France prepares return of cultural artefacts to Africa

International — Link

The French government has appointed a French art historian and a Senegalese scholar to lead a feasibility study into an initiative by  President Emmanuel Macron to return African cultural artefacts currently held by museums in France, a move that one French historian said will 'make European curators quake in their boots'.

Stolen Degas artwork recovered from bus near Paris

France — Link

Customs officers uncovered Les Choristes, an 1877 painting by French artist Edgar Degas valued at close to 1 million euros, in a random search of a coach luggage compartment on a motorway services stop close to Paris, nine years after it was stolen in Marseille.

Art dynasty heir Guy Wildenstein cleared of €550m French tax fraud

France — Link

Paris judge says scion to art fortune had a made ‘clear attempt’ to hide assets but failings by French investigators ruled out a guilty verdict.

Replica of ancient cave and its prehistoric art opens in France

France — Link

The original stunning rock art in the Chauvet cave, in southern central France, was done around 32,000 to 36,000 years ago.

France’s Louvre keeps title as world’s most-visited museum

France — Link

Total number of tourists who came in 2014 to admire works of art and antiquities including Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was 9.3 million.

The mystery of a former Nazi agent's vast art collection hidden around Europe


During an inventory in 2009, the Geneva Museum of Art and History (MAH) discovered it had for many years been holding in storage four paintings (pictured) deposited with it by an Austrian art collector who had disappeared without trace. Suspicions about the origins of the works grew when it found they were part of a huge collection amassed by Ludwig Losbichler, who British intelligence services identified as a Nazi agent during World War II and who died in 1989. Other works from his reputedly massive collection lie hidden in a Zurich museum, and many more are believed to be held by others across Europe. Mediapart's Geneva correspondent Agathe Duparc reports on the MAH investigation which, seven years on, is still trying to crack the mystery surrounding Losbichler, who once claimed to own the original Mona Lisa.

From glory to gore : the changing picture of war


As of the late 18th century, artists began depicting war as a disastrous event rather than a glorious one, when the horrors of the battlefield and the destruction of environments began gradually replacing majesty and heroics. The long evolution of this trend to its dominant position in the present day is illustrated in ‘The Disasters of War, 1800-2014’, an exhibition now on at the Louvre-Lens, in north-east France, and which will last until the autumn. Joseph Confavreux takes a tour of the show.

Paris pays a timely homage to the art and 'the word' of the Kanaks


Just as New Caledonia, the furthest-flung French territory, is about to embark on the final steps for self-determination, the Quai Branly museum in Paris has timely put together a rich and wide-ranging exhibition of the art and culture of the archipelago’s indigenous Kanak population that reveals a people debunking 160 years of colonialism and redefining themselves. Joseph Confavreux outlines the political context of the show, and calls on anthropologist Alban Bensa, an authority on Kanak culture, to decode the exhibition’s vast array of exhibits.

France to return 7 paintings looted during WWII

France — Link

The paintings, several of which are hanging in the Louvre in Paris, were taken from their Jewish owners as they fled Nazi-occupied Europe.

'Astounding' Louvre branch to open in Lens

France — Link

France's prestigious art gallery establishes its first provincial branch in a former coal town in the north of the country - and it is 'magnificent'.

France's Musée d'Orsay to open art exhibition in China

Culture et idées — Link

Nineteenth century paintings from France, including 87 works by French Naturalists, to go on display at new Shanghai art museum.

Joana Vasconcelos brings art, colour and a touch of controversy to Versailles

France — Analysis

Gigantic creations by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos adorn the Palace of Versailles this summer, bringing feminist caricatures of macho attitudes to women to this pinnacle of male power, the Sun King's residence. But although the palace is now presided over by a queen – Nicolas Sarkozy appointed a former advisor, Catherine Pégard, to run it – not all Vasconcelos’s conceptions were welcomed with open arms. Mediapart’s Philippe Riès reviews the exhibition.