Arts and Culture

Poland trumpets its Van Gogh, once peddled for a beer

By Anna Maria Jakubek WARSAW (AFP) – Poland opened an art show Friday to celebrate its only Van Gogh painting, a rare early landscape worth millions that was once hawked by a pedlar for the price of a beer. “Country Huts Among Trees” dates from 1883 when the impoverished Dutch artist was still learning to paint in the countryside around The Hague. The small oil painting — also known as “Farmhouses Among Trees” — is […]

Louvre says Mona Lisa could get a room of her own

PARIS, April 27, 2024 (AFP) – The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, the world’s most famous portrait, could get a room of its own in the Louvre, the museum’s president said on Saturday. Such a move would give visitors, many of whom visit the Louvre for the iconic painting alone, a better experience, Laurence des Cars told the France Inter broadcaster. “It’s always frustrating when you don’t give visitors the best possible reception, and […]

Michelangelo’s scribble sells for $200,000 at New York auction

NEW YORK, April 17, 2024 (AFP) – A square scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper by Renaissance genius Michelangelo sold for $201,600 — 33 times its estimated value, auction house Christie’s said Wednesday. Found stuck to the back of a frame, the small drawing accompanied by a letter from Michelangelo’s last direct descendant was initially expected to sell for between $6,000 and $8,000. But Christie’s in New York said the piece went under the […]

Tokyo’s cherry blossoms in full bloom draw crowds

TOKYO, April 4, 2024 (AFP) – Tourists and residents packed Tokyo’s top cherry blossom spots on Thursday to enjoy the full bloom that has arrived in the Japanese capital later than usual this year because of cold weather. The elegant dark branches bursting with pink and white flowers — known as sakura in Japanese — spilled over the moat of the Imperial Palace, where people gathered to snap photos or simply take in the view. […]

Five not-so-famous things about the Impressionist movement

By Olivier THIBAULT and Emilie BICKERTON PARIS, March 24, 2024 (AFP) – As the art world marks 150 years since Impressionism burst onto the canvas in a blurry riot of colour, here are five little-known facts about the wildly popular movement. – ‘Wallpaper pattern’ – “Impressionism” was never meant as a compliment. While today works by artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas fetch eye-popping sums at auction, reviews after their inaugural […]

Paris museum takes visitors back 150 years to Impressionism’s birth

By Eric RANDOLPH PARIS, March 24, 2024 (AFP) – The Orsay Museum in Paris is marking 150 years of Impressionism from Tuesday with an unprecedented reassembling of the masterpieces that launched the movement, and a virtual reality experience that takes visitors back in time. Using VR technology, visitors to “Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism” can take a plunge into the streets, salons and beauty spots that marked a revolution in art. Through VR helmets, they can […]

‘Dragon Ball’ theme park planned in Saudi Arabia

TOKYO, March 22, 2024 (AFP) – A theme park based on Japan’s “Dragon Ball” manga franchise will be built in Saudi Arabia’s new high-end tourist attraction of Qiddiya just outside Riyadh, authorities said Friday. The announcement comes two weeks after fans of the massively popular and influential series were shocked by news of the death of its creator Akira Toriyama, aged 68. The 500,000-square-metre (125-acre) park will allow fans to “live the adventures at the […]

Spring’s splendor: Celebrating 75 years of blooms at Keukenhof

LISSE, Netherlands, March 22, 2024 (AFP) – The world’s biggest tulip garden opened to the public on Thursday for its 75th edition, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to enjoy a bewildering array of seven million bulbs in the western Dutch city of Lisse. Keukenhof park, southwest of Amsterdam in the heart of “bulb country”, contains millions of tulips of every colour as well as other flowers across 32 hectares (80 acres). The park […]

Dutch art fair reports ‘record’ prices for Van Gogh, Picasso

  THE HAGUE, March 15, 2024 (AFP) – Europe’s largest art fair closed its doors on Friday with organisers saying that sales, including a rare Van Gogh and works by Picasso and Kees van Dongen, fetched “record prices”. Although a total figure of sale for some of the world’s most sought-after artworks could not be given, organisers of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) said that sales ran up to “tens-of-millions of euros”. “It’s impossible […]

‘Sacred job’: Iraq Kurds digitise books to save threatened culture

By Khazan Jangiz Huddled in the back of a van, Rebin Pishtiwan carefully scans one yellowed page after another, as part of his mission to digitise historic Kurdish books at risk of disappearing. Seen as the world’s largest stateless people, the Kurds are an ethnic group of between 25 and 35 million mostly spread across modern day Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. In Iraq, the Kurds are a sizeable minority who have been persecuted, with […]

Paris Picasso Museum reopens with new selection

By Sandra BIFFOT-LACUT PARIS, March 10, 2024 (AFP) – The Picasso Museum in Paris, which houses the world’s biggest collection of the Spanish artist’s works, is reopening on Tuesday with an overhauled display and a first-ever tribute to his ex-partner, the renowned painter Francoise Gilot. The new permanent collection will present a fresh selection of 400 works by Pablo Picasso across the museum’s 22 rooms. They have been drawn from some 200,000 items stored in […]

For ‘difficult’ creator, ‘Dragon Ball’ success provided acceptance

TOKYO, March 8, 2024 (AFP) – Akira Toriyama was already famous to comic fans in the early 1980s with “Dr. Slump” but he won manga immortality with the global sensation and Japanese success story that is “Dragon Ball”. But as his creation and his fame exploded when his creation won over kids the world over, Toriyama, who has died in Japan aged 68, shunned the limelight and preferred to focus on drawing. “‘Dragon Ball’ is […]