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Bid & Hammer wins landmark lawsuit
  28th Feb 2015

The auction house Bid & Hammer has won a recovery suit against Kiran Nadar, owner of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. Nadar had bid for a Raja Ravi Varma painting at their "Significant Indian Art" auction in 2010, but had refused to pay for the same, claiming that the painting was a fake. The High Court of Karnataka recently ruled that Nadar and her consultants had failed to provide sufficient proof to back up their claim. Nadar has been ordered to pay a sum of Rs 80 lakh, along with 12% interest for 4 years and legal fees.

Hidden Cezanne sketches found

Unfinished sketches by the famed French artist Paul Cezanne have been found hidden on the backs of two of his watercolours, a Pennsylvania-based art foundation said last week. The Barnes Foundation said the sketches, one graphite and one watercolour, likely have not been seen since the early 20th century. They were discovered when art conservators in Philadelphia undertook a conservation treatment of paintings known as The Chaine de l'Etoile Mountains, and Trees, both of which depict French landscapes. Albert Barnes purchased the works from American art collector Leo Stein in 1921, and Barnes likely did not know about the sketches, according to Martha Lucy, a Barnes Foundation consulting curator. The newly discovered sketches will go on display 10 April through 18 May. Afterwards, the watercolours will go back on display in their original locations.

Vandalised Italian fountain set for swift restoration

A Dutch restoration firm has offered to repair a 400-year-old fountain that was damaged last week when supporters of Rotterdam soccer team Feyenoord went on a drunken rampage in Rome's historic center. A group of fans hurled beer bottles into the Barcaccia fountain, designed by famed sculptor Pietro Bernini, before a Europa League match against AS Roma last week. The stone artwork was chipped and city officials are still assessing the extent of the damage. Employees at Dutch company Royal Woudenberg came up with the idea of offering their services to the mayor of Rome during their lunch break last Tuesday. "We found what happened really shocking and wanted to make a gesture to the Italians," said Lily Derksen, spokeswoman for Woudenberg's parent company Janssen de Jong.

Rattle's new show dazzles Paris

The new Philharmonie de Paris concert hall in the French capital this week hosted the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle in a program guaranteed to test its acoustic mettle. On the basis of Wednesday's concert of the pioneering German composer Helmut Lachenmann's Tableau and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 Resurrection, with soprano Kate Royal and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena, Rattle's wife, as soloists, plus the Radio Netherlands Choir, the hall passed with flying colours. Mahler is known for being loud and there were nine double basses, two harps, two piccolos, an organ and a huge battery of percussion, plus an oversized orchestra, to ensure the audience — packing the 2,400-seat hall which opened in January — got their money's worth. The Philharmonie is intended to give Paris a hall to rival the world's best, like the Disney Hall in Los Angeles or even the Berlin ensemble's own home hall.

Heirs seek to recover lost treasure trove

The heirs of Jewish art dealers who say their families were forced to sell the Nazis a trove of medieval church treasure worth some $250 million today have turned to a U.S. court to reclaim it, after failing in their attempts in Germany. The collection, known as the Guelph Treasure, consists of 44 gold, jewel and pearl encrusted pieces which have belonged to the city of Berlin's art collection since their purchase in 1935, on the orders of leading Nazi Hermann Goering.

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