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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 5 2023

We are also starting the new week on a personal note:

To the critics who immediately locate the opponents of gendering with the AfD, I would like to point out the following:

The fact that the attempt to defend language as a means of understanding in its diversity and historical context, without making use of the blossoms that are driven with it today by underscores or asterisks, is reflexively assigned to the anti-freedom, right-wing and nationalist movement strikes me for two reasons: Firstly, it is a disavowing killer argument that prevents any open discourse, and secondly, I am very far removed from nationalism and persecutionist attitudes. I am interested in the freedom and personal responsibility of each individual (and I am tempted to write regardless of gender) for himself, his actions and the necessary scope for development. In my opinion, everything that is demanded as mainstream and pushed to the point of control by means of public statements, alleged social consensus disseminated by public law, may also be viewed critically - especially since in many cases there is public excitement but no real debate about the historical contexts, which would put some things into perspective. Therefore, for me, the motto still applies: private before state - therefore, there is certainly a need for debates on the distribution of the sexes in leadership positions that lead to more women leading, but no legal coercion. The coercive does not always lead to the good: see Christine Lambrecht. And a gendering scientist is no more qualified than one who uses her previously learned language in a scientific context. Making the grading of a scientific paper dependent on asterisks is an indictment of German science administration.

Even museums in the countryside are not safe from theft - now the Musée Hébert de La Tronche near Grenoble has been hit, from which the jewels of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (1820 - 1904) were stolen last weekend. The thieves came up a ladder at dawn, broke the window on the first floor and had time enough to leave the extensive grounds with their loot, despite the alarm being triggered. The stolen jewellery was on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. As in Berlin and Dresden, it was a matter of more easily marketable arts and crafts. Jewellery is obviously more vulnerable.

In the Kunstmuseum Zürich, two paintings that had been cleaned there are untraceable: Robert van den Hoecke's Soldiers in the Camp (no date) and Dirck de Bray's Daffodils and Other Flowers in a Glass Vase on a Marble Slab (1673) - in other words, old masters whose names were not often heard. Now there are several possibilities where the works could be. Perhaps they have just been misplaced and will reappear in the art warehouse at some point. Maybe something went wrong during the cleaning and before you know it, the items have accidentally ended up in the household rubbish - or they have been stolen, which is the same thing for the collection. However, thieves will have a hard time getting the works into the market, which is different now than it was 40 years ago.

Provenance did not matter then, as the case of the Sunflowers by van Gogh, which was bought at Christie's in London in 1987 as the most expensive painting in the world at the time for almost 40 million USD by the Japanese insurance company Yasuda Kasai, shows. The descendants of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1875 - 1935) have now filed suit in an Illinois court against Sompo Holding, in whose belly the Yasuda disappeared, for the painting's return and damages for lost interest profits. The chances of winning the case are not so bad. Researchers have proven that Yasuda knew very well that the work came from a prominent collection that was forcibly sold by the Nazis. Perhaps the Sunflowers will have to move from Tokyo to Berlin, because some of the heirs live nearby.

The Cologne galleries that make up the K1 group were open on Sunday. Probably also to attract collectors from nearby Brussels, where BRAFA was trying to hold its own against Art Geneve. More on reactions in the press to both fairs and even more at Stefan Kobel.

We wish you an optimistic start into the week

Your Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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