Art news / 11 – 17 July

This week artists and art galleries respond to the heartbreaking attack on Nice as well as other news in art, from Bowie to Van Gogh.

1. New information has come to light regarding the grizzly details of Van Gogh’s wandering ear and his unstable mental state at the time. The new exhibition in Amsterdam, exploring Van Gogh’s medical history, will include a Lefaucheux revolver found in a field that many believe was his suicide weapon.

On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and his Illness, also includes new evidence regarding his infamous ear (or lack thereof) as writer Bernadette Murphy, revealed in her book Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story. Murphy discovered a note and diagram form the doctor (Felix Rey) who treated Van Gogh in Arles after he had dessicated his ear.

Nienke Bakker, a curator of the exhibition, stresses that Van Gogh’s art should “not be viewed as a product of his illness, but rather he painted in spite of his condition.” On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and his Illness will run from Friday 15 July – Sunday 25 September. (via The Art Newspaper)

2. David Bowie’s incredible art collection will be on view to the public as part of a three-part sale in November at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries, London. His seismic collection consists of works by Henry Moore, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach and Marcel Duchamp. Bowie said to The New York Times in 1998, “Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through.” Bowie’s private collection will be exhibited at the galleries from Tuesday 1 – Thursday 10 November. Read more here.

3. Last Saturday over 3,000 people in the city of Hull stripped naked and covered themselves in various hues of blue paint for US photographer Spencer Tunick, who is famous for his images of nude crowds. Tunick was commissioned by Ferens Art Gallery for Hull’s UK City of Culture. Roads were closed off between midnight and 10am, while the thousands of blue people positioned themselves at notable maritime landmarks in the city. Tunick talked of the natural contrast between the human body and its urban surroundings: “The natural, soft vulnerable body that’s up against the concrete world – it creates a dynamic that interests me,” he said.

Tunick’s photographs will be exhibited in the newly refurbished gallery in 2017, when Hull is host to the UK City of Culture and will be bought for the Ferens permanent collection. (via The Guardian)

4. The art-word reacted to the horrific attack at the Bastille Celebrations in Nice this week (14 July) on Instagram; from the Louvre (pictured) to New York’s Pace Gallery spreading messages and image of solidarity, including paintings by the likes of Matisse in the once-peaceful seaside city. (via Art Net)

5. Art dealer Oliver Thomas has been indicted amid new claims of two stolen Pablo Piacsso paintings (Woman Combing Her Hair, 1957, and Espagnole à l’éventai, 1957) from Picasso’s stepdaughter Catherine Hutin-Blay. Hutin-Blay claims that the ‘free-port king’ Yves Bouvier had been entrusted with these paintings, but they had been passed on and sold by Thomas  to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev (who returned the paintings immediately to the Brigade de Repression du Banditisme). Thomas claims he has never seen the paintings before, however detectives have now found photos of the stolen paintings on his laptop that appear to have been taken by himself. The two paintings are of Hutin-Bays mother, Jacqueline Roque. Read more here.