Art news / 1 – 7 August

In case you missed it, five stories in art and culture that caught our eye this week.

  1. Following his exhibition at the Louvre, where JR used trump l’oiel (an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions) to make IM Pei’s famous glass pyramid appear to disappear, French street artist JR is continuing his optical illusions in celebration of the Olympics. In Rio JR has created enormous installations – immense photos canvased on scaffolding (which the artist is using for the first time) – that tower above the skyline. One of JR’s Olympic heroes is attached to the roof of an apartment complex.The athlete pictured in the midst of a high jump, frozen in time as he appears to clear the towering block of apartments, is Mohamed Younes Idriss, the artist explained on his Instagram “He missed out on qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics but he is there some how :)” JR wrote.

  2. A five-hundred year old engraving by on of the most respected artists in history, Albrecht Dürer, has turned up on a French flea market. The historic piece, Maria Crowned by an Angel, was spotted by a keen-eyed (and good-hearted) art collector in Salsberg; who purchased the copperplate engracving for a few hundred euros, and then donated it to the Stuttgart museum. The engraving had been missing since WW2, and had previously been owned by the former deputy mayor of Sarrebourg. (via The Guardian)

  3. Researchers in Australia have used powerful X-Ray techniques to uncover a previously hidden portrait by the French Impressionist, Edgar Degas. The painting, Portrait of a Woman, had long been known to cover another painting, but until now, art historians had been unable to see what it was. Now, they believe it to be a portrait of Emma Dobigny, who Degas frequently used as a sitter. Dr Daryl Howard, a co-author of the study, told BBC News: “I think what is really exciting is that we have now been able to add one more Degas artwork for the world to see.” (via BBC News)

  4. Concerns have been growing for a little-know mural created by Keith Haring in a former convent in New Yorks Upper Manhattan after plans for gentrification. Haring’s mural resides in what is now Grace House –rent stabilized apartments owned by the Church of Ascension. However, due to the church’s financial difficulties the tenants are now being evicted and real estate developers have been scouting the property for redevelopment. Haring created the murals – which include some of his most notorious motifs: the ‘radiant baby’, and dancing figures – one evening in front of around 50 people, when two of Haring’s friend were working for the former convent Keith Haring Foundation director Julia Gruen told the New York Times in 2007, “It is quite remarkable that this mural has not been generally acknowledged.”

  5. When Goya painted his series of fourteen ‘Black Paintings’ (originally murals in his house just outside Mardrid, now transferred to canvas and residing in Madrid’s Museo del Prado), it was believed there were the works of a “sickly old man” and without any particular message; but it has been discovered that these paintings actually chronicle several political characters – the most notorious being Napoleon, disguised in The Pilgrimage of San Isidro. This evidence brought to light by researcher Antonio Muñoz-Casayus shows Goya’s concealed political beliefs 200 years after his death. (via Art Daily)