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RESTITUTION WATCH. The Museum of Pontevedra in Spain has transferred two 15th-century paintings that are believed to have been looted by the Nazis during World War II to Poland, the Associated Press reports. Once believed to be works by Dieric Bouts, they are now attributed to “to a member of his school or group,” per the AP. Some 500,000 items from Poland have remained unaccounted for since the conflict. Meanwhile, Christie’s is staging a series of projects over the next year that are related to restitution, the Financial Times reports. They include an exhibition at its Paris home by artist Raphaël Denis that addresses art that has been missing since the war, and a conference in Tel Aviv on the Washington Principles, an international agreement on returning Nazi-stolen material. This year marks the 25th-anniversary of that accord.
ON THE MOVE. Kathy Halbreich, who has been executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation since 2017, said that she will depart in May, ARTnews reports. Halbreich came to the nonprofit—which supports philanthropic efforts and Rauschenberg’s legacy—from the Museum of Modern Art, where she was associate director. Carl Goodman is leaving the Museum of the Moving Image in New York after 34 years at the helm, Deadline reports, and curator Azu Nwagbogu has been named a National Geographic Explorer at Large, a position that will see him serving as an ambassador for the National Geographic Society. Nwagbogu is the founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation, and has previously been interim director and head curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.
Republicans in Congress renewed efforts to obtain records from New York dealer Georges Bergès about sales of art by Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden, who is a budding artist. They allege the transactions could influence White House policy; Bergès has reportedly not responded to their requests for information. [The Wall Street Journal]
Curator Helen Molesworth has organized a show at the International Center of Photography in New York of portraits of artists, and is at work on a variety of other projects, five years after her controversial firing from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. “I love my life,” she said. “It’s hard and it’s scary, but it’s OK. It’s also more like being an artist than anything else.” [NYT]
Israeli archaeologists are investigating a newly discovered handprint that was carved into an ancient (and waterless) moat outside the Old City of Jerusalem. “It’s a mystery,” an official with the Israeli Antiquities Authority said. [AFP/France 24]
Two major archaeological finds were made in a fourth-century tomb in Nara, Japan: a bronze mirror and a seven-and-a-half-foot iron sword. Both are the largest of their type to have been unearthed, and they qualify as national treasures, according to experts. [Kyodo News]
A new film about Scream painter Edvard Munch—simply titled Munch—is screening as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was directed by Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, and it is an experimental affair, with four different screenwriters tackling different portions of his life. [Variety]
Zaha Hadid Architects was apparently once shortlisted to design a national flagship yacht for Great Britain and its royal family. Alas, the project was scrapped, but the renderings look quite handsome. [Architectural Digest]
TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN. However, many people wait for years to be able to acquire an ultra-rare luxury timepiece from MB&F. The Swiss firm’s creative director is Maximilian Büsser, and he sounds a lot like an uncompromising artist in a new Bloomberg Businessweek profile . “It’s very important for us that we do not give a damn if you like what we do,” Büsser told the magazine. “That’s the only way I could create a watch that looks like a spaceship or a bulldog.” That outlook has seemingly not hurt demand; after waiting, buyers spend north of $100,000 for a piece. [Bloomberg]