Art news – weekly round-up

  • 7 February 2014

Success for the Van Dyck campaign, the opening of Bailey's stellar new exhibition and public outrage at a sculpture of a half-naked sleepwalking man – we round up the top art stories of the week.

Mick Jagger by David Bailey, 1964. On display in Bailey's Stardust at the National Portrait Gallery, London David Bailey

Mick Jagger by David Bailey, 1964. On display in Bailey's Stardust at the National Portrait Gallery, London


David Bailey

£3.2 million raised to Save Van Dyck

The National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund announced that the​ campaign to keep Sir Anthony Van Dyck's final self-portrait in the country has raised more than £3 million in two months. Art Fund Director, Stephen Deuchar, credited a 'groundswell of support' for the success so far, but urged further fundraising from all quarters 'to prevent this work from slipping from our grasp'. With the export bar due to expire on 14 February, The Guardian reports that the Van Dyck campaign has prompted debate among politicians about the flaws of the current system. It is hoped the export bar will be extended for another five months.

Bailey's star photographs

An exhibition of 250 of David Bailey's photographic works opened on 6 February at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Featuring a stellar line up – including Mick Jagger, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Kate Moss and Grayson Perry – as well as candid shots of the photographer's family, and pictures from his travels in India and Sudan, it received a highly favourable reception from the critics. In The Telegraph Alastair Sooke writes: 'There is a classic quality to Bailey’s aesthetic, which resists elaboration or embellishment', while Sue Steward describes the exhibition as 'one great portrait of 50 years' in the Evening Standard.

Chagall faked

Martin Lang, a Leeds businessman, bought a painting he believed to be by Marc Chagall for £100,000 in 1992. But after the painting was submitted to BBC programme Fake or Fortune? it was declared a fake, leading the granddaughters of the Russian-French artist to threaten to have it destroyed according to French law, said the Sunday Times. The Guardian reports that 90% of works in the Russian art market are thought to be fake, with Chagall being a particular target for forgery, while in The Telegraph Tom Rowley questions why Lang can't be allowed to hang it on his wall.

First US artwork for National Gallery

The National Gallery has bought George Bellows' 1912 masterpiece Men of the Docks for $25.5m (£15.6m) from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is the last and largest in a series of the artist's paintings of workers gathered on a New York waterfront on a winter’s day and has been described as an 'outstanding example of the socially engaged, modern realism that was central to American art in the early 20th century'. The Guardian reports that, despite being a 200-year-old institution, this the gallery's first acquisition of a major American painting. According to The Independent, The National Gallery previously had one work by an American artist – George Inness’s The Delaware Water Gap of 1857 –​ but has kept it in storage.

And finally...

A disturbingly life-like sculpture of a half-naked sleepwalking man, which has been put on display in the grounds of Wellesley College campus in Massachusetts, has met with disapproval from students. A petition to have Tony Matelli's Sleepwalker removed from the site has attracted more than 300 signatures, it was reported in the Metro, with complainants describing it as ‘a source of apprehension and fear’. The university's president has defended the exhibition of the piece, saying 'it has started an impassioned conversation about art' which is 'part of the intellectual process'.

Tags: save-van-dyck