This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

News from Poland – Stolen Painting Found in Russia.

“The Girl with a Dove” was painted by Antoine Pesne, a court painter of King Frederick II of Prussia, in 1754. Eight years before World War II, Museum in Poznan bought the painting from a private collector. “The price of it was 3,000 Polish money, a lot for those times” – says Piotr Michalowski of the National Museum in Poznan.

In 1943, the German occupation authorities ordered the evacuation of the museum. The collection was transported away to eastern Germany. Two years later, the paintings were taken over by the Red Army. Only part of the collection returned to Poland after the war. “The girl with the Dove” disappeared without trace.

Last year, the merchant from Moscow contacted the Polish Ministry of Culture. He recognised the lost painting in one of his canvases. Michalowski went to Russia. “I was able to confirm the authenticity of the work by comparing with photographs taken before the war. The picture is damaged, but fortunately very little” – he says.

National Museum in Poznan would like to recover the painting. “Its value is difficult to estimate. But it would be the only painting by Pesne in our collection” – highlights Michalowski. But the matter is not simple. Poles will probably have to pay for the canvas. Negotiations, since the summer of 2010, are carried out by the Ministry of Culture.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

Copper thieves strike Minneapolis fire museum | kare11.com.

MINNEAPOLIS — The theft of copper is on the rise according to police. One of the latest targets is the Firefighters Hall and Museum in Minneapolis.

A museum trustee noticed missing condenser coils in their damaged HVAC units while he was checking a possible ice dam situation on the building’s roof.

They believe the theft happened by climbing a ladder one late February night. Trustee Jean Kidd says it would cost over $16,000 to repair their two units. Instead, they have chosen to buy a pair of new units for $13,000. The worth of the stolen copper, is a small fraction of that.

“It’s a huge loss for our museum,” Kidd said. “Obviously they scoped out our unit. I can’t imagine we’ll be an isolated case.”

Minneapolis police say copper theft is on the rise for commercial and especially residential properties. They say everyone is susceptible, including abandoned and foreclosed homes.

“That same effort would yield more money if they just bought a rake and shovel,” resident Steve Murphy said. “It’s not hard to find something to do for money.”

The museum expects their insurance to rise because of this incident. They said insurance will cover some but not all the costs.

“You feel violated, you really do feel violated,” Volunteer Steve Skaar said. “A lot of people have spent a lot of time volunteering their hours. This is a special place.”

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Ton Cremers, museumbeveiliging / Museum Security Network » Blog Archive » Furti in chiesa, il cerchio si stringe | quiBrescia.it.

E’ sempre più stretto il cerchio intorno ai ladri che, negli ultimi mesi, hanno messo a segno diversi colpi nelle chiese del Bresciano.
Quattro persone sono state arrestate nei giorni scorsi dai carabinieri del nucleo Tutela del patrimonio artistico di Monza, ma, secondo quanto emerso, la banda sarebbe molto più ampia, almeno una trentina di persone che avrebbero effettuato le razzie nel nord Italia e poi smerciato il bottino ad antiquari compiacenti.
Che si trattasse di furti su commissione ne erano certi anche i sacerdoti delle chiese depredate.
Il parroco di Pisogne, don Ermanno Turla, è stato convocato a Monza, per identificare, tra gli oggetti recuperati, il materiale eventualmente asportato dalla parrocchiale e sembra che il prete ne abbia riconosciuto qualcuno. Tuttavia, gli inquirenti mantengono il più stretto riserbo sulla vicenda perché le indagini sono ancora in corso e il rischio è quello di comprometterle.
La svolta che ha portato agli arresti risalirebbe alla fine di gennaio, quando i quattro presunti componenti della banda sono stati ripresi dalle telecamere a circuito chiuso installate nella chiesa di Berzo Inferiore dal parroco monsignor Mario Rebuffoni.
I furti hanno interessato diverse chiese nel Bresciano: ad Angone (colpo bis nel giro di pochi giorni), a Malegno il 24 novembre, in Santa Maria a Esine il 14 gennaio, a Breno, Niardo e Ceto l’8, il 14 e il 18 febbraio.

 

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

«La statua della Madonna non c’è più» Colpo su commissione nel Salernitano – Il Mattino.

SALERNO – Rubate, in pieno giorno, la statua e il prezioso quadro della Madonna di Montevergine. Il furto sacrilego è avvenuto nell’omonima chiesa, già di S. Maria della Foresta e convento dei Verginiani, che è annessa al cimitero di Altavilla Silentina. «Corri, che la Madonna in chiesa non c’è più».

Erano da poco passate le 15.30 quando Mario Molinara, proprietario della chiesa di Montevergine, situata su di un colle a poco più di 600 metri dalla piazza principale, è stato chiamato da due visitatrici del cimitero. Uno sguardo più attento e la scoperta che non solo era stata rubata la statua della Madonna ma che era sparito anche il quadro che la raffigurava, attribuito a Giovanbattista Vela, artista attivo nella prima parte dell’Ottocento, incastonato al centro dell’altare. Immediatamente è stato dato l’allarme e sono arrivati sul posto i carabinieri di Altavilla per effettuare i rilievi del caso e dare subito notizie al nucleo per la tutela del patrimonio artistico.

La chiesa non era protetta da antifurti ma alle finestre c’erano delle robuste grate di ferro che sono state tranciate. Alcuni resti delle vetrate sono stati prelevati per cercare di rilevare delle impronte digitali. Una prima ricostruzione dei fatti ipotizza che i ladri siano passati attraverso il cimitero e da qui sono arrivati ad una delle finestre della chiesa. Si sono calati poi all’interno e sono andati via portandosi la statua e il quadro.

Poi via di nuovo attraverso il cimitero e un’uscita improvvisata in aperta campagna. La giornata fredda e ventosa, e l’orario ha fatto sì che nessuno si accorgesse del fatto. Non è la prima volta che il patrimonio artistico del paese è oggetto di furti.

Tra il 2003 ed il 2009 una banda specializzata, con i componenti, poi individuati dai carabinieri, proveniente da Arzano e Melito, prese di mira la chiesa di San Biagio. Anche l’ultimo furto ha tutte le caratteristiche del colpo su commissione.

Fortissima l’eco nel paese dell’ultimo episodio poiché ogni pezzo della chiesa di Montevergine è ricco di storia. La statua, all’epoca della furia degli iconoclasti, fu nascosta nel bosco vicino, e nel 1799 qui i giacobini altavillesi respinsero l’assalto delle truppe sanfediste.

 

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was vrijwel de hele zondag niet te bezoeken door toeristen vanwege een actie van kunstenaars. Honderden kunstenaars kochten ‘s ochtends een kaartje en bleven de hele dag in het museum.

Vanwege de verbouwing van het Rijksmuseum mogen op last van de brandweer maar 650 bezoekers tegelijk binnen zijn. Daardoor ontstonden er extra lange wachtrijen voor normale bezoekers.

De kunstenaarsactie was gericht tegen de voorgenomen bezuinigingen op kunst en cultuur. De regering wil daar 200 miljoen euro op bezuinigen. Normaal trekt het Rijksmuseum op zondag zo’n 3000 bezoekers. Het museum zegt niet onsympathiek te staan tegenover de actie van de kunstenaars.

via Alleen maar kunstenaars in Rijksmuseum Radio Nederland Wereldomroep.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Libyans appear determined to safeguard their rich cultural heritage during the popular unrest against leader Muammar Gaddafi, protecting it from the looting seen in neighboring Egypt’s revolution just weeks ago.

Conquered by most of the civilizations that held sway over the Mediterranean, Libya’s rich cultural heritage includes Leptis Magna, a prominent coastal city of the Roman empire, whose ruins are some 130 km (80 miles) east of Tripoli.

The birthplace of emperor Septimius Severus, its amphitheatre, marbled baths, colonnaded streets and a basilica are considered the jewel in the crown of its Roman legacy.

While communication with Libya difficult sketchy amid the uprising against Gaddafi’s four decade rule, two archaeologists who frequently work in the country said cultural artifacts appeared to have been spared the ravages suffered during Egypt’s recent revolt.

“So far there are no records whatsoever of any areas from the cultural heritage of Libya being affected by the troubles,” said Hafed Walda, a Libyan who advises the country’s department of antiquities and once led an excavation at Leptis Magna.

more:

Libya’s Roman sites unscathed by unrest so far | Reuters.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

BBC News – Mexico’s struggle to stem looting of historic sites.

Aztec treasure: Mexico has long wanted to see the original returned
It is a spectacular work of art and a highlight at Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology.

The semicircle of gleaming green feathers held together by rows of golden beads was, it is said, the headdress of Mexico’s last Aztec ruler, Moctezuma.

But the spectacular artefact is not real – it’s a replica. The original lies thousands of kilometres away in a collection at Vienna’s Ethnology Museum.

The exact origin of the headdress or “penacho” is disputed but one version says Moctezuma gave it to the Hernan Cortez, leader of the Spanish conquistadors, in the 16th Century. By the twists and turns of history, it ended up in Austria.

Nearly 500 years on, the original may be loaned temporarily to Mexico, a development that has created expectation there and highlighted the country’s historic riches.

But the pre-Hispanic artefacts and sites not only attract tourists; looters and traffickers see a chance to profit from the wealth of the past.

Now the authorities are looking at various ways of clamping down on this trade in relics of their nation’s history.

There are an estimated 200,000 archaeological sites in Mexico – among them, the Mayan ruins and pyramids in the country’s south, the Paquime mud-based constructions in the northern state of Chihuahua and the huge complex of Teotihuacan, north of Mexico City.

Teotihuacan is probably the best known archaeological site in Mexico
The government admits that just 40,000 archaeological sites are properly registered; of those, only 160 are supervised and open to the public.

Most sites are unsupervised, with many located on private property or in remote locations. They are vulnerable to those who illegally extract artefacts to sell on, sometimes for thousands of dollars.

The battle against the illegal trade is made even harder because there are no official estimates of the number of pieces being smuggled.

The International Council of Museums, an association of museums and museum professionals that safeguards heritage, published a Red List in June 2010 of works it considered at risk.

ICOM warned that the pre-Hispanic and colonial cultural heritage of Mexico and Central America was “severely endangered”.

Mexico signed an international treaty in 1972 that prohibits the extraction and trade in archaeological artefacts, with punishment of up to 12 years in jail for such a crime.

But, almost four decades on, experts say the demand from abroad for pre-Hispanic pieces, especially the US, shows no signs of abating.

Sophisticated business
Looting of archaeological sites often begins at a local level, according to Mexican officials.

Looting is becoming increasingly businesslike, officials say
In some cases, inhabitants of Mexico’s poor rural communities come across pieces and decide to sell them to earn extra income. The middlemen who buy the artefacts then offer the goods to private collectors or art traders.

But the business is getting increasingly sophisticated, with criminals taking advantage of the lack of supervision of thousands of sites.

“The problem is professional looting,” says archaeologist Enrique Vela, editor of Arqueologia Mexicana, a leading archaeology magazine.

“These are networks that have capacities that sometimes us archaeologists don’t even have, of digging in some areas because they know exactly where the objects will appear,” he said.

The government has succeeded in intercepting some of these networks; last July, in raids around the country, it recovered 180 archaeological pieces believed to be in the process of being smuggled abroad.

Fakes
In 2008, the government created a dedicated inter-departmental unit to deal with the cases and to start creating a database of missing artefacts.

Authorities are also trying to stop the sale of items in international auction houses.

“As soon as we hear that an auction house is selling one of these pieces, we launch an effort, both judicial and diplomatic, to notify the auction house that it is committing a crime and that the sale must be stopped,” says Rene Salazar, from the attorney general’s office.

Mexico’s rich history is a draw for visitors
But Mr Salazar admits that differing national laws and the lack of reliable figures about the number of artefacts being smuggled every year complicate those efforts.

In fact, a simple search at online auction sites throws up several results of alleged archaeological pieces from Mexico.

It is impossible to know whether these are authentic – fakes have also flooded the market, authorities say – but the concern is that the trafficking is too widespread to control.

The government has launched campaigns aimed at children, asking them to help to save the country’s rich heritage.

The hope is that the battle against archaeological looting will be boosted if the younger generations are taught the importance of their country’s past.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Looting of King Ramses II’s colossus thwarted – Ancient Egypt – Heritage – Ahram Online.

Last night looters sneaked into the southern quarry of the upper Egyptian city of Aswan in an attempt to cut and remove the statue of King Ramses II. The statue is half buried in the sand as it was originally cut in red granite and left in situ. Following an immediate report from the quarry’s security guards, archaeologists along with security personal headed directly to the site where they caught the thieves red handed.

Zahi Hawass, minister of state for antiquities affairs, described the statue as beautifully carved although it does not bear any engravings. The statue is six meters high, 175 centimeters in width and  eight centimeters thick. It depicts king Ramses II in the shape of the god Osiris.

Mohamed El-Beyali, director general of Aswan and Nubia antiquities, told Ahram Online that the statue is in a very well preserved condition and is one of the quarry’s landmarks. He added that it remains unknown why ancient Egyptians carved the statue and left it in the quarry. The site also includes several unfinished artefacts, which explains the quarrying and sculpting system used by ancient Egyptians at the time. Other unfinished statues and huge basins from the Graeco Roman era are also located there. The quarry was used by ancient Egyptian to cut granite blocks and for the constructions of temples and carving colossi.

A project to develop the site and make it more tourist friendly is under execution in order to open it to visitors.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

The Art Market: Forging links
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/959a363c-3fb4-11e0-a1ba-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1F7QmnFYE
By Georgina Adam
Published: February 25 2011 16:04 | Last updated: February 25 2011 16:04

‘Nothing Matters/The Empty Chair’ (2008) by Damien Hirst
It may be the biggest faking scandal in art market history. At least 1,100 fake Giacometti sculptures were seized in a police swoop on a warehouse near Mainz, Germany, in 2009: a haul of 831 fake bronzes and 131 fake plaster casts. The total value would be hundreds of millions of dollars, if the pieces were genuine.

The trial of five suspected forgers has been going on for months in Stuttgart, and now a first verdict has been handed down in court. Three of those in the dock – two art dealers from Wiesbaden and the wife of a Mainz art dealer – have pleaded guilty to fraud and forgery and were sentenced to two years’ prison, suspended, plus a fine for two of them. The others, the Mainz art dealer, and a self-proclaimed “count”, Lothar Wilfried Senka, have admitted some of the charges but deny others; this case continues.

Véronique Wiesinger, director of the Paris-based Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation, says the fakes were probably fabricated in China and then channelled through Taiwan; from there they were shipped to German ports and entered the art market. “One couple of German collectors spent €4m buying 50 of these forgeries through an adviser,” she says. “Others were sold in minor German auction houses.”

Museums have acquired fakes as well, according to Wiesinger, who believes there are “many other people in this ring”. She says the forgeries are often poor quality: “In some, the counterfeiters were obviously working from photographs so only had one view; they simply guessed what the backs were like.”

Stuttgart prosecutor Dr Mirja Feldmann says that the “count”, identified in media reports as Senka, claims the sculptures came from Giacometti’s brother Diego. Feldmann also told me that the Mainz art dealer has admitted that he thought that the sculptures were fakes, but says that he owned the plasters and never had any intention of selling them. He also admitted issuing provenance certificates. A verdict is expected this spring.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to raise awareness of the whole issue of counterfeiting, Wiesinger has launched the Prix Annette Giacometti pour le droit des œuvres et des artistes. The €10,000 prize is for a project – an exhibition, an article or an internet site – drawing attention to the problem of artists’ rights. “Illegal reproductions and forgeries are a massive problem. The current law dealing with trademarks is inadequate in the art field,” says Wiesinger. The winner will be announced in May.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

A diplomat was stopped recently by Cairo Airport authorities, who wanted to x-ray his luggage. The diplomat refused, but his objections were unsuccessful, and the Egyptian authorities insisted that all luggage must undergo mandatory x-ray scans, regardless of the passenger’s diplomatic immunity, due to the exceptional circumstances in the country.

The inspectors discovered an ancient statue hidden in one of the suitcases, at a time when news was being circulated about valuable antiquities being stolen [from the Cairo Museum]. The customs officers requested the help of experts in the field of Pharaonic antiquities, who examined the statue in question. Afterwards, the experts assured the foreign diplomat that he could take back the statue, as it was not a genuine artifact. Upon hearing this, the diplomat almost fainted, and it became clear that he had purchased this statue for a huge amount of money, believing that it was a genuine artifact stolen in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution. As the realization that the statue he had purchased was a fake dawned on him, the diplomat refused to take back the statue and offered it to the custom officers, claiming that it was a donation to the Egyptian people, in appreciation of their recent revolution!

more

Egypt: Persecuting the stars! Asharq Alawsat Newspaper English.

February 28th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=415262&c=1

Three gilded wooden statues of Tutankhamen are among the objects reported to be damaged or missing from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, following an alleged break-in on the night of 28 January. Reports from Cairo have been uneven – several objects have been listed as broken, then fine, then missing, then found – but given the circumstances in Egypt these past weeks, that’s not so surprising.

What is surprising is the response from the academic community, which has focused on objects rather than politics, as if the two can be separated. “Heartbreaking”, “a catastrophe”, “shameful”, laments the blogosphere – but with little mention of protests or people, much less the history of Western involvement in Egyptian archaeology.

This is not the first time the tomb of Tutankhamen has been caught up in a revolution. In 1919, hundreds of Egyptians died in public uprisings that formed part of an anti-colonial movement that resulted in Britain granting Egypt formal independence in 1922. That same year, Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb. Soon thereafter, the new government, under former dissident Sa’d Zaghlul, adopted Tutankhamen as a nationalist symbol. Bitterly disappointed by this turn of events, Carter unsuccessfully sued to contest state ownership of the tomb contents, which he had hoped would be split between the Cairo museum and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon.

Archaeology, museums and heritage have always been political. Like anthropological fieldwork and leisure tourism, excavations were made possible by colonial infrastructures, from railways and banks to research institutes and museums.

Although its name has changed (to the Supreme Council of Antiquities), the Egyptian antiquities service has much the same form as when the French set up and ran it, complete with a journal called the Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte.

The UK’s leading Egyptology organisation, the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society), was founded in 1882, coinciding with Britain’s military occupation of the country; a storage magazine at Dahshur that has just been burgled is still called De Morgan’s, more than a century after the French archaeologist Jacques de Morgan worked there.

And the Egyptian Museum, home to the Tutankhamen finds? Opened in its current location in 1902, this pink-and-white Beaux Arts building is a monument to the Egyptian past – but not the ancient past. The winning design, by a French architect, was chosen from a shortlist of European entrants, judged by Europeans. On the facade, oversized Latin plaques name the founding fathers of Egyptology (Europeans, yes), and in the grounds, the Mariette Monument contains the ashes of the Frenchman who established the Service des Antiquités.

Egyptology websites, discussion lists, even Facebook groups have circulated updates about suspected looting, and several organisations have issued statements calling for the protection of Egypt’s antiquities. Ironically, such statements come on the heels of vigorous US and European rejections of Egyptian requests to repatriate objects, including some granted to foreign excavators before the 1920s.

For instance, not long before the protests began, Egyptian authorities contacted the current Earl of Carnarvon about several objects possibly linked to Tutankhamen that are in the family’s collection at Highclere Castle.

Without taking into account this past, and the ancient one as well, calls to “save” Egyptian cultural heritage sound hollow at best.

Being blind to the past’s effect on the present (and vice versa) should be quite a hindrance in a field based on close scrutiny of its chosen objects of study. But what has not been said about the splintered Tutankhamen statues speaks volumes: not only is this not their first revolution, it is not even the first time someone has interfered with them.

Desecration reveals where power lies, and power is what is at stake in the wrangling over artefacts, then as now. Egyptology – or any discipline, for that matter – ignores history at its peril, especially its own.

Postscript : 

Christina Riggs is a lecturer in the School of World Art Studies and Museology, University of East Anglia.

 

via Times Higher Education – We’ve been here before.

February 27th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 27th, 2011

Posted In: archief, insider theft, library theft

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 26th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Nazi looting: Italy denies U.S. export license to Baroque painting looted by Nazis – latimes.com.

The first time Philippa Calnan saw the Nazi-looted painting of St. Catherine of Alexandria by Bernardo Strozzi that had once belonged to her family was “an extremely moving moment.” Now, the Beverly Hills art aficionado says her emotions are running high for another reason: The Italian courts recently denied her application for an export license that would allow her to bring the painting back to the U.S.

The Italian Baroque painting, dating from the early 17th century, measures roughly 5.6 by 4 feet. It features a troubled-looking Saint Catherine seated in a flowing robe besides a spiked wheel, a torture device so closely associated with her martyrdom that it’s known as the Catherine Wheel.

“St. Catherine of Alexandria” was one of many masterpieces acquired by Calnan’s grandfather, Charles A. Loeser, a century ago. A New Yorker by birth who studied art history at Harvard (where the legendary scholar Bernard Berenson was a classmate), Loeser spent most of his life in Florence, writing about art and building a first-rate collection. Upon his death in 1928, he bequeathed eight Cézanne paintings to the White House and a cache of 262 drawings, rich with Italian Masters, to the Fogg Museum at his alma mater.

Get the monthly that has L.A. talking. Subscribe to Los Angeles Times Magazine at a special introductory rate.

He also donated more than 30 medieval and Renaissance works of art and furniture to the city of Florence, where they are housed at the Palazzo Vecchio. In exchange for his generosity, the government granted his family permission to export, free of charge, any remaining works from his collection up until two years after the death of his daughter, Matilda Loeser Calnan.

What they did not foresee is that a group of artworks from Loeser’s Villa Torri Gattaia in Florence would later be stolen by the Nazis, after being seized in 1942 by the prefect of Florence under the anti-Jewish “racial laws” issued by the Italian fascist regime. Rodolfo Siviero, the Italian art historian (turned secret agent for the Allied Forces) who helped to leadItaly’s post-World War II efforts at recovering Nazi-plundered artwork, included the Strozzi painting of Saint Catherine in a book of looted paintings.

Philippa Calnan, the Beverly Hills resident who says she is now Loeser’s sole heir, says Sotheby’s Milan office contacted her in 2009 to let her know that an individual had offered the painting, which they had identified as the looted Strozzi, for one of their upcoming auctions. It was a surprise to her. “I remember growing up hearing my mother and father talking about things that were missing, but I had never heard of this painting,” she says. (Nor, she says, does she know the whereabouts of two other family paintings known to have been looted.)

Shortly after speaking to Sotheby’s, she says she received a call from art-loss specialists with the Carabinieri, or Italian state police, inviting her to look at the painting in a back room at the auction house.

“When I first saw the painting, tears welled up in my eyes,” says Calnan, who herself worked in the art world before retiring, most recently as the director of public affairs for the Getty Trust. “It’s a big and very beautiful painting, and I almost felt presence of my grandfather coming down from above and saying: Now it’s up to you.”

She says she was given permission by the Carabinieri to remove the painting, by one estimate worth approximately $700,000. Within a matter of weeks, she placed it in storage in Milan in her name. “I thought I would then be able to export it to Los Angeles.”

Instead, a regional court in Lombardy known as the Tribunali Amministrativi Regionali, or TAR for short, denied her application for an export permit on the grounds that the deadline had expired in 2004, two years after the death of her mother. The first denial took place last year; a second rejection, prompted by an appeal, took place earlier this month. (The director of cultural heritage in Lombardy was unavailable for comment.)

Calnan says she is “mystified” by the decision. “All I can imagine is that some little guy in the basement of TAR with a calculator, looking at the agreement between my grandfather and city of Florence completely out of context, figured out that there was a period where my mother could have sold that painting. They didn’t look at the bigger picture — the fact that my grandfather left a very important collection to Florence and that we were ‘enemy aliens’ and had to escape from the Nazis.”

They missed the key point, she says: “My mother did export a number of things, but it was not possible to export this work because it was stolen.”

Her attorney Alessandro Pallottino calls the decision “wrong and unfair.” Not only was the painting missing for decades, he says, but “no application for an export license can be submitted without, at the same time, submitting the painting itself.”

Pallottino says he is preparing to appeal the decision with the Council of State, Italy’s highest court. He also confirms that criminal proceedings are beginning against the unidentified individual who claimed ownership of the Strozzi painting and offered it for sale at Sotheby’s.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

Stolen History – NYTimes.com.

Last month, the National Archives banned an amateur historian who did what should have been unthinkable: He doctored the date on a valuable Lincoln document. Now the archives has found that it has a more widespread problem, with underhanded “scholars” and sneak thieves making off with American treasures to sell on the black market to history buffs.

“We have people alone with images and artifacts all the time,” Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the archives told The Washington Post. “The thieves all say how easy it was,” he said, describing recent efforts to better secure archives and track down missing items.

Among the items known to be missing are Lincoln telegrams from the Civil War, patents for Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and the Wright brothers’ flying machine, target maps for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the “only known copy” of the Potsdam Declaration signed by President Harry Truman at the end of World War II, and more.

It may be impossible to measure the full extent of theft and damage. There are billions of items stored in the archives’ 44 centers — including presidential libraries and deep warehouses — in “a constant state of risk,” according to the inspector general’s report last year.

Current defenses include video lookouts and requirements that researchers lock up personal items and use the archives’ paper, pencils and duplicating machines. Monitors watch visitors from overlook desks, and only certain staff members can roam storage stacks. But as a practical matter, officials say, the pockets of the many authorized visitors cannot be fully searched as they exit.

The National Archives has a dual mandate: to secure the country’s ongoing historical trove but also to maximize access for citizens to view and study democracy’s treasures firsthand. Thoughtful Americans must hope the heightened defenses of the archives pay off. The last thing the nation needs is for its treasures to be sealed off in a mausoleum.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

via Latest Media Releases – NSW Police Online.

Police are appealing for information after over 100 antiques valued at about $300,000 were stolen from an antique shop in Mosman earlier this week.

Sometime between 8pm on Sunday (20 February) and 1.40am Monday (21 February), unknown person/s broke into the antique shop on Military Road, Mosman.

Most of the items stolen were solid silver with an English or Russian origin. There was also a large amount of ivory and porcelain of Chinese and French origin taken.

The stolen items are valued at approximately $300,000.

Police from Harbourside Local Area Command are appealing to the public and antique dealers for information relating to the theft.

Police have released a number of images of some of the stolen items, including that of jewellery, vases and a tea set.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Mystery is solved: Homer was stolen (From Echo).

THE long-running mystery over the whereabouts of a missing Basildon sculpture has been solved – it was stolen, officials have revealed Local heritage group Our Basildon has spent ages trying to track down a six-foot bronze statue of the Greek poet and philosopher, Homer, which used to stand in the town centre.

Its disappearance, 16 years ago from Basildon Council’s Brooke House flats tower, seemed a profound mystery.

Now council officials have lifted the lid and admitted it was stolen. The artwork, was commissioned by Basildon Development Corporation in 1958 and made by Irish sculptor Frederick Edward Williams, who was paid £2,000.

Our Basildon recently took a fresh look at previous research by artist Robert Worely, which showed Homer moved around the town quite a bit down the years.

At one time, he sat in the old Towngate Theatre, though he also spent time in Southgate House, in Town Square.

Our Basildon director Vin Harrop was disappointed to learn the statue had been stolen and hoped other local sculptures would be better looked after.

He added: “It’s a great shame, because it was a really good piece of art.

“We now have to protect what art we’ve still got. It does worry me, as I’m not entirely sure whose job at the council it is to be looking after it.”

A council spokesman confirmed the sculpture was stolen ten years ago, but added the plinth still remained in Brooke House.

He added: “The reason we haven’t replaced it, basically, is because there is nothing suitable to replace it with.

“There are other statues, but we have looked at them and come to the view none of these is really all that suitable to replace the Homer statue.”

 

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: sculpture theft

Una de las mejores colecciones de arte precolombino sale a subasta en París.

Misteriosas figuras de piedra del Estado mexicano de Guerrero, esculturas mayas, urnas de la cultura de Veracruz: una de las mejores colecciones de arte precolombino que existen en el mundo será subastada en marzo en París, en medio de la tormenta diplomática entre Francia y México.
La excepcional colección, amasada durante años por el industrial suizo Henry Law, “es una de las más importantes de arte prehispánico que existen”, subrayó a la AFP Jacques Blazy, uno de los pocos expertos de arte precolombino en el mundo, que se cuentan con los dedos de las manos.
“Representa una magnífica muestra del arte de las culturas que poblaron América, y sobre todo México” antes de la llegada de los españoles, agregó Blazy, que tuvo el placer de examinar cada una de las 200 piezas que componen esta excepcional colección, que se prevé totalizará unos 4 millones de euros (6 millones de euros).
La mayoría de las piezas de la colección -algunos de cuyos tesoros fueron presentados el jueves en una hermosa mansión parisina a unos pocos periodistas especializados- son esculturas antropomórficas de Guerrero, en piedra dura y pulida. Pero hay también obras maestras de otras regiones de México.
Entre ellas, Blazy explicó a la AFP cómo H. Law logró reunir esta magnífica colección, de la que ha decidido desprenderse después que fue víctima de un robo en su casa en Ginebra.
“Law empezó a comprar piezas prehispánicas desde muy joven. Quedó ‘enganchado’ desde un día que compró, con su joven esposa, una escultura de Guerrero en un mercado de pulgas en el sur de Francia. Ese fue el principio de su colección”, dijo.
El misterio de estas figuras hieráticas, en piedra semipreciosa, halladas en el oeste de México, en una región donde no se construyeron templos, fascinaron a tal punto al empresario suizo que se convirtió en su mayor coleccionista.
Pero Law no sólo adquirió decenas de estas figuras olmecas, del periodo preclásico reciente (300-100 antes de Cristo), halladas cerca de los pueblos de Mezcala y Mazapa, sino también esculturas mayas, aztecas, del estilo Teotihuacán, y también de Perú y Brasil, señaló Blazy.
La subasta, que tendrá lugar el 21 de marzo en en la casa Drouot-Montaigne, en París, por cuenta de las firmas Binoche y Bergé et Associés, será un indicador del mercado del arte precolombino, que Blazy califica de “pequeño, íntimo”, en comparación con el de arte impresionista, moderno o contemporáneo.
La venta se produce en medio de las tensiones diplomáticas franco-mexicanas, luego de que el presidente Nicolas Sarkozy decidió dedicar el Año de México en Francia a Florence Cassez, la francesa condenada por la justicia mexicana a 60 años de cárcel por complicidad en secuestros.
Binoche recuerda con un poco de amargura que en setiembre y diciembre del 2008, dos subastas de piezas arqueológicas mexicanas debieron ser suspendidas luego de que las piezas fueron confiscadas a petición de México, antes de su subasta en París.
Los policías de la Oficina Central de Lucha contra el Tráfico de Bienes Culturales (OCBC) confiscaron las piezas en base a una comisión rogatoria internacional de México y las retuvieron, a la espera del resultado de una investigación sobre su procedencia.
La investigación duró 19 meses, tras lo cual la policía devolvió las piezas a sus propietarios. “Se demostró que todo estaba en regla, y las subastas tuvieron lugar”, concluyó Binoche, señalando que para esta venta, la OCBC ya verificó todos los objetos.
“Pueden investigar lo que quieran, todo está en regla”, dijo.

 

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Il Giorno – Lodi Pavia – Ladri d’arte Antiquario in manette assieme a due presunti complici.

Mulazzano, 24 febbraio 2011 – Tre persone sono state arrestate dal nucleo tutela patrimonio culturale dei carabinieri di Monza per furto e ricettazione di arredi sacri. L’operazione è scattata martedì pomeriggio dopo le 14 quando Massimo Tufariello, 44 anni, e Arnaldo Carlo Costan, 65 anni, entrambi di Milano, sono arrivati a bordo di una Volkswagen Golf nel Lodigiano per incontrare Roberto Giusti, originario di Milano ma domiciliato a Mulazzano in via Pandina, nella sua abitazione.

I primi due indagati sono accusati di furto e concorso, Giusti di ricettazione. I militari erano sulle tracce dei tre e una volta individuato il gruppo riunito a casa di Giusti hanno fatto irruzione perquisendo l’abitazione palmo a palmo, così come l’auto dei due milanesi.

Nella vettura sono stati trovati e sequestrati numerosi attrezzi da scasso tra cui un’asta telescopica, pappagalli, cacciaviti e altro. Poi, nel garage del mulazzanese, i carabinieri avrebbero scoperto numerosi arredi sacri come dipinti di Santi, crocefissi, una piccola teca in legno, leggii, candelabri e altro materiale di valore per un importo da quantificare. Costan e Tufariello hanno dichiarato alle forze dell’ordine che «tutto avveniva su commissione». Secondo gli inquirenti, attualmente impegnati a stabilire la provenienza di tutti gli oggetti di valore sequestrati nel Lodigiano, Costan e Tufariello sarebbero gli autori di una serie di furti compiuti nelle chiese del Nord Italia.

In particolare i due uomini dovranno rispondere della sparizione di due greche dorate laterali e una testa di angelo in oro dalla chiesa Santa Maria di Chiavenna e di sei candelabri in argento dalla chiesa Santi Cipriani Giustino di Lecco. Razzie risalenti agli ultimi anni. Non è escluso che la banda possa aver agito anche nel Lodigiano e – più di recente – nel Pavese. I tre indagati sono stati rinchiusi nel carcere di via Cagnola a Lodi in attesa del processo per direttissima che ha avuto luogo ieri alle 15.30 nel Tribunale di Lodi.

I due milanesi, pregiudicati, sono stati rimandati in carcere dal giudice mentre Giusti è scato scarcerato con l’obbligo di firma. I carabinieri di Monza avevano scovato un presunto ladro di beni sacri a Lodi, antiquario di 50 anni, anche il 24 novembre. I colpi attribuiti a lui e a un collega di Vigevano erano stati due. Gli si contestava la sparizione delle stazioni della Via Crucis del XIX secolopresenti nella chiesa di San Giacomo Apostolo di Cascine Strà, frazione alle porte di Vercelli, colpita il 27 maggio del 2008 e l’archivio parrocchiale costituito da 10 volumi di cronache ecclesiastiche e 462 documenti antichi. La refurtiva, bottino da 50mila euro, era stata trovata nei magazzini dei due antiquari poi denunciati a piede libero per ricettazione e «acquisto di cose di sospetta provenienza».

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Chiese defraudate, piccoli e grandi gioielli strappati dagli altari, spariti dalle navate: è uno stillicidio di furti quello che si sta consumando nelle chiese bresciane negli ultimi mesi. Uno scempio che sembra si sia concentrato in queste settimane in Valcamonica dove (ne parliamo sotto) i ladri hanno visitato nove chiese. Che fare per frenare le razzie?
SI TENTA di correre ai ripari con qualche accorgimento in più e con una serie di provvedimenti per migliorare la sicurezza passiva e attiva nelle chiese della diocesi. Monsignor Federico Pellegrini, direttore dell’Ufficio diocesano beni culturali riflettendo sui recenti colpi messi a segno in Valcamonica promette interventi in tempi brevi e fa appello a clero e istituzioni affinchè si possa contrastare efficacemente il fenomeno.
«Quello che raccomando ai parroci – spiega-, e probabilmente parlo di normali precauzioni, è di prestare la massima attenzione affinchè prima della chiusura delle chiese nelle diverse fasce della giornata, venga verificato che nessuno sia più presente nel tempio. A breve, e quindi nell’arco di una paio di mesi, sarà siglata una convenzione con alcune ditte specializzate nell’ installazione di impianti antifurto che consentirà ai parroci che intendessero avvalersene, di mettere in sicurezza le parrocchiali. Ciò consentirà con il tempo di poter essere ammessi all’Istituto Italiano Marchio di Qualità, che tra l’altro, quando se ne ravvisasse l’intervento, consente un rapido collegamento con i carabinieri e la polizia».
MONSIGNOR PELLEGRINI, pur conoscendo le attuali difficoltà finanziarie nelle quali versano tutti i comuni, si sente di rivolgere un appello agli amministratori locali: «Mi rendo conto che stiamo vivendo momenti non facili e tuttavia invito i sindaci a non lasciare sole le parrocchie e per quanto nelle loro disponibilità, cercare di sostenerle nella dotazione degli impianti antifurto. Gli oggetti che sono stati fin qui trafugati sono di piccole dimensioni e quindi più facilmente asportabili e questo deve farci riflettere: dobbiamo alzare la guardia perchè quelli delle nostre chiese sono patrimoni molto belli che aiutano a pregare ma allettano pure i ladri…».Monsignor Pellegrini, che proprio la scorsa settimana aveva partecipato ad un incontro a Darfo, nel cuore della zona teatro delle ultime razzie, sul tema «Laici e chierici per la salvaguardia dell’arte nelle chiese della Valle Camonica», è perfettamente conscio che tutte le opere di messa in sicurezza all’interno delle chiese sono soggette all’autorizzazione della Soprintendenza e proprio per questo motivo invita, se possibile, gli uffici a voler rilasciare le necessarie autorizzazioni in tempi molto più stretti rispetto ai canonici 120 giorni, perchè la maggior parte dei luoghi di culto, soprattutto quelli della Valcamonica, sono al momento assolutamente esposti alle razzie dei ladri d’arte e non c’è altrotempo da perdere.
Altro aspetto sul quale il sacerdote invita i colleghi alla massima attenzione è l’inventario dei beni preziosi conservati nelle chiese, uno strumento indispensabile anche per la ricerche della refurtiva da parte delle Forze dell’ordine, che lavorano, è il caso del nucleo specializzato dei Carabinieri, su un ricco database di oggetti rubati. L’inventario dei beni preziosi tra gli anni dal ’90 al 200 era stato condotto dall’allora responsabile del Museo Diocesano don Ivo Panteghini per il 50 per cento, dal 2004, grazie ad un accordo fra la Cei ed il Ministero dei Beni Culturali, è stato poi introdotto un nuovo sistema di catalogazione, con parametri moderni, che oltre a rappresentare in ogni momento lo stato delle opere d’arte , consente ai carabinieri del Nucleo Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, in caso di trafugamento dei beni, una ricerca più sicura.
«INTANTO in Valcamonica i parroci hanno intensificato la sorveglianza nelle chiese con l’aiuto dei fedeli» spiega il vicario zonale della Media Valle don Aldo Mariotti. E a Breno il parroco monsignor Franco Corbelli non nasconde qualche proccupazione. «È impensabile – racconta – chiudere il Duomo alle visite dei fedeli durante il giorno ed è decisamente oneroso per le finanze della Parrocchia l’installazione di un sistema antifurto».

Luciano Ranzanici via Bresciaoggi.it – Provincia.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Les présentations devant les juges d’instruction du palais de justice de Montauban se sont achevées lundi vers 21h30. Six des huit individus déférés ont été écroués à la maison d’arrêt de Beausoleil.

Tard dans la soirée pluvieuse de lundi, la place du Coq a retrouvé sa tranquillité d’une nuit de début de semaine en centre-ville où seules luisent les lumières du quartier sur le pavé ruisselant d’eau. Débuté vers 10 heures lundi matin, le ballet incessant des fourgons et des escortes de gendarmes a presque duré douze heures. Les policiers du commissariat de police étaient chargés de la surveillance du secteur et de l’entrée du palais de justice. Les gardés à vue suite à la fusillade de samedi matin le long de la D 820 à Labastide-Saint-Pierre eux arrivaient escortés par les gendarmes des COB impliquées, mais aussi du PSIG de Castelsarrasin ou du PSPG de Golfech. Les présentations aux deux juges d’instructions, à la juge de la liberté et des détentions et au procureur de la République ont répondu à un timing précis calculé aussi sur les temps de trajets à parcourir pour arriver au tribunal. Car placer durant presque quarante-huit heures treize personnes en garde à vue ne se fait pas aussi facilement que cela. Outre les cellules situées dans les locaux de la caserne de la Hire il a fallu aussi occuper celles de nombreuses COB du secteur entre Montech, Grisolles, Verdun, Molières etc. Au final sur les huit déférés, six ont été écroués dans la journée de lundi à Beausoleil. Cinq sous le chef d’inculpation : « Violence en réunion avec arme et préméditation ».Un sixième gardé à vue lui était sous le coup d’un sursis mise à l’épreuve qui lui a valu un retour derrière les barreaux. Un mineur a été placé sous contrôle judiciaire et renvoyé chez sa grand- mère en région parisienne. Le huitième a quitté libre le palais de justice mais en étant placé sous contrôle judiciaire.

more:

Fusillade de Labastide-Saint-Pierre. Six des huit tireurs en prison – Tarn-et-Garonne : Ladépêche.fr.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Thieves Arrested in Egypt Trying to Break Apart Ancient Statue – NYTimes.com.

Two thieves were arrested last week trying to break apart an important 20-foot-tall statue of the pharaoh Ramses II embedded in a quarry in the southern city of Aswan, Egypt’s antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, said in a phone interview. Mr. Hawass said that the thieves wrongly believed that the statue was hollow and had gold hidden inside it. They were caught by guards at the site, he said, comparing the thieves to the people who looted the Egyptian Museum on Jan. 28. Those looters were also looking for gold, according to Mr. Hawass, and for a fictitious substance called red mercury that is believed by “ignorant people” to have been used in mummification and to have magical properties.

 

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Larry Coben: Why Egyptians Preserve Their Cultural Heritage.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

Four works of art stolen in Ajaccio, Corsica, France


In the night between 18 and 19 February 2011, four valuable paintings were stolen from the Ajaccio museum of fine arts (Palais Fesch). The total losses amount to about EUR 4 million.

Description of paintings:

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
“The Madonna and Child surrounded by seraphim”, oil on wood by anonymous 16th c. Italian artist, Dimensions: 53 x 34 cm “Midas at the Source of the River Pactole”, oil on canvas by Nicolas Poussin, Dimensions: 58 x 82 cm “The Virgin and Child”, tempera on wood attributed to Giovanni Bellini, Dimensions: 65 x 46.5 cm “Pentecost”, tempera on wood by Mariotto di Nardo, Dimensions: 47 x 28 cm

Anyone with information about the theft or the whereabouts of the paintings is asked to contact INTERPOL Paris (ref. DCPJ/SDLCODF/OCBC/T 32341/COE) and the INTERPOL General Secretariat (ref. 2011/9765).

 

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Count Heinrich von Bruehl, a former prime minister of Saxony.

During World War II, the Nereid Sweetmeat Stand was stolen. After a forensic investigation by ICE, the Nereid Sweetmeat Stand, which has been in the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection since 1956, was determined to be the same piece taken from Dresden. Custody will transfer to the Dresden State Art Collections on behalf of the von Bruehl heirs, who have agreed to lend the work to the Dresden museum upon its return to Germany.

the Nereid Sweetmeat Stand “Today’s ceremony rights a decades-old wrong and reconnects this valuable artifact to its rightful cultural origin and history,” said ICE Director John Morton. “This artifact represents an important part of the German national heritage and identity and we are grateful to be involved in its return.”

“While we are certainly sad to see the Nereid leave us, we take pride in the fact that the Toledo Museum of Art upholds the highest standards of museum practice by fully cooperating with the investigation and then returning a beloved piece that has been definitively proven not to be ours,” said Carol Bintz, chief operating officer of the Toledo Museum.

more:

Transfer ceremony marks return of antique porcelain to heirs of former German prime minister.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

There are those who believe that two of the world’s most high-profile missing artifacts are hidden somewhere in the Dallas area. It’s an interesting coincidence, given that the man leading the search for them and other cultural treasures lost since World War II happens to live right here.

The objects are reliquaries from the Dark Ages, sacred containers housing what are said to be the physical remains of saints. One is a crystal carved into the shape of a mitre. The other is a hollow gold cross. Not necessarily distinctive, as far as reliquaries go, but they are valuable, perhaps worth millions of dollars each. And as far as Robert Edsel knows, they could be in your attic. Or your mother’s attic. With the last of our World War II veterans now leaving us, more and more stolen objects from the war are turning up as estates are settled. If you find one of the reliquaries, though, please don’t put it on eBay. Call Edsel instead. It would be much better to return it to its rightful owner.

Robert Edsel’s specialty is finding and returning artifacts and culturally significant items missing since the Nazi era. He calls his work the great final chapter of World War II. He is founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, based in Dallas. The name of his organization comes from a heroic, if somewhat oddball, group of GIs responsible for rescuing more than 5 million cultural objects stolen by the Nazis. Edsel has made it his mission to tell their story and to continue their work by finding what’s still missing and sending it home. His work has also led to two books and a documentary film, which is why on March 1 he will receive the Texas Medal of Arts in a biennial awards ceremony that recognizes the state’s most outstanding artists and philanthropists.

Though Edsel is in his 50s and his hair has gone white, he looks and carries himself with a youthful intensity like he could still be in his 30s. Efficient and directed, he recounts the skepticism he meets with the glee of a man used to having the last laugh.

more:

D Magazine : The Nazi Treasure Hunter.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

Zahi Hawass, minister of antiquities, has sent a report to the Prosecutor-General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud after allegations were published against him in Al-Wafd newspaper. He has been accused of smuggling Egypt’s antiquities on behalf of former president Hosni Mubarak’s family. The newspaper quoted the accusations of archaeologist Nour Abdel Samad.Hawass stated that the accusations published in the newspaper are unfounded and an insult without any documents to back them up.According to documents obtained by Ahram Online, dozens of disciplinary decisions were taken against Abdel Samad, including suspension from duty, culminating in him being sent before a disciplinary tribunal. During his time at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, now the ministry of antiquities, from 1987, he wrote complaints and filed lawsuits without proof.In 2005, a disciplinary tribunal suspended Abdel Samad two months after he reported a golden artefact missing from the Marina archaeological site administered by a Polish excavation mission. The whole case was sent to the Prosecutor-General in 2004 in order to carry out investigations.

via Accusation against minister of antiquities referred to prosecutor-general – Crime – Egypt – Ahram Online.

February 25th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 24th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs), insider theft

De diefstal van koperen bliksemafleiders en regenpijpen van met name kerken in Borne, Delden en Hertme de afgelopen tijd is opgelost.

 

 

 

In de nacht van vrijdag 18 februari werd door de politie in de binnenstad van Hengelo de bestuurder van een auto, die even daarvoor een verkeersovertreding had begaan, staande gehouden. Tijdens een controle bleek in de auto een grote hoeveelheid koper te liggen. Uit een verder onderzoek kwam naar voren dat een deel van dat koper was gestolen bij het Oald Hengel museum. Zowel de bestuurder van de auto als de bijrijder werden hierop als verdacht van meerdere diefstallen van koper aangehouden en meegenomen naar het bureau.

 

meer:

via Koperdiefstallen kerken opgelost – Typisch Nieuws.

February 24th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Begraafplaats Zuylen in Breda wordt voortaan met camera`s bewaakt. De afgelopen weken gingen dieven met diverse beelden en lantaarns aan de haal op de begraafplaats. Voor de directie is de maat nu vol.

meer:

via Omroep Brabant: Bewakingscamera’s op begraafplaats Breda.

February 24th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Begraafplaats Zuylen in Breda wordt voortaan met camera`s bewaakt. De afgelopen weken gingen dieven met diverse beelden en lantaarns aan de haal op de begraafplaats. Voor de directie is de maat nu vol.

meer:

via Omroep Brabant: Bewakingscamera’s op begraafplaats Breda.

February 24th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

ALMELO – De wijk Sluitersveld is in korte tijd de bronzen beelden ‘Veldboer’ en ‘De Wever’ kwijtgeraakt. De beelden zijn van hun sokkel gezaagd.

 

Directeur Jan Kamst van woningstichting Sint Joseph snapt niet waarom de beelden, die volgens hem niet eens zo veel geld opleveren, worden gestolen. De corporatie is eigenaar van De Wever, het beeld in de Fabrieksstraat, dat voor het voormalige kantoor van textielfabriek Hedeman stond. Wijkhistoricus en voormalig directeur van wijkcentrum De Trefhoek Hennie Gerritsen is aangedaan. Hij is de ontwerper van het beeld De Veldboer dat op het Eskerplein stond. „Ja ik ben geschokt maar het beeld zal nu wel in stukken aangeboden zijn aan een handelaar.” Kamst: „Wat levert het op. Er zit hooguit voor honderd euro aan koper in. Maar de emotionele waarde is niet in geld uit te drukken.”

meer:

via Bronzen beelden van sokkel gestolen – Almelo-Stad – Regio – TC Tubantia.

February 24th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Korte expositie kunstvandalen | Amstelveen e.o. (Amstelveens Nieuwsblad).

‘Sufkuttig’

Het Cobra Museum aan het Sandbergplein werd vrijdag illegaal beklad met kunstzinnige graffiti. Volgens een artikel in dagblad Het Parool was de muurschildering werk van de heropgerichte actiegroep Stads Kunst Guerilla (SKG), dat zich met de protestschildering vooral verzet tegen het brave karakter van het Cobra Museum, terwijl de revolutionaire Cobra-kunstbeweging juist altijd zo rebels was. In het Parool-artikel wordt het Cobra Museum en ook gemeente Amstelveen door de actiegroep als ‘sufkuttig’ betiteld.

Schade

De gemeente zal de graffiti- en verfschade die aan het Cobra Museum werd toegebracht niet direct proberen te verhalen op de daders omdat het museum geen gemeentelijk eigendom is. Daardoor gaat het principe ‘Vandalen Betalen’ (lokale overheidscampagne) niet direct op.

De gemeente laat weten dat een ‘normale procedure’ is gestart: het museum heeft aangifte gedaan en de politie heeft ‘de zaak in onderzoek’. Het Cobra Museum zelf wil op geen enkele manier commentaar geven op het rebelse ‘kunstwerk’, dat de titel ‘Liggend naakt met grote beer’ meekreeg. Een enkeling suggereert dat de actie een publiciteitstunt van het museum zou kunnen zijn, maar dat lijkt ondenkbaar gezien de omvangrijke schoonmaakklus.

Hoogwerker

Zo moest een hoogwerker worden ingeschakeld om de hele muur schoon te krijgen. Alhoewel de wanden van het Cobra tot 2,5 meter hoogte zijn voorbewerkt met een speciale anti-graffitilaag, waardoor graffiti veel eenvoudiger is te verwijderen, reikte de verfklodders tot ver daarboven.

Het meeste schoonmaakwerk zit ‘m echter in het ernstig besmeurde trottoir, dat in tegenstelling tot het gebouw wel gemeentelijk eigendom is. Als de daders gepakt worden, wat de gemeente hoopt, wordt alsnog bekeken of de schoonmaakkosten van het trottoir op de daders kunnen worden verhaald.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Korte expositie kunstvandalen | Amstelveen e.o. (Amstelveens Nieuwsblad).

‘Sufkuttig’

Het Cobra Museum aan het Sandbergplein werd vrijdag illegaal beklad met kunstzinnige graffiti. Volgens een artikel in dagblad Het Parool was de muurschildering werk van de heropgerichte actiegroep Stads Kunst Guerilla (SKG), dat zich met de protestschildering vooral verzet tegen het brave karakter van het Cobra Museum, terwijl de revolutionaire Cobra-kunstbeweging juist altijd zo rebels was. In het Parool-artikel wordt het Cobra Museum en ook gemeente Amstelveen door de actiegroep als ‘sufkuttig’ betiteld.

Schade

De gemeente zal de graffiti- en verfschade die aan het Cobra Museum werd toegebracht niet direct proberen te verhalen op de daders omdat het museum geen gemeentelijk eigendom is. Daardoor gaat het principe ‘Vandalen Betalen’ (lokale overheidscampagne) niet direct op.

De gemeente laat weten dat een ‘normale procedure’ is gestart: het museum heeft aangifte gedaan en de politie heeft ‘de zaak in onderzoek’. Het Cobra Museum zelf wil op geen enkele manier commentaar geven op het rebelse ‘kunstwerk’, dat de titel ‘Liggend naakt met grote beer’ meekreeg. Een enkeling suggereert dat de actie een publiciteitstunt van het museum zou kunnen zijn, maar dat lijkt ondenkbaar gezien de omvangrijke schoonmaakklus.

Hoogwerker

Zo moest een hoogwerker worden ingeschakeld om de hele muur schoon te krijgen. Alhoewel de wanden van het Cobra tot 2,5 meter hoogte zijn voorbewerkt met een speciale anti-graffitilaag, waardoor graffiti veel eenvoudiger is te verwijderen, reikte de verfklodders tot ver daarboven.

Het meeste schoonmaakwerk zit ‘m echter in het ernstig besmeurde trottoir, dat in tegenstelling tot het gebouw wel gemeentelijk eigendom is. Als de daders gepakt worden, wat de gemeente hoopt, wordt alsnog bekeken of de schoonmaakkosten van het trottoir op de daders kunnen worden verhaald.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Thieves have made off with a valuable black rhino head in Essex – prompting fears that its horns could be ground down and used in black-market Chinese medicines.

Burglars targeted Sworders Auctioneers, of Stansted Mountfitchet, on Monday evening after the firm posted details of the mounted object on the internet.

After forcing open doors to the premises, the thieves are believed to have fled with the rhino head via a nearby field.

The object has a price tag in excess of £50,000, but experts said the rhino head could be of far greater value if it is sold to the traditional medicine market.

The horn of the rhino was traditionally used in Chinese medicines as a cure for a range of ailments from gout to fever and rheumatism. It is not prescribed as an aphrodisiac, contrary to a common misconception.

Trading of rhino horns was banned in 1976 by signatories of the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species.

But the practice continues on the black market, with antique items sold for inflated prices then shipped out of the UK. A clampdown on exports of rhino horns was announced by the Government last year.

Pc Andy Long, wildlife and environment crime officer, said: “This seems to be a targeted burglary, and the thieves knew that the rhino horn was there.

“It is a valuable item in its own right but if sold to the traditional medicine market, it would have a much greater value.”

via £50,000 rhino head stolen – News – Mearns Leader.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

L’affaire Cassez plombe l’Année du Mexique, actualité Culture : Le Point.

Laffaire Cassez plombe lAnnée du Mexique, actualité Culture : Le Point

http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/l-affaire-cassez-plombe-l-annee-du-mexique-22-02-2011-1298430_3.php

February 23, 2011

Par Marion Cocquet

C’est un travail de près d’un an, mis en pièce en quelques jours. Au musée gallo-romain de St Romain-en-Gal, on peine encore à l’admettre tant la situation paraît grotesque : la grande exposition de culture antique de Veracruz a été annulée la veille de son inauguration, prévue le 18 février. Ses commissaires sont, aujourd’hui, en train de la démonter : les oeuvres prennent le vol retour pour le Mexique dès vendredi. “Ça nous est tombé dessus, d’un coup, explique M’hammed Behel, le conservateur du musée. On espérait passer entre les gouttes. David Morales, David Chavez et Laeticia Pez, présents pour le Mexique, sont comme nous : ils ne peuvent que constater le gâchis, et s’en attrister.”

Fin de partie, donc, pour l’expo Veracruz, l’une des premières manifestations de l’Année du Mexique en France. Elle est loin d’être la seule, cependant, à être aujourd’hui prise en otage par les errances diplomatiques de l’une et l’autre partie. L’Institut français, qui codirige l’événement avec le Mexique, a beau multiplier les pas de deux pour sauver ce qu’il en reste, l’Année est sérieusement compromise depuis que le gouvernement mexicain a décidé de s’en retirer suite à la décision de Nicolas Sarkozy de dédier l’événement à Florence Cassez.

“Lorsqu’elle a été décidée en 2009, à l’invite de Nicolas Sarkozy, une série d’accords ont été signés, où il était clairement établi qu’il s’agissait, au-delà des manifestations culturelles, d’améliorer la coopération entre les deux pays, et de promouvoir le Mexique moderne, créatif, inspiré, souligne une source diplomatique mexicaine. Jamais il n’a été question de rendre hommage à une personne qui, chez nous, est considérée comme une délinquante. Dans ces conditions, nous n’avions guère d’autre choix.”

Opacité

La position mexicaine est claire. L’avenir des quelques 360 événements programmés tout au long de 2011, l’est, lui, beaucoup moins. Concerts, expos, festivals, rencontres, lectures, bals, danse, salons : en fonction de son type, de sa direction, de sa date et des financements publics engagés côté mexicain, les effets des tensions diplomatiques entre les deux pays se font plus ou moins fait sentir. Le festival “Travelling”, à Rennes, s’ouvre ainsi comme prévu mardi soir. Mais sans mention de l’Année, et sans la bénédiction des institutionnels des deux bords. “Le Mexique prenait en charge les droits d’accès aux copies, leur voyage, certains des sous-titrages, le transport des invités. Pour les frais déjà engagés par les institutions mexicaines, nous ne savons pas ce qui se passera. Pour le reste… nous avons dû déjà faire face à un surcoût de 40 000 euros”, déplore Laurence Le Hemmaf, responsable artistique du festival. Il est absurde de prendre en otage le monde de la culture, insiste-t-elle. D’autant que le cinéma est le reflet d’une société, d’une histoire, d’un univers politique ; quelle meilleure façon de faire connaître, ici, la réalité de là-bas ?” Festival maintenu, donc, et sans qu’aient dû être jetés par dessus bord les centaines de programmes labellisés “Année du Mexique”. Mais dans la morosité.

Même ambiguïté, même confusion pour les grands événements prévus. Le festival Rio Loco de Toulouse, où étaient attendus 133 artistes, a déjà été supprimé. Idem pour la grande exposition de la Pinacothèque sur les masques mayas. Celle consacrée aux artistes mexicains contemporains prévue d’ouvrir en juin au Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris attend encore que son sort soit tranché. La Ville de Paris, dont dépend le MAM, oscille, en effet, entre son soutien à Florence Cassez et une volonté de maintenir les manifestations prévues autant que faire se peut.

Humiliation

La tâche est d’autant plus difficile que, outre le retrait des financements publics du Mexique, la France doit compter avec la défection des multiples artistes qui ont pris fait et cause pour la décision du président Felipe Calderon. “On les y a acculés, estime l’écrivain Vilma Fuentes. Vous imaginez l’humiliation que représenterait, pour les invités mexicains, le fait d’assister à des discours favorables à une personne que leur pays a condamnée ? Beaucoup de gens voudraient que ces manifestations, mais pas dans ces conditions.”

Au Mexique, l’opinion publique s’accorde contre les propos de Nicolas Sarkozy. Inévitable, selon Georges Couffignal, directeur de l’Institut des hautes études sur l’Amérique latine. La diplomatie est, rappelle-t-il, l’appareil le plus stable et efficace du pays, et a toujours tenu, dans son histoire, une position ferme contre les ingérences extérieures. “Il existe une tradition historique très forte allant en ce sens, et qui est enracinée dans l’opinion publique. Les Mexicains sont les premiers à critiquer leur justice et leur police. Mais dès qu’advient ce qui est vécu comme une pression étrangère, l’unanimité se fait.”

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Erfgoedinstellingen in Sint-Truiden, Hasselt en Zoutleeuw hebben een calamiteitenplan opgesteld. Zo moet de veiligheidszorg voor mensen, gebouwen en collecties verbeteren.

Onder de noemer ‘ECCE!’ wat staat voor Eerste hulp bij Calamiteiten met betrekking tot Cultureel Erfgoed hebben een twaalftal musea, archieven en kerken in Sint-Truiden, Hasselt en Zoutleeuw zich het afgelopen jaar verenigd in een lokaal netwerk. In Sint-Truiden zijn het stadsarchief en het Minderbroedersmuseum daarbij aangesloten.

Elke erfgoedorganisatie maakte in overleg met de brandweer, preventiemedewerkers en de politie een preventie- en calamiteitenplan op maat op. Het plan wil incidenten (diefstal, vandalisme, …) en calamiteiten (waterschade, brand, …) zoveel mogelijk voorkomen en de gevolgen van zulke calamiteiten beperken. Het plan geeft meteen ook aan hoe het erfgoed in veiligheid gebracht kan worden. De organisaties kregen dinsdag in de Academiezaal een getuigschrift.

via Het Nieuwsblad – Gemeente Sint-Truiden: Erfgoedinstellingen stellen rampenplan op.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

GENT – Omdat het personeel van het Museum van Schone Kunsten gisterochtend een valiesje in de vestiaire had aangetroffen dat omwikkeld was met tape, werd de politie gewaarschuwd. De ontmijningsdienst van het leger kwam ter plaatse om de verdachte koffer te onderzoeken en buiten tot ontploffing te brengen. Na de kleine explosie bleken er alleen kleren in te steken.

via Het Nieuwsblad – Gemeente Gent: Verdacht valiesje in museum.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Kunstraub: Städte wappnen sich gegen Kunstraub – Nachrichten – DerWesten.

Da ist sie noch da: Die Plastik „Pandora“ stand etwa 20 Jahre auf
einer Wiese an einer Straßenkreuzung in Duisburg-Homberg. Jetzt haben
Metalldiebe die wertvolle Skulptur, die dem Lehmbruck-Museum gehört,
geraubt. (Foto: Google Streetview)

Duisburg/Essen. Das Duisburger Lehmbruck-Museum will jetzt ein Dutzend
seiner Skulpturen aus dem Stadtgebiet entfernen – bevor es Diebe tun.
Andere Kommunen in NRW würden dem Beispiel folgen, zeigt eine Umfrage
von DerWesten. Die Kunst vor Ort ist kaum zu sichern.

Bei Google-Streetview kann man die „Pandora“ noch in ihrer vollen
Schönheit sehen. Anmutig steht die Bronzeplastik auf einer Wiese im
Stadtteil Homberg, etwas zurückgesetzt an der Kreuzung
Duisburger/Moerser Straße. Doch das Bild ist Vergangenheit. Die
wertvolle, fast 2,40 Meter hohe Frauenfigur aus dem Besitz des
Lehmbruck-Museum ist vor kurzem gestohlen worden. Sehr wahrscheinlich
von Metalldieben. Nicht der erste Kunstraub in Duisburg.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts, sculpture theft

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: insider theft

National Archives hunts for missing treasures with recovery team.

FRANKLIN, TENN. – Among the Civil War buffs wandering through the tables of muskets and faded daguerreotypes of Union soldiers for sale here are four federal agents.

One raids houses and carries a gun. But right now he’s handing out innocuous-looking brochures to the relic hunters walking by, as the sweet smell of glazed nuts wafts from a concession stand. “Does that document belong in the National Archives?” the brochure asks.

The agents have flown to a fairground outside Nashville to the country’s biggest Civil War show to hunt for stolen treasure – robbed right from the nation’s attic.

Whether they know it or not, the dealers may be trafficking in stolen government property. The heist may have taken place in 1865. Or last week. Or a document may not have been looted at all, but made its way into private hands instead of the Archives.

With the Civil War 150th anniversary drawing new interest, the trail could be warm.

“We’re friendly,” says Paul Brachfeld, inspector general of the Archives, who has gotten out of the office this December weekend to see his team in action. For the dealers, “it’s an authenticity thing,” he says. “If you traffic in stolen documents, it taints everything.”

The tactic illustrates the new, more aggressive approach the Archives is taking in an effort to recover treasures that have disappeared from its holdings. Porous security and open access have allowed countless items to slip out of the Archives’ 44 centers and presidential libraries, from the Washington headquarters to the Reagan Library in California.

The missing items include telegrams written by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War; the Wright brothers’ patent for a flying machine; Eli Whitney’s patent for the cotton gin; Lyndon Johnson’s class ring from the Coast Guard; an official portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt; and target maps for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

‘We were defenseless’

Government auditors have long warned that lax security at the Archives has allowed trusted researchers and employees to sneak past security cameras with priceless treasures, or find ways to destroy or alter government records. The problem was underscored last month when the agency accused a longtime researcher of changing the date on a pardon signed by Lincoln to make it appear more valuable. There were no security cameras at the time.

“For a long time we were defenseless, and senior managers just accepted that,” said Brachfeld, who has assigned eight of his 24 agents to the Archival Recovery Team, a unit devoted to retrieving stolen loot.

“We have people alone with images and artifacts all the time,” Brachfeld said. “The thieves all say how easy it was.” Until not long ago, some researchers were given open access to stack areas with no supervision, officials and researchers said.

Around the time they disclosed that the Lincoln pardon was altered with a fountain pen in full view in the main research room in Washington, Archives officials instituted new security procedures they said would include random body searches as visitors leave the downtown headquarters and the massive records center in College Park.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: archief

Het Egyptologisch Museum aan het Tahrirplein werd bij de volksopstand eind januari brutaal geplunderd. Via de Facebookpagina ‘Protect Egyptian Cultural Heritage’ probeert de Belgische egyptoloog Jacques Kinnaer de verdwenen kunstvoorwerpen terug te vinden: ‘Hopelijk zijn ze niet in handen van malafide kunsthandelaars.’

meer:

via Het Nieuwsblad – Belg speurt naar gestolen Egyptische kunstschatten.

February 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass has been under pressure
since the plundering of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the fall of
Hosni Mubarak. He spoke with SPIEGEL ONLINE about the extent of the
damage, the accusations that he is too close to Mubarak and the
happiest day of his life.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Minister Hawass, during the mass protests three weeks
ago, there was talk that the Egyptian Museum in Cairo had been broken
into. At first, you claimed that nothing had been stolen, but later
admitted that several items were missing. How great is the damage?

Hawass: When I went to the museum on the morning of Jan. 29, I found
out that they had opened the glass showcases. We were able to
ascertain that 30 showcases had been broken but only 20 of the 70
exhibits are in a bad condition and need restoration. Then we
investigated further and found several pieces to be missing, including
a part of a golden Tutankhamun statue. Some objects have been found in
the meantime, but eight are still missing.

more:

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass: ‘It Is a Miracle that More Was Not Stolen’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.

February 22nd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Police: Art Theft Discovered at Another Southampton Village Estate – Southampton, NY Patch.

Another Southampton Village estate has been hit by art thieves,
according to police.

Numerous paintings were stolen from a First Neck Lane home sometime
between Feb. 14 and 16, Southampton Village Police Department Chief
William Wilson said Monday. It is the second reported art theft in the
village this month.

Wilson said detectives are considering the strong possibility that the
latest art theft, discovered by the estate’s caretaker, is related to
the one earlier this month, on Captains Neck Lane, during which 13
paintings were reportedly taken.

Village police are coordinating the investigation with other police
agencies, including Suffolk County Police Crime Stoppers and federal
authorities, the chief said.

Wilson said since it is an active investigation, village police will
not release further details at this time.

February 22nd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Arirang | Korea for the World, The World for Korea – Arirang.co.kr.

The financial and cultural value of some artifacts and ancient
artworks are enormous.
And it becomes a serious problem both for the country and the
individual owners when the artifact is stolen or lost while under
private care.
So what is the solution to that problem[Interview : Jang Sang-hoon,
Assistant curator
National Museum of Korea] “If the artifacts are in outstanding
condition and are also a great source for an exhibition, they will go
through the Artifact Assessment Committee here to get registered for
entrustment.”

Currently at the National Museum of Korea a total of 80 national
historic treasures are being kept at the museum at the request of
their owners.
A royal certificate that was issued to Ma Cheon-mok, a military
official who quelled a rebellion during Joseon Dynasty has recently
been entrusted to the National Palace Museum of Korea.

[Interview : Ma Sang-mok, Jangheung Ma Clan Association] “We didn’t
have the appropriate facilities to keep this document safe so we
decided to let the National Palace Museum of Korea hold it in trust.”

Various works by Park Soo-keun, a famous Korean artist, are mostly
bought and kept by private owners and because of this, the public gets
a limited view of his works..

[Interview : Park Sung-nam, Artist Park Soo-keun’s son] “I think it’s
a good idea to entrust my father’s precious works to a museum since I
don’t have to worry about protecting it myself and I still have
ownership of it.”

The system is a good way to not only better protect national treasures
but also to expand the scale of exhibitions for the public to enjoy.
But before this can happen experts say more people need to start
thinking about their artifacts as a cultural gift that can be shared
with everyone.
Lee Ji-yoon, Arirang News.

February 22nd, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

I am grateful to my sharp-eared colleague Chris Hall for drawing my attention to this interview.

Salima Ikram, American University in Cairo, and Tom Holland, were in conversation with John Humphrys of BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme earlier today [Monday, February 21, 2011: interview]. They discussed the limited looting in the Cairo Museum and were in agreement that the people of Egypt demonstrated that they cared about the protection of their antiquities.

more:

via Looting Matters: Nefertiti and the Parthenon Marbles.

February 22nd, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: books and manuscripts, library theft

Reperti archologici a casa. Modica, precesso per due frigintinesi – R.T.M..

Reperti archeologici trovati nelle loro abitazioni. Presunti tombaroli sotto processo davanti al giudice monocratico del Tribunale di Modica, Anton Giulio Maggiore, dopo la denuncia da parte dei carabinieri del Nucleo per la tutela del patrimonio culturale di Palermo che nel 2008 eseguirono perquisizioni nelle loro abitazioni di Frigintini. Si tratta di Antonino Di Tommasi e Antonino Ragusa, modicani, che tra il mese di gennaio e marzo del 2008 ricevettero la visita a casa. Il difensore, l’avvocato Gaspare Abbate, ha chiesto di estromettere dal fascicolo le intercettazioni giacchè sono state effettuate poiche veniva contestata la ricettazione contro ignoti(reato che consente le intercettazioni), accusa che è venuta meno. Per questo il magistrato si è riservato di decidere entro il 24 giugno. E’ stato, in ogni caso, nominato l’archeologo Mammina, della Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Trapani, mentre la difesa ha nominato un esperto numismatico, Pavone, di Ragusa. Entrambi saranno escussi nella prossima udienza. La prima perquisizione fu eseguita nell’abitazione di uno degli imputati che risiede nell’area della frazione di Frigintini e in quell’occasione gli uomini del Nucleo specializzato si erano avvalsi della collaborazione dei colleghi della locale stazione. Un controllo che diede risultati positivi visto che furono sequestrati alcuni reperti archeologici. Il secondo accertamento diede lo stesso esito. L’indagine fu eseguita dalla Procura della Repubblica di Palermo ed era mirata a scoprire la presenza di cosiddetti “tombaroli”, o ricettatori o, ancora, collezionisti. La magistratura inquirente palermitana ha dovuto chiedere il consenso della Procura di Modica per il mandato di perquisizione in abitazioni di persone sospettate di detenere materiale di interessante valore archeologico, giacché si è in territorio di competenza della Procura locale. L’altopiano modicano è una zona che “fa gola” agli appassionati anche perché ci sono aree archeologiche di notevole rilievo come Cava Ispica e Baravitalla. Ai due imputati è contestata, in particolare la legge del 2004 sul possesso di materiale di valore storico. I reperti sequestrati si trovano custoditi a Ragusa.

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Roban herencia cultural de cantante de tangos argentino Edmundo Rivero.

Cartas manuscritas de los escritores Jorge Luis Borges y Julio Cortázar, grabaciones inéditas y obras de arte, parte de la herencia del cantante de tangos Edmundo Rivero, fueron robados en Argentina, informó este viernes el hijo del artista fallecido hace 25 años.
El robo ocurrió entre el 29 de enero y el 6 de febrero en una casa de la localidad de Ramos Mejía, periferia oeste de Buenos Aires, donde estaban depositados los bienes, según el relato del hijo, Edmundo ‘Muni’ Rivero, también cantante de tangos.
“Era el patrimonio cultural, que además es un sentimiento del pueblo”, se lamentó.
“Había manuscritos de Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, cartas de los reyes de España y toda la historia del Viejo Almacén”, un tradicional lugar de tango creado por Edmundo Rivero en 1969 y transformado en uno de los atractivos turísticos porteños, describió.
Agregó que “tenía desde bicicletas a retratos de mi padre hechos por (los artistas plásticos Antonio) Berni, (Raúl) Soldi y caricaturas de (Hermenegildo) Sábat. Cuando necesitaba algo pasaba a buscarlo. La casa estaba siempre bien cerrada”.
“De 250 cajas que había, sólo quedan 15”, dijo.
Precisó que la casa había sido prestada por una amiga de su hija y el 29 de enero pasado, un vecino les avisó que un hombre había ingresado y vivía allí, lo que llevó a una denuncia por usurpación.
Una semana más tarde, el vecino advirtió que un camión de mudanzas estaba saliendo y entrando de la casa, y al ir al lugar con la policía sólo pudieron parar el último traslado.
Este año se cumplen 100 años del nacimiento de Rivero, quien murió el 18 de enero de 1986 a los 74 años.

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: books and manuscripts, library theft

The pictures told a thousand stories of horrors and would-be horrors. Special forces soldiers standing guard, fully armed, in the middle of the Egyptian Museum, amidst some of the most treasured legacies of humankind.
Yes, the scenes were from the day after at Cairo’s world-famous home to the treasures of the Pharaohs that was attacked by a mob. The would-be looters broke into the museum while the nation’s attention was riveted on the Tahrir Square protests, ripping the heads of two mummies and damaging some 75 rare artefacts before being stopped by soldiers and apprehended.
I couldn’t control my anger — nor the tears that welled up in my eyes — as I watched on television this vandalism that targeted antiquities that are the envy of the whole world.
The unquestioned doyen of Egypt’s antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass, Director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who was also recently promoted to minister of state, rushed to the scene and reported that despite the damage caused, nothing was missing from the collection and that the prized collection was now safe under military guard.
As an Arab, extremely proud of his heritage, I cried because the incident brought back memories of what had happened in Iraq in 2003 soon after the US-led war to topple Saddam Hussain began, and the more brazen, televised destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.
The sight of looters of Iraq’s Mesopotamian treasures was amazing for George W. Bush at that time, but that did not stop the relentless pillage that followed under the very noses of the American occupation forces. Priceless artefacts have been smuggled out into the international black market, many never likely to be recovered again.
Cairo proves that history shamelessly repeats itself, but not always in the manner predicted or feared. Senseless acts of vandalism, often driven by baseless denial of humanity’s legacy, are not uncommon during social-political turmoils of the kind one has witnessed in Egypt over the past many weeks.
Sometimes lax security and bureaucratic indifference encourage such incidents. Last year, the theft of a Van Gogh painting from a museum in Cairo brought attention to outdated alarm and camera systems and other troubling lapses in security.
Hawass has long campaigned to bring home ancient artefacts spirited out of the country during colonial times. Last month, just before anti-government protests erupted, he formally requested the return of the 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti that has been in a Berlin museum for decades.
Seven sites are classified as World Heritage in Egypt, but there are hundreds of archaeological sites. These are most at risk. As foreign researchers fled the country and neighbourhood fires threatened the Cairo Museum this month, Hawass told Irina Bukova, the Unesco Secretary General, that “all necessary measures have been taken to safeguard the treasures of Egypt, especially in Cairo, Luxor and other historical sites …”
In reality, though, there can be no guarantees in such matters. Revolutions have always led to excesses of ignorance, and the losses of each have proved disastrous to humanity as a whole. During the French Revolution, the revolutionaries destroyed 28 statues of the kings of Israel and Judah that adorned the facade of Notre Dame, because they mistakenly believed they were of the kings of France.

more:

gulfnews : Protecting Pharaonic heritage.

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

CAIRO (Reuters) – Dozens of foreign tourists braved the revolution in Egypt on Sunday to visit the world’s greatest collection of pharaonic treasures and were welcomed with roses, as craftsmen meticulously mended artifacts damaged by looting.
The usually busy galleries of the Egyptian Museum, which houses the golden death mask of boy king Tutankhamun, were virtually deserted when doors opened for the first time since the early days of a revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
“It was very important for us to open the museum to stop the rumors like ‘the mask of King Tutankhamun was stolen’ or there had been an orgy of looting … This is a chance for visitors to see for themselves,” Museum Director Tarek El Awady said.
Egyptian soldiers patrolled inside the galleries.

more:

Egyptian Museum reopens to intrepid tourists | Reuters.

February 21st, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Quatre tableaux volés au musée d’Ajaccio – Europe1.fr – Faits divers.

Quatre tableaux du Palais Fesch, musée des beaux-arts d’Ajaccio, ont disparu après avoir été dérobés par un employé municipal qui les avait subtilisés afin de “faire prévaloir ses droits auprès de la mairie”, a-t-on appris de sources concordantes. Les quatre toiles, un Poussin, un Bellini, un Mariotto di Nardo et un anonyme du XVe siècle, avaient été volées par l’agent du musée dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi dans le but d’inciter la mairie à engager une négociation, notamment au sujet de son logement, a précisé une source proche de l’enquête.

Après une réunion avec des responsables municipaux dans la matinée, l’homme a conduit les enquêteurs à sa voiture dans laquelle il avait dissimulé à l’aube les oeuvres d’art. Mais le véhicule, stationné sur la route qui mène au château de la Punta, à quelques kilomètres d’Ajaccio, avait été fracturé et les tableaux volés. “Ces oeuvres sont répertoriées dans le monde entier et sont invendables”, a expliqué à l’AFP le conservateur du musée Fesch, Philippe Costamagna, qui a invité les malfaiteurs à rendre les tableaux “sans les détruire”. L’enquête a été confiée à la police judiciaire d’Ajaccio.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Museum Sues USA Over Mummy Mask


ST. LOUIS (CN) – The St. Louis Art Museum sued the United States in a fight over the ancient Egyptian mummy Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer. The museum claims it is the rightful owner of the mask, and wants the Department of Homeland Security Secretary and U.S. the Attorney General enjoined from seizing it. 
The United States claims the mask was stolen. 
The mask was found in 1952 and the museum bought it in 1998. Ka-Nefer-Nefer was a noblewoman from Egypt’s 19th dynasty (ca. 1298 – 1187 B.C.). Her mask is of painted and gilded plaster-coated linen over wood.
The museum claims it launched a “months long” investigation of the mask’s origins and found no evidence that it was stolen – it claims that even Egyptian law is on its side.
“The museum conducted a thorough investigation of the mask’s provenance before purchasing the mask,” the complaint states. “The museum’s investigation revealed no evidence that the mask was owned by Egypt under applicable Egyptian law at the time of excavation, that the mask was stolen from Egypt, or that the mask had unlawfully entered the United States.
“Egyptian Law No. 215 on the Protection of Antiquities, the law applicable at the time the mask was discovered and excavated, allowed for personal and private ownership of Egyptian antiquities, provided that antiquities could be sold or gifted and, as such, did not establish ownership of the mask by Egypt.
“The United States government cannot show probable cause the mask was ‘stolen, smuggled, or clandestinely imported or introduced’ into the United States. Accordingly, the United States lacks an evidentiary basis for asserting the mask was stolen pursuant to Egyptian Law No. 215, or seizing and/or causing the forfeiture of the Mask pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1595a.”
Even if the mask was stolen, the museum says, the Tariff Act of 1930’s 5-year statute of limitations has expired.
“As early as December 31, 2005 … the United States government had actual or constructive knowledge the mask was allegedly stolen. … As such, the United States government possessed, more than five years ago, either constructive or actual knowledge sufficient to discover the alleged theft of the Mask from Egypt,” the complaint states. “Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1621, the United States government is time-barred from proceeding against the Museum under the Tariff Act.”
The museum is represented by Jeffrey Simon with Husch Blackwell in Kansas City, Mo. 

via Courthouse News Service.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

THE director of Cairo’s famous Egypt Museum told last night how his quick- ­thinking actions prevented “catastrophe” after the building was stormed by looters – by turning out the lights.

More than 2,000 protesters forced their way into the grounds of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities on January 28, three days after the first protests which led to the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Demonstrators had already set the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party on fire. The building is next to the 120-year-old colonial-style museum, home to more than 120,000 priceless artefacts dating back as far as 2620BC and the reign of Sneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty.

Looters fled with several objects including priceless statues of King ­Tutankhamun and Queen Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh ­Akhenaten, but they did not grab Tutankhamun’s world-famous gold mask.

Mr Tarek El Awady, who has only held his post as the museum’s director general for a few weeks, said: “Next door the NDP building was on fire, and we were already worried because we are only separated by a small garden and a wall. Then they came to us.

“We had never seen anything like this. We were caught totally unprepared and frankly, we were overwhelmed.

“There must have been around 2,000 ­people. Many were pushing, trying to break down the doors, but the doors are made of steel and are strong.”

more:



Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/230114/Trick-that-saved-Egypt-s-treasureTrick-that-saved-Egypt-s-treasure#ixzz1EWQqTsOu

via Express.co.uk – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | World News :: Trick that saved Egypt’s treasure.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

admin20 February 2011

ARCAblog: Ton Cremers Weighs in on the lawsuit by the St. Louis Art Museum on Keeping the Ka-Nefer-Nefer Mask.

On the ARCA blog and for Illicit Cultural Property, Dr. Derek Fincham has written of the legal issues regarding the 3,200 year-old Egyptian mummy mask from a noblewoman at the court of Ramses II that has belonged to the St. Louis Art Museum for more than two decades.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask, with its inlaid glass eyes and shimmering plaster face, has been on display since the museum purchased it in 1998 from a New York art dealer for $499,000, according to Jennifer Mann, reporting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on “stltoday.com” in the article “Art museum sues to keep Egyptian mummy mask.”

Ton Cremers, security consultant, and operator of the website news service, Museum Security Network in The Netherlands, is mentioned in the lawsuit that cites numerous emails Mr. Cremers sent to government officials in 2005 and 2006 call for an investigation, according to Mann.

I reached Mr. Cremers in Rome and he, traveling on with an iPad and without his usual computer, referred us to his response today that he posted on the MSN Google Group:

Ton Cremers: There is NO doubt whatsoever that this mask was stolen from a storage is Saqqara. One does not need to be suprised that the infamous Aboutaam brothers were the ones selling this mask. They are ‘renowned’ for trading in dubious antiquities without any provenance. In this case they just made up a fake provenance: supposedly the mask had been part of a Swiss private collecttion. Yes, Switzerland again….

Anybody who read Peter Watsons’ books, Sotheby’s The Inside Story and The Medici Conspiracy knows that the Swiss route should be distrusted. The Aboutaam fake provenance was very easy to unmask for the Swiss collector mentioned by them in the provenance had never heard about this mask.

According the ICOM deontological code, no museum should keep stolen objects, no matter any legal context. There is a knack in this case: the Saint Louis Art Museum is not a member of ICOM, and apparently does not mind the ICOM ethical code. If they had been an ICOM Member, they should have been thrown out of this organization immediately. It is an outright lie that they performed due diligence when achieving this mask, for they did not.

In my view, Brent Benjamin, the director of the SLAM, is nothing else than an outright buyer of stolen property (yes, I am aware that his predecessor actually bought the mask). His standpoint is that Egypt must prove that the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask was stolen. That is putting the world upside down. One thing is sure beyond any doubt: The mask was not excavated in Missouri.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask must return to Egypt as quickly as possible.

ARCA blog: Is it appropriate to mention your emails in the lawsuit and how will this impact the Museum Security Network?

Ton Cremers: I really do not know who quoted my 2005 – 2008 messages about the Ka Nefer Nefer mask in the present law suit. As far as I am concerned there is no objection against using my messages since all of these have been sent publicly. Using these messages will not have any impact on the Museum Security Network. At least not any negative impact. It really shows that the MSN is regarded as a very serious factor in the struggle against illicit trade in cultural goods.

ARCA blog: You altruistically provided a free service for disseminating information about stolen art, security, conservation, and looted antiquities on an international basis for years. Yet you stopped feeding your subscribers information a few days ago. Can you tell us what is going on?

Ton Cremers: I have not updated the MSN site since last Saturday. The sole reason being my visit to Rome without my laptop just for once.

Bron: ARCAblog: Ton Cremers Weighs in on the lawsuit by the St. Louis Art Museum on Keeping the Ka-Nefer-Nefer Mask | Museumbeveiliging Museum Security

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Geen categorie

Kandinsky, forgery and Israeli connection – Israel Culture, Ynetnews.

Did a talented Israeli gang manage to create a pseudo-new work of art by world renowned Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, present it at a museum in Moscow without the con being exposed and then nearly sell it at an astounding price to an Italian collector?

Annual sale of Israeli and Jewish art yields $3.4 million; Yaakov Agam painting sold for $698,000

A few months ago, three Italians met with a wealthy art loving businessman in Milano Italy and offered him the chance to purchase an unknown painting by Kandinsky called ‘K19’ which was supposedly painted in 1919. Kandinsky is one of the 20th century’s (1866-1944) most famed Russian painters. His paintings include ‘The Blue Rider’ and ‘Composition 8’.

The businessman was excited about the painting and even agreed to pay €3 million ($4.09 million) for it. But his growing fears that the painting was a forgery led him to approach the authorities.

The Milano police department launched an investigation during which they discovered that the painting wasn’t a forgery of an existing Kandinsky, rather a painting he had never created.

Milano police believe that the gang members ordered the painting in 2008 from an Israeli artist of Russian origin who created the work of art in the style of Kandinsky’s work. So far, three Italians and three Germans have been arrested over the affair. Milano police suspect that in addition to the man responsible for the forgery, two additional Israelis are involved in the con.

The investigation revealed that this is the work of a sophisticated gang: After the fake work of art was completed, it was displayed in a Moscow museum without the museum’s management noticing that they had a forgery in their midst.

It was then exhibited in a German gallery where the gang had another trick up their sleeve: They purchased the painting from the gallery and only then did they approach the Italian businessman.

Apparently the Israeli forger is more than just a con-artist: It took art experts in Paris three months to be convinced that the painting was in fact, a forgery.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

Looted pharaoh statue found by Cairo teenager | RFI.

A 16-year-old Cairo protester found a priceless statue of  Pharoah Akhenaten near a trash can after the Egyptian museum had been looted during anti-regime demonstrations, Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Thursday. The teen found the statue near a rubbish bin in Tahrir Square.

The youth took the statue home and his uncle, Sabri Abdelrahman, a professor at the

American University in Cairo, recognised the piece and returned it to museum officials, said Hawass.
“The statue is one of the most beautiful statues of Akhenaten, which highlights the skill of Egyptian artists at the time,” said Egyptian Museum director Tarek al-Awadi.

The statue is being restored before going back on display in the museum. Last year, Akhenaten was determined – via DNA – to be the father of King Tutankhamun.

The museum was looted and several antiquities were stolen last month, including statues of King Tutankhamun and Pharoah Akhenaten.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

De verhouding tussen Macedoniërs en Albanezen in Macedonië heeft een nieuw dieptepunt bereikt. Het afgelopen weekeinde vielen er acht gewonden bij vechtpartijen in deKale, een fort op een heuvel in de hoofdstad Skopje. Vandaag dreigen opnieuw vechtpartijen.

Twistappel is de bouw van een museum op de fundamenten van een middeleeuwse kerk in het fort. Het Bureau ter Bescherming van Cultureel Erfgoed wil daarin voorwerpen tentoonstellen die in het eeuwenoude fort zijn opgegraven. Het museum krijgt de vorm van een christelijk-orthodoxe kerk. Veruit de meeste slavische Macedoniërs zijn orthodox.

De overwegend islamitische Albanezen, volgens de volkstelling van 2002 ongeveer een kwart van de twee miljoen zielen tellende bevolking, beschouwen de vormgeving van het museum als een provocatie. Zij zien er een bewijs in dat de Macedoniërs het land exclusief christelijk willen maken. Zij eisen dat er ook een moskee in de Kale wordt gebouwd.

meer:

via NOS Nieuws – Strijd in Macedonië om museum.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

HENGELO – Surveillerende agenten hebben vrijdag in alle vroegte in de Beekstraat twee mannen aangehouden wegens diefstal van koper.

De twee Bornenaren, 20 en 21 jaar, waren bezig bij het Historisch Museum. Twee bliksemafleiders waren doorgeknipt en gedeeltelijk verdwenen. In de kofferbak van hun auto lagen stukken koper, een bliksemafleider, stukken regenpijp en inbrekersgereedschap.

Ook de bestrating was opgebroken.

via Strop voor Historisch Museum – Midden Twente – Regio – TC Tubantia.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

French art-dealing family the Wildensteins – latimes.com.

In art circles, the Wildenstein family is royalty, a wealthy, powerful dynasty whose name is almost as famous as the celebrated masterpieces it owns. The Wildenstein collection, amassed over the last 140 years, is, say experts, an “Aladdin’s Cave,” boasting 10,000 works by distinguished Old Masters and Impressionists, including Cézanne, Renoir, Manet, Monet and Van Gogh, to name a few.

Such is the magnitude of this treasure trove, dotted around the globe in Paris, London, New York, Buenos Aires and Tokyo, that few outside the family know exactly what it contains. Even the current dynasty head, Guy Wildenstein, son of Daniel Wildenstein the celebrated racehorse owner and one of the 20th century’s most successful prolific art dealers and collectors, might be forgiven for not knowing the full inventory by heart.

That in any case was the nub of his response this month after police raided his Paris art institute and found masterpieces that had been reported stolen or missing. Detectives removed 30 suspect works from a secure storeroom said to have been piled floor to ceiling with sculptures and paintings.

The news sent shock waves through the art world, which operates on credibility and trust. “Until now people in the business wouldn’t say anything because the Wildenstein family is so powerful,” said one Paris gallery owner, who wanted to remain anonymous. “If you wanted a painting authenticated you often took it to them. Plus, they had influence. I can see a lot of personal scores being settled in the next few months.”

Guy Wildenstein certainly counts friends in high places; President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose ruling center-right UMP party Wildenstein co-founded, calls him “mon ami Guy” and gave him the prestigious Legion d’Honneur, and Prince Charles is godfather to one of his children.

But it is not the first time the Wildensteins have come under scrutiny; the family has never entirely shaken off claims of links with looted Nazi art, and in a separate issue, Guy is facing several lawsuits over his father’s estate. It was while investigating accusations that Guy and his late brother Alec had squirreled away part of the family fortune in offshore trusts that police photographed works in a storeroom at the Wildenstein Institute in Paris’ wealthy 8th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the UMP headquarters.

On closer examination of the photographs, anti-trafficking experts discovered that 30 of the works were listed missing or stolen, including “La Chaumière en Normandie” (The Cottage in Normandy) by French impressionist Berthe Morisot valued at around $1.1 million, bronzes by Rembrandt Bugatti and drawings by Edgar Degas. They had allegedly disappeared, along with others, from the homes of two deceased collectors whose estates were executed by the Wildensteins. Relatives have now lodged lawsuits against unnamed persons for “theft and concealment.”

If the name Wildenstein conjures up a refined world of culture, in less highbrow circles it represents the madness of vanity and the perils of cosmetic surgery, illustrated by Jocelyn “Bride of” Wildenstein, once married to Alec. She spent about $4 million having her face remodeled reportedly to look “more feline” to keep her cat-loving husband. It did not work. The couple divorced in 1999 after Jocelyn discovered Alec in bed with a 19-year-old blond Russian.

The family business, Wildenstein and Co., was founded in the 1870s when Guy’s great-grandfather Nathan Wildenstein, a tie manufacturer, opened a gallery in Paris. By the turn of the 20th century he was considered one of Europe’s preeminent art dealers and in 1903 opened a gallery in New York, today the company’s main base. His son Georges, who inherited the business in 1934, fled to America during the Second World War, but the Paris gallery remained open, leading to allegations that the family had dealt in Nazi-looted art, which the Wildensteins have always denied.

On Georges’ death in 1963, the firm passed to Daniel, who used to sit for portraits by Picasso, a family friend. He opened branches in London and Tokyo as well as the Wildenstein Institute, a research center aimed at promoting knowledge of French art. After Daniel died in 2001, his second wife, Sylvia, claimed her stepsons had tricked her into signing away her inheritance and had hidden much of the family fortune in offshore trusts. The existence of the trusts was accepted by a French court last June.

“My two stepsons told me my husband was ruined and I had to give up my inheritance or risk having major problems with the taxman in France,” said Sylvia, who spent a decade trying to establish the whereabouts of the family fortune before her death in December. “I believed them,” she told a French newspaper.

Far from being bankrupt, Daniel Wildenstein is thought to have left a multi-billion-dollar fortune, including thousands of artworks and a 75,000-acre farm in Kenya where the movie “Out of Africa” was filmed.

Sylvia’s lawyer Claude Dumont-Beghi lodged a lawsuit for forgery, breach of trust, tax evasion and money laundering with French state prosecutors in September, provoking a criminal investigation into the Wildenstein family affairs. There are now six lawsuits involving three judges and several police units on the Wildenstein’s case.

Guy Wildenstein’s Paris lawyers refused to comment, but he sent Le Point magazine a written denial stating he had no idea the Bugatti bronze was in the institute’s safe. He denied having any “missing or stolen” works and said he was “astonished” by the allegations against him.

Lawyer Dumont-Beghi, who has spent seven years on the trail of the Wildenstein fortune, is skeptical. “They [the Wildensteins] know they’re in a lot of deep trouble. They thought they controlled the art world because they were so powerful. They thought they had political friends in high places and were protected by Sarkozy. They thought they were above all this. Now the world is exploding around their ears,” she told The Times.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Geplaatst: 15 februari 2011

plaatje: bulletDieven hebben vorige week toegeslagen op begraafplaats Zuylen in Breda, dat meldt Hart van Nederland. Drie bronzen beelden verdwenen van de begraafplaats.

Volgens Hart van Nederland gaat het om twee engelen en een Mariabeeld. De beelden stonden vast op twee grafstenen en zijn er met grof geweld vanaf gehaald. De diefstal werd afgelopen donderdag ontdekt.

via www.uitvaart.nl . . . . . Nieuws.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

AMSTERDAM – Een galerie in Amsterdam betaalt 50.000 euro aan degene die met bewijzen komt dat werken van kunstenaar Anton Heyboer uit de periode 1952 tot en met 1960 die te koop worden aangeboden, niet door de kunstenaar zelf geëtst, gedrukt of gemaakt zijn.

Dat heeft een woordvoerder van de Anton Heyboer Winkel vandaag laten weten.

De galerie verkoopt al veertig jaar werken van Heyboer (1924-2005). Een paar jaar geleden kreeg de winkel een groot aantal werken in bezit die in de jaren vijftig zijn gemaakt. Ze waren afkomstig van een vriend van Heyboer, die in 1998 stierf.

meer:

via 50.000 euro voor tip Heyboervervalsingen – Kunst.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: vervalsing

Een beeldje van farao Echnaton dat van onschatbare waarde is en vorige maand in het Egyptisch Museum in Kaïro gestolen werd, is teruggevonden, zo heeft het hoofd van de dienst voor Egyptische antiquiteiten donderdag gezegd. Een adolescent vond het beeld bij een vuilnisbak en overhandigde het aan de autoriteiten.Terwijl in de buurt de volksopstand woedde, slaagden dieven erin verscheidene waardevolle stukken te roven uit het wereldwijd gerenommeerde museum dat aan de Egyptische oudheid is gewijd. Een 16-jarige betoger vond het standbeeld van Echnaton bij een vuilnisbak op het Tahrirplein, zei Zahi Hawass. Het plein was het epicentrum van de betogingen die president Hosni Moebarak van de macht verdreven. Het beeld, volgens Hawass een van de mooiste die van Echnaton bestaan, zal gerestaureerd worden voordat het weer tentoongesteld wordt. De farao heerste ongeveer 3.400 jaar geleden over Egypte. DNA-analyses op mummies toonden vorig jaar aan dat hij de vader van Toetanchamon was. Er werden nog andere voorwerpen teruggevonden die uit het museum gestolen werden, maar een beeld van Toetanchamon met een harp, een beeld van Nefertete en nog andere voorwerpen zijn spoorloos. (MUA)

via Egypte: tiener vindt gestolen beeld van farao Echnaton bij vuilnisbak.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

John Picton has re-opened discussion on the status of the Benin bronzes, ivories and other artworks that were seized as plunder when a British ‘punitive expedition’ occupied Benin City in 1897 (http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theartnewspaper.com%2Farticles%2FCompromise-negotiate-support%2F23003&h=80574). The expedition had been dispatched to enforce a treaty signed five years earlier in 1892 by British vice-consul Henry Gallwey and Oba Ovonramwen of Benin that had incorporated Benin into the British Empire. The artworks were subsequently sold to help defray the costs of the expedition, and are now dispersed in collections and museums worldwide.

read full text at http://www.museum-security.org/brodie_benin_2011.pdf

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

ARCAblog: Ton Cremers Weighs in on the lawsuit by the St. Louis Art Museum on Keeping the Ka-Nefer-Nefer Mask.

On the ARCA blog and for Illicit Cultural Property, Dr. Derek Fincham has written of the legal issues regarding the 3,200 year-old Egyptian mummy mask from a noblewoman at the court of Ramses II that has belonged to the St. Louis Art Museum for more than two decades.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask, with its inlaid glass eyes and shimmering plaster face, has been on display since the museum purchased it in 1998 from a New York art dealer for $499,000, according to Jennifer Mann, reporting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on “stltoday.com” in the article “Art museum sues to keep Egyptian mummy mask.”

Ton Cremers, security consultant, and operator of the website news service, Museum Security Network in The Netherlands, is mentioned in the lawsuit that cites numerous emails Mr. Cremers sent to government officials in 2005 and 2006 call for an investigation, according to Mann.

I reached Mr. Cremers in Rome and he, traveling on with an iPad and without his usual computer, referred us to his response today that he posted on the MSN Google Group:

Ton Cremers: There is NO doubt whatsoever that this mask was stolen from a storage is Saqqara. One does not need to be suprised that the infamous Aboutaam brothers were the ones selling this mask. They are ‘renowned’ for trading in dubious antiquities without any provenance. In this case they just made up a fake provenance: supposedly the mask had been part of a Swiss private collecttion. Yes, Switzerland again….

Anybody who read Peter Watsons’ books, Sotheby’s The Inside Story and The Medici Conspiracy knows that the Swiss route should be distrusted. The Aboutaam fake provenance was very easy to unmask for the Swiss collector mentioned by them in the provenance had never heard about this mask.

According the ICOM deontological code, no museum should keep stolen objects, no matter any legal context. There is a knack in this case: the Saint Louis Art Museum is not a member of ICOM, and apparently does not mind the ICOM ethical code. If they had been an ICOM Member, they should have been thrown out of this organization immediately. It is an outright lie that they performed due diligence when achieving this mask, for they did not.

In my view, Brent Benjamin, the director of the SLAM, is nothing else than an outright buyer of stolen property (yes, I am aware that his predecessor actually bought the mask). His standpoint is that Egypt must prove that the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask was stolen. That is putting the world upside down. One thing is sure beyond any doubt: The mask was not excavated in Missouri.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask must return to Egypt as quickly as possible.

ARCA blog: Is it appropriate to mention your emails in the lawsuit and how will this impact the Museum Security Network?

Ton Cremers: I really do not know who quoted my 2005 – 2008 messages about the Ka Nefer Nefer mask in the present law suit. As far as I am concerned there is no objection against using my messages since all of these have been sent publicly. Using these messages will not have any impact on the Museum Security Network. At least not any negative impact. It really shows that the MSN is regarded as a very serious factor in the struggle against illicit trade in cultural goods.

ARCA blog: You altruistically provided a free service for disseminating information about stolen art, security, conservation, and looted antiquities on an international basis for years. Yet you stopped feeding your subscribers information a few days ago. Can you tell us what is going on?

Ton Cremers: I have not updated the MSN site since last Saturday. The sole reason being my visit to Rome without my laptop just for once.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

ARCAblog: Ton Cremers Weighs in on the lawsuit by the St. Louis Art Museum on Keeping the Ka-Nefer-Nefer Mask.

On the ARCA blog and for Illicit Cultural Property, Dr. Derek Fincham has written of the legal issues regarding the 3,200 year-old Egyptian mummy mask from a noblewoman at the court of Ramses II that has belonged to the St. Louis Art Museum for more than two decades.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask, with its inlaid glass eyes and shimmering plaster face, has been on display since the museum purchased it in 1998 from a New York art dealer for $499,000, according to Jennifer Mann, reporting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on “stltoday.com” in the article “Art museum sues to keep Egyptian mummy mask.”

Ton Cremers, security consultant, and operator of the website news service, Museum Security Network in The Netherlands, is mentioned in the lawsuit that cites numerous emails Mr. Cremers sent to government officials in 2005 and 2006 call for an investigation, according to Mann.

I reached Mr. Cremers in Rome and he, traveling on with an iPad and without his usual computer, referred us to his response today that he posted on the MSN Google Group:

Ton Cremers: There is NO doubt whatsoever that this mask was stolen from a storage is Saqqara. One does not need to be suprised that the infamous Aboutaam brothers were the ones selling this mask. They are ‘renowned’ for trading in dubious antiquities without any provenance. In this case they just made up a fake provenance: supposedly the mask had been part of a Swiss private collecttion. Yes, Switzerland again….

Anybody who read Peter Watsons’ books, Sotheby’s The Inside Story and The Medici Conspiracy knows that the Swiss route should be distrusted. The Aboutaam fake provenance was very easy to unmask for the Swiss collector mentioned by them in the provenance had never heard about this mask.

According the ICOM deontological code, no museum should keep stolen objects, no matter any legal context. There is a knack in this case: the Saint Louis Art Museum is not a member of ICOM, and apparently does not mind the ICOM ethical code. If they had been an ICOM Member, they should have been thrown out of this organization immediately. It is an outright lie that they performed due diligence when achieving this mask, for they did not.

In my view, Brent Benjamin, the director of the SLAM, is nothing else than an outright buyer of stolen property (yes, I am aware that his predecessor actually bought the mask). His standpoint is that Egypt must prove that the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask was stolen. That is putting the world upside down. One thing is sure beyond any doubt: The mask was not excavated in Missouri.

The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask must return to Egypt as quickly as possible.

ARCA blog: Is it appropriate to mention your emails in the lawsuit and how will this impact the Museum Security Network?

Ton Cremers: I really do not know who quoted my 2005 – 2008 messages about the Ka Nefer Nefer mask in the present law suit. As far as I am concerned there is no objection against using my messages since all of these have been sent publicly. Using these messages will not have any impact on the Museum Security Network. At least not any negative impact. It really shows that the MSN is regarded as a very serious factor in the struggle against illicit trade in cultural goods.

ARCA blog: You altruistically provided a free service for disseminating information about stolen art, security, conservation, and looted antiquities on an international basis for years. Yet you stopped feeding your subscribers information a few days ago. Can you tell us what is going on?

Ton Cremers: I have not updated the MSN site since last Saturday. The sole reason being my visit to Rome without my laptop just for once.

February 20th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

Tunisie-Culture: Trafic d’objets archéologiques et d’oeuvres d’art.

Culture-Tunisie – Après notre article «Qu’est devenue Carthage» paru sur ces colonnes, le 28 janvier dernier, nous revenons sur le sujet et sur les innombrables objets archéologiques qui ont été dérobés et rassemblés dans des maisons appartenant à l’ancienne famille régnante. Le trafic des pièces archéologiques est devenu, en effet, une activité fructueuse au profit des membres de la famille Trabelsi…

Le trafic avait fait, dans les années 90, l’objet d’une guerre de clans de trafiquants entre des membres d’une famille connue pour ce genre d’activité et les Trabelsi. Ces derniers ont fini par avoir le dessus en éliminant les premiers et tous les éléments qui en faisaient partie… les rabatteurs et les vendeurs locaux surtout de Carthage, de la région de Kairouan, de Sousse, de Kasserine et d’El Jem.

Cette élimination a été réalisée à travers des jugements condamnant les rabatteurs et les petits trafiquants arrêtés. L’instruction de ces délits fut préparée, pour une fois d’une manière technique, utilisant les moyens modernes (photographies téléphoniques…) et l’assistance de la police «Interpol» qui ont abouti, depuis l’arrivée de trafiquants anglais à l’aéroport de Tunis-Carthage à identifier les opérateurs étrangers d’origine irakienne travaillant pour des grands commerçants d’antiquités, de Londres surtout. Le piège dressé par une cellule spéciale de la Garde nationale de lutte contre le trafic des produits archéologiques et autres a été fructueux.

Le contact tunisien de ces trafiquants irako-anglais a accueilli le groupe et l’a accompagné sur le parcours Kairouan, Kasserine, El Jem…

L’identification des opérateurs impliqués a été réalisée et a permis de reconnaître ceux qui furent contactés.

Aucun chercheur, aucun administrateur du patrimoine ne fut impliqué dans le trafic. Ceux qui furent réellement impliqués sont des contremaîtres des gardiens de sites archéologiques, comme celui de Makthar ou de commerçants d’objets archéologiques de Carthage, des régions d’El Jem ou des environs de Kairouan dont plusieurs furent arrêtés. Une instruction à leur égard fut ouverte. Certains ont été libérés, d’autres ont été maintenus en détention.

Les objets saisis ont concerné des pièces de monnaie romaines ou byzantines, des éléments architectoniques colonnes, frises, épigraphies… Des sculptures sous forme de buste ou des sculptures acéphales… des éléments de mosaïque romaine, etc.

Ces pièces saisies ne sont que quelques éléments qui ressemblent à un iceberg dont la partie immergée est la plus importante et qui est restée cachée.

Juste au moment où l’on a découvert le trafic «anglais», des milliers de pièces de toutes les époques de notre histoire ont été transférées à l’étranger, acheminées par le clan Trabelsi et vendues très cher.

Les mosaïques romaines ont également disparu après avoir été découvertes grâce à des fouilles clandestines ou fortuites réalisées par des chercheurs de trésors…

Ces mosaïques figuratives, quelquefois très suggestives, à seins nus ou géométriques, ont été également vendues. D’autres de la période coloniale ont disparu de l’Office de cartographie et de topographie à Lafayette ainsi que celle de la maison de la culture Ibn-Khaldoun.

Des stèles romaines (latines), des sculptures en buste ou en rond de bosse, des sculptures complètes ou acéphales furent vendues. Des milliers de pièces comme des lampes de toutes les époques furent acheminées elles aussi à l’étranger.

Les objets de la période coloniale connurent un succès auprès des trafiquants tout comme toutes les sculptures en fonte ou à valeur liturgique.

Des réalisations également en céramique comme celle de la fresque de l’ex-restaurant «Le Bagdad» sur l’avenue Habib-Bourguiba et signée Chemla qui a pris le chemin des USA.

La peinture coloniale ou orientaliste a subi le même traitement de vol et de vente dans les cabinets et salles d’enchères françaises et européennes.

Des tableaux de Roubtzoff, de Yahia Turki, de Ammar Farhat, etc. ont été subtilisés de la collection nationale et vendus par des spécialistes du trafic, d’Å”uvres d’art authentiques et…fausses.

Voilà une idée de ce que notre patrimoine a subi comme vol et destruction.

Il reste que ce trafic n’est pas destiné au marché national, mais essentiellement dirigé vers le marché international, souvent «gourmand» en objets autant antiques que contemporains.

Si, pendant les années 90, les produits en question sortaient de Tunisie (Hammamet, surtout) par voie maritime et les hors-bords, à partir du début du nouveau siècle, ils regagnaient l’Europe surtout par voie aérienne. Les trafiquants pouvaient réaliser leur «commerce», puisqu’ils étaient au-dessus des lois et disposaient d’avions que personne ne contrôlait.

Voilà une idée sur une partie de ce qu’a subi notre patrimoine qu’il s’agit désormais de préserver, de mettre en valeur, tout en essayant de récupérer ce qu’on peut recouvrer.

February 19th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

The State News :: Police Brief 02/18/11.

A 38-year-old male museum employee reported a stuffed two-toed anteater was stolen from the MSU Museum,MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.

The anteater was stolen between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1 during museum business hours, McGlothian-Taylor said.

The anteater was taken from the rain forest exhibit on the second floor of the MSU Museum and was described as being 15 inches long and gold in color.

There is no set value for the anteater, but the MSU Museum would like to have it back.

There are no suspects at this time, and the incident is under investigation. If anyone has information they can call the MSU police at (517) 355-2221 or the MSU Museum at (517) 355-2373.

February 19th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Antiquities found in homes of deposed Tunisian president’s family | The Art Newspaper.

A news clip from Al Arabiya reveals ancient statues perched next to the swimming pool in the oceanfront villa of Ben Ali’s daughter, Sakhr El Matri
TUNIS. Artefacts and antiquities from Tunisia’s major museums have been found in the recently abandonned homes of deposed autocratic president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali following the political uprising in the north African country.
Ben Ali and his family fled Tunisia on 14 January after street demonstrations against his 23-year autocratic rule ripped through the country. They have subsequently sought refuge in Saudi Arabia. Just prior to their departure, Ben Ali’s wife, Leila, is reported to have taken one and a half tonnes of gold, valued at $56m. Representatives of the country’s central bank have denied its removal.
The European Union voted to freeze the assets of the ousted Ben Ali. The uprising, dubbed the Jasmine Revolution, was sparked by a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire after authorities confiscated his produce. He has since died from his wounds.
Many of the artefacts and antiquities confiscated by the Ben Alis originally came from the Bardo Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics. According to Samir Aounallah, the Tunisian museums committee president, Leila Ben Ali used museum artefacts, including mosaics and frescoes, to decorate the family’s villas.
Archaeological sites have also been affected. “I have accredited sources that have said sites in Cap Bon had objects taken from them by the Ben Ali clan,” said Aounallah. Although the director was not sure whether these pieces had been returned to their rightful owners, he did point out that a significant amount of “objects found in the villas of the Ben Ali clan have now been put back in their rightful collections.”
According to Julien Anfruns, the director general of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), several international archaeologists and curators are currently in Tunisia surveying potential damage to objects as well as drawing up revised inventories for the country’s museums. Despite the violence, which according to a United Nations mission saw 219 people killed and 510 injured, museums have for the most part remained well protected. “People there are very understanding of the importance of the preservation of these museums,” said Anfruns.
In 2010, ICOM initiated a training program for the north Africa region that aims to teach locals how to protect institutions in emergency situations, improve capacity building for museums as well as how to curb the illicit trafficking of art. The first such session took place in Tunisia last year. Although Anfruns maintained that ICOM remains “very cautious” about the political situation in Tunisia, the 2011 edition of the program has not yet been cancelled.
Evidence of pillaging by the Ben Alis has been well documented on several news channels, including one segment that aired on the Middle East-based Al Arabiya in January. The clip shows the home of Ben Ali’s daughter, Sakhr El Matri, revealing antiquities and ancient statues perched in the foyer and next to the swimming pool of her oceanfront villa. In the aftermath of the uprising, crowds reportedly descended upon several of the Ben Ali houses to tour the premises. A handful of the sprawling properties’ walls were tagged with graffiti including one that read: “This property is now a national museum for the Tunisian people.”
During the uprising several artists staged protests. One demonstration on 11 January was violently disbanded by the police, said Tunisia-based artist and eyewitness to the event, Olfa Jegham. On 17 January several artists created the “collective of free artists”. According to Jegham, the collective meets regularly “to address the importance of culture and freedom of expression.” Prior to Ben Ali’s exile, laws in the country forbade the public gathering of more than 10 people at a time. Censorship was also widely prevalent under his rule. “We suffered repression in various forms,” said Jegham. “It took a young Tunisian to kill himself in an expression of his opposition to the former regime to have the people open their eyes and furiously demand their rights for a true democracy.”
While the protests raged, nearly all contemporary art galleries in the capital were closed. They have since reopened, said Lilia Ben Salah, the owner of the Tunisian Galerie El Marsa. While normal life is returnig to Tunisia, Ben Salah said she hopes “the art community will seize on this new era in order to make real change.” Adding: “We have to act fast to be able to preserve what we just acquired. We do not want to lose this.”

February 18th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

The recent theft of four works on paper by William Kentridge from the David Krut Gallery has shaken the South African art world, proving once again that the high price art attracts provides encouragement for a roguish and daring criminal element.

Last weekend, on a sunny Saturday morning, Taryn Hackket was going about her managerial duties at the David Krut Gallery on Jan Smuts when a curious couple entered the gallery. Also in attendance was David Krut himself, conducting business with a colleague.

With the dimensions of the rectangular gallery measuring approximately 8m x 25m, the presence of people could hardly go unnoticed. Yet with their backs turned for what Hackett describes as an instant, the couple allegedly managed to lift and conceal four small editioned works from a print cabinet near the back of the gallery.

With her suspicion aroused by the faint whisper of archival tissue paper, Hackett turned her attention back to the couple as they walked calmly to the door and watched as they casually smoked a cigarette just up the street.

In a seemingly unrelated case, four different prints, also by Kentridge and still registered in David Krut’s inventory, were discovered at a Pretoria auction house.

more:

Spike in art theft creates ugly picture – Newspaper – Mail.

February 18th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Egyptian Archeological Sites Were Looted, Says Antiquities Minister – NYTimes.com.

Important archeological sites in Egypt were looted during the antigovernment protests, Egypt’s antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, wrote on his blog on Thursday. The announcement contradicted earlier statements by Mr. Hawass that Egypt’s archeological sites were safe. Mr. Hawass wrote that tombs at Saqqara and Abusir and storage buildings at Saqqara and at Cairo University, among other sites, had been broken into. He added that he had formed a committee to determine and report on what objects were missing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hawass’s long-running campaign to repatriate Egyptian antiquities is making legal waves in the United States. The Saint Louis Art Museum filed suit this week in an effort to prevent the United States attorney’s office in St. Louis from seizing a 3,200-year-old funerary mask that Mr. Hawass has claimed was stolen from Egypt, the blog Looting Matters reported. In its suit, the museum said that the American government had not gathered sufficient evidence that the mask was stolen, and that the statute of limitations had run out on the government’s right to seize the mask. The mask was discovered in Saqqara in 1952 by an Egyptian excavator, and Mr. Hawass has said that it was stolen sometime after 1959, when it was registered as stored at Saqqara. The Saint Louis Art Museum bought the mask in 1998, for about $500,000, from Phoenix Ancient Art, an antiquities dealership owned by the brothers Hicham and Ali Aboutaam. Since that time, Hicham Aboutaam has been convicted in New York of falsifying customs documents (for another object), and an Egyptian court has convicted Ali Aboutaam in absentia of smuggling and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. According to the museum’s complaint, the assistant attorneys from the United States attorney’s office in St. Louis held a meeting about the mask on Jan. 13, in which they announced their intention to seize it.

February 18th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues: Cairo Museum: The Press see the Restored Museum.

February 18th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Minister of State for Antiquity Affairs, said today that tombs in Saqqara and Abusir and storage areas in Saqqara and other archaeological sites had been broken into during the recent political turmoil in the country. There had also been reports of illegal excavations and land invasion, he added.

His statement confirms numerous reports from unoffcial sources, including archaeologists, that Saqqara and other sites were looted or damaged during the disruption of the country’s administration.

“The tomb of Hetep-Ka, in Saqqara, was broken into, and the false door was stolen along with objects stored in the tomb,” Hawass said in a statement distributed to the media by the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs. “In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Re-Hotep.”

more:

Egypt Confirms Looting, Vandalism of Saqqara and Other Antiquity Sites – NatGeo News Watch.

February 17th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hungary has responded to the complaint filed against it and its museums for artworks looted from the Herzog family with an attempt to avoid a review of the merits of the family’s complaint by the U.S. District Court. Without denying the family’s assertion that it never voluntarily parted with its art collection, Hungary would have the court dismiss the lawsuit on technical grounds and a wholly false assertion, already rejected by the Hungarian Supreme Court, that the claim was settled by the U.S. government and also that compensation was paid to the family.

“The U.S. is not a communist or post communist country”

Hungary agreed with 47 other nations in 2009 at an international conference on Holocaust looted property that claims should be decided on the merits and not on technical grounds such as those it has now raised in court. Although Hungary relinquished any right to property from Holocaust victims in its 1947 Peace Treaty with the Allies following World War II, it has never honored its agreement to return the property to the Jews from whom it was stolen, such as the Herzog family. Hungary, following the examples of Russia and Poland, continues to refuse to honor its obligations under international law and restitute art looted from Jews in the course of Hungary’s attempt at their genocide, which was declared a crime against humanity by the charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Michael Shuster, counsel to the Herzog family, will urge the court to reach an independent decision on the merits of the family’s claim and disregard the technical roadblocks once more being raised by Hungary.

“The U.S. is not a communist or post communist country,” said Shuster. “The Hungarian government must justify its looting from the Jews that it murdered and not hide behind a wall of lies. Other countries, such as Austria, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Great Britain, refuse to allow technical arguments to defeat claims for restitution. Hungary, now holding the Presidency of the European Union, should comply with its ethical and legal obligations and honor its commitments to the resolutions of the European Council, the Washington Principles, and the Terezin Declaration.”

Heirs to the Herzog Collection filed suit in July 2010 to seek the return of artworks illegally held by Hungary since the Holocaust. In their lawsuit, the heirs also demand a full and transparent inventory of looted art from the Herzog Collection held by Hungary. The lawsuit seeks the return of over 40 artworks with a combined value of over $100 million, including masterworks by El Greco, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. The works come from the collection of Baron Mór Lipót Herzog, a passionate Jewish art collector. Hungary, a WWII-era ally of Nazi Germany, has held the artworks since the genocide of its Jewish population and continues to circumvent justice by refusing to restitute the artworks.

Additional materials, including a copy of the publicly filed complaint and photos of the artwork are available online at http://www.hungarylootedart.com/.

via Hungary’s Response to Herzog Collection Lawsuit Avoids the Case’s Merits | Business Wire.

February 17th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 17th, 2011

Posted In: library theft

CBP Officers at Newark Liberty Airport Discover Stolen Chinese Antiquities – The Paramus Post – News and Lifestyle Webzine.

U.S.Customs and Border Protection Officers at Newark Liberty Airport seize ancient Chinese antiquities with a value of approximately $250,000.
A team of Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) discover and seize five Chinese cultural antiquities; estimated to be 1,500 to 2000 years old.

On October 28th2010, CBP officers and HSI agents seized a sandstone Buddha bust which is believed to derive from the time of the Northern Qi Dynasty. This seizure is one of five which have been made over the past months that included: two terracotta horses with riders from the Northern Wei Dynasty, one Bodhisattva head sculpture from the Song Dynasty and one limestone standing Buddha from the Northern Qi Dynasty. Since January of 2009, the United States has been working with the Chinese government to intercept and stem the illegal trade of archaeological materials; ensuring that these items are repatriated to the people of China.

“The illicit trade of cultural antiquities is one that effects us all,” stated Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations, New York Field Office. “CBP is dedicated to intercepting these items and ensuring their safe return to their rightful owners.”

The estimated commercial value of the items seized is approximately $250,000.

February 17th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Is Indiana Jones the next victim of Egypt’s revolution? – CSMonitor.com.

The unpopularity of Zahi Hawass, a man who controlled access to Egypt’s ancient artifacts the way Mubarak controlled politics, hints at the political battles to come in the unfolding Egypt revolution.

In this 2006 photo, Zahi Hawass, then chief of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and expedition leader, stands in the entrance of recently discovered 4,200-year-old tombs for dentists who served the nobility of the 5th dynasty, at the Saqarra pyramid complex south of Cairo, Egypt.

By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / February 14, 2011

Cairo
A few days ago, in the shadow of the great Pyramids at Giza, the Egyptian monuments that draw millions of tourists to visit Egypt every year, the opinion among workers on the lower rungs of the economy was unanimous: The big man had to go.

Skip to next paragraph
Dan Murphy
Dan Murphy, who has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and more than a dozen other countries, writes and edits Backchannels. The focus? War and international relations, leaning toward things Middle East.

No, they weren’t talking about Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian dictator chased from power last Friday. On the president, opinions were mixed. But the answer to the question “what would you most like to see changed about the regime” could be boiled down to two words: Zahi Hawass.

Mr. Hawass, who has run Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities since 2002, is the gatekeeper to Egyptology, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence (a lucrative perch) since 2001, whose rise in Egypt was at least partially sponsored by Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the ousted leader. With his Indiana Jones-inspired hat and patter about the “mysteries of ancient Egypt,” he’s become something of a global star in the past decade.

And today, he was besieged by a few hundred employees of the council and unemployed archeology graduates, demanding better pay and jobs. Hawass, a larger-than-life figure resented by other Egyptologists for the tight grip he exercises over access to Egypt’s monuments (I’ve met a few foreign archeologists over the years who claimed he refused to issue permits because their theories did not square with his own) is a reminder of how much of theancien regime remains after Mubarak’s ouster.

To the men who rent camels to tourists and run unlicensed guide services for foreigners at the Giza plateau, he’s a hated figure and the reasons are simple. About eight years ago, Hawass had fences put up around the pyramids (and the older set of pyramids south along the Nile at Saqqara), which restricted their access to the sites, made it easier for the tourist police to extract bribes in exchange for allowing them to ply their trades, and lowered family incomes.

“That man would be happy to see a family starve if he could save a mummy,” says Ali Ibrahim, the third generation is his family to hawk camel rides at the pyramids to tourists. “We’ve lived here for generations, and he took money out of our pockets.”

The focus on Hawass by folks in Giza is likely to be repeated across the country. Mubarak may have been the president of the republic, but local governors and police chiefs are the real, direct symbols of government power across the nation. And they’re mostly still in their posts, at a time when people’s fear of expressing their local grievances is at its lowest ebb in at least 30 years.

In the case of the prickly Hawass, who unwisely accepted a position as minister (Egypt’s first ever minister of antiquities) in the last cabinet named by Mubarak a few weeks ago, a decent legacy will be left behind. He brought a previously moribund ministry into the 20th century and his energy and ambition were a net positive for the protection of Egypt’s great monuments. But it’s hard to see his position as a civil servant persisting much longer, particularly given his public association with Mrs. Mubarak.

An acquaintance of his who visited him today at his office while protesters outside bayed for his downfall described the usually supremely confident archeologist as “shattered” by recent events, and said most of his books and personal papers have already been moved out of the office. In the waning days of the Mubarak regime, he threw his weight behind the established order, and also appeared to have hid the extent of the damage done at the famed Egyptian museum – one of the great repositories of human heritage.

After a brief spate of looting two weeks ago, he said nothing of great value was taken. On Sunday, he admitted that the thieves had made off with 18 priceless artifacts, including two gold-encrusted wooden statues of Tutankhamun. “He had to have known that much sooner,” says the acquaintance. “I think he held the information back because he understood it would be catastrophic for the regime’s legitimacy.”

The functionaries of a dictatorship, perhaps of any order, take on the character of their leaders. There are hundreds of men in positions of power in Egypt right now who, like Hawass, are the targets of Egyptian popular anger.

February 16th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Shutterbugs Invade Musée d’Orsay to Protest No-Photo Policy — By Taking Photographs – ARTINFO.com.

Camera-toting protesters entered Paris’s Musée d’Orsay last week and began snapping pictures to draw attention to the museum’s no-photo policy. Guards approached the group and asked them to stop, but when the protesters explained their position and politely refused to still their shutters, security backed off and let the photography continue. The protest then had a viral effect, as ordinary museum visitors began to take out their cameras and snap pictures as well.
The group, Orsay Commons, started their protests in December and has made the excursions a monthly event — scheduling them on the first Sunday of every month, when admission is free. One of the protesters, blogger Bernard Hasquenoph, toldARTINFO France that this time there were fewer guards and that they reacted more passively. He also noticed a change in the number of signs forbidding photography: “until now there were a lot; we indicated that it was very ugly. We noticed that they put a lot of them away — there were not nearly as many as last month.”

Hasquenoph takes this as a portent of the group’s impending victory. “We think we have them over a barrel,” he said. “We will come every month. For their image, as they try to be modern and ‘with it’ in the Internet age, it’s completely contradictory and counterproductive. They will revisit it. It can’t go on, it’s ridiculous.”

With attention drawn to the no-photo rule, the museum’s comments book began to overflow with visitors’ aggrieved remarks, calling the policy “scandalous,” “harmful,” “backwards and counter-productive,” and “from another era.” One museum-goer, Serge Chaumier of Paris, wrote that the policy “creates an appalling atmosphere and encourages visitor passivity.”

With reduced funding and staff cuts, French museums are on the defensive, and many suspect a financial motive behind the policy, which was put into place last June. As one protester, Gaelle Kermen, wrote on her blog, “if this is to put reproductions of paintings on fridge magnets or mugs sold in the gift shop, then, really, I say no.”

But the Musée d’Orsay denied this, stating that “this policy has no commercial intent.” In a statement, the museum said that the rule was “linked to the increasing number of ‘arm’s-length’ photos with camera-phones,” adding that “reproductions of most of the works in the collection can be downloaded from the Web site.”

The government may get involved, if representative Patrick Beaudouin has his way. Back in June, he contacted culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand, questioning “the legitimacy of forbidding the reproduction of works that are part of our public heritage by visitors who purchased their tickets.” He also asked whether this policy “could run counter to the goal of cultural democratization.” He is still awaiting the minister’s reply.

How have other museums handled the photography issue? After trying a similar no-photo policy in 2005, the Louvre abandoned it because it was too difficult for the guards to keep up with the frequent infractions. In a statement, the Louvre also said that “it was restrictive for the public and was confusing.” Photography is still not allowed in the Louvre’s temporary exhibition galleries for copyright reasons. Most of the works in the Musée d’Orsay are in the public domain.

Most European museums allow visitors to take photos as long as they do not use a flash, which could harm the artworks. Some are more strict, like Madrid’s Prado, which has forbidden all photography after having found that it was hard to prevent visitors from using the flash and that this sometimes led to arguments between museum-goers and security staff.

Other institutions encourage photography and have harnessed the power of the Internet to disseminate crowd-sourced images of their collections. London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has aFlickr page to allow visitors to share their pictures, and the British Museum has a partnership withWikipedia to make images of its collections widely available. In France, the Château de Versaillesorganized a photo contest in connection with a show called “Versailles in Photographs, 1850-2010.” Exhibition organizers said that they were very impressed by the quality and originality of the photos they received.

February 16th, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs)

Art museum sues to keep Egyptian mummy mask.

ST. LOUIS • The St. Louis Art Museum filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday asking a judge to order that the U.S. government has no claim on a 3,200-year-old mummy mask that officials in Egypt say was stolen from their country two decades ago.
The Ka-Nefer-Nefer mask, with its inlaid glass eyes and shimmering plaster face, has been on display here since the museum purchased it in 1998 from a New York art dealer for $499,000.
It has been a source of controversy since at least 2006, when a top Egyptian antiquities official demanded its return, saying it had been stolen in the early 1990s from a storage room near the step pyramid of Saqarra, where it was unearthed in 1952.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, the government is now trying to seize the mask for return to Egypt.
The suit asks for a judge to order the government to stop, contending that there is no proof the mask was stolen and that the statute of limitations has expired for any seizure under the Tariff Act of 1930.
According to that act, the seizure of any smuggled or stolen property must be within five years of the time of the theft, or two years after the theft was discovered, the suit says.
The U.S. government is named as a defendant, along with U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose agency oversees customs enforcement.
David Linenbroker, the museum’s attorney, said authorities made it clear at a meeting hosted by the U.S. attorney’s office Jan. 13 that the museum must hand over the mask or face seizure.
Linenbroker said several assistant U.S. attorneys were there, as well as homeland security officials. He said federal prosecutors from New York also phoned in, presumably because that is where the mask first entered the country.
“The museum talked about it internally and with its board,” Linenbroker said. “We think it’s our responsibility and our right to defend our rightful ownership of the mask.”
Callahan would not confirm whether his office has begun forfeiture proceedings in court, or plans to do so. He also did not confirm the Jan. 13 meeting.
“It promises to be an interesting lawsuit, but I think any further response would best be left to a legal pleading,” Callahan wrote in an e-mail response to questions.
Ka-Nefer-Nefer was an ancient noblewoman at the court of Ramses II. Her mummified body was discovered in 1952 by Egyptian archaeologist Mohammed Zakaria Goneim, and the mask was among the antiquities uncovered.
The museum has insisted over the years that it researched the artifact’s ownership history before acquiring it from Phoenix Ancient Art, in New York. The museum reached out to Interpol and the Art Loss Register, among other entities, it contends, and was given no indication of questions about how the mask arrived in the U.S.
The museum’s research showed the mask was part of the Kaloterna private collection during the 1960s when it was purchased in Switzerland by a Croatian collector, Zuzi Jelinek. Jelinek sold the mask to the New York art dealer in 1995, according to the museum, which noted that gaps in ownership history are not unusual for rare, ancient objects.
The lawsuit says many of the allegations surrounding the mask began with Tom Cremers, the operator of the Museum Security Network, in Amsterdam, who sent multiple e-mails to government officials in 2005 and 2006 calling for an investigation. Cremers could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

February 16th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Egypt antiquities boss under fire over thefts,jobs | News by Country | Reuters.

CAIRO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass defended himself on Wednesday from a wave of criticism over looting at the Egyptian Museum during the revolution last month and accusations of corruption in his ministry.

Hawass initially played down reports of theft from the museum, home to priceless treasures from Pharaonic Egypt, after security forces clashed on Jan. 28 with millions of Egyptians who eventually succeeded in ousting President Hosni Mubarak.

Promoted to the level of minister of state during Mubarak’s reshuffle after the uprising had gathered pace, Hawass told Reuters on Feb. 9 that no artefacts had been stolen.

But this week Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), admitted eight valuable pieces from the era of Pharaohs Tutankhamun and Akhenaten were stolen, raising questions about why he had said otherwise. Experts have suggested the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for.

“When I came to the museum I found everyone outside wanting to protect it. I said to myself the Egyptian Museum is fine, the masterpieces are still there. It was later that we realised eight pieces were stolen,” Zawass told reporters on the building’s steps in central Cairo.

“I found out during this revolution that pro- and anti- government people agreed on one thing — to protect the museum. The museum could have faced a disaster,” he said, adding the museum and other tourist sites could reopen on Saturday. “We hope the tourists will come back to Egypt.”

PROTESTS

Tourist receipts are one of Egypt’s key revenue earners and Hawass, who often appears to style himself as an Indiana Jones figure in his hat and safari fatigues, has become central to the sales pitch for many around the world.

Declining to put a value on the items taken, Hawass described a complex operation involving scaling walls, breaking the ceiling glass and sliding down to the floor with ropes.

“These thieves were not professionals. If you actually saw who stole the antiquities — they are faceless, they have no heart, (they are) stupid,” he said.

Three items have been recovered, but those still missing include parts of a statue of King Tutankhamun and a statute of the Pharaoh Akhenaten’s wife Nefertiti.

“They have to investigate more and know who is behind this. It has to be somebody from the inside. I haven’t heard of investigations. Who are these people? Why are they not coming before the Egyptian people?” he added.

Dozens of archaeologists, graduate hires and temporary employees have staged loud protests outside Hawass’ office this week over low wages, working conditions and the leadership style of Hawass, who is a familiar face on American television.

Demonstrators said wages of less than 500 Egyptian pounds ($85) a month were unjustifiable given the lucrative tours of Egyptian treasures Hawass has promoted around world capitals.

Hawass vowed to hire more people if he could.

“I will give anyone who comes to me his rights because I am always with the downtrodden. If I’m still in my job in July, then all temporary employees will be hired,” he said, before inviting media to view the famed golden mask of Tutankhamun. (Editing by Peter Millership and Jon Boyle) ($1=5.879 Egyptian Pound)

February 16th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

When art meets acceleration: Andy Scott sculpture smashed by boy racer | Caledonian Mercury: Scottish news, stories and intelligent analysis from Scotland’s first truly online newspaper.

Various of the statues and public sculptures to be found in central Scotland have suffered mishaps in recent years. There was, for instance, the “Braveheart” statue of William Wallace, which until 2009 stood beside the Wallace Monument visitor centre. Made by Brechin-based sculptor Tom Church and installed in 1997, this was much mocked due to its likeness to Mel Gibson (but liked by the numerous tourists who photographed each other in front of it) and was repeatedly vandalised.
There were hammer attacks, chisel attacks and at least one paint-throwing incident, so that the beleaguered block of sandstone ended up being locked inside a metal cage each night. This was a considerable irony, given that it carried the word “FREEDOM” across its base.
Then there was – and thankfully still is – the less well known, but much better liked, aeroplane-on-a-cloud sculpture alongside Causewayhead roundabout on the A9 at the northern edge of Stirling (just a few minutes’ walk from the Wallace Monument). Made by Cliff Bowen and set on a stone plinth, this commemorates the Barnwell brothers, Harold and Frank, who made the first powered flight in Scottish airspace, in July 1909.
The Barnwells’ workshop was at Sheriffmuirlands, close to where Bowen’s commemoration stands – but the sculpture has had to be removed and repaired at least twice since being installed in 2005, after seemingly random outbreaks of idiocy from passers-by.
And now, just three-and-a-half miles further east, there has been something unusually stupid and spectacular. Asreported elsewhere, a four-metre-high sculpture on the B9140 Muirside roundabout just north of Tullibody has been flattened by a motorist. It happened soon after 9pm last Saturday, when a stolen Citroën Xsara coming from the Glenochil side took the direttissima across the roundabout.
Details will doubtless emerge over time – a 21-year-old man has been arrested and remanded in custody – but a site visit two days after the incident suggested that the car must have been going at high speed. The driver was lucky to escape without serious injury – which is more than can be said for the welded steel sculpture, known variously as Stride and the Man in Motion.
A road sign on the central reservation was destroyed, then the car went straight through the shrubby hedge on the eastern edge of the roundabout, clattered into – and demolished – Stride, before ploughing on through the hedge at the far side.
Stride was a popular and elegant metal-latticework adornment to what would otherwise be just a plain and ordinary road junction. It had stood on the roundabout since early in 2008, one of five pieces of transport-infrastructure art commissioned by Clackmannanshire Council and created by Andy Scott. The Maryhill-based figurative sculptor is also well known for his Heavy Horse, beside the M8 near Baillieston, and Arria, beside the A80 near Cumbernauld.
“Gutted, disappointed, saddened, angry … pretty much what you’d expect,” said Scott yesterday when asked for his thoughts on the Tullibody smash. “Would be good to get this much coverage for our many successes – same time as this bozo destroyed a much-loved local landmark we were installing a very successful piece in London. It depresses me that the Scottish media seem to like to make more of this unfortunate event than positive stories. At least the miscreant has been apprehended by the local constabulary.”
So what happens now – will Stride be repaired and restored? Its lower limbs have been badly mangled, but the upper part looks to have survived relatively unscathed. “I presume I will be asked to salvage and repair,” said Scott, who indicated that the initial decisions rest with the council. “As for timescale for replacement, that would be several months away if they choose to have him rebuilt ‘bionic man’ style.”
In the meantime, however, Scott has other work to complete. His latest piece is “a Cob horse, five metres tall on a roundabout in Bexley/Belvedere in east London”. He will be hoping that this doesn’t get taken out by another boy racer, or by the number 401 bus.

February 16th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Eisenhüttenstadt (moz) Nach dem Diebstahl der Bronzeplastiken „Wildschwein“ und „Schimpansenkinder“ werden schnellstmöglich eventuell weitere gefährdete Kunstwerke umgesetzt. Darüber haben sich Museumsleiter Hartmut Preuß und Bürgermeisterin Dagmar Püschel verständigt. Zudem gab die Polizei am Montag bekannt, dass es auch einen Einbruch in das Lager des Dokumentationszentrums Alltagskultur der DDR in der Karl-Marx-Straße gegeben hat. Dieser wurde am Sonntagabend angezeigt. Unbekannte hatten die Hintertür und weitere Türen im Lager aufgebrochen. Was entwendet wurde, war noch nicht klar.

more:

moz.de Märkische Oderzeitung: Kunstraub hat Konsequenzen.

February 15th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Disgraced art dealer Kurt Lidtke was sentenced Friday to four years in
prison after admitting to taking part in a chain of art burglaries.

Having pleaded guilty along with two other conspirators — including
his former cellmate — Lidtke, 45, admitted to hatching the scheme to
burglarize the homes of wealthy art patrons while behind bars on an
earlier art theft charges. Lidkte directed one burglary and nearly
orchestrated a second; all told, at least $600,000 worth of art was
either stolen or at risk.

The scheme was doomed from the start, investigators claim, as Lidtke’s
big buyer since his release was an undercover FBI agent posing as an
art trafficker.

Writing the court, Lidtke’s attorney had asked he be sentenced to 2
years in federal prison; federal prosecutors had asked for a five-year
term. U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik sentenced Lidtke on
Friday at a Seattle courtroom and will sentence Lidtke’s co-defendants
in coming weeks.

more:

Seattle art dealer sentenced to four years for stealing artwork.

February 14th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Affaire Wildenstein: Scandale en toile de fond – ParisMatch.com.

En mai 1963, Georges Wildenstein, 71 ans, (le père de Daniel) reçevait
“Paris Match” dans le bureau de son hôtel particulier rue de La
Boétie, à Paris. | Photo IZIS/PARISMATCH/SCOOP

La voiture s’est arrêtée devant le 57, rue La Boétie, l’adresse de
l’institut Wildenstein, à Paris, et en est repartie le coffre plein.
Ça s’est fait en plein jour, sans que personne ne crie aux voleurs. Un
butin d’une trentaine d’œuvres. Des cambrioleurs ? Non, la police.
L’OCBC, Office central de lutte contre le trafic des biens culturels,
qui venait, dans un grand fracas de sirènes, de retrouver la «
Chaumière en Normandie » de Berthe Morisot, une des toiles « disparues
» de la succession Rouart. L’inventaire, après la mort d’Annie, avait
été réalisé par Daniel Wildenstein, sur délégation de son fils Guy,
désigné comme exécuteur testamentaire en même temps qu’Olivier Daulte,
le fils de François Daulte, historien d’art. Vingt-quatre toiles ont
déjà été ­retrouvées dans le coffre de ce dernier en Suisse. « Tout le
monde peut se tromper », aimait dire Daniel Wildenstein. Il ajoutait
que c’était même arrivé à la Reine d’Angleterre qui gardait, dans son
grenier à Balmoral, des œuvres appartenant à l’Etat soviétique…

La Reine d’Angleterre a toujours été le modèle des Wildenstein.
Sylvia, la seconde femme de Daniel, l’a découvert en devenant sa
veuve. Princesse consort, elle a perdu son royaume, échangé contre une
rente, puis son nom. C’est sous celui de Sylvia Roth, en bisbille avec
ses beaux-fils, qu’elle a été enterrée cet hiver à Paris. Son avocate,
Me Claude Dumont-Beghi, avait ­demandé l’inventaire de la fortune de
Daniel, le défunt mari, au motif que, mariée sans contrat à New York,
en 1978, et résidant en France, elle devait prétendre au régime de la
communauté réduite aux acquêts. Sa pension annuelle de 400 000 euros
et l’appartement de 600 mètres carrés sur le bois de Boulogne ne
pouvant suffire à régler ses dettes. Sylvia s’est creusé la tête pour
faire ressurgir sa liste des trésors disparus. « Avenue Montaigne,
disait-elle, nous avions assez peu de tableaux, à cause des grandes
fenêtres. Mais j’avais un Bonnard, superbe, que mon mari m’avait
offert par amour : le “Nu rose à la baignoire”. A New York, où nous
allions deux fois par an, c’était autre chose. Il y en avait dans
toutes les pièces, jusque dans la salle de bains. Des Cézanne, des
Renoir, ça changeait tout le temps… » Tout le capital serait placé
dans des fonds hébergés dans des paradis fiscaux. Pour cette dynastie,
la fortune relève de la substance gazeuse : elle s’évapore dès qu’on
cherche à l’inscrire dans un bilan comptable.

Chez les Wildenstein, le goût du nomadisme ­remonte à l’arrivée des
Prussiens en Alsace, en 1870. ­Nathan, à peine 20 ans, a l’amour de la
France. Il vote avec ses pieds, comme on dit alors, et emporte pour
toute fortune son « œil de maquignon », l’outil qui, depuis des
générations, sert à distinguer un bon cheval d’une haridelle. Il n’a
jamais pensé devenir marchand d’art. Il n’a peut-être jamais vu
d’œuvre d’art. Affamé, il se fait embaucher chez un tailleur de
Vitry-le-François, pour la seule raison, disait-il, que le nom de la
ville lui avait inspiré confiance. Mais bientôt, il se propose pour
négocier, à Paris, des toiles dont une cliente veut se débarrasser. Il
commence par se renseigner au Louvre où il oublie aussitôt ses tweeds
et ses cachemires. Comme Claudel à Notre-Dame ou Moïse sur le mont
Sinaï, ­Nathan Wildenstein reçoit la grâce. Elle s’incarne dans l’art
du XVIIIe siècle. Une mine d’or qui gît à ciel ouvert, pour cause de
désaffection du public. Avec sa commission, 1 000 francs de l’époque,
il élabore sa première théorie : « Qui va à Drouot tous les jours doit
pouvoir ­gagner de quoi manger… et de quoi racheter. » De quoi oser,
aussi : il demande la main de Laure, fille d’imprimeur. Une union
bourgeoise qui vaut bien un mensonge : Nathan oublie ses ancêtres
marchands de ­chevaux, se prétend orphelin et fils de rabbin… Un
homme neuf qui refait sa vie dans l’ancien.

Trente-cinq ans après, en 1905, il a fait son chemin. Comme les
Rothschild, il a son hôtel particulier dans le VIIIe, son château,
Marienthal, à Verrières-le-Buisson, son écurie de course – casaque
bleue, toque bleu clair –des maîtres d’hôtel, des cuisiniers… Mais
c’est Laure qui continue à remplir les fiches après chaque visite chez
les particuliers, clients ou amis. Son job, c’est de noter qui possède
quoi et où. Puis elle emmène son petit-fils Daniel s’aérer à Auteuil.
Elle le fait parier. Comme elle a pris soin de miser sur tous les
concurrents, il est toujours gagnant. C’est comme ça qu’il prend goût
aux courses. Un jour, il aura des centaines de chevaux et tant de
haras qu’il lui arrivera de se tromper de propriété, sur les routes
d’Irlande. Il aura surtout l’immense fierté d’avoir gagné cinq fois…
et demie (pour cause de différend avec les juges de ligne) le Prix de
l’Arc de Triomphe.

En ce temps-là, quand on téléphone rue La Boétie, on s’entend demander
: « C’est pour les chevaux ou pour les tableaux ? » A table, on ne
parle jamais peinture. Sur ce sujet, le père, Nathan, et le fils,
Georges, sont d’humeurs divergentes : Nathan veut vendre, Georges
accumule. Le père croit au passé, le fils mise sur l’avenir. « Picasso
? dit Nathan. Un garçon si exquis, si intelligent… Qui osera lui
dire d’arrêter de peindre ? » Il ne veut travailler qu’avec « des
morts. Les autres sont impossibles ! ». Mais Georges est l’ami de
Monet, de Bonnard, puis des surréalistes. Pour ne pas voir toutes ces
« horreurs » chez lui, Nathan lui achète un local, au 21 de la même
rue où, en association avec Paul Rosenberg, il pourra exposer ses «
nouveautés ». Nathan a tort de se faire autant de souci, et tort de ne
pas s’en faire davantage : il ne voit pas arriver la crise de 1929. Il
a envoyé Georges en Union soviétique, pour l’affaire du siècle.
Staline échange les chefs-d’œuvre du musée de l’Ermitage contre des
tracteurs. Associés au milliardaire américain Mellon, à l’Arménien
Gulbenkian, les Wildenstein emportent des Watteau, Rembrandt, Rubens,
Raphaël… qui perdent 80 % de leur valeur. Staline peut se moquer du
capitalisme. La clientèle est ruinée. Le stock de 3 000 tableaux, dont
500 chefs-d’œuvre, s’effondre.
La famille dément toute collaboration avec les nazis mais Daniel
n’excluait pas de possibles « erreurs » dans les restitutions

On brade. Et Georges, l’« intellectuel », prend patience en s’achetant
un magazine, « Beaux Arts », et en classant ses « vieux papiers ». Il
est en train d’inventer la pierre philosophale qui va transmuter la
toile peinte en lingots d’or : le « catalogue raisonné » qui fait du
commerçant un expert, et de la partie, un juge. On n’ira plus
seulement chez les Wildenstein pour vendre ou acheter, mais pour
savoir si l’on est propriétaire d’une croûte ou d’un trésor. ­Nathan
avait ouvert une galerie à New York où prospéraient ses clients les
plus riches. Georges en crée une à Londres, au 147 New Bond Street,
dans l’ancienne ­demeure de l’amiral Nelson. L’idéal pour se ­lancer à
la conquête d’un empire… En 1937, le stock est rétabli. Mais on
danse sur un volcan. Daniel rejoint bientôt la ligne Maginot.
L’Histoire, toujours l’Histoire. Elle a poussé les Wildenstein hors
d’Alsace, elle va les contraindre à quitter la France. Ils sont juifs
et l’Amérique leur offre une assurance vie. Daniel emporte dans son
paquetage une toile grande comme une boîte de cigares : le paysage à
la vespasienne acheté à Seurat à 14 ans. Son premier fils, Alec, naît
à Marseille, où l’on attend les paquebots, et le second, Guy, à New
York, où ils arrivent.

Déchus de leur nationalité, ils ont confié la galerie à un employé…
Mais elle est soumise au Commissariat général aux questions juives qui
engloutit les bénéfices. Car, à Paris, les affaires continuent.
Acheteurs en uniforme, vendeurs pressés… Hector Feliciano consacre
seize lignes aux W, dans son imposant « Musée disparu » (Gallimard,
1995) : « Après l’Armistice, Georges exploite discrètement ses
contacts au sein de la haute hiérarchie nazie pour conclure de
nombreuses ventes en France pendant l’Occupation », écrit-il.
L’accusation – assez vague – poussera le Congrès juif mondial à
inscrire Georges sur une liste de suspects, et fera bondir son fils
Daniel. La saisie par la police, à l’institut Wildenstein, de bronzes
et de dessins appartenant à la collection Reinach, en partie spoliée
par les nazis, la fait ressurgir.

Daniel Wildenstein a toujours démenti cette « collaboration », mais il
a laissé entrevoir de possibles « erreurs » dans les restitutions
d’après-guerre. En 1945, la marée qui arrive d’Allemagne dépose dans
des hangars, où veillent les conservateurs de musées, le bric-à-brac
fauché par les nazis. Pour récupérer son bien, il faut être là.
Vivant, mais aussi muni de photos, de factures. Pour cela, on peut
compter sur les Wildenstein. Entre ceux qui les accusent de les avoir
volés et ceux qui les accusent de leur avoir refusé une entrée au «
catalogue raisonné », ils accumulent les ennemis. Ils s’en font même
de nouveaux…

Ainsi, André Malraux. Dans « Marchands d’art » (cosigné avec Yves
Stavridès, édition Plon, 1999), Daniel raconte comment son père a
accusé le ministre de la Culture de De Gaulle de n’avoir pas seulement
volé des bas-reliefs à Angkor, mais d’en avoir fait « retailler »,
pour mieux les écouler. Il donne le nom du sculpteur à Marseille :
Louis Dideron. Ainsi commence ce que les Wildenstein considèrent comme
leur troisième guerre mondiale, celle qui sera à l’origine de leur
installation aux Etats-Unis.

En 1963, l’élection de Georges à l’Académie des beaux-arts donne à
Malraux l’occasion de se venger : il n’entérine pas le vote. Daniel
affirme que son père en est mort. Alors, il baptise un de ses pur-sang
« Goodbye Charlie » et déménage à New York où les œuvres sont rangées
dans six niveaux de sous-sols. Daniel ne veut plus payer d’impôts en
France où, soi-disant, il ne ­réside plus. Mais on sait qu’il ne peut
pas se passer de Paris. Alors on suit ses traces à ses dépenses et on
finit par lui confisquer son passeport ! C’est la guerre avec Giscard.
Comme en 1940, la France manque d’aviation. Les fantassins du fisc
regardent passer les jets privés. On dit que Daniel glisse des toiles
sous ses sièges. C’est faux, répond-il. Il n’y a pas assez de place.
En tout cas, pas pour les grands formats. A l’approche de 1981,
pourtant, on fait entrer des civières dans la carlingue. La peur de la
gauche au pouvoir, l’angoisse devant l’impôt sur le capital, les
crises de rhumatisme… C’est fou le nombre de malades qui ont soudain
besoin de se faire soigner en Suisse.

Jocelyn aussi trouvait les avions bien pratiques. Comment faire
autrement pour transporter les huit chiens et le singe depuis le ranch
de 30 000 hectares au Kenya ? Quand beau-papa lui a retiré l’usage du
jet, elle a compris que son mariage avec Alec était terminé. Elle
menace de parler des trusts qui dissimulent les propriétés… Puis
elle se tait. Alec s’est remarié avec Lioubia, une jeune fille russe
qui devient bientôt sa veuve. Elle aussi a la mémoire des trusts. Ceux
qui aiguisent toujours l’appétit de Me Dumont-Beghi, que la mort de sa
cliente Sylvia laisse – provisoirement – sur sa faim. L’affaire
Wildenstein n’est pas terminée. Avec la saisie des 11 et 12 janvier, à
l’institut, un nouvel acteur commence même à écrire sa partie : le
juge André Dando. L’été dernier, il mettait en examen Karim Benzema et
Franck Ribéry pour « sollicitation de prostituée mineure ». L’affaire
Zahia commençait. Le juge Dando se méfie des amateurs de
chefs-d’œuvre.

February 14th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Het beroemde Egyptisch Museum in Caïro is toch enkele kunstschatten kwijtgeraakt tijdens de onlusten die leidden tot het vertrek van president Hosni Mubarak. Acht belangrijke attributen blijken te zijn gestolen uit het museum, zo liet de bekende archeoloog Zahi Hawass gisteren weten.

Hawass, die onlangs werd benoemd tot minister van Oudheden, zei vorige week nog dat er niets was gestolen bij de inbraak op 28 januari. Bendes maakten toen gebruik van de chaos op straat, nadat de politie zich uit de straten van Caïro had teruggetrokken.

meer

via Museum in Caïro mist toch kunstschatten – Metro.

February 14th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

BRUSSEL – Bij het begin van de protesten zijn uit het Egyptisch Museum voorwerpen uit de grafschat van Toetanchamon gestolen.
Op zijn blog meldt Zahi Hawass, het hoofd van de Oudheidkundige Dienst die onlangs benoemd was tot minister voor Oudheden, dat kostbare oudheden gestolen zijn uit het Egyptisch Museum in Caïro. Dat ligt aan het Tahrir-plein, het centrum van de protesten tegen Moebarak.

Eerder had Hawass gezegd dat er wel voorwerpen beschadigd waren, maar dat er niets verdwenen was. Maar het personeel van het museum bezorgde hem een lijst van achttien vermiste objecten. Daarop staan topstukken, onder meer vergulde beelden uit de grafschat van farao Toetanchamon en een precieus kalkstenen beeldje van farao Echnaton, die een offer brengt.
more:

via De Standaard Online – Toch oudheden gestolen uit museum.

February 14th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

February 13th, 2011

Posted In: WWII

4 indicted in Milan Judaica theft.

J’lem District Attorny charges men for stealing, selling judaica
artifacts worth 1 m. Euro from a Milan synagogue.

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office filed an indictment, on
Sunday, against four Jerusalem men for stealing and selling judaica
artifacts worth upward of one million Euro from a synagogue in Milan
earlier this month.

Two of the men, 22-year-old Meir Mualem and 21-year-old Meir
Yerushalmi, were indicted on charges of theft, impersonation and
conspiring to commit a crime for their part of the heist.

RELATED:
US lawyer gets jail in Dead Sea Scrolls case
Two arrested for allegedly stealing 30 Torah scrolls
Thousands attend funeral for 11 burnt Torah scrolls

According to the indictment, Mualem lifted the artifacts, silver Torah
crowns, rimmonim and other silver and gold objects, from the Torah Ark
in the synagogue, while Yerushalmi distracted synagogue staff. The two
then flew back to Israel with the goods, planning to sell them as
their own. When asked at the customs inspection what they were doing
with the objects, the men told the inspector that the artifacts were
damaged and that they planned to have them fixed.

Upon arriving in Israel, the two men were met at the airport by the
third suspect, 23-year-old Netanel Saadon. On the way to Jerusalem the
men contacted an art dealer by the name of Haim Stefansky and arranged
for him to come and inspect part of the goods.

Saadon, together with the fourth suspect, Yosef Haim Mualem, Meir’s
brother, met with the art dealer at the Ramada hotel, introducing
themselves under false names.

Later that evening the sides arranged to meet again in Modiin Illit so
that Stefansky could take some of the goods to be appraised. When they
met, Stefansky gave Saadon $70,000 and some of his own artifacts to
keep in deposit.

According to the indictment, Stefansky and Mualem conducted a
negotiation over the final price over the phone and the two agreed on
$285,000 for the whole set of goods.

In order to write up the contract, Stefansky asked Saadon for his
identification number. Saadon ordered a false ID card made for him
under the name Jonathan Hadad, and gave Stefansky the false number.

Stefansky learned that the goods were stolen, after the Italian rabbi
alerted art dealers of the theft.

Upon learning that the goods were stolen Stefansky requested to cancel
the deal and met with Saadon to make the exchange. According to the
indictment, Saadon returned the artifacts, but not the money.

Saadon and Yosef Mualem have been charged with impersonation and
forgery and all four have been charged with money laundering and
receiving goods under false pretenses.

In its request to have the suspects held until the end of legal
proceedings, the district attorney’s office wrote that the men had
confessed to the acts and that the reason they wanted them behind bars
was because they presented a danger to the public.

February 13th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Yale and Peru Sign Accord on Machu Picchu Artifacts – NYTimes.com.

Three months after Yale University and the government of Peru
announced a tentative accord under which Yale would return a group of
artifacts excavated at Machu Picchu, Yale formally signed a
partnership agreement on Friday with a Peruvian university to
establish a joint center where the objects will be conserved, studied
and displayed. The center will be at the Universidad Nacional de San
Antonio Abad del Cusco, in Cusco, the city closest to Machu Picchu,
and will be called the U.N.S.A.A.C.-Yale International Center for the
Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture. It will include a museum
exhibition space; a storage site for the archeological artifacts,
which include stone tools, ceramics and human and animal bones; and a
laboratory and research area. Students and faculty members from Yale
are expected to visit the center for training, research projects and
field work; students and faculty members of the Peruvian university
will also visit Yale. Meanwhile, a small number of artifacts will be
loaned to Yale for display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural
History.

The agreement ends a long-running cultural-patrimony dispute over the
artifacts, which were excavated in 1912 by a Yale explorer, Hiram
Bingham, and have resided at Yale since then. For years, Peru has said
the objects were only on loan to Yale and should long since have been
returned. Yale argued that it had returned all borrowed objects in the
1920s, and had full title to the rest. In 2008, Peru sued Yale in
federal court, and last year it threatened to file criminal charges
against the university.

February 12th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

Church must beef up security – Cyprus Mail.

POLICE CHIEF Michalis Papageorgiou has called on Archbishop
Chrysostomos II to take immediate steps to protect church relics and
antique icons, given a recent spate of thefts of churches and
monasteries.
Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos yesterday confirmed that
Papageorgiou sent the primate a letter on the first of this month,
asking the head of the Cyprus Church to take effective measures to
protect church cultural heritage and valuable relics and icons.
The aim of the letter is to encourage the church to take measures to
protect against the illegal trade in antiquities.
According to yesterday’s Phileleftheros, in the last two months, five
robberies of churches and monasteries resulted in the theft of
valuable icons and church items. Just this past week, ancient
byzantine icons were stolen from Ayios Georgios in Xylophagou, said
the paper.
Meanwhile, last Friday around €24,000 worth of religious icons were
stolen from a church in the Paphos area with the oldest one dating all
the way back to 1779.
According to police reports the robbery took place between 10am and
4pm. The thieves escaped with an icon of John the Baptist dating back
to 1779 and worth €10,000, one of Jesus Christ dating back to 1860
worth €7,000 and another one dating back to the same year of the
Virgin Mary, also worth €7,000.
In his letter to the archbishop, the police chief noted that almost
none of the holy places owned and operated by the church are protected
with modern security systems, making them vulnerable to theft,
particularly by those involved in the illicit trade in antiquities.
The situation is even more dangerous for out of the way, isolated
small churches which are rarely visited or maintained even by priests.
Papageorgiou called on the archbishop to instruct all churches and
monasteries to take a number of measures to protect themselves from
opportunists.
These include lighting up the perimeter of churches and monasteries,
sealing them with modern locks and installing alarm systems.
Also, the church should remove all valuable items such as ancient
relics or icons and put them in museums where they can be better
protected.
The police chief called for all holy places to be checked on a daily
basis by priests or others, to avoid situations where police discover
ten days after the incident that a church has been robbed.
Finally, the archbishop was advised to create an archive of all
religious icons and items of significant value to make it easier for
police to recognise and identify those items.

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: Cyprus, religious artifact theft

Bell stolen from Franklin museum – Milford, MA – The Milford Daily News.

Police yesterday began investigating the theft of an old bell from
outside the Historical Museum as the Historical Commission asked for
the public’s help locating the artifact.

The bell was likely taken within the past week, but its disappearance
was first noticed yesterday morning, Historical Commission Chairwoman
Deborah Pellegri said.

“We’re just very upset that something like this would happen,” she
said. “It was just very brazen to think about taking this.”

The brass bell, which was donated by Franklin resident Robert Landry
when the museum opened in its downtown location last year, had been
near a walkway leading to the museum’s entrance.

The bell is about 3 feet wide and tall and weighs several hundred
pounds. Someone probably used wire cutters to remove the bell and
needed a car or truck to take it away, Pellegri said.

Landry noticed it was missing yesterday and reported it to police.

“Every time I went by and looked it was always there,” said Landry,
85, a lifelong Franklin resident. “I was devastated when I went by and
saw it missing. I haven’t gotten over it. It’s just a shame.”

Landry found the bell in an old building he was renovating in the
Franklin area and donated it to the commission as an artifact, he
said.

He doesn’t know the bell’s age, original use or value. But Landry kept
it for 25 years until he found the right place to donate it, he said.

“I thought it was a great addition to the museum,” he said. “I wanted
to give it to the town so that the public could see another old
artifact.”

Police went to the museum yesterday, and detectives are investigating,
Deputy Police Chief Stephan Semerjian said.

Police have contacted departments in other towns to see if it turns up
at salvage yards, Semerjian said.

The bell was probably taken at night by someone seeking to sell the
metal to a salvage yard, Semerjian said.

“Every theft is important to whoever lost the property,” he said.
“Certainly it belongs to the town and is part of the town’s persona.
We’d certainly like to find it and put it back where it was.”

Pellegri hopes someone saw the bell being taken, thought it was the
Historical Commission moving it and will come forward after learning
of the theft.

“I just hope (whoever took it) would be able to clear their conscience
and return it to us as soon as possible,” Pellegri said. “I would ask
that they just drop it off and return it to the museum – no questions
asked.”

Anyone with information should call Pellegri at 508-520-4900 or
Franklin police at 508-528-1212.

Brian Benson can be reached at 508-634-7582 or bbenson@cnc.com.

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

THIEVES have stolen thousands of pounds worth of community artworks –
less than 36 hours after they were unveiled.
Six figures which were part of the Shale People Project were stolen
from around Uphall and Broxburn over the weekend and another two were
damaged, leaving only two of the installations unscathed.
And it’s estimated that it will cost at least £2000 to repair or
replace the pieces affected.
The artworks were officially unveiled on Thursday, but sometime in the
early hours of Saturday, four of the larger-than-lifesize figures were
stolen from the gable end of Aldo’s Fish Bar in central Uphall, one
figure was removed from Broxburn Swimming Pool, and three figures in
vennels just off Broxburn’s East Main Street were vandalised in an
attempt to remove them.

more:

Shale People Project is vandalised – WestLothian Courier.

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

AGI News On – 75 WORKS OF ART STOLEN IN EMILIA ROMAGNA IN 2010.

Bologna – As many as 75 works of art were stolen in region
Emilia Romagna in 2010, most of them from churches. It was announced
by the Carabinieri’s special cultural heritage protection unit.
Forty-four of the 75 stolen items were stolen from churches, 13 more
than in 2009. The number of items stolen from other places is in line
with thefts reported in previous years and include 1 from a museum, 1
from a public body, and 29 from private homes. None of the 75 works of
art had high artistic value . .

February 11th, 2011

Posted In: religious artifact theft

Next Page »