Bulger may yield clues to Gardner Museum art heist

The capture last week of Boston’s most sought-after criminal has given rise to speculation about the potential return of the city’s most sought-after art objects: the 13 pieces of artwork stolen from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The US Justice Department and close associates of mobster James “Whitey’’ Bulger have long denied any link between him and the art heist, the biggest in history. Still, former federal prosecutors and FBI agents said after Bulger’s arrest that the Gardner theft looms as a prime topic of conversation between investigators and the South Boston native — if he agrees to cooperate with authorities.

Donald K. Stern, former US attorney, who from 1993 to 2001 presided over the investigation into the Gardner theft as well as the hunt for Bulger, said he remained skeptical that the octogenarian could provide significant leads on the theft or the whereabouts of the art. But because of Bulger’s notoriety for decades as the city’s leading criminal mastermind, it’s inevitable that investigators will want to grill him about a theft that has gone unsolved for more than 20 years.

“Just because of who he is and what he knew about crimes and corruption in Boston over the years, the Gardner case has to be at the top of the list of other things that he gets asked about,’’ said Stern, now a private lawyer in Boston.

Questions about a possible connection between Bulger and the theft arose almost immediately after two men, disguised as police officers, conned their way into the museum and made off with the artwork. Among the pieces stolen were three Rembrandts, including his only seascape, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,’’ and a Vermeer, “The Concert.’’ In all, the purloined paintings are valued at $300 million to $500 million.

Although the FBI has assigned far fewer agents to the recovery of the artwork than it did to the pursuit of Bulger, the agency has maintained a commitment to solving the case. Agents have chased leads from Boston to Tokyo, and last year, the agency announced it was resubmitting crime scene evidence for DNA testing in hopes of coming up with new leads. Nothing has been forthcoming.

Matt Montgomery, the Gardner’s spokesman, said last week that while the museum would welcome leads, it has received no word that Bulger’s arrest might prompt a break in the case. “Until a recovery is made, our work continues,’’ the museum said in a statement.

Brien T. O’Connor, a former assistant US attorney who supervised the Gardner and Bulger investigations during the 1990s, said that even if Bulger had no direct knowledge of the theft, he would have wanted to know who did it or where the artwork had been taken.

“Bulger viewed Boston’s crime scene as his domain, and law enforcement is going to look to him for potential information on any major criminal activity, including the Gardner Museum theft,’’ said O’Connor, also a Boston defense lawyer now.

If Bulger has information regarding the heist, it would come as a surprise to close associates such as Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi and Kevin Weeks. They have told investigators that during the five years after the theft when Bulger still terrorized Boston, he directly denied to them knowing anything about the crime.

In addition, former FBI agent John Connolly, who handled Bulger as an FBI informant, has written in letters to a reporter that after leaving the agency’s Boston office in 1990, his former bosses asked him to approach Bulger about the Gardner crime. Connolly said that Bulger told him that he did not know who had engineered the theft or where the artwork had been taken.

But the most definitive denial came last year from Brian T. Kelly, chief of the public corruption division in the US attorney’s office, who now spearheads the investigation into Bulger’s criminal activities. At a New York conference on the 20th anniversary of the Gardner theft held by the International Foundation for Art Research, Kelly said federal investigators had no information linking Bulger to the case.

But the potential of a Bulger connection persists, in part because of the lack of hard leads pointing to potential suspects and in part because of speculation about Bulger’s past ties to the Irish Republican Army. IRA supporters had long shown interest in obtaining stolen art in hopes of trading the bounty for munitions or using it in negotiations with authorities for the release of arrested members.

Also high on the list of key questions, Stern and others said, would be how Bulger was able to elude capture for 16 years and the identities of those who assisted him, as well as those in law enforcement and government whom he might have paid off between the late 1960s and his disappearance in 1995.

While authorities will be willing to listen to Bulger, Stern and O’Connor said they doubted that the office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz would be willing to make a deal with him for information about the artwork in exchange for a lighter sentence on the 19 murders he has been accused of and other federal charges he faces. “These charges are just too serious, too overwhelming for there to be any consideration of release,’’ Stern said. “Maybe if he could facilitate the return of all the pieces in perfect condition, [federal prosecutors] might be willing to talk. But not about release [from prison]. That’s just not going to happen.’’

Robert K. Wittman, a former member of the FBI’s art theft squad whose best-selling book “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures’’ included a chapter on his efforts to solve the Gardner theft, said that while he expected Bulger to offer to cooperate with investigators, he doubted information from the crime boss would prove relevant.

“From my experience, stolen pieces like this get moved around a lot to avoid detection,’’ Wittman said. “Whatever he knew from years ago is going to be outdated now.’’

Stephen Kurkjian can be reached at kurkjian@globe.com.

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Bulger may yield clues to Gardner Museum art heist – The Boston Globe.

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

BBC News – Israeli couple held over Auschwitz artefacts theft

More than a million people were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II

An Israeli couple have been given suspended jail sentences in Poland for the theft of artefacts from the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, officials say.

The nine items, including spoons and a pair of scissors, were found in their luggage during a routine check as they prepared to board a flight to Israel.

The couple admitted taking the items during a tour of the former concentration camp, now a museum.

They are expected to pay a contribution towards the preservation of the site.

More than a million people – most of them Jews – were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II.

The 60-year-old man and 57-year-old woman – whose names have not been released – were detained at Krakow airport in southern Poland on Friday as they prepared to board a return flight to Israel, officials said.

The couple told Polish police they had found the items at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, officials said.

Police took them back there and the couple indicated an area where the Nazis used to keep prisoners’ belongings, the chief spokesman for the memorial, Jaroslaw Mensfelt, told AP news agency.

“We can safely assume that the objects they stole were original, from that time,” Mr Mensfelt was quoted as saying.

The couple were then charged with stealing culturally important items – an offence that carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.

“They have voluntarily accepted a two-year suspended jail sentence and agreed to pay a mandatory contribution towards the preservation of monuments,” Deputy District Prosecutor Mariusz Slomka was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

He did not specify the amount of the contribution.

The couple will be allowed to return to Israel once the formalities are dealt with, added the deputy district prosecutor.

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BBC News – Israeli couple held over Auschwitz artefacts theft.

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

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June 26th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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Mountain museum

set on fire,

burglarized

 

5:23 PM, Jun 23, 2011  |   comments

 

 

 

FRISCO – At the Frisco Museum, Manager

Simone Belz says they pride themselves on

preserving history. “Preserving history

means trying to save artifacts for the next

generation to come,” Belz said.

 

So it was a double blow when one of the

oldest buildings in Frisco, the Ruth House,

which dates back to 1890, not only caught

on fire, but was burglarized.

 

“Those two things are absolutely

devastating,” Belz said.

 

On Sunday, June 19, Lake Dillon

firefighters were called to the house with

flames shooting out the roof.

 

Damage was kept at a minimum, but

investigators suspected arson. When e

mployees looked through the museum,

they found that some items were lost in the

fire and others were just missing.

 

That’s when Frisco Police Det. Julie Polly

says they started thinking the crimes were

linked.

 

Now they are following leads and asking

for the public’s help.

 

“The investigation is going. Well we have

some tips from folks in the community and

I would encourage people to continue

contacting me with anything they think was

suspicious or out of the ordinary,” Polly

said.

 

As for Belz and the Frisco Museum, they’re

still moving forward. They are upset about

the items that were lost in the fire or stolen, b

ut say 50 percent to 75 percent of the

collection in the Ruth House has been

recovered. It’s believed it can be put back

on display.

 

As for the missing items, they say they

have similar artifacts to add to the house

and will try to replace those stolen items.

 

There’s still no real idea when the Ruth

 

via:

Mountain museum set on fire, burglarized | 9news.com.

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: Fire in cultural institutions, Museum thefts

Illicit antiquities trade continues to thrive in Greece

Illicit antiquities trade continues to thrive in Greece 
Short-staffed archaeological sites are easy targetsThe majority of visitors to state museums in Greece find the experience disappointing. There are various reasons for this, including closed halls due to staff shortages — a factor which also affects service — and impractical opening hours. However, what is a disappointing situation to many presents an ideal opportunity for a few.

The issue of museum security — particularly when it comes to safeguarding archaeological sites — is a constant headache for the Greek Ministry of Culture, which is struggling to cope with the limitations of being short-staffed.

However, it is clearly failing in its efforts: In mid-April antiquities were stolen from the ancient site of Eleusis, while prior to that there had been another theft in Arta at the beginning of the year.

Part of a tombstone column unearthed in Ancient Amvrakia and destined for the nearby Archaeological Museum of Arta never made it there. In the case of the antiquities stolen from Eleusis, the Greek Police’s Antiquities Theft Department managed to locate them with the ministry’s assistance and the ancient works will soon return to the archaeological site. However, the Archaeological Department is still concerned and so are regional antiquities ephorates.

The issue of illicit trading in antiquities has long been a major subject at conferences organized by archaeologists. Even more so considering that certain museums around the country have yet to record the treasures lying in their storerooms, while in some cases, artworks have not been restored at all.

Safeguarding and reclaiming cultural treasures from illicit trade was the subject of an interesting conference at the Acropolis Museum. The conference minutes, which were published recently, point to the fact that illicit trade is of major concern and goes beyond the field of antiquities. As it turns out, the country’s ecclesiastical heritage has been dealt a heavy blow as well.

The Culture Ministry records thefts by region and the results show that the areas which are most vulnerable are Epirus, Thessaly, the Peloponnese, Central Greece, the Ionian Islands and the Cyclades.

According to data compiled by V. Sakelliadis, there is intense activity in the aforementioned areas, resembling the spike in thefts during the 1970s and the 1980s.

Topping the stolen items list are religious icons (343), followed by woodcuts (36), sculptures (33), metal and ceramic objects (13) and sanctuary doors (11). Most thefts take place in the fall and winter time while ephorates don’t usually discover that items are missing until the weather improves.

Equally interesting is a chapter regarding the repatriation of stolen items, prepared by Smaragda Boutopoulou. Repatriation, it seems, has been on the rise since the 1940s. By the 1980s there had been 12 cases of repatriation, a figure which grew to 24 in the 90s and to 29 in the 2000-08 period. The conclusion? Out of 78 cases of repatriation, 15 were court-ordered, 37 were settled through out-of-court procedures, six were due to the Greek state purchasing the items and 21 were cases of voluntary surrender by foreign nationals.

According to Boutopoulou, a total of 1,938 ancient artifacts were repatriated from 1945 to 2008: 62 were repatriated during the 1960-80 period, 101 were returned to Greece in the 80s, the figure rose to 613 in the 90s, and over 1,161 repatriations have been recorded since 2000.

The conference’s findings are numerous and of great interest. They include a presentation of Greek antiquities around the world by specialist Alexandros Mantis, a talk by Eleni Banou on the case of antiquities repatriations from the Shelby White collection, and an analysis of the global ring of illicit antiquities trade and Greece’s position in it, by journalist Nikolaos Zirganos.

Rosa Proskynitopoulou, head of the Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods Department at the Culture Ministry, admits that the ministry is highly active as far as trying to locate stolen antiquities goes, but not when it comes to museums.

“Above all, we have illicit excavations taking place in unguarded places. Incidents have increased in this area,” Proskynitopoulou told Kathimerini. As for repatriation, she said that the department is putting major emphasis on this issue, especially when it comes to negotiating the return of documented antiquities.

While Proskynitopoulou did not divulge more information, it is no secret that the department operates with only nine multitasking archaeologists, who also aid the police in their investigations.

In the past, announcements regarding the department being staffed by 47 experts (including a public prosecutor, legal advisers and police officers, among others) never made it beyond the stage of promises. Despite all its problems, however, the Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods Department is currently on the right track regarding a number of cases of illicit antiquities trading in the United States and the UK.

via:

ekathimerini.com | Illicit antiquities trade continues to thrive in Greece.

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

El Guggenheim recupera una pieza robada horas antes por un turista alemán. diariovasco.com

K. D. | BILBAO.

El Museo Guggenheim había cerrado sus puertas y la vigilante de sala cumplía con la rutina de revisar la galería 103, dedicada a la exposición temporal ‘El Intervalo luminoso’. Uno tras otro, fue revisando los montajes allí expuestos. Todo estaba en orden hasta que la auxiliar llegó a la composición ‘Proyecto Penske’, firmada por Gabriel Orozco. Al montaje, formado por planchas de espuma industrial colocadas a modo de cajón, le faltaba una de las ocho bolas de navidad que coronaba la creación. Habían robado una pieza.

El incidente se produjo el jueves 9 de junio. El objeto sustraído carecía de valor material, pero conceptualmente formaba parte de una instalación única propiedad del magnate griego Dimitris Daskalopoulos.

El autor del robo se podía haber llevado la pieza como un souvenir o como una estúpida prueba de su ‘valentía’, pero para los responsables del Guggenheim suponía todo un contratiempo al tratarse de una obra de arte prestada temporalmente al museo. Recurrieron a las grabaciones de las cámaras de seguridad para descubrir en qué momento se había producido el hurto. En las imágenes se podía apreciar al visitante cogiendo la bola y abandonando el recinto.

El equipo de seguridad pudo confirmar que el hombre había llegado al Guggenheim, al parecer, dentro de una visita privada. Se trataba de un turista alemán que, en teoría, aún no se había marchado de la ciudad. En concreto, se encontraba hospedado en un hotel de la zona de Megapark, en Barakaldo.

A primera hora de la mañana del viernes 10 de junio, responsables del Guggenheim fueron hasta el hotel. Viéndose descubierto, el hombre admitió el hurto y entregó el ‘botín’ que tenía guardado en su equipaje. La bola navideña fue devuelta a la exposición, por lo que no se presentó denuncia ante la Ertzaintza.

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El Guggenheim recupera una pieza robada horas antes por un turista alemán. diariovasco.com.

June 26th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

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June 26th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Whitey Bulger Is Arrested in California

By ADAM NAGOURNEY and IAN LOVETT

LOS ANGELES — James (Whitey) Bulger, a legendary Boston crime boss indicted in 19 murders and who is on the F.B.I.’s 10 Most Wanted list, was arrested by federal authorities Wednesday night in Santa Monica, ending an international manhunt that had gone on since Mr. Bulger disappeared nearly 16 years ago, the F.B.I. announced.

Mr. Bulger was arrested without incident at a private residence in Santa Monica along with his companion, Catherine Greig, who fled with him in 1995, the F.B.I. said. The arrest came after the F.B.I., stymied in its efforts to find Mr. Bulger, had doubled the reward for information leading to the arrest of Ms. Greig, to $100,000, and began broadcasting public service television advertisements on shows geared to women viewers, such as Dr. Oz, as part of an effort to find Mr. Bulger through Ms. Greig.

The case has long captivated Boston, while proving something of an embarrassment to the F.B.I. Mr. Bulger, 81, is a former F.B.I. informant who disappeared early in 1995 after a retired F.B.I. agent alerted him to an imminent indictment.

The arrest was first reported on the Web site of The Los Angeles Times. It was officially announced by Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s office in Boston, and Steven Martinez, the assistant director in charge in Los Angeles. They said the couple had been found based on a tip that resulted from the recent public attention to the case, presumably the information the F.B.I. had distributed about some distinctive habits of Ms. Greig, a dental hygienist.

Ms. Greig, they said, had had multiple plastic surgeries, got her teeth cleaned once a month, frequented beauty salons and loved dogs.

Mr. Bulger had proved elusive despite a $2 million award for his capture, the largest ever for a domestic target. He was an outsize figure in Boston lore, and there have been reported sightings of him over the years from all over the world.

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Whitey Bulger Is Arrested in California – NYTimes.com.

June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

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June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: vervalsing, verwante blogs

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June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: vervalsing, verwante blogs

Saving Antiquities for Everyone-Looted memorial statues returned to Kenyan family

M. Udvardy

Ancestral memorial statues (vigango) erected by the Mijikenda peoples of Kenya are frequently stolen and sold to international art dealers. During the summer of 2007, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) returned two vigango, which had been in the collections of two American museums, to a Mijikenda family in a rural Kenyan village. We give the history of these two stolen statues, including their theft and rediscovery, the efforts leading to their repatriation, and the joyful return ceremony. We also describe how this case inspired the return of nine more vigango from an American family to the NMK, and examine the current status of efforts to protect vigango.

On June 20, 2007, much celebration accompanied the National Museums of Kenya’s (NMK) return of two stolen ancestral memorial statues (vigango, singular kigango, Kigiriama) to a Giriama family near Kaloleni, in the Kenyan coastal hinterland. Returned by two American museums, the two vigango were, according to the NMK Director General Dr. Idle Omar Farah, the first stolen artifacts ever returned to Kenya from the United States. The ceremony drew hundreds of local celebrants and included speeches, performances by local dance troupes, and feasting. The Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, the Honorable Morris Dzoro, delivered the keynote speech. Other dignitaries attending included the NMK Board Chairman, Mr. Issa Timamy, and Ambassador Husein Dado, Senior Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of State for National Heritage. The NMK’s Mombasa branch, under the direction of Mr. Philip Jimbi Katana, made elaborate preparations for the ceremony, including building a steel enclosure in the homestead to protect the returned vigango from further theft.

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Saving Antiquities for Everyone-Looted memorial statues returned to Kenyan family.

June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: African Affairs

The Wildenstein era will end, and the art market will benefit

At last the BBC has made decent programme about the art market. However, the conclusions reached on ‘Fake or Fortune’ confirm what most of us already knew — that when exposed to a raking light, the art market is a deeply unpleasant place in which to do business.

The programme — still available on the BBC’s iPlayer (here) had presenter Fiona Bruce and renowned London-based art sleuth Philip Mould (above left) seeking to authenticate a Monet — Les bords de la Seine à Argentueil — bought for £40,000 some 18 years ago by David Joel, a British man in his eighties. Mr Joel has never been in any doubt that his painting was a signature work by Monet. Trouble is, the mighty Wildensteins disagree.

For forty years the Wildenstein dynasty in Paris has been publishing the five-volume Monet catalogue raisonné, the ‘bible’ containing all known authenticated works by the artist. No Monet can be sold at a major auction house without being listed in the catalogue.

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tomflynn: The Wildenstein era will end, and the art market will benefit.

June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: BLOG World (from related blogs), Mailing list reports

Offenburg: Tierfrevel: Nashornhornklau auch in Offenburg

22. Juni 2011 11:43 Uhr

Tierfrevel

Diebe suchen gezielt Museen heim, um Nashorn-Ausstellungsstücke zu stehlen. Auch dem Ritterhausmuseum in Offenburg kam eines abhanden.

Das Museum besitzt die Jagdtrophäensammlung von Gretchen und Hermann Cron, die im Offenburger Stadtwald eine Jagd und ein Jagdhaus besaßen und zwischen 1925 und 1949 immer wieder nach Afrika reisten, um mit Kamera und Karabiner auf Großwild zu schießen. Ausgestopfte Löwen, Leoparden oder Gazellen bevölkern als Hinterlassenschaft der Crons das Obergeschoss des Offenburger Museums im Ritterhaus, aber auch Kopftrophäen oder noch geschmackloserer Nippes aus Tierkadavern: etwa ein präparierter Elefantenfuß, der zum Champagnerkühler umgearbeitet wurde oder eben zwei Nashornhörner, die wohl als Tintenfässer einer Schreibtischgarnitur dienten.

Eben dieses Ausstellungsstück der Sammlung Cron (siehe Foto unten) war eines Tages des Jahres 2008 plötzlich aus der Ausstellung verschwunden. “Das Objekt war festgeschraubt. Aber jemand mit einem passenden Schraubenzieher hat das in einem unbeobachteten Moment entfernen können”, erklärt Regina Brischle auf Anfrage. Natürlich habe man den Diebstahl zur Anzeige gebracht. Aber auf dem Polizeirevier haben man wenig Hoffnung auf ein Wiedersehen gemacht: “Die Hörner werden sofort pulverisiert, haben und die Beamten erklärt”, berichtet Regina Brischle. Wahrscheinlich können die Offenburger Museumsleute sogar noch froh sein, dass nicht auch die zweite Nashorntrophäe der Sammlung Cron ihrer Hörner beraubt wurde. Diese Kopftrophäe hängt in dreieinhalb Meter Höhe an der Wand und war den Dieben damals offensichtlich unerreichbar.

“Die Hörner werden sofort pulverisiert.”

Polizist des Reviers Offenburg

Der Diebstahl in Offenburg war möglicherweise noch ein Einzelfall. Neuerdings scheinen die Täter systematischer vorzugehen. Wie die Wochenzeitung Die Zeit in ihrer aktuellen Ausgabe berichtet, wurden seit Februar dieses Jahres dem Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (Cetaf), einem Netzwerk naturwissenschaftlicher Forschungssammlungen in ganz Europa, neun Einbrüche in Museen gemeldet. In diesem Jahr hat es laut diesem Bericht bereits das Naturkundemuseum in Bamberg, das Jagdmuseum Wulff im niedersächsischen Oerrel und das Zoologische Museum der Universität Hamburg erwischt. Ebenso Museen in Spanien, Portugal, England, Italien und Frankreich. In Museumskreisen wird derzeit dringend empfohlen alle Nashornoriginale aus den Schausammlungen zu entfernen.

Für Die Zeit hat die ehemalige BZ-Redakteurin Claudia Füßler die Geschichte recherchiert. Danach gilt das Mehl aus Nashornhorn als beliebtes Heilmittel in ostasiatischen Ländern. In der Traditionellen Chinesischen Medizin wird dem Hornmehl eine fiebersenkende Wirkung zugeschrieben, außerdem soll es gegen Epilepsie, Malaria, Abszesse und Vergiftungen helfen. Die Verwendung als Potenzmittel, die gern kolportiert wird, sei dagegen zweitrangig. Besonders in Vietnam blühe der Handel mit dem Hornmehl. Für 100 Gramm Pulver würden Käufer dort 2000 Euro bezahlen. Mit rund 14 000 Euro pro Kilo werde Nashorn auf dem Schwarzmarkt gehandelt. Bei einem kompletten Nashorn, das zwischen zwei und zehn Kilogramm wiegt, kommt da viel Geld zusammen. Kein Wunder also, dass der systematische Museumsdiebstahl zunimmt, der um so vieles leichter und bequemer ist, als die wehrhaften Tiere in den Nationalparks von Afrika, Indien oder auf Java oder Sumatra abzuschlachten.

Im Offenburger Ritterhausmuseum hat man die Signale gehört. Videoüberwachung und eine besondere Schulung der Aufsichtskräfte soll das letzte verbliebene Nashorn schützen.

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Offenburg: Tierfrevel: Nashornhornklau auch in Offenburg – badische-zeitung.de.

June 23rd, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

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June 22nd, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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June 22nd, 2011

Posted In: African Affairs

allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: Protect Sculptors From Piracy

source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201106210634.html

June 22, 2011


The Herald (Harare)

Tony Monda

20 June 2011


opinion

Whilst there has been much talk about pirated videos, CDs, DVDs and musical recordings locally, the same cannot be said about the visual arts.

This article is written in response to various complaints from Zimbabwean sculptors about their stone works being copied, redesigned or reproduced from photographs by some foreign buyers citing, Chinese, Belgian, Dutch, English and American collectors (names supplied).

These works are subsequently sold as “original” at unrealistically low prices, which has been the major cause of the demise of this cultural commodity. In light of the above, this writer will delve into the murky waters of the history of fakes and forgeries in art and how this scourge can and should be curbed in Zimbabwe, which this writer has heard described as the “El Dorado of Stone Sculpture”.

What is a fake work of art?

The word “fake” is defined as “an article of artistic value made, copied or in some way altered with the deliberate intention of deception, so as to increase its value”.

Sir John Pipers’ definition is expanded to read: “a fake is a work of art fraudulently sculpted or painted and passed off and sold as the work of a generally more collectable artist”.

The key words here, being “collectable artist”. He elaborates that “one must note that forgeries and fakes are not necessarily the same as a work of a painter or sculptor painting or sculpting in the manner of a great master artist”.

As indeed for many centuries such practices (i.e. apprenticeships) were regarded as an essential part of the artist’s training. The apprenticeship scholar/master system still exists amongst many craftsmen and artists in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas today. It is regarded as the most effective “hands on” tutorship.

The practice of faking works of art for an eager and gullible market has been going on since European Classical times. However, by the late 20th century, the physical properties of suspected fakes could now be examined using various scientific methods, including X-rays and chemicals analysis, but such material tests have not always been foolproof given the development of modern cleaning agents which may alter the chemical composition of the material, additionally, numerous finger prints may be imprinted whilst transporting the works of art, which may confuse the DNA sweat tests making a provenance record more elusive then ever.

In recent technological advances, forgers have acquired extraordinary levels of sophistication, not only in their at tempts to mimic the styles of famous artists of past and present, but also in their abilities to use or imitate their materials and techniques and even the effects of aging such as “craquelure” in oil paintings and eluding carbon dating and DNA sweat tests in African wooden antiquities. This is now a field of common speculation for scholars and specialise in art history and archeological artifacts.

The process and techniques of science have no Seeing Eye. In practically every case of forgery uncovered, it has been the aesthetically trained eye and educated enquiring mind, which has detected the forgery and started the chase. Art forgers often rush in to satisfy a demand or vogue for a particular period or category of objects, or artists’ work being sought after by collectors or buyers. Part of the answer with any great works of art is that it has come into being at the height of the master artist’s powers, when the act for creating has gone beyond the strictures of technique and the master works with a full-blooded freedom that pulsates with life and achievement – a creative euphoria and psychological human feeling which is difficult to fake.

Cruel punishment for copy cats “chitokisi”

In 1562, in England, the crime for forging an artist’s work was punishable in lower degrees by a hefty fine and at the other end of the scale, by being pilloried, whilst the offender’s head, hands and feet were bound in stocks, “chitokisi” not unlike the Shona traditional “Mbira DzaKondo”. The perpetrator was publicly stoned or pelted, until near death, with rotten foods, vegetables, feaces, hot tar or pig manure, by the public, both ears cut off, the nostrils slit up and seared in the publics’ presence. Forfeiture of land and perpetual imprisonment if he survived the physical punishment.

This state of affairs continued well into the 18th century and led to Hogarth’s Copyright Act of 1735, which gave 14 years protection from copying, followed by amendments in 1761, 1777 and 1836. It concerns the right to control, literally, theatrical, musical or artistic works for a determined number of years. Subsequently, the term “intellectual property” came into use as a term for patents, copyright and other laws in the 19th century. This idea of the artist as an original creator and owner of their work was made popular by John Locke’s theory that artists invested labour into natural goods and so created property. Copyright owners have the exclusive statutory right to exercise control over copying and other exploitation of their work.

Today, however, copyright laws have been standardised to some extent, through international and regional agreements such as the Berne Convention (1886), and the European Copyright Directives, giving each jurisdiction distinct laws and regulations on copyright, which may vary between countries.

Lenient punishment today;

Today, unfortunately, the punishment is lenient and not commensurate with the crime committed by the forger. For example, a notorious art forger Han van Meergeren, who was one of two of the most famous European forgers of the last century, totted up a total of over US$30 million, he owned 52 houses and 15 country houses around Laven in Holland, from his copies of Vermeer’s paintings.

Jan Vermeer (1632- 1675) was a Dutch artist and picture dealer with a marvelous extraordinary realistic technique of painting. His work “A View of Delft” housed in The Hauge Mauritshuis is reputed to be one of the most remarkable landscapes in the world history of art. Han van Meergeren received a jail sentence of just one-year for his offences – on the 29th May 1945 presumable, owing to the war (World War II), he was released in February 1946. He was retried in 1947, and died of a heart attack soon after.

His accumulated forgeries were equivalent to US$47 million, and he is known as one of the greatest art forgers in history.

The other, Tom Keating, (1917-1984) an Englishman, successfully painted in the style of a large number of modern European masters. He is reported to have forged over 2 000 paintings of approximately 100 modern artists.

He starred in a television programme after confessing in 1976, of his crimes. He boastfully claimed that the galleries of the world were full of his fraudulent reproductions, whose directors and curators are too embarrassed to admit owning or exhibiting a forgery.

Ironically today, Keating is an historical case study, whose works are analysed and studied by those undertaking courses in world art auctioneering and criminal detection of fakes.

In an interesting twist of fate, a UK artist, John Myatt (1945) created works attributed to several modern artists, amongst them Chagall, Giacometti, Picasso and Renoir and Nicholson. He was imprisoned for his crimes, and released in 2000, after which he started creating his own art, which now sell at notoriously high prices due to his infamy.

Historic cases of art fakes in Zimbabwe

The illegal reproduction of fake stone sculptures of Zimbabwean origin has become more pronounced in recent decades and is most widespread in China, Belgium, Holland, UK and the USA. But the source of production is largely Zimbabwean, where the art and artist is not appreciated and the works undervalued.

The destinations of the fake sculptures are difficult to trace and only come to light when serious Euro-American buyers come to Zimbabwe and realise that they have probably bought a “fake” overseas. Once again the lack of effective legal instruments and structured forums for dialogue and arbitration render the art trade open to counterfeit fakes and mass reproduction of our cultural heritage. For example, as early as in 1978, fake sculptures attributed to the late Henry Munyaradzi first came to light in South Africa and California, USA, and were also found in 1986 in the UK.

By the mid-1990s, more fake stone sculptures were discovered in Zurich, Switzerland, Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium. These were works by other Zimbabwean stone master artists, namely, Ephraim Chaurika’s “African Spirit Horses” series @ 1982. Brighton Sango’s cubist inspired “Mother and Child” series, @ 1986, “Mother Care” series @ 1989 and “Magic Flower” series @ 1991. Fanizani Akuda’s “Funny Girl” series @ 1986, and “Man Inside Wings of a Bird” @ 1986. As well as Joseph Ndandarika’s “Friend of the Animal ” @ 1986, and his “Thinking Man” series 1989, and finally, Albert Mamvura’s abstract lyrical stone sculptures, @1996.

Breaking the fakes

Locally, Lazarus Takawira had said during a BBC Channel 4 interview: “If anyone copies my work, I take a (14 pound) hammer and smash the sculpture to pieces.” Although one could not agree more, this action has not deterred the proliferation of fakes. The punishment for forgers and fakes is very lenient in this country, due to the lack appreciation for art and the gravity of the offence of art forgeries. Faking a work of art constitutes:

(a) Depriving the artist of income,

(b) Theft of intellectual property,

(c) Forgery by deceiving the buyer with “stolen” goods

(d) Flouting copyright law.

These are some of the compounded offences committed when a forger copies a work of art – regardless the medium. Due to the lack of seriousness and interest by the lawmakers of Zimbabwe, on the subject, many artists have fallen victim to art forgers.

Benhura’s trial;

What is regrettable is that none of these pioneer Zimbabwean artists were compensated for their loss of income, nor were they legally empowered to stop the forgery racket due to their lack of knowledge of legal arbitration. Rather than stop the forgery racket, they often unknowingly sold more of their works to the same corrupt art dealers.

An historical on June 2007, Case HC28/04

Following the huge global success of his animated figures in motion, an entire consignment of 45 forged works attributed to him and estimated to fetch over US$170 000 on the art market today was unearthed by Benhura.

He took legal action and won the case, but was unfairly awarded a pittance of Z$400 compensation for his “intellectual property” and a lifetime artistic endeavour.

By all accounts, the artist should have been compensated real time value of the works that were forged and the perpetrator jailed by the value of the faked goods.

Benhura did not receive justice, and he is not alone. In a similar case, this writer was reliably informed of 23 copies of his own sculptures at Avondale flea market in 2005, and for the past five years has been trying to trace the perpetrator in vain. The works are believed to have sold out.

Although the Unesco Convention (1970) “Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import/export and transfer of ownership of cultural property” exists it does not cover the fake and disposal of contemporary Zimbabwean visual arts.

Today, the deceptively and usually shortlived but highly profitable, practice of art forgery has not ceased. In fact, recent reports cite African art, both antique and modern, as the biggest target for the reproduction and fakes the world over.

China is today the most notorious for creating reproductions of unsigned Zimbabwean Shona sculpture in order to evade legal reprisal. The works are simply labelled “Made in Zimbabwe” and sold as cheap “curios” to unsuspecting buyers. How do we bring them to book? They have turned the works of our great Zimbabwean contemporary stone masters into “Made in China” curios.

In conclusion, in light of the above, the Zimbabwean judiciary should immediately develop legal instruments, that not only prevent the haemorrhaging and the destruction of our heritage, but also enhance the capacity to safeguard our heritage and the purveyors of the visual arts – our beloved stone sculptors on the international markets.

June 22nd, 2011

Posted In: African Affairs, fakes and forgeries

Stolen: How the Mona Lisa Became the World’s Most Famous Painting | Arts & Culture

It was a quiet, humid Monday morning in Paris, 21 August 1911. Three men were hurrying out of the Louvre. It was odd, since the museum was closed to visitors on Mondays, and odder still with what one of them had under his jacket.

They were Vincenzo Perugia and the brothers Lancelotti, Vincenzo and Michele, young Italian handymen. They had come to the Louvre on Sunday afternoon and secreted themselves overnight in a narrow storeroom near the Salon Carré, a gallery stuffed with Renaissance paintings. In the morning, wearing white workmen’s smocks, they had gone into the Salon Carré. They seized a small painting off the wall. Quickly, they ripped off its glass shadow box and frame and Perugia hid it under his clothes. They slipped out of the gallery, down a back stairwell and through a side entrance and into the streets of Paris.

They had stolen the Mona Lisa.

It would be 26 hours before someone noticed that the painting was missing. It was understandable. At the time the Louvre was the largest building in the world, with more than 1,000 rooms spread over 45 acres. Security was weak; fewer than 150 guards protected the quarter-of-a-million objects. Statues disappeared, paintings got damaged. (A heavy statue of the Egyptian god Isis was stolen about a year before the Mona Lisa and in 1907, a woman was sentenced to six months in prison for slashing Jean Auguste Ingres’ Pius VII in the Sistine Chapel.)

At the time of the “Mona Lisa” heist, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was far from the most visited item in the museum. Leonardo painted the portrait around 1507, and it was not until the 1860s that art critics claimed the Mona Lisa was one of the finest examples of Renaissance painting. This judgment, however, had not yet filtered beyond a thin slice of the intelligentsia, and interest in it was relatively minimal. In his 1878 guidebook to Paris, travel writer Karl Baedeker offered a paragraph of description about the portrait; in 1907 he had a mere two sentences, much less than the other gems in the museum, such as Nike of Samothrace and Venus de Milo.

Which isn’t to say it was obscure. A letter mailed to the Louvre in 1910 from Vienna had threatened the Mona Lisa so museum officials hired the glazier firm Cobier to put a dozen of its more prized paintings under glass. The work took three months; one of the Cobier men assigned to the project was Vincenzo Perugia. The son of a bricklayer, Perugia grew up in Dumenza, a Lombardy village north of Milan. In 1907 at the age of 25, Vincenzo left home, trying out Paris, Milan and then Lyon. After a year, he settled in Paris with his two brothers in the Italian enclave in the 10th Arrondissement.

Perugia was short, just 5 feet 3, and quick to challenge any insult, to himself or his nation. His brothers called him a passoide o megloi, a nut or madman. His fellow French construction workers, Perugia later testified in court, “almost always called me ‘mangia maccheroni’ [macaroni eater] and very often they stole my personal property and salted my wine.”

Twice the Parisian police arrested Perugia. In June 1908 he spent a night in jail for attempting to rob a prostitute. Eight months later, he clocked in a week in the Macon, the notorious Parisian prison and paid a 16-franc fine for carrying a gun during a fistfight. He even quarreled with his future co-conspirators; he once stopped speaking to Vincenzo Lancelotti over a disputed 1-franc loan.

Perugia wanted to be more than a construction worker. Appearing in court in 1914 for the theft of the Mona Lisa, he was called a housepainter by the prosecution. Perugia stood up and declared himself a pittore, an artist. He had taught himself how to read and sometimes holed himself up in coffeehouses or museums, poring through books and newspapers.

Stealing the Mona Lisa made sense. Most purloined paintings that were not immediately held for ransom didn’t go to a wealthy aristocrat’s secret hideaway, but instead slide into an illicit pipeline being used as barter or collateral for drugs, arms and other stolen goods. Perugia had enough connections to criminal circles that he hoped to barter or sell it.

Unfortunately for Perugia, the Mona Lisa got too hot to hock. Initially, the afternoon newspapers in Paris had nothing on Monday, and the following morning’s papers were also curiously quiet on the matter. Would the Louvre cover it up, pretend it had not happened?

Finally, late on Tuesday, there was a media explosion when the Louvre issued a statement announcing the theft. Newspapers around the world came out with banner headlines. Wanted posters for the painting appeared on Parisian walls. Crowds massed at police headquarters. Thousands of spectators, including Franz Kafka, flooded into the Salon Carré when the Louvre reopened after a week to stare at the empty wall with its four lonely iron hooks. Kafka and his traveling companion Max Brod marveled at the “mark of shame” at the Louvre and attended a vaudeville show lampooning the theft.

Satirical postcards, a short film and cabaret songs followed—popular culture seized upon the theft and turned high art into mass art. Perugia realized that he had not pinched an old Italian painting from a decaying royal palace. He had unluckily stolen what had become, in a few short days, the world’s most famous painting.

Perugia squirreled the Mona Lisa away in the false bottom of a wooden trunk in his room at his boardinghouse. When the Parisian police interrogated him in November 1911 as a part of their interviews of all Louvre employees, he blithely said he only learned of the theft from the newspapers and that the reason he was late to work that Monday in August—as his employer had told the police—was that he had drunk too much the night before and overslept.

The police bought the story. Supremely inept, they ignored Perugia and instead arrested the artist Pablo Picasso and the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. (They were friends with a thief who admitted to pinching little sculptures from the Louvre.) The two were promptly released.

In December 1913, after 28 months, Perugia left his Parisian boardinghouse with his trunk and took a train to Florence where he tried to offload the painting on an art dealer who promptly called the police. Perugia was arrested. After a brief trial in Florence, he pleaded guilty and served only eight months in prison.

Thanks to the high-profile heist, the Mona Lisa was now a global icon. Under a shower of even more publicity, it returned to the Louvre following mobbed exhibitions in Florence, Milan and Rome. In the first two days after it was rehung in the Salon Carré, more than 100,000 people viewed it. Today, eight million people see the Mona Lisa every year.

As soon as the painting was stolen in 1911, conspiracy theories sprouted up. Was it a hoax? Some said the theft was the French government’s way of trying to distract public opinion from uprisings in colonial West Africa. A few months before the painting was found, the New York Times speculated that Louvre restorers had botched a restoration job of the Mona Lisa; to cover this up, the museum concocted the story of an outlandish theft.

Even after the recovery of the Mona Lisa, the world was still incredulous. How could a few Italian carpenters have pulled this caper off by themselves? For years, rumors surfaced that a gang of international art thieves had poached the painting and substituted a fake that was in Perugia’s possession when he was caught in Florence. In a 1932 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Karl Decker, an American journalist, offered a twist: a shady Argentine swindler had arranged for six copies of the Mona Lisa to be made and sold after Perugia’s theft (each buyer thought he had the original).

Two English-language nonfiction accounts of the theft, a 1981 book by Seymour Reit and a 2009 retelling by R.A. Scotti, carry Decker’s story to the hilt, even though there is no supporting historical evidence.

A century has passed since Perugia pinched the painting, and yet historians are still reluctant to give him the credit as the unwitting catalyst for making the Mona Lisa the world-famous icon that it is today.

It was a quiet, humid Monday morning in Paris, 21 August 1911. Three men were hurrying out of the Louvre. It was odd, since the museum was closed to visitors on Mondays, and odder still with what one of them had under his jacket.

They were Vincenzo Perugia and the brothers Lancelotti, Vincenzo and Michele, young Italian handymen. They had come to the Louvre on Sunday afternoon and secreted themselves overnight in a narrow storeroom near the Salon Carré, a gallery stuffed with Renaissance paintings. In the morning, wearing white workmen’s smocks, they had gone into the Salon Carré. They seized a small painting off the wall. Quickly, they ripped off its glass shadow box and frame and Perugia hid it under his clothes. They slipped out of the gallery, down a back stairwell and through a side entrance and into the streets of Paris.

They had stolen the Mona Lisa.

It would be 26 hours before someone noticed that the painting was missing. It was understandable. At the time the Louvre was the largest building in the world, with more than 1,000 rooms spread over 45 acres. Security was weak; fewer than 150 guards protected the quarter-of-a-million objects. Statues disappeared, paintings got damaged. (A heavy statue of the Egyptian god Isis was stolen about a year before the Mona Lisa and in 1907, a woman was sentenced to six months in prison for slashing Jean Auguste Ingres’ Pius VII in the Sistine Chapel.)

At the time of the “Mona Lisa” heist, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was far from the most visited item in the museum. Leonardo painted the portrait around 1507, and it was not until the 1860s that art critics claimed the Mona Lisa was one of the finest examples of Renaissance painting. This judgment, however, had not yet filtered beyond a thin slice of the intelligentsia, and interest in it was relatively minimal. In his 1878 guidebook to Paris, travel writer Karl Baedeker offered a paragraph of description about the portrait; in 1907 he had a mere two sentences, much less than the other gems in the museum, such as Nike of Samothrace and Venus de Milo.

Which isn’t to say it was obscure. A letter mailed to the Louvre in 1910 from Vienna had threatened the Mona Lisa so museum officials hired the glazier firm Cobier to put a dozen of its more prized paintings under glass. The work took three months; one of the Cobier men assigned to the project was Vincenzo Perugia. The son of a bricklayer, Perugia grew up in Dumenza, a Lombardy village north of Milan. In 1907 at the age of 25, Vincenzo left home, trying out Paris, Milan and then Lyon. After a year, he settled in Paris with his two brothers in the Italian enclave in the 10th Arrondissement.

Perugia was short, just 5 feet 3, and quick to challenge any insult, to himself or his nation. His brothers called him a passoide o megloi, a nut or madman. His fellow French construction workers, Perugia later testified in court, “almost always called me ‘mangia maccheroni’ [macaroni eater] and very often they stole my personal property and salted my wine.”

Twice the Parisian police arrested Perugia. In June 1908 he spent a night in jail for attempting to rob a prostitute. Eight months later, he clocked in a week in the Macon, the notorious Parisian prison and paid a 16-franc fine for carrying a gun during a fistfight. He even quarreled with his future co-conspirators; he once stopped speaking to Vincenzo Lancelotti over a disputed 1-franc loan.

Perugia wanted to be more than a construction worker. Appearing in court in 1914 for the theft of the Mona Lisa, he was called a housepainter by the prosecution. Perugia stood up and declared himself a pittore, an artist. He had taught himself how to read and sometimes holed himself up in coffeehouses or museums, poring through books and newspapers.

Stealing the Mona Lisa made sense. Most purloined paintings that were not immediately held for ransom didn’t go to a wealthy aristocrat’s secret hideaway, but instead slide into an illicit pipeline being used as barter or collateral for drugs, arms and other stolen goods. Perugia had enough connections to criminal circles that he hoped to barter or sell it.

Unfortunately for Perugia, the Mona Lisa got too hot to hock. Initially, the afternoon newspapers in Paris had nothing on Monday, and the following morning’s papers were also curiously quiet on the matter. Would the Louvre cover it up, pretend it had not happened?

Finally, late on Tuesday, there was a media explosion when the Louvre issued a statement announcing the theft. Newspapers around the world came out with banner headlines. Wanted posters for the painting appeared on Parisian walls. Crowds massed at police headquarters. Thousands of spectators, including Franz Kafka, flooded into the Salon Carré when the Louvre reopened after a week to stare at the empty wall with its four lonely iron hooks. Kafka and his traveling companion Max Brod marveled at the “mark of shame” at the Louvre and attended a vaudeville show lampooning the theft.

Satirical postcards, a short film and cabaret songs followed—popular culture seized upon the theft and turned high art into mass art. Perugia realized that he had not pinched an old Italian painting from a decaying royal palace. He had unluckily stolen what had become, in a few short days, the world’s most famous painting.

Perugia squirreled the Mona Lisa away in the false bottom of a wooden trunk in his room at his boardinghouse. When the Parisian police interrogated him in November 1911 as a part of their interviews of all Louvre employees, he blithely said he only learned of the theft from the newspapers and that the reason he was late to work that Monday in August—as his employer had told the police—was that he had drunk too much the night before and overslept.

The police bought the story. Supremely inept, they ignored Perugia and instead arrested the artist Pablo Picasso and the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. (They were friends with a thief who admitted to pinching little sculptures from the Louvre.) The two were promptly released.

In December 1913, after 28 months, Perugia left his Parisian boardinghouse with his trunk and took a train to Florence where he tried to offload the painting on an art dealer who promptly called the police. Perugia was arrested. After a brief trial in Florence, he pleaded guilty and served only eight months in prison.

Thanks to the high-profile heist, the Mona Lisa was now a global icon. Under a shower of even more publicity, it returned to the Louvre following mobbed exhibitions in Florence, Milan and Rome. In the first two days after it was rehung in the Salon Carré, more than 100,000 people viewed it. Today, eight million people see the Mona Lisa every year.

As soon as the painting was stolen in 1911, conspiracy theories sprouted up. Was it a hoax? Some said the theft was the French government’s way of trying to distract public opinion from uprisings in colonial West Africa. A few months before the painting was found, the New York Times speculated that Louvre restorers had botched a restoration job of the Mona Lisa; to cover this up, the museum concocted the story of an outlandish theft.

Even after the recovery of the Mona Lisa, the world was still incredulous. How could a few Italian carpenters have pulled this caper off by themselves? For years, rumors surfaced that a gang of international art thieves had poached the painting and substituted a fake that was in Perugia’s possession when he was caught in Florence. In a 1932 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Karl Decker, an American journalist, offered a twist: a shady Argentine swindler had arranged for six copies of the Mona Lisa to be made and sold after Perugia’s theft (each buyer thought he had the original).

Two English-language nonfiction accounts of the theft, a 1981 book by Seymour Reit and a 2009 retelling by R.A. Scotti, carry Decker’s story to the hilt, even though there is no supporting historical evidence.

A century has passed since Perugia pinched the painting, and yet historians are still reluctant to give him the credit as the unwitting catalyst for making the Mona Lisa the world-famous icon that it is today.

via:

Stolen: How the Mona Lisa Became the World’s Most Famous Painting | Arts.

June 19th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

News Wales > Community > Model trains stolen from Betws y Coed museum

Railway memorabilia worth thousands of pounds was stolen during a burglary at the Conway Valley Railway Museum in Betws y Coed between 5pm on Wednesday and 10am on Thursday.

An offender or offenders gained entry into the museum at the Old Goods Yard on Station Road, which is near the Riverside Camp site and the local graveyard, by forcing the rear doors of the building.

PC Andy Davies said: “Numerous model railway engines, including Hornby and other make models were stolen. Some of these items are of a very high value and would be of interest to enthusiasts.”

Police are keen to speak to anyone who saw someone acting suspiciously in the area or who may have information relating to the burglary.

Anyone with information is urged to contact PC 659 Andy Davies at Llanrwst Police Station on 101 if in Wales, 0845 6071001 (Welsh line), 0845 6071002 (English line). Alternatively text 66767 or call Crimestoppers Wales anonymously on 0800 555111.

via:

News Wales > Community > Model trains stolen from Betws y Coed museum.

June 19th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Southport Police in search of museum thieves caught on video | WWAY NewsChannel 3

READ MORE: Southport Police in search of museum thieves caught on video 

museumrobbery300.jpg

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The NC Maritime Museum in Southport was robbed and the thieves are caught on video. Two 30-inch bronze, historic propellers were stolen Monday around 9:30 p.m.

“We were getting ready to mount them even though they’re very heavy,” said Walter Madsen with the Maritime Museum. “They were being cleaned up and everything. We were’t thinking anyone would take them.”

Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove says the three men are white males in their 20s or 30s.

“They’re probably stealing them for the monetary value of the metal,” said Dove.

Madsen says the two propellers are worth approximately $3,000.

“The two heavy ones probably weigh two to three hundred pounds or so,” said Madsen.

Both propellers came from the Cape Fear River Ferry dated back to the 1920s or 1930s.

“It’s part of history,” said Madsen. “You hate to lose any part of history.”

Anyone with information on the stolen propellers is encouraged to contact the Southport Police Department at 457-7917. There is currently a $500 dollar reward for any information leading to arrests of the thieves.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»


Southport Police in search of museum thieves caught on video | WWAY NewsChannel 3 | Wilmington NC News.

June 19th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Mali, now at Musée du quai Branly,  Paris, France.

There is no doubt that the current exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly, entitled, “Dogon” is the most comprehensive and definitely one of the best exhibitions on the well-known culture of the Dogon, Mali. The exhibits are all so impressive that one cannot easily pick out any objects as more interesting and show them to readers, especially Africans who may not be able to visit this excellent exhibition in view of existing restrictions placed on Africans seeking to visit Europe. In any case, France would not accept as ground for requesting a visa for France, the current exhibitions on Dogon, Angola and Voodoo in Paris.

 

But how did the Musée du Quai Branly manage to assemble such a large number of impressive Dogon artworks? According to the catalogue of the exhibition, Dogon by Hélène Leloup, in addition to the Dogon objects held by the museum, several  institutions and individuals also lent their artefacts.(2) The lenders are listed in the catalogue. It is interesting to note that some of them did not want to be mentioned by name. Did they want to avoid any possible claims of restitution by Mali from where the Dogon objects may have been illegally removed or acquired under suspicious or dubious circumstance?   It is noticeable that not one African or Malian institution or individual person is mentioned in the list of lenders. There is only one African name among the contributors of articles in the catalogue. In the acknowledgements, no African name is mentioned. However, the editor, Hélène Leloup, extends a general thanks to the Dogon people who had revealed some secrets to her and expresses the hope that they will keep their country as quiet and beautiful as their ancestors created it:

Merci â tous les Dogon qui m’ont confié quelques secrets. Qu’ils gardent ce pays, si tranquille et si beau, comme leurs ancêtres l’ont créé.”

read all, including images, at:

http://www.museum-security.org/opoku_dogon_branly.htm

 

June 19th, 2011

Posted In: Dr. Kwame Opoku writings about looted cultural objects

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June 19th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

‘Indiana Jones in reverse’ wins archaeology ‘Oscar’ – Wales News – News – WalesOnline

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/06/18/indiana-jones-in-reverse-wins-archaeology-oscar-91466-28898055/

June 18, 2011

VALUABLE archaeological sites are being “decimated” to service a full-scale industry in selling human history, according to the man dubbed “Indiana Jones in reverse”.

Swansea University archaeologist Dr David Gill said many fortune hunters are abandoning all care in recovering artefacts and resorting instead to means, like mechanical diggers, that produce quick results.

The 48-year-old from Sketty, Swansea, has now been given one of the highest honours in the rarified world of antiquities for his work in getting artefacts returned to their countries of origin.

The reader in Mediterranean archaeology has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America’s (AIA) Outstanding Public Service Award.

 

Claiming £300m worth of antiquities have been sold at just two major auction houses in the past 12 years, Dr Gill said: “The looting of human history has become a full-scale industry.

“In some countries, like Italy, some are literally using mechanical diggers on historical sites to rip up artefacts for sale.

“These have tended to reach auction rooms in places like New York and London via Switzerland, though the Swiss are now trying to tighten controls.

“Archaeological sites are being decimated and the few treasures taken away for financial gain lose their context.

“Strip them from that context and we lose dating, related objects and information about who used them.

“Presenting a looted object means that we value the object as a beautiful thing but we do not care about the society and culture that created it. And that is an uncivilised view.”

Dr Gill became known as “Indiana Jones in reverse” because while, like his movie counterpart, he delights in getting his hands on precious antiquities, Dr Gill sends the relics back to where they came from.

He works across the world persuading museums to return ancient artefacts to Egypt, Italy, Greece and other countries suffering looting.

Last year, Dr Gill, worked with two other experts to persuade London fine art dealers Bonhams to withdraw four Roman sculptures from auction amid claims they were stolen from archaeological sites overseas.

Photographs studied by Dr Gill suggested the sculptures – funerary busts and a marble statue of a youth from the second century AD – were illicitly excavated. The looting of ancient artefacts has a long history going back to the tomb raiders of ancient Egypt.

Rome has been sacked seven times and other famous examples include the sacking of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, the sacking of Baghdad in 1258 and the looting of Aztec gold by Spanish conquistadors.

Later came more careful excavations, like Howard Carter and Lord Caernarvon’s famous excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1923 when precious artefacts were taken from Egypt to Britain, something that would now be regarded as sacrilege.

But it was the wholesale theft of priceless Babylonian treasures from Baghdad following the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 that highlighted a modern revival in culture theft.

Historical sites in Central America and areas in Cambodia, Italy, Mali and China have also seen a big rise in ancient relic thefts in the past 20 years.

Dr Gill said of his honour: “I am extremely honoured to be the recipient of this distinguished award from such an international organisation.”

Liz Bartman, president of the AIA, added: “I am delighted to recognise his ongoing efforts to educate both professional archaeologists and the public at large on the threats posed by the international antiquities trade.”

Professor Noel Thompson, pro-vice chancellor at Swansea University said: “This is an acknowledgement of the wide ranging work Dr Gill has carried out in researching antiquities, analysing their international trade and bringing it to wider public attention.”

The award, which honours those whose work promotes world understanding of archaeology, will be presented at the AIA’s meeting in Philadelphia.

Dr Gill is a contributing editor of the Journal of Art Crime and runs a blog, Looting Matters.

via:

‘Indiana Jones in reverse’ wins archaeology ‘Oscar’ – Wales News – News – WalesOnline.

June 18th, 2011

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

Tekening Ensor gestolen uit gemeentemuseum Den Haag – KUNST – PAROOL

http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/22/KUNST/article/detail/2445676/2011/06/16/Tekening-Ensor-gestolen-uit-gemeentemuseum-Den-Haag.dhtml

June 17, 2011

16-06-11   11:02 uur

Een tekening van James Ensor is afgelopen week gestolen uit het Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag. Het museum had het werk in bruikleen gekregen van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (KMSK) in Antwerpen. Dat meldt de Belgische website de redactie.

‘Dat de tekening niet van ons is, maar geleend van een ander museum maakt het des te vervelender’, zegt de woordvoerder van het museum.

Tentoonstelling
‘De triomf van de dood’, een tekening op papier, was een van de werken op de overzichtstentoonstelling ‘James Ensor, universum van een fantast’ in Den Haag. De expo liep van 12 maart tot 13 juni, het werk verdween op een van de slotdagen.

De exacte waarde van het werk is onbekend, maar een soortgelijke tekening ging onlangs nog voor 132.000 euro onder de hamer in Amsterdam. De politie onderzoekt de zaak. (Redactie)

Tekening Ensor gestolen uit gemeentemuseum Den Haag – KUNST – PAROOL.

June 17th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Tekening Ensor gestolen uit gemeentemuseum Den Haag – KUNST – PAROOL

http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/22/KUNST/article/detail/2445676/2011/06/16/Tekening-Ensor-gestolen-uit-gemeentemuseum-Den-Haag.dhtml

June 17, 2011

16-06-11   11:02 uur

Een tekening van James Ensor is afgelopen week gestolen uit het Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag. Het museum had het werk in bruikleen gekregen van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (KMSK) in Antwerpen. Dat meldt de Belgische website de redactie.

‘Dat de tekening niet van ons is, maar geleend van een ander museum maakt het des te vervelender’, zegt de woordvoerder van het museum.

Tentoonstelling
‘De triomf van de dood’, een tekening op papier, was een van de werken op de overzichtstentoonstelling ‘James Ensor, universum van een fantast’ in Den Haag. De expo liep van 12 maart tot 13 juni, het werk verdween op een van de slotdagen.

De exacte waarde van het werk is onbekend, maar een soortgelijke tekening ging onlangs nog voor 132.000 euro onder de hamer in Amsterdam. De politie onderzoekt de zaak. (Redactie)

via:

Tekening Ensor gestolen uit gemeentemuseum Den Haag – KUNST – PAROOL.

June 17th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Historic Coins Stolen From St. Louis Museum – KTVI

http://www.fox2now.com/news/ktvi-historic-coins-stolen-from-st-louis-museum-20110615,0,1663741.story

June 17, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI – FOX2now.com)—

A crime with historical significance has police looking for suspects and artifacts. Investigators say someone stole six Civil War era silver and gold coins from the St. Louis Transportation Museum over the weekend— one of the coins was worth $15,000!

The coins were inside a secured case and were part of an exhibit on loan to the museum from another museum to mark 150th anniversary of the Civil War. “They’re priceless so it’s extremely important to get them back,” said the President of the Transportation Museum, David Ahner. The coins range from 1849 to 1862- one was a silver dollar, the others were gold.

Ahner says the theft happened sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. “The cases were locked. Apparently the lock was jimmied and the coins were taken. The individual or individuals knew what they were looking for- they took the most valuable coins in the collection,” explained Ahner.

The exhibit on money from the Civil War era was on loan to the Transportation Museum from the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs. The association has a museum focused on money. A spokesperson there tells us the six coins that were stolen are worth a total of nearly $19,000. One of the coins- a five dollar gold coin from 1862- is worth $15,000 alone. “You scratch your head and you want to know how can this happen. And I suppose just like anyone else, it’s a fairly helpless feeling when you’ve had something stolen,” said Jay Beeton with the American Numismatic Association.

The exhibit just opened at the Transportation Museum last Friday. Officials there just wants the coins back.”It hurts our reputation here at the museum because we work with other museums in cooperation with lending out our artifacts too….If the individual involved or individuals would return the artifices no charges will be pressed,” said Ahner. Museum officials aren’t ruling out that this could have been an inside job.

There were no signs of a break-in at the building where the coins were being displayed. St. Louis County Police are investigating the case as a theft. A reward of up to $1000 is being offered through Crimestoppers. If you have information, call Crimestoppers or St. Louis County Police.

The exhibit had just opened last Friday.

The transportation museum just wants the coins back. But museum officials aren’t ruling out that this could have been an inside job.

St. Louis County Police are investigating the case as a theft.

The museum is offering a reward of up to one thousand dollars through Crimestoppers.

Anyone with information about these artifacts should contact the St. Louis County Police at  314-889-2341.  You can also contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).

via:

Historic Coins Stolen From St. Louis Museum – KTVI.

June 17th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

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June 17th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

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June 17th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Bril van Gandhi gestolen uit Indiaas museum – Buitenland – AD

http://www.ad.nl/ad/nl/1013/Buitenland/article/detail/2445068/2011/06/14/Bril-van-Gandhi-gestolen-uit-Indiaas-museum.dhtml

June 15, 2011
Een bril van de Indiase onafhankelijkheidsheld Mahatma Gandhi is uit een museum in het westen van India verdwenen. Het verlies van de bril met de kenmerkende ronde glazen was in november al opgemerkt, maar is nu pas gemeld bij de politie.

Buiten de bril zou er niets verdwenen zijn. Het erfstuk werd in een vitrine van het museum van de Sevagram-gemeenschap nabij de stad Wardha, tentoongesteld. In het museum zijn ook andere persoonlijke spullen te zien zoals een paternoster, een pennenhouder en een spinnewiel.

De manager van het museum zei dat openbaarmaking van de diefstal voor onnodige ‘publieke beroering’ zou kunnen zorgen. Daarom wou het management de zaak eerst zelf onderzoeken in plaats van naar de politie te gaan.

lees verder:

Bril van Gandhi gestolen uit Indiaas museum – Buitenland – AD.

June 15th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal uit museum

Een calamiteitenplan is een absolute noodzaak in een organisatie.  Een calamiteitenplan wordt gemaakt om bij een calamiteit zoveel mogelijk de regie in handen te houden en tijd te winnen. Er zijn erg veel punten die verwerkt moeten worden in een calamiteitenplan en daar is de kennis voor nodig van iedereen die aanwezig is binnen een organisatie. MuseumWacht maakt uitgebreide en overzichtelijke calamiteitenplannen waarmee uw bezoekers, medewerkers en collectie gered kunnen worden.

lees verder via Nieuwsbrief Calamiteitenplannen.

June 15th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

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June 15th, 2011

Posted In: looting and illegal art traffickers

Picassos Electrician Indicted for Harboring Allegedly Stolen Cache of the Masters Art – ARTINFO.com

http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/37876/picassos-electrician-indicted-for-harboring-allegedly-stolen-cache-of-the-masters-art/

June 15, 2011
Pierre 

and

Danielle Le Guennec

, the elderly French couple who last year attracted international attention when they produced a cache of 271 previously unknown

Picasso

works that they kept in their garage for almost 40 years, have now been indicted for on suspicion of harboring stolen art.

AsARTINFO previously reported

, Le Guennec was

Picasso

‘s electrician and claimed that the artist and his second wife,

Jacqueline Roque

, gave him the artworks as a gift. Many of the works are contained in a single notebook, but the trove also includes nine

Cubist

collages and a Blue Period watercolor, and has been estimated to be worth between $86 and $115 million. As the statute of limitations on theft has expired, the couple stands accused of possession of stolen property — a charge that still requires that theft be proven.

The Le Guennecs will appear before judge Catherine Bonnici at the end of the month. Agreeing with the Picasso Administration, which manages the artist’s estate and is headed by his son Claude Picasso, the court told Europe1 and AFP that it does not believe the couple’s story of how they came into possession of the works, stating that “there are inconsistencies in their statements, and some elements appear improbable to us.” The works in question, the court stated, disappeared during the rather chaotic time after Picasso’s death and before the official inventory of his works had been drawn up.

The case still seems quite murky, and any witnesses to the matter are long since deceased (Picasso died in 1973 and Jacqueline committed suicide in 1986). According to Le Monde, a key fact in the indictment is that the Le Guennec artworks could not have been located at the villa where Picasso and his wife resided, but rather were stored at the villa called La Californie in Cannes. However, Danielle Le Guennec told Libération last fall that Jacqueline retrieved the artworks from La Californie, where Pierre installed an alarm system.

It has also been revealed that Jacqueline gave the couple 540,000 francs as a gift in 1983, according to Var Matin. This has apparently led investigators to question why she would give such a generous present in addition to offering the Le Guennecs works by Picasso. Pierre Le Guennec did not mention the monetary gift when questioned last fall.

During questioning, Le Guennec also did not mention his cousin, Maurice Bresnu, who was Picasso’s chauffeur, nicknamed “Nounours” (“Teddy Bear”). Nounours famously received from Picasso about one hundred gouaches, drawings, and pastels, as well as 26 ceramic works. Bresnu died in 1991, and his wife Danièle died in 2009 without a will. A genealogical search led to Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec being identified as among Danièle’s six heirs — meaning that they inherited still more works by Picasso. In fact, the heirs had planned to auction several of the works at Drouot in December, but the sale was postponed due to the Le Guennecs’ legal problems. Now, police have extended the investigation to include Maurice Bresnu’s collection, part of which was previously sold, according to Le Monde.

“The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place,” a magistrate involved in the case told Le Monde, “even if the investigation is far from over and the couple’s guilt has not been proven.”

via:

Picasso’s Electrician Indicted for Harboring Allegedly Stolen Cache of the Master’s Art – ARTINFO.com.

June 15th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

The Hindu : News / National : Gandhijis iconic spectacles missing

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2102017.ece

June 15, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi’s iconic round pair of spectacles have gone missing from Sevagram Ashram in Wardha district of Maharashtra.

Ashram inmates on Monday noticed that the specs were not found along with the other belongings of the Father of the Nation that were kept in a locked showcase at a museum within the premises, 75 km from here.

The Ashram, which receives about three lakh visitors annually, is celebrating its platinum jubilee later this week (June 15-16).

The Ashram — once Gandhiji’s abode — has put on display at the museum his personal belongings, including a pen stand, spectacles and a bathroom brush.

Aakash Lokhande, manager of Ashram, felt the pair of spectacles might have been stolen by unidentified persons sometime back. The loss was brought to light during a periodical cleaning of the articles. Other personal articles of the Mahatma were safe, according to Mr. Lokhande.

“We have not lodged a formal complaint with the police so far but Wardha police have visited the Ashram,” he said.

“The issue would be discussed in the next meeting of board of trustees and a decision as to whether formal police complaint should be lodged would be taken,” said Sevagram Ashram president M.M. Gadkari.

Sevagram Ashram was set up by Gandhiji in 1936. As he stayed there, it became a de-facto headquarters of the Congress for some time, and it was there that the Quit India resolution was passed in July 1942.

Gandhiji left Sevagram in 1946.

via:

The Hindu : News / National : Gandhijis iconic spectacles missing.

June 15th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Couple Charged with Stealing 271 Picasso Paintings | Gather

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979438672

June 14, 2011

 

A French couple, aged 71, has been charged with stealing 271 Picasso paintings. The paintings were found in the couple’s garage and were only found because the couple actually contacted the Picasso estate to get the painting evaluated for authenticity.

It appears that not all of the paintings were stolen, as the couple told police that Picasso and his wife, Jacqueline, gave him the paintings while Picasso was still alive. But there were Picasso paintings found that are known to be stolen from another location.

It sounds like the couple didn’t know that some of these paintings were stolen when they acquired them, otherwise why would they contact the estate to verify their authenticity? Unless, due to their age, they had forgotten that they had stolen the paintings or received them illegally. Either way, it will be nice to see the paintings go to the right owner, and the rest be displayed the way they should be for the world to see.

Please provide details below to help Gather review this content. If it is found to be inappropriate and in violation of the

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, action will be taken.

 

via: Couple Charged with Stealing 271 Picasso Paintings | Gather.

June 14th, 2011

Posted In: Mailing list reports

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June 14th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

The $7 Million Fake: Forgery Scandal Embarrasses International Art World – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,768195,00.html

June 14, 2011

By Sven Röbel and Michael Sontheimer

More details are emerging about what is thought to be Germany’s biggest postwar art forgery scandal. The affair casts an unflattering light on a leading German art historian who authenticated a fake artwork supposedly painted by German surrealist Max Ernst. The piece was sold for $7 million to Daniel Filipacchi, a top New York art collector.

After he arrived for questioning at the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) in Berlin, Werner Spies started off by telling investigators that he was the world’s only expert on the works of the artist Max Ernst. Spies, an eminent German art historian, said that he first met the great surrealist in 1966, and he remains in close contact with Ernst’s widow, the 100-year-old artist Dorothea Tanning. He was then questioned for a total of six hours.

That was on Oct. 5 of last year. On that day, LKA investigators must have fully realized the enormity of the case surrounding the “Werner Jägers collection” — and that they were dealing with a huge scandal that extended far beyond the German art market and had international ramifications.

German artist Wolfgang Beltracchi, who has been in custody since last August, allegedly led a group that sold forged paintings by minor German expressionists, like Heinrich Campendonk. At the same time, the group circulated forgeries of works by the world famous surrealist Max Ernst (1891-1976). These paintings found their way, via galleries in Paris, to New York and the world’s top international collectors.

Thanks to certificates of authenticity that were apparently far too gullibly issued by Max Ernst expert Spies, and which transformed forgeries into originals, Beltracchi and his accomplices were able to internationally place at least five paintings supposedly by Ernst. One of the buyers was New York publisher Daniel Filipacchi, who is one of the world’s foremost collectors of surrealist art. According to investigators, he paid $7 million (€4.9 million) for the forgery “La Forêt (2).”

This would make this painting the most expensive forgery that the Beltracchi group ever put into circulation. The public prosecutor’s office in Cologne recently brought charges against Beltracchi and three alleged accomplices in connection with the sale of 14 forged canvases. Authorities estimate that the sale and resale of the artwork resulted in total losses to the art community amounting to nearly €34.1 million. Lawyers representing Beltracchi and his wife Helene have declined to comment on the charges against their clients.

more via:

 

The $7 Million Fake: Forgery Scandal Embarrasses International Art World – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.

June 14th, 2011

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

NOS Nieuws – China drijft koperprijzen op

http://nos.nl/artikel/248224-gestolen-koper-populair-in-china.html

June 14, 2011
“De schade zijn we nog aan het inventariseren, maar vooral de overlast is bijzonder groot”, zegt Michiel Haighton van spoorbeheerder ProRail. Opnieuw is op verschillende trajecten in Nederland het treinverkeer ontregeld, omdat koperdieven vannacht hebben toegeslagen.

Het koper wordt gebruikt voor het aansturen van seinen, wissels en overwegen. “Bijvoorbeeld bij Etten-Leur zijn enkele tientallen meters koper gestolen, waardoor alle spoorsystemen op de stand ‘veilig’ komen te staan”, zegt Haighton. “Dit heeft tot gevolg dat alle treinen stapvoets moeten rijden om te voorkomen dat ze iemand aanrijden die tussen de dichte spoorbomen doorglipt.”

De problemen als gevolg van koperdiefstal leiden tot grote ergernissen. Waarom is dat koper voor dieven zo populair en waar wordt het eigenlijk voor gebruikt?

Meer vraag

De prijs van koper is in tien jaar tijd bijna vertienvoudigd. De huidige koers staat op ruim 9000 dollar voor een ton koper, dat is ongeveer 6230 euro. De vraag naar koper is dus enorm gestegen, terwijl het aanbod achterblijft. Daarnaast wordt de prijs opgedreven door een toename aan speculanten.

Vooral China heeft met zijn snelle economische groei behoefte aan steeds meer koper. Meer Chinezen verhuizen naar de stad, waardoor er nieuwe huizen en elektrische netwerken moeten worden ontwikkeld met kabels waarin koper is verwerkt. Ook de toegenomen welvaart speelt een rol. Steeds meer Chinezen kunnen zich bijvoorbeeld een mobiele telefoon of laptop veroorloven.

Beeld

Naast ProRail en de NS, ondervinden de elektriciteits- en kunstsector problemen door koperdiefstal. Zo werd in 2007 uit de tuin van Het Singer Museum in Laren onder meer het beeld ‘De Denker’ van Rodin gestolen. Het beeld werd twee dagen later zwaar beschadigd teruggevonden.

meer via:

 

NOS Nieuws – China drijft koperprijzen op.

June 14th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

Horns stolen from stuffed rhinos at five museums – The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_18244036

June 13, 2011
BERLIN — Thieves have wrenched the horns off stuffed rhinoceroses in at least five European museums in the past few days, apparently with an eye to grinding up the horns to make an Asian potency remedy. 

Police in the German town of Bamberg and the Italian city of Florence disclosed the latest two thefts Thursday.

The horns apparently had a black- market value of tens of thousands of dollars. Trade in horn is illegal under world nature protection treaties. Traditional Chinese medicine credits horn dust with curative powers. Some people also believe the dust is an aphrodisiac.

Bamberg’s Natural History Museum, a museum of hunting at Gifhorn, Germany, and Hamburg’s zoology museum all reported thefts, as did the Florence Natural History Museum.

The Daily Telegraph in London reported a similar theft at the Haslemere Educational Museum in England.

The Associated Press


Horns stolen from stuffed rhinos at five museums – The Denver Post.

June 13th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

Naar aanleiding van een nog steeds zeer lezenswaardig rapport door
toenmalig Erfgoedinspecteur Hanna Pennock – Het risicobeheer in
twintig verzelfstandigde rijksmusea; een inventarisatie (Den Haag,
2000) – besloot het Instituut Collectie Nederland onder de
enthousiaste leiding van Antoinette Visser (tegenwoordig directeur van
het Haags Historisch Museum) aandacht te besteden aan het
calamiteitenbeheer bij Nederlandse erfgoedbeheerders en dan met name
aan de zorg voor de collectie bij incidenten en calamiteiten. Als
eerste werd in 2002 een pilotproject opgezet met achttien Haagse
musea, bibliotheken en archieven. Voor de inhoudelijke expertise werd
gebruik gemaakt van Ton Cremers, voormalig Hoofd Bewaking, Beveiliging
en Veiligheid van het Rijksmuseum te Amsterdam en oprichter van het
internationaal zeer gewaardeerde Museum Security Network. Parallel aan
de Haagse Pilot, inmiddels zelfs over onze landsgrenzen een begrip,
schreven Marja Peek en Ton Cremers de Handleiding voor het maken van
calamiteitenplannen voor collectiebeherende instellingen; uitgave ICN,
inmiddels uitverkocht maar als PDF te downloaden op:
http://icn.nl/nl/bibliotheek/publicaties/pub-handleiding-maken-calamiteitenplan.

De Haagse Pilot werd november 2003 afgesloten met een zeer druk
bezocht congres in het Zuid-Hollandse provinciehuis onder de titel
Glamour for Safety and Security
(http://www.icn.nl/bibliotheek/publicaties-medewerkers-icn/peek-m-pub-glamour-safety-security).
Uit de Haagse Pilot ontstond het Haags Preventienetwerk waaraan onder
andere de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, het Nationaal Archief, het
Koninklijk Huisarchief, het Haags Gemeentearchief, het Museon en het
Gemeentemuseum, het Mauritshuis, de Tweede Kamer, Museum Bredius, het
Eschermuseum, Meermanno Westreenianum / Huis van het Boek en Beelden
aan Zee aan deelnemen.

De Haagse Pilot en het Haags Preventienetwerk dienden als voorbeeld
voor overeenkomstige projecten in Leiden, Delft en Rotterdam.
Inmiddels hebben honderden erfgoedbeheerders in heel Nederland – als
laatste is nu de provincie Friesland aan zet – deelgenomen aan
projecten waarbij gezamenlijk werd gewerkt een calamiteitenplannen met
bijzondere aandacht voor de collectie. Het format van die projecten
ontstond uit een door Ton Cremers begin jaren 2000 gemaakt
calamiteitenplan voor museum Boijmans Van Beuningen en de door Peek en
Cremers geschreven publicatie over dit onderwerp. Daarnaast werd
gebruik gemaakt van een werkmap en digitale informatie samengesteld
door het ICN en Ton Cremers.
Al met al was Ton Cremers – in vrijwel alle projecten ondersteund door
Jeroen Jochems van de DokumentenWacht / MuseumWacht – inhoudelijk
deskundige voor projecten waar de afgelopen acht jaar ruim 500
collectiebeheerders aan deelnamen. Hierdoor is bij Cremers en Jochems
zeer veel ervaring opgedaan in de organisatie van collectiebescherming
bij incidenten en calamiteiten. Jeroen Jochems was daarnaast betrokken
bij vele kleine en soms zelfs zeer grote (TU Delft)
collectiebedreigende calamiteiten. Cremers en Jochems vormen daar waar
het gaat om bescherming van collectie bij incidenten een “winning
team”.

Vanaf najaar 2010 hebben Cremers en Jochems hun ervaring ingezet bij
het geven van collectiehulpverleningstrainingen (CHV) op locatie bij
collectiebeheerders of in Beekbergen bij de DokumentenWacht /
MuseumWacht. In de voorbije maanden werden meer dan 200 medewerkers
van collectiebeheerders getraind in het redden van collectie bij
incidenten. De komende maanden zullen er nog velen volgen. De
cursisten worden – naast een kort theoretisch deel – vooral getraind
in de praktijk van het redden waarbij schades als zuuraanval op een
schilderij, vandalisme, onopzettelijke beschadiging, brand-, roet- en
waterschade aan bod komen. Uitgangspunt is: adequaat praktisch
handelen daar waar de situatie dat eist om vervolgschade te voorkomen
en stabiliseren in afwachting van deskundige ondersteuning. Voor de
deelnemers een inspannende en enerverende dag. Uit de evaluaties
blijkt keer op keer weer dat de cursisten deze dag als leerzaam en
nuttig ervaren, waarbij ook de sfeer waarin de training plaatsvindt
zeer gewaardeerd wordt.

Meer informatie: info@chv-training.net

June 10th, 2011

Posted In: COLLECTIEHULPVERLENING

Two brothers plead guilty to museum thefts – The Daily News Online: News

http://thedailynewsonline.com/news/article_726c08a0-9051-11e0-a23d-001cc4c03286.html

June 10, 2011

Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:00 amUpdated: 12:37 am, Tue Jun 7, 2011.

WARSAW — Two brothers have pleaded guilty to stealing historical artifacts from museums in Castile and Warsaw.

Roy and Michael Ortiz pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and petit larceny Thursday in Wyoming County Court, said District Attorney Donald O’Geen. They will each serve two years.

Sentencing has been set for Aug. 11.

The two men stole Civil War-era swords and a coat from the Gates House Museum back in November 2009, along with a set of moccasins from the Castile Historical Society.

Two of the swords were later recovered from a Rochester store.

Michael Ortiz, 40, remains under indictment in Monroe County for third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Two paintings stolen from Perry Public Library were among the items found at a storage unit in Brockport, state police said last month. The unit belonged to Ortiz’s father.

The Lemuel Wiles pieces were taken from the library in September 2008. They’re valued at more than $9,000 and were recovered after a lengthy investigation.

O’Geen said the two Ortiz brothers are also suspected in the theft of paintings from Mills Mansion in Mount Morris. A federal investigation is continuing.

Posted in  on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:00 am. Updated: 12:37 am.


Two brothers plead guilty to museum thefts – The Daily News Online: News.

June 10th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

EPE – De gemeente Epe geeft kunstenares Greet Grottendieck opdracht een nieuw bronzen beeld van De Fietsster te maken. In het voorjaar van 2010 werd het bronzen beeld gestolen uit het Beekpark in Epe. Al snel kwam de wens eenzelfde beeld van de kunstenares terug te plaatsen, maar omdat de gemeente Epe het kunstwerk niet hoog genoeg verzekerd had, bleek er te weinig geld voor de aanschaf.

meer via Epe krijgt nieuw beeld De Fietsster in Beekpark – Epe Vaassen – Regio – Stentor.

June 9th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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June 9th, 2011

Posted In: diefstal beelden

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June 9th, 2011

Posted In: Museum thefts

‘De Tefaf is de grootste wasserette van zwart geld’ ‘De opdracht was ze te verbranden’

 

Op The European Fine Art Fair (Tefaf) in Maastricht wordt BenZuidema tegenwoordig met de nek aangekeken. Vroeger werd de privédetective op de belangrijkste kunstbeurs ter wereld met alle egards ontvangen. “Maar ik heb de oprichter van de beurs van zijn voetstuk gehaald. Handelaren willen me nu niet meer kennen.”

Zuidema begrijpt het wel. Het schandaal dat hij heeft blootgelegd is even onthutsend als tragisch. Tefaf-oprichter Robert Noortman, ooit de grootste kunsthandelaar ter wereld, blijkt na zijn dood een ordinaire oplichter te zijn geweest. “Dit is geen lijk dat uit de kast komt vallen,” zegt Zuidema, “dit is een compleet kerkhof.”

Niet dat het voor de privédetective als een verrassing komt. De kunsthandel heeft veel te verbergen, weet hij al jaren. “De Tefaf is de grootste wasserette van zwart geld in Nederland. Handelaren zijn in feite allemaal offsetdrukkerijen. Ze laten de kunst in Nederland zien, maar de echte zaken worden gedaan op de Kaaimaneilanden of in een ander fiscaal paradijs.”

Criminelen verleggen hun werkterrein vaker naar kunst, zegtZuidema. De miljoenendiefstal van de Frans Hals uit een museum in Leerdam vorige week is er het zoveelste voorbeeld van. “Wie z’n misdaadgeld vooral in onroerend goed heeft geïnvesteerd, kan het niet meenemen als het begint te stinken. Met kunst heb je dat probleem niet.”

Zuidema weet waarover hij praat. De afgelopen dertig jaar wist hij in samenwerking met politiediensten in binnen- en buitenland tientallen kunstroven op te lossen. Zijn naam als meesterspeurder vestigde hij in 1976 toen hij 118 Picasso’s terugbezorgde die gestolen waren uit het Pauselijk Paleis in Avignon. Daarna wist hij onder meer vermiste werken van Rubens en Breughel op te sporen en werd met zijn hulp een roversbende opgerold die op het punt stond valse schilderijen van de negentiende-eeuwse Engelse schilder William Turner te verkopen.

In 1987 verwenen uit de Maastrichtse galerie van Robert Noortman meesterwerken van zeventiende-eeuwse schilders als Jan Brueghel de Jonge, David Teniers, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pisarro, Meindert Hobbema en twee schilderijen van Willem van de Velde. Jaren bleven ze onvindbaar, tot de kunstwerken twee jaar geleden, op het paneel van Hobbema na, dankzij speurwerk van Zuidema en een speciale Amsterdamse eenheid van de Nationale Recherche boven water kwamen. Drie verdachten werden gearresteerd. Noortman had indertijd, zo verklaarden zij, zelf opdracht tot de diefstal gegeven. De kunsthandelaar, die van de verzekering vijf miljoen kreeg uitgekeerd, zou het paneel van Hobbema zelfs in de kachel hebben gegooid.

Robert Noortman, die in januari 2007 op zestigjarige leeftijd overleed, genoot internationaal veel aanzien. Hij wist zich op te werken van tapijtenhandelaar tot hofleverancier van internationale musea en rijke verzamelaars. In 1969 opende hij zijn eerste galerie in Hulsberg, later volgden vestigingen in New York, Londen en Maastricht. Hij was de oprichter van de Pictura, de voorloper van de grote internationale kunstbeurs Tefaf, waarvan hij tien jaar lang voorzitter was, en gold als één van de grootste experts op het gebied van zeventiende-eeuwse Hollandse Meesters. Hij werd onderscheiden met de Franse Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres en Honorary Liveryman of the City of London en bezat de Zilveren Eremedaille van de stad Maastricht.

Maar Noortman had twee gezichten, zegt Zuidema, die hem in de jaren tachtig in Maastricht leerde kennen. “Noortman was een nobody, hij was kelner en had daarnaast een tapijtenhandel. Op een gegeven moment begon hij een rommelmarkt voor kunst en antiek in Valkenburg, waaruit later uiteindelijk de Pictura is voortgekomen.”

Noortman had een indrukwekkend strafblad, zegt Zuidema. Hij werkte nauw samen met een bende brandkastkrakers die later in amfetaminepillen ging handelen. De organisatie was in 2001 nog het onderwerp van een doctoraalscriptie Nederlands recht van een voormalig politie-inspecteur uit de regio. Noortman figureert hierin onder de codenaam ‘Viking’.

De razendsnelle opmars van Noortman in de kunstwereld wekte volgens Zuidema veel afgunst bij sommige collega’s. “Een Amsterdamse handelaar wilde hem een lesje leren en liet doorschemeren dat hij in New York een topstuk van Meindert Hobbema te koop wist. Op zijn advies schafte Noortman in New York voor 200.000 dollar het doek aan, maar toen het eenmaal was schoongemaakt, bleek het om een werk van zeer matige kwaliteit te gaan. Noortman zat daar geweldig mee in zijn maag, want hij had aan de vooravond van de Pictura aangekondigd dat hij daar een topstuk van een Hollandse Meester ging presenteren. Zo is het plan ontstaan om de diefstal van de negen werken in scène te zetten.”

Noortman incasseerde zijn verzekeringsgeld, vijf miljoen gulden. Meer dan twintig jaar werd er niets meer van de schilderijen vernomen. TotZuidema in december 2008 werd benaderd door een Duitser die beweerde dat hij de kunstwerken kon terugbezorgen. Dat de man serieus genomen moest worden, was voor Zuidema meteen duidelijk. Hij bleek alles te weten over duistere zaken waarbij Noortman in het verleden betrokken was geweest. “Hij wilde dat ik contact opnam met de familie. Als die vijf miljoen betaalde, zouden zij de misdrijven van Noortman niet bekend maken en de schilderijen teruggeven.”

Zuidema heeft niets dan lof voor het Amsterdamse politieteam van de Nationale Recherche, waarmee de zaak uiteindelijk werd opgelost. “Dat team, onder leiding van Edwin de Vos, heeft geweldig werk geleverd. Drie maanden hebben we keihard aan deze zaak gewerkt, van Hamburg tot Brussel en Valkenburg aan de Geul.”

Met ’s werelds grootste databank van gestolen kunst, het Art Loss Register (ALR), bedong Zuidema een forse beloning. Voor zijn speurwerk ontvangt hij dertig procent van de huidige waarde van de schilderijen, een miljoenenbedrag dat hij moet delen met het ALR. Maar het geld nog steeds op zich wachten. De schilderijen staan opgeslagen in een magazijn van het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

De reden waarom het zo lang te duurt, is te bizar voor woorden, vindtZuidema. Kunstdiefstal verjaart in Nederland al na twintig jaar. De voormalige handlanger van Noortman, die de schilderijen jaren in zijn bezit had, claimt daarom nu de rechtmatige eigenaar te zijn. Een civiele procedure verloor hij inmiddels, maar tegen het vonnis ging de man, hoewel zijn strafzaak nog steeds loopt, in cassatie. Deskundigen verwachten dat getouwtrek om de schilderijen nog jaren kan duren.

Zuidema heeft er geen goed woord voor over. “Al bijna 25 jaar ben ik met deze zaak bezig. Ik heb mijn burgerplicht gedaan en misschien wel meer. Een loepzuivere zaak hebben we gedraaid. Daar hoef ik geen schouderklopje voor te hebben, maar ik wil nu wel eindelijk eens betaald worden.”

Er staan grote belangen op het spel. Noortman stierf begin 2007. Zijn galerie Noortman Master Paintings, tegenwoordig gevestigd in de Van Eeghenstraat in Amsterdam, was twee jaar eerder al overgenomen door Sotheby’s. Het veilinghuis staat nu een claim van vele miljoenen te wachten.

Wat de zaak er niet eenvoudiger op maakt, is dat Sotheby’s voor tien procent aandeelhouder is van het Art Loss Register, dat optreedt namens de verzekeraars. Geprocedeerd wordt er nog niet. “Het Art Loss Register hoopt de zaak met Sotheby’s in goed overleg te kunnen schikken en is daarom gebaat bij zo weinig mogelijk publiciteit. De voorzitter, Julian Radcliffe, heeft gevraagd of ik me rustig wil houden. Maar er is een misdrijf gepleegd. Dat hebben we opgelost. Mijn geduld is nu op.”

Het dossier dat hij de afgelopen kwarteeuw over de verdwenen schilderijen van Robert Noortman heeft opgebouwd, is inmiddels meer dan een meter hoog. Stapels belastende informatie over Noortman. “De

Daily Mirror en de Washington Post hangen hier voortdurend aan de lijn, dus als ik dit allemaal naar buiten breng, zal Sotheby’s daar niet erg blij mee zijn.”

Momenteel houdt Zuidema zich bezig met de inbraak in het Westfries Museum en een grote schilderijenroof in Almelo. Hopeloze zaken zijn nu eenmaal z’n hobby, zegt hij. “Langzaam komen we erachter dat in de illegale kunsthandel miljarden omgaan. En de dieven hebben vrij spel, want de pakkans is nihil. Bij de politie ontbreekt de kennis van zaken en bij justitie heeft de opsporing van kunstcriminelen geen prioriteit. Dat maakt dit tot zo’n lucratieve business. Er zijn nu eenmaal voldoende mensen die niet bereid zijn Tefaf-prijzen te betalen.”

Zuidema beschikt over tientallen handgeschreven A4’tjes, vol spelfouten, waarin één van de verdachten opbiecht welke misdrijven hij samen met Noortman heeft gepleegd. ‘Vrijdag 13 februari voor het sluiten van de galerie, alarm staat niet aan, snijdt Robbie (zoals hij toentertijd bekend is in de Heerlense onderwereld) Noortman 1 schilderij uit de lijst, de andere 8 schilderijen worden door Robbie uit de ramen gehaald en in twee vuilniszakken gedaan, 2 schilderijen op doek zijn opgevouwen door Robbie beschadigd in vuilniszak 1 gedaan. Schilderij houten paneel door Robbie in stukken gebroken ook in vuilniszak 1 gedaan, de andere 6 schilderijen de kleinere zitten onbeschadigd in vuilniszak 2. De opdracht van Robbie was de schilderijen meteen te verbranden. Robbie zet het alarm aan, gaat naar buiten geeft meteen bij de deur de twee vuilniszakken aan handlanger 1 Robbie gaat meteen naar café-restaurant om de hoek.’

’s Avonds komt Noortman terug om te kijken of de drie handlangers zijn opdracht hebben uitgevoerd, blijkt uit de aantekeningen: ‘In de veronderstelling dat de andere schilderijen verbrand waren, verbrandt Robbie zelf in de kachel in het bijzijn van 3 getuigen het schilderij van Hobbema Meindert (1638 1709) Oud Hollandse watermolen Schilderij op houten paneel door Robbie in 10 stukken gebroken.’

Kort na de verdwijning van de schilderijen in 1987 werd Zuidema door Noortman ingeschakeld om een onderzoek in stellen. Maar de detective kende de reputatie van zijn opdrachtgever en vond al snel de ene na de andere aanwijzing dat die zelf achter de vermissing zat. Tijdens een gesprek daarover eiste Noortman dat Zuidema zijn onderzoek meteen zou stopzetten. “Hij versteende toen ik hem vertelde wat ik ontdekte. ‘Blijf achter mij, uit. Ik heb je betaald.’ En toen ging hij dreigen. Hij begon over mijn zoon die vaak van Heerlen naar Klimmen naar zijn oma fietste. ‘Als ze willen, kunnen ze hem zo van de fiets afschieten,’ zei hij. Ik kende die brandkastkrakers, die jongens waren tot alles in staat. Dus ik stond voor de keus.”

Zuidema brengt zijn duim en wijsvinger dicht bij elkaar: “Zó dicht ben ik er toen bij geweest. Anders had Noortman in 1987 al in de bak gezeten en was hij daarna nooit zo groot geworden.”

Twee jaar geleden bezorgde privédetective Ben Zuidema negen meesterwerken terug die in 1987 verdwenen uit de kunsthandel van wijlen Robert Noortman. Zijn beloning laat nog steeds op zich wachten omdat de crimineel die de schilderijen in zijn bezit had tot de diefstal was verjaard, zich nu opwerpt als rechtmatige eigenaar.

HENK SCHUTTEN

 

June 6th, 2011

Posted In: algemeen, algemeen, diefstal

Brutale roof van reuzen scheepsschroef – Groningen – Dagblad van het Noorden

http://www.dvhn.nl/nieuws/groningen/article6732873.ece/Brutale-roof-van-reuzen-scheepsschroef

June 6, 2011
Eemshaven/Hoogezand – Groningen Seaports is getroffen door één van de brutaalste en grootste bronsroven van Noord-Nederland. Drie weken geleden is een acht ton zware bronzen scheepsschroef ter waarde van 20.000 euro ontvreemd van een bedrijfsterrein in de Eemshaven. De schroef, waarvan het havenschap een kunstwerk wilde maken, is bij een schroothandelaar in Hoogezand teruggevonden. 

meer:

 

Brutale roof van reuzen scheepsschroef – Groningen – Dagblad van het Noorden.

June 6th, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Gevalletje verzekerings-fraude? Vergeet het maar. Het getouwtrek om negen meesterwerken die in 1987 uit de galerie van wijlen Robert Noortman verdwenen, kan nog jaren duren.

HENK SCHUTTEN

De zaak is in alle opzichten uniek. Nooit eerder wierp een kunstcrimineel zich op als rechtmatige eigenaar van gestolen schilderijen die hij jarenlang verborgen hield. Justitie doet geen onderzoek omdat de zaak is verjaard. En de partij die optreedt namens de gedupeerden, het Art Loss Register, moet een miljoenenclaim indienen tegen aandeelhouder Sotheby’s omdat die de galerie van Noortman in 2005 heeft overgenomen.

Voorzitter Julian Radcliffe van het Art Loss Register heeft in de twintig jaar dat ‘s werelds grootste databank van gestolen kunst bestaat, nooit eerder iets vergelijkbaars meegemaakt. Maar, verzucht hij, dit kan ook alleen maar in Nederland. “Nergens anders ter wereld kan een crimineel gestolen kunst opeisen omdat de zaak is verjaard.”

De frustratie zit diep. In 1987 verwenen uit de galerie van Robert Noortman werken van Jan Brueghel de Jonge, David Teniers, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pisarro, Meindert Hobbema en twee schilderijen van Willem van de Velde. De verzekeraar keerde vijf miljoen gulden uit. Jarenlang bleven de schilderijen onvindbaar, tot ze twee jaar geleden (op het doek van Hobbema na) dankzij privédetective Ben Zuidema en een Amsterdams politieteam boven water kwamen. Drie verdachten werden gearresteerd. Noortman had indertijd, verklaarden zij, zelf opdracht tot de diefstal gegeven. De kunsthandelaar zou het schilderij van Hobbema zelfs eigenhandig in de kachel hebben gegooid.

Noortman stierf in 2005. Hij kan zich niet meer verdedigen tegen de verklaringen van de verdachten, tegen wie het strafproces zich al meer dan twee jaar voortsleept. Daarnaast loopt nog een civiele procedure waarin de man die de schilderijen meer dan twintig jaar in een kist op zijn zolder had verborgen, de schilderijen opeist omdat de zaak volgens Nederlands recht is verjaard.

Die wetgeving, zegt Radcliffe, maakt Nederland tot favoriet land voor kunstcriminelen. “Die speelt misdadigers in de kaart. De wet is waarschijnlijk bedoeld voor fietsendieven, maar niet voor gestolen kunst. Er is in elk geval geen enkel publiek belang mee gemoeid.”

Het geduld van Ben Zuidema, de privédetective die de schilderijen in 2009 terugbezorgde, is op. Hij wacht nog steeds op zijn beloning, dertig procent van de huidige waarde van de schilderijen een miljoenenbedrag dat hij moet delen met het Art Loss Register. “Al bijna 25 jaar ben ik met deze zaak bezig. Ik heb mijn burgerplicht gedaan en misschien wel meer. Met de Nationale Recherche Amsterdam hebben we een loepzuivere zaak gedraaid. Daar hoef ik geen schouderklopje voor te hebben, maar ik wil wel eindelijk eens betaald worden.”

De werken van Noortman bevinden zich volgens kunstbeveiligingsexpert Ton Cremers in een juridisch niemandsland. “En dat kan nog jaren duren. Dat is in het verleden vaak genoeg met vermiste kunst gebleken. Dit is bovendien een zeer apart geval. Noortman heeft de schilderijen niet laten stelen, hij heeft ze weggegeven. Je kan je dus inderdaad afvragen of de verzekeraar de rechtmatige eigenaar is. Dat maakt het juridisch heel ingewikkeld. Ik vraag me zelfs af of hier enige jurisprudentie over bestaat.”

Ook de Amsterdamse advocaat Edgar Tijhuis, criminoloog aan de Vrije Universiteit, sluit niet uit dat de zaak nog lang gaat duren. In de door de verzekeraar gevoerde procedure om de doeken terug te krijgen heeft de rechtbank geoordeeld dat de verzekeraar, en niet de verdachte, redelijkerwijs aangemerkt kan worden als rechthebbende. “Daarbij is de rechtbank echter niet echt toegekomen aan de kwestie van de verjaring,” zegt Tijhuis. “Volgens de rechtbank is de verdachte nooit bezitter geweest, omdat hij de doeken alleen voor Noortman in bewaring hield. Alleen de bezitter kan eventueel door verjaring eigenaar worden, een houder niet. Nu de verdachte cassatie heeft ingesteld tegen de rechtbankbeslissing bestaat de mogelijkheid dat de Hoge Raad het recht op deze cruciale punten anders uitlegt. Daarmee zou de zaak weer helemaal open liggen.”

De schilderijen staan opgeslagen in een kelder van het Rijksmuseum. Radcliffe durft niet te zeggen hoe lang dat nog gaat duren. Dat Sotheby’s een belang van tien procent heeft in zijn bedrijf, is volgens hem geen probleem. “Wij hebben voortdurend contact met de grote veilinghuizen. Momenteel onderzoeken we 120 diefstal- en vervalsingszaken. Dit is er één van. Ik verwacht dat we dit in goed overleg oplossen. Als het echt tot een rechtszaak komt, nemen verzekeringsmaatschappijen het van ons over.”

Het Art Loss Register heeft bovendien de tijd. “Niet zo lang geleden hebben we een zaak opgelost uit 1614. Dat ging om gestolen manuscripten. Als we willen, kunnen we heel geduldig zijn.”

June 3rd, 2011

Posted In: Uncategorized

Forged Painting Was Once in Collection of Steve Martin, German Police Say – NYTimes.com

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/forged-painting-was-once-in-collection-of-steve-martin-german-police-say/

June 1, 2011

May 31, 2011, 11:24 am 

In addition to his talents for creating comedy, writing books and playing the banjo,Steve Martin possesses an eye for art. But he apparently did not detect a forged painting that was in his collection for almost two years and was probably created by a ring of criminals who have been duping art buyers for decades, according to the German police.

In a report in Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, investigators for Berlin’s state criminal police office said the painting, called “Landschaft mit Pferden” or “Landscape With Horses” and said to be the work of the modernist artist Heinrich Campendonk, was authenticated by an expert before it was sold to Mr. Martin in July 2004 by the Cazeau-Béraudière gallery in Paris for 700,000 euros (about $850,000 then). Mr. Martin sold the work in February 2006 at a Christie’s auction, where it was purchased by a Swiss businesswoman for 500,000 euros.

But the German investigators said that the painting was probably created by Wolfgang Beltracchi, the accused leader of a multimillion-dollar forgery ring, who with his wife, Helene, and her sister, Jeanette, and another accused forger, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, are suspected of selling dozens of fake paintings attributed to Campendonk, Fernand Léger, Max Ernst and others. The ring, which sold paintings it said came from the collection of Werner Jägers, a Cologne businessman and the grandfather of the two sisters, has been operating since the 1990s, and its members have been charged with fraud.

Mr. Martin, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that he was not aware his painting was a forgery when he purchased it nor when he sold it. “It wasn’t clear that it was a fake until after Christie’s had sold the picture, it was a long time after that, that it became known,” he said.

Though Mr. Martin was unsure if he had any legal liability resulting from the sale of the painting, he said, “The gallery that sold me the picture has promised to be responsible to me, if I’m responsible, but it’s still unclear.”

Mr. Martin said he had purchased forged artworks “once or twice in my life” previously, “and each time you become more and more cautious.”

“You always have to guard against it,” Mr. Martin said, adding that in this case, “The fakers were quite clever in that they gave it a long provenance and they faked labels, and it came out of a collection that mingled legitimate pictures with faked pictures.”

With a mordant chuckle, he added: “Of course, they’re all in jail now.”

 

via: Forged Painting Was Once in Collection of Steve Martin, German Police Say – NYTimes.com.

June 1st, 2011

Posted In: fakes and forgeries