques and paintings in a chateau in northern France. The recovered objects, on display in plain sight at the chateau de Cercamp, owned by Serge Dufour, had belonged to the Sandelin de Saint-Omer museum, 40 miles north. But when one of the artworks was recognized by a visitor to the chateau, an investigation was opened. [Le Quotidien de l’Art]

A new Wyoming state archaeological report has revealed that nearly a quarter of the area’s roughly 1,100 rock art sites have been vandalized. The sites are a mix of Indigenous petroglyphs and/or pictographs mostly in the southwest and have been defaced with damage such as carved initials, names, dates, firearm-related or painting. [Casper Star-Tribune]

Luca Guadagnino will be the artistic director of the Homo Faber fine artisan exhibition in Venice September 1 to 30. The director of “Call Me by Your Name,” and head of his eponymous architectural and design studio, has been working with architect Nicolò Rosmarini to develop the scenography and installations around the biennial exhibition’s theme, “The Journey of Life.” [WWD]

The Stockholm-founded Fotografiska museum in New York is searching for a new venue that offers more exhibition space and higher walls, similar to its locations in Berlin, Shanghai, Stockholm, and Tallinn. The current Park Avenue South space will shutter September 29, at the closing of its Vivian Maier and Bruce Gilden exhibits. [Artnet News]

A new book by writers and curators Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin called Atlas of Never Built Architecture (Phaidon), compiles some 300 richly illustrated, often wildly kooky, never-built public buildings. The authors are known for their previous exhibitions, “Never Built Los Angeles” and “Never Built New York,” which used un-realized building dreams – or nightmares — to help explain our current landscape. [Bloomberg]


WHAT SHE’S HAVING. A new exhibit at the Capital Jewish Museum in Washington DC celebrates the “secular Jewish space” of delis, and the title alone (“I’ll Have What She’s Having”) is reason enough to check it out. “The things we consider uniquely American are often borne of the meetings of peoples and its celebration of that,” said Cate Thurston, chief curator for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which organized the exhibit, speaking to The Guardian. The deli is a “fusion of food” from immigrant communities across eastern and central Europe, plus the ingredients found in the US, explains the show. “We all need spaces where we can both think critically and feel joy and I hope that this exhibition provides a pathway for both of those things. And I hope that people go and patronize a local restaurant after and enjoy a good sandwich,” said Thurston.


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