“Van Gogh’s Tokyo Sunflowers: Was it a Nazi forced sale? And is the painting now worth $250m?”
Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper

The ownership of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings, Sunflowers (1888–89), worth an estimated $250 million, is being disputed in legal proceedings. This Sunflowers, one of three in a series, has a tumultuous provenance. Originally owned by the German-Jewish banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the masterpiece was sold in 1934 to a Paris art gallery in what the heirs claim was a “forced sale,” a typical looting method employed by the Nazis in the mid 1930s. Decades later in 1987, the art museum of a Tokyo-based insurance company acquired Sunflowers. The insurance company is defending itself against the heirs’ damages claim, reports Martin Bailey for The Art Newspaper

“The Parthenon is special, but not unique”
Mario Trabucco della Torretta, The Critic

The Parthenon’s reputation is overrated and thus the Elgin marbles should not be returned, writes Mario Trabucco della Torretta in a fiery opinion piece for The Critic. With a reputation amplified by the “imagination” of Western antiquarian scholars and architects such as John Julius Cooper, William St. Clair, and Le Corbusier, the Parthenon was in fact not as celebrated in ancient Greece as today—it didn’t have the innovative features, size, or religious value that other temples did, nor was it mentioned as often in surviving sources. Because the site itself survived to the present day, and because of its location on a hilltop in the preeminent Greek city of arts and letters, the Parthenon’s structure and marbles have been overvalued by scholars since the eighteenth century, argues Trabucco della Toretta. He fears the precedent that returning the Elgin marbles will set for the many other sculptures from less famous but more magnificent ruins around the world and calls for a new look at the Parthenon’s exceptionalism. 

Dispatch: 

“Sins against children,” by Scott W. Atlas. On America’s moral compass in the face of COVID.

Podcasts:

“Music for a While #70: Ringtones and other tunes.” Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.

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