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CRIME

Swiss artist’s daughter charged in mum’s death

French authorities have charged the daughter of the late Swiss artist Rémy Zaugg with murder following the death of her 69-year-old mother in January near Mulhouse in Alsace, France.

Swiss artist's daughter charged in mum's death
Michèle Zaugg-Röthlisberger, widow of Swiss artist and critic Rémy Zaugg. Photo: France 3

But they have been unable to question the accused, in her 40s, because she was committed to a psychiatric hospital, according to a report on Monday.

“She has been indicted on the basis of the information from the inquiry,” Mulhouse prosecutor Hervé Robin told Swiss news agency ATS.

Michèle Zaugg-Röthlisberger, widow of Zaugg, was found dead in an outbuilding near her home on January 21st with wounds to the head.

The only daughter of the Zaugg couple was actively sought by police who discovered her three days later in the family property in Pfastatt, a suburb of Mulhouse.

The woman was subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Prosecutor Robin acknowledged that given her “mental state” for the moment she cannot be questioned and “we don’t know when this will be possible”.

She was indicted as a “legal precaution” to guarantee her availability to the court, he told ATS.

The daughter had reportedly been in conflict with her mother following the death of the artist in 2005.

France 3 television said the conflict was over the artist's legacy.

Last October, the younger woman was released from a stint in a psychiatric hospital.

Zaugg was renowned as a “visionary” figure in the contemporary art scene.

Painter, sculptor and critic, he directed a retrospective art show dedicated to fellow Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti in Paris in 1991.

He also collaborated with well-known architects, including Basel-based firm Herzog and de Meuron, which designed his atelier in Pfastatt.

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ART BASEL

Moon sculptures and NFTs at futuristic Art Basel fair

The world's leading contemporary art fair hosted in Swtizerland has taken a futuristic turn this year, offering buyers the chance to see their sculptures placed on the moon.

Moon sculptures and NFTs at futuristic Art Basel fair

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are all the rage at the Art Basel fair in Switzerland, where the world of digital assets is taking off.

Artist Jeff Koons plans to send 125 miniature sculptures to the moon with multi-billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The sculptures — set to be installed 384,400 kilometres (238,855 miles) apart from their owners — will be sold as NFTs, which work like certificates of ownership.

The “Moon Phases” statues come with a photo of their lunar location, and buyers will also be able to take home a sculpture with a gemstone marking their extra-terrestrial counterpart’s place on the moon.

“We’re also seeing it for the first time,” said Pace gallery director Marc Glimcher as he unveiled a moon-shaped statue about the size of a beach ball at his stand in Basel.

Elsewhere at Art Basel, Turkish artist Ozgur Kar’s LCD display of a man surrounded by skeletons is being sold by the French gallery Edouard Montassut.

The Vive Arts platform, meanwhile, offers a dive into digital art with the help of augmented reality glasses, presenting an avatar of the German artist Albert Oehlen in a 3D universe.

The fair, which runs from June 16-19, also features a host of non-digital works — from an installation by Franco-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping depicting a kitchen strewn with giant cockroaches, to a series of portraits carved in wood by Franco-Cameroonian artist Barthelemy Toguo.

A spider sculpture by the French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois fetched $40 million.

Along with sales of yachts, luxury cars, watches, and jewellery, the art market recovered strongly in 2021 after the shock of the pandemic in 2020.

The stock market rebounded sharply last year, swelling the coffers of the ultra-rich — and inflation is giving wealthy collectors yet another reason to splash out on a multi-million-dollar painting.

Pace is one of the few major galleries to have ventured into the field of NFTs. According to Clare McAndrew, author of an art market report for Art Basel, only six percent of galleries sold NFTs in 2021.

Since peaking in August 2021, NFTs have plummeted. While art-related NFT sales volumes soared to $945 million in August, they fell to $366 million in January and then to $101 million in May, according to McAndrew’s records.

These ups and downs don’t faze the owner of the Pace gallery though, who believes that NFTs represent a “new methodology for distributing digital art”.

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