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Missing Van Gogh found in Spain

A painting which went missing more than 40 years ago from Vienna's Art History Museum has turned up in a fraudster's safe in Spain.

Missing Van Gogh found in Spain
Photo: El Mundo

There's no statute of limitations on art theft, so Vienna's Art History Museum will be delighted to learn that a painting by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh that went missing forty years ago has been discovered by Spanish tax inspectors.

The inspectors were opening safes that had been seized from various tax fraudsters, when they found the unframed painting.  Depicting cypresses and fields, the painting was dated from 1889, and has not been valued, but is expected to be worth millions, as with most other Van Goghs.

The picture was likely completed during Van Gogh's stay in the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Rémy, Provence, shortly after the incident with Paul Gauguin in which Van Gogh cut off part of his own left ear.

The safe-deposit box supposedly belongs to an unnamed foreign millionaire, and arrived in Spain in 2010.

A seal found on the rear of the painting showed that it had been examined by the Institute for Art History at the University of Vienna on 10 April 1974.  

Despite the clear provenance, Austria's Art History Museum is unlikely to get the painting back, as the Spanish government has form in regard to holding on to seized works of art and other valuables.

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ART

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy

As the art world plans to celebrate the centenary of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele's death, some of his nudes have been dubbed too racy to show in their full glory, not least in the London underground.

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy
Photo: Christian Lendl/Vienna Tourist Board/AFP
Austrian museums will next year host a series of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of his passing but time has apparently not dimmed some of the prudish attitudes prevalent in his lifetime regarding his rawest works, Vienna Tourist Board director Norbert Kettner told AFP.
   
Two of his works — “Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait),” from 1910, and his 1914 work “Girl With Orange Stockings,” appear with their genitals covered over after Transport for London found the uncensored originals beyond the pale.
 
Advertising hoardings in Germany have similarly covered the offending parts, even though the works were deliberately selected as “we wanted to raise a discussion and the theme of nudity seemed pertinent,” Kettner told AFP.
 
“The campaign was ready but when we came up with the first visuals we had several reactions of 'that won't do; regulations won't allow us to show genitalia,'” he explained after the London Tube and a German airport both complained.
 
“We had the green light for a very large format and, the day before they went up, agreement was withdrawn as an ethics committee felt (full nude versions) wouldn't be acceptable for an airport public” or patrons of London's underground trains.
 
The Viennese tourist office quickly revamped the pictures, covering up the offending organs and adding on the blotted out section the slogan, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.”
 
They have also added the hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom in London – a play on the “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” inscribed on the entrance of the Vienna Secession building housing the union of Austrian artists movement.
 
Kettner revealed that a Viennese display did not share the artistic-sexual qualms of the British or the Germans and had approved a “non-censored” version.
 
The prolific Schiele, born in 1890 and who died of Spanish flu aged 28, was not always popular in his homeland where some, notably in conservative circles, took a dim view of his vision of tortured eroticism.
 
Nonetheless, a retrospective of his work will see a number of exhibitions highlight his talents as well as those of his first mentor and Secession co-founder Gustav Klimt.