On 8 August the news was that a Rembrandt had been stolen in March 2014 from the Philips family (the one from the company) from their villa and kept quiet because of protocol. Then, the Rembrandt was not stolen from the Philips family, but from an insurance company. And now the painting isn’t a Rembrandt, but said to be from a pupil of Rembrandt depicting Titus van Rijn, his son. Oh, and the Philips villa De Laak belongs to the Philips company and no longer the family.
An ex cop has been said to be the fence for the stolen painting, having tried to inform his ex colleagues of the theft back in 2014 and not being taken seriously. The whole story is still unclear, so we’ll keep you posted once the interns have stopped mucking about with it. You’ll notice many news sources haven’t bothered to correct any of the original information, which says a lot about them as well.
The bus I normally take to get around town currently takes a detour due to construction, which means getting off at a bus stop near the above cool bit of Amsterdam West street art.
Entitled ‘Morgenster’ (‘Morning Star’) created by visual artist Arjen Lancel in 1995, the artwork is located at the gates of the cleaning and maintenance department of the local district. The television and toilet are made of terrazzo, the bin bag of cast aluminium, and the broken wheelbarrow, shovel and wood of bronze. The street light ties the whole thing together because when you walk by the artwork for the first time, you think it’s trash simply because it’s next to a street light. As well, walking from the bus stop you’ll see it from behind, which makes you wonder if it’s not trash. And of course, at night, ‘Morning Star’ gets its own light.
The Netherlands is known for its coffeeshops (the ones that sell soft drugs), but it also has a lot of places that just serve coffee, called coffee houses or if you want to be cool, ‘coffee tents’, the equivalent of ‘stand’ or ‘joint’, as in place, not the soft drugs.
Amsterdam photographer Gijs van den Berg has a collection of pictures he took of coffee houses with actual film, which he then developed with the coffee of the places in question using the caffenol process.
The project is called ‘Gewoon Koffie’ (‘Just Coffee’) and currently includes 11 coffee houses, highlighting the interior, owners and patrons. “Caffenol gives the prints a natural yellow and brown tint, and the different coffees produce an ever-so-slightly different look for each of the prints,” Van den Berg explains.
For anyone in Amsterdam, you can see Van den Berg’s photographs at the Werkplaats of the Volkshotel in Amsterdam for free through 28 August.
A video of one of the biggest art heists of all times, which took place in 1990 Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, has been released on YouTube (bizarrely marked as ‘unlisted’) in order to help the FBI find any new leads.
On 18 March 1990 two men dressed as Boston police gained entrance to the museum by telling a security guard they were responding to a disturbance. The guard should not have let them in, got handcuffed, as did his two other colleagues.
The 13 works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, included paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer, which to this day have not been recovered. Now that the main suspects are deceased, the FBI wants to find these cultural masterpieces. The museum is offering a cool 5 million USD to information leading to the recovery of the stolen artwork as long as they are in good condition. The total amount of artwork stolen is estimated at about 500 million USD.
Look at the surveillance footage linked to the heist:
Japanese artist Taturo Atzu, internationally renowned for his temporary art projects that touch upon monuments, statues and architecture, has transformed the historic weather vane and small roof turret of the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam by constructing a roof terrace enabling people to gaze at the city below.
Entitled ‘The Garden Which is Nearest to God’, Atzu’s first public project in the Netherlands, the artwork provides a unique chance to see Amsterdam, which otherwise would not be possible. The roof terrace is open until September 6.
However, not everyone is happy with having ‘artwork’ attached to this national monument, least of all the Friends of the Oude Kerk Foundation who have it out for the church’s director. Well-known Dutch author Geert Mak said that the church should not become the plaything of some art elite, while composer Elmer Schönberger said the church provided one of the ‘oldest silence of the Netherlands’, which this artwork, although temporary, has taken away.
We’ve mentioned Holly Moors before as a blogger from the North, but he is also an artist.
Recently Moors has been scanning a couple of his experiments from the 1980s in which he filled old Davo booklets (aimed at postage stamp collectors) with rubber stamp prints. For the first booklet he used pre-existing stamps, for the second he carved a rubber stamp from a HEMA eraser.
This is art that doesn’t easily fit on a wall in a museum, so a gallery on a weblog is a good place to study it. After you’ve clicked a link, clicking one of the thumbnail images will open the gallery. Moors chose Davo booklets, because he felt they “invited repetitive stamping”.
A very small watercolour painting by ninteenth century Dutch painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag was recently discovered at the national archive in The Hague. An employee looking for a work to exhibit on the occasion of the artist’s date of death on 10 July found the 5 centimetre by 3 centimetre painting. On the back of the watercolour Mesdag wrote a poem for his then fiancee and later wife Sina van Houten, also a painter. The words of the poem read: “Thoughts are not subject to laws; therefore; think of the maker of this; as often as thou will take up this sheet. Gron[ingen], July 1854, H W Mesdag.”
Experts say it is one of the first ever Mesdags and the first with boats on it. And because the poem is signed, they know it’s the real deal. Born in Groningen, studied in Brussels and eventually moved to The Hague, Mesdag’s best know work is the Panorama Mesdag, a cylindrical painting (‘cyclorama’) more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference) that he completed with his wife and some assistants.
Bert Kreuk, an art collector and ‘art flipper’, someone who buys art and resells it sooner rather than later to turn a quick profit, has won a lawsuit to the tune of € 898,000 against Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vō.
A Rotterdam court ruled in favour of Kreuk who had entered into an agreement with Vō to be promised an installation that was to be “large and impressive” and “fill an entire room”, but instead Vō presented him with an existing sculpture, ‘Fiat Veritas’, a cardboard box covered in gold leaf that was on loan to Kreuk’s exhibition ‘Transforming the Known’ at The Hague’s Gemeentemuseum. As Vō only loaned the existing artwork, which meant that it was not be sold as well as not being anything “large and impressive”, Kreuk decide to sue.
The Rotterdam court upheld Kreuk’s claim that Vō had agreed back in January 2013 to produce one or more new pieces for his exhibition and that had not been honoured. Kreuk had also taken out an injunction to prevent Fiat Veritas to be returned to Vō, but that was not upheld. The court has ordered Vō to produce the promised artwork and Kreuk will pay the € 350,000 agreed upon at the time, even though Vō’s pieces today sell for much more than that.
While Kreuk claims that justice has been served, Vō is appealing the decision claiming that his “artistic integrity has been violated by the court” by asking him to produce a “large and impressive” work.
For anyone who wants to read the background of this entire imbroglio that started about a year ago, grab a beverage and dig in here.