Art news – weekly round-up

  • 13 December 2013

Stolen Hirsts, an Iron Age urn, and Austen's £10 portrait sells for £164,500 – we round up the top art stories of the week.

The portrait of Jane Austen which was sold at a Sotheby's auction this week

The portrait of Jane Austen which was sold at a Sotheby's auction this week

Hirst Spots stolen…

Two paintings by Damien Hirst worth £33,000 have been stolen from a Notting Hill art gallery. The spot paintings Pyronin Y and Oleoylsarcosine were seized from the Exhibitionist Gallery early in the morning on Monday 9 December. According to Daisy Wyatt at The Independent a suspect entered by forcing the front doors and drove the items away in a dark-coloured hatchback. Police are asking for witnesses to come forward.

…and Brown denies involvement

Illusionist Derren Brown was forced to deny taking part in the theft of Hirst’s spot paintings, after a tweet sent from Channel 4’s Twitter account to promote his latest show prompted speculation over his involvement. In a piece for the Independent, Jenn Selby writes that ‘the poorly judged message immediately linked the TV showman and his small army of elderly bandits to the gallery raid, which is currently under police investigation.’

Austen portrait sold

A portrait of novelist Jane Austen has sold for £164,500 at a Sotheby’s auction. The watercolour by James Andrew is to be reproduced as an engraving for the new £10 note in 2017. The Guardian’s Mark Brown reports that Austen’s nephew commissioned the portrait 50 years after her death, with critics such as Paula Byrne (an Austen biographer) accusing the image of utilising ‘Victorian airbrushing’.

Van Dyck buyer revealed

The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the buyer of Van Dyck’s final self-portrait is entrepreneur James Stunt. The husband of Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Stunt had planned to export the painting to his home in Los Angeles before it was export-stopped in November. The Art Fund is currently running a fundraising campaign to help the National Portrait Gallery acquire the painting for its permanent collection.

And finally…

A pot that washed up in Sandwich Bay was being used as a candleholder in a local pub before it was revealed to be an ancient Iron Age urn. According to Kent Online it was not until a passing expert from Canterbury Christ Church University came in for a drink that the urn was identified. 

Tags: Museums and galleries