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Experts at the National Gallery of Art have convinced Kansas City art patron R. Crosby Kemper Jr. that the set of 28 "Canyon Suite" watercolors purported to be by Georgia O'Keeffe were in fact made by another, unknown hand. The contested watercolors, supposedly created by O'Keeffe in Canyon, Texas, from 1916 to 1918, were said to have been given to a lover, Ted Reid, in 1918. Reid gave them to his friend Emilio Caballero in 1975, who says he didn't actually examine the works until 1987, when he gave them to his son, who was married to Reid's granddaughter. The couple had the works authenticated by Juan Hamilton, O'Keeffe's assistant, before selling them to art dealer Gerald Peters, who sold the works to Kemper in 1993 for $5.5 million. But the watercolors are on the wrong type of paper, according to the experts, and are stylistically inconsistent with O'Keeffe's works from that period. Peters has promised to refund Kemper's money. According to Alice Thorson of the Kansas City Star, Kemper plans to use the refund to create a collecting endowment for the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City. The fund could generate as much as $300,000 to $400,000 annually for art purchases.

The Guggenheim Museum plans to open a new branch in Venice's historic Dogana del Mar building, according to press reports. The former maritime customs building, located opposite the church of Santa Maria della Salute, is to be converted into a 3,400-square-meter contemporary art museum. The $13-million project is to be paid for by the Guggenheim Foundation, which also operates the Peggy Guggenheim Collection at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal. Opening is anticipated in 2002.

Have African American artists been systematically excluded from the collections of major Los Angeles museums? In a Dec. 19 article, Los Angeles Times reporter Susan Anderson reveals that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has only 32 African American artists in its collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art owns only 15 works by 11 black artists (none of whom are from Los Angeles). As for the Norton Simon Museum, it owns only a single work by a black artist, the late printmaker Charles White. And the UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum does not collect black art, though it has hosted two provocative shows of work by black artists, the Whitney Museum's "Black Male" exhibition and a current installation by Kara Walker. Anderson surmises that these omissions have led black artists to leave Los Angeles for more supportive cities, including New York, which she praises for recent retrospectives of Robert Thompson at the Whitney and Norman Lewis at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

German art dealer Michael Werner is relocating his New York gallery from its present site at 21 East 67th Street to Leo Castelli's old location at 4 East 77th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. The 2,500-square-foot space, newly designed by Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects LLC, includes two separate galleries to allow double exhibitions. Werner expects to open his new facility to the public in March.

Gary Garrels, curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, has been appointed chief curator of drawings and curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Garrels is presently working on retrospectives of Sol LeWitt and Robert Gober for SFMoMA; he officially takes his new post next April.

The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego has awarded its second biannual Lou Stoument Prize to photographer Kenro Izu. The $35,000 award, established with an endowment from the estate of photographer and filmmaker Lou Stoument, is the largest cash award for a mid-career photographer in America, and requires that the recipient give 10 images to the MoPA's permanent collection.

A Dutch court rejected the request from the American descendants of Amsterdam collector and dealer Jacques Goudstikker for the restitution of hundreds of paintings taken during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The court stated that Goudstikker's family had "in a deliberate and well-considered manner relinquished its right" to the works, and that their claims that the government misled Goudstikker's widow on the value of the paintings were invalid because she had been free to seek independent appraisals when she accepted a $1.5 million settlement in 1952. After the war the Dutch government recovered 235 paintings of Goudstikker's collection of 1,200 objects, including works by Jan Steen, Nicolaes Maes and Salomon van Ruysdael, which were divided between Amsterdam's Rijkmuseum, the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch, and governmental offices. Journalist Pieter den Hollander claims in a book about Goudstikker that the Dutch government still has not returned over 3,500 stolen works recovered from Germany to their rightful owners.

The government of Albania is sponsoring its second international exhibition of contemporary art, Dec. 18, 1999-Jan. 31, 2000. Dubbed "Grisch Art," the show features 64 artists from 14 countries at the National Gallery of Tirana. The event is organized by the International Center of Culture and the Cultural Ministry of Albania, and also features Onufri 99, a competition with a $5,000 purse. Observers say the new art activity reflects Albania's attempt to further integrate itself into the European community of nations.