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An Ancient Egyptian Tablet Is Repatriated, and a Daniel Ridgway Knight Painting Is Discovered and Sold

Plus, Germany returns a Nazi-looted Thomas Couture work to its rightful heirs, and National Museums Scotland acquire a rare longitude pendulum sea clock.

Thomas Couture, "Portrait de jeune femme assise [Portrait of a seated young woman]" (image courtesy Bundes Kunsthalle)
Thomas Couture, “Portrait de jeune femme assise [Portrait of a seated young woman]” (image courtesy Bundes Kunsthall)
Monika Grütters, the German Minister of State for Culture (CDU) has announced the return of a Nazi-looted painting from “Kenstfund Gurlitt.” The painting is a portrait of French painter Thomas Couture’s wife and is titled “Portrait de jeune femme assise [Portrait of a seated young woman].” It was identified in 2017 as the property of Georges Mandel, a high-ranking Jewish politician and Nazi opponent, and the work was returned to his heirs this week. When the painting was originally stolen, Mandel’s companion claimed it had a small tear at the breast height of the woman, and it was through this tear that the painting was eventually tracked down.

Daniel Ridgway Knight, “On the Terrace, Rolleboise” (image courtesy Rehs Galleries, Inc.)
Daniel Ridgway Knight, “On the Terrace, Rolleboise” (image courtesy Rehs Galleries, Inc.)

Rehs Galleries Inc., a New York gallery specializing in 19th- and 20th-century works, has discovered, acquired, and sold Daniel Ridgway Knight’s previously unknown painting, “On the Terrace, Rolleboise.” The painting was acquired from an estate in California and originally purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel T. Wellman of Cleveland, Ohio shortly after it was painted, according to an email from Howard L. Rehs, who manages Rehs Galleries. The painting remained in the family’s possession until late last year, when their agent contacted the gallery to see if they would be interested in purchasing the work. Soon after, the painting was sold to a southern collector. [via email correspondence]

The Bruce-Oosterwijck longitude pendulum clock (© National Museums Scotland)
The Bruce-Oosterwijck longitude pendulum clock (© National Museums Scotland)

National Museums Scotland has acquired a Bruce-Oosterwikck longitude pendulum sea clock from 1662. It is one of two surviving clocks of this type, which was the first attempt — albeit unsuccessful attempt — at establishing longitude at sea “with a purpose-made mechanical timepiece, nearly 100 years before this was famously achieved by John Harrison,” according to the Museum’s website. The acquisition was achieved through a £36,000 (~$46,000) grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and a £15,000 (~$19,000) grant from Art Fund. The clock was purchased through Dreweatts 1759, a fine art auctioneer.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK has acquired Jan Adam Kruseman’s (1804–1862) portrait of Egyptologist Giovanni Belzoni (1778–1823), known as the “Great Belzoni.” The piece was acquired through a donation under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by Daniel Katz Limited, in honor of Tim Knox who served as Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum between 2013–2018. From July to October 2019, the work will be on display in an exhibition about Belzoni in the Fitzwilliam’s Octagon Gallery. “As Acting Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum I am delighted that, thanks to Daniel Katz Gallery, this imposing but genial portrait of the Great Belzoni will henceforth be on show to the public,” said Geoff Ward, Acting Director of the Fitzwilliam. “I am delighted too that it honors the contribution to the Museum made by our last full-time Director, Tim Knox.”

An ancient Egyptian pharaonic stone tablet that was stolen from a Karnak temple was repatriated from Britain, according to Egypt’s antiques ministry. The artifact, part of a “cartouche,” or ornamental tablet, belonged to Pharaoh Amenhotep I of the 17th dynasty in the 16th century BCE. “The piece was last seen in the open museum in Luxor temple in the early 1990s,” Shaaban Abdel Gawad told Agence France-Presse. Gawad is in charge of archeological collections at the ministry. The tablet was discovered on online auction sites. After discovery, the sale was cancelled, and Egypt’s antiques ministry took “necessary legal measures” to recover the piece, said Gawad.

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