February 26, 1998


- Anger at art 'looting' by Lord Irvine

- Rauschenberg art returned

- Re: art loans to politicians (Steve Keller)

- art loan to politicians has tradition (Antonia Kriks)

- Re: Return of Rauschenberg Art Loan to Menil

- Re: Re: Return of Rauschenberg Art Loan to Menil

- Stakes high, penalties harsh in artifacts fight
One collector fears extradition to Bolivia

- Lord Irvine hits back at critics

- Inmate tied to art theft hospitalized

- Obelisk to be given back to Ethiopian holy city

- Re: (Fwd) art loan by politicians

- Standard series on looted art (part 3)

- Series: Looted art - The misappropriated inheritance

- sotheby's: T_H_E__I_N_S_I_D_E__S_T_O_R_Y

- Flood dents armor in Mass. museum

- Re: Nazis-WWII stolen art from the Louvre
Below is a group of reports all about the same subject: Lord Chancellor Irvine who is to take art works reported to be worth £1m from Scottish galleries to his London home. You will read several reports that oppose Irvine's action and a defence by Tony Blair. I have also added a list of artworks on loan. All together fun reading a winter's weekend!
Ton Cremers

Anger at art 'looting' by Lord Irvine

Critics argue that the Scottish public will no longer be able to see works of art. Anger has been growing in Scotland over the revelation that the Lord Chancellor is to take art works reported to be worth £1m from Scottish galleries to his London home. Scores of works will be removed to decorate Lord Irvine's luxurious official Palace of Westminster residence which he will move into in April following refurbishments worth £650,000. Earlier this week it emerged that £189,000 had so far been spent on furnishings. But the "looting" has been condemned by art critics and has infuriated political parties. Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, said: "These paintings are for people to see. Unless the Lord Chancellor can stretch his large expenses budget to free flights to his London palace for people in Scotland then he should return the paintings. "Tony Blair's new slogan should be - For the few, not the many." Among the eight paintings borrowed from the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh are two important McTaggarts, a Geddes, a Wilkie and a Boudin. Some 19 plaster busts and 10 rare prints from the gallery have also been lent. From the National Gallery a number of 18th and 19th century prints of luminaries from politics, science and arts have been lent.

Timothy Clifford: 'standard practice'
Director of the National Galleries of Scotland, Timothy Clifford, defended the move and said it was "standard practice". "I don't think we have ever refused any government body before. We lend to the Secretary of State in Scotland at Bute House and Dover House and to the Prime Minister." Mr Clifford said the loans were agreed to in September and the Lord Chancellor and his wife had visited the galleries last summer to look at the works. Leader of the Scottish National Party Alex Salmond described the move as one of "unbelievable arrogance".

Alex Salmond: 'unbelievable arrogance'
"Derry Irvine is displaying a breathtaking arrogance which is entirely in character. His looting and pillaging of Scottish art works will cause great anger both in the artist and academic worlds." But a spokesman for the Lord Chancellor's department insisted that none of the works were being taken down from galleries. "None of the works are currently on display anywhere. There are 80 pieces of art being provided from the Royal Academy, the National Maritime Museum, the National Gallery of Scotland and the Imperial War Museum. But Mr Salmond added: "There are plenty of public buildings in Scotland which could house these items and thereby ensure genuine public access. "Taking them down to Derry Irvine's house in London is nothing to do with access but everything to do with self aggrandisement."

Tory reaction
Shadow Culture Secretary Francis Maude said: "Power has gone to his head. Not to mention his furniture. It is not surprising his colleagues are getting fed up with it all." But Downing Street has come to the aid of the Lord Chancellor, A spokesperson said the story had been overblown and that press coverage of Lord Irvine's activities had been consistently unfair.
(BBC News)

Lord Irvine looting claim is unfair nonsense, says Blair

By Joy Copley

TONY Blair defended Lord Irvine yesterday after allegations that the Lord Chancellor was "looting" artworks from galleries to adorn his official Westminster residence. The Prime Minister sanctioned a spokesman to give a detailed rebuttal to the charge, which is regarded as "unfair nonsense". Lord Irvine himself is understood to be furious at the allegations and feels that he is being subjected to a "vendetta" following the controversy over the £650,000 refurbishment of his official quarters. A Downing Street spokesman said Lord Irvine was being "unjustifiably vilified" by "gratuitous" media attacks. The latest row blew up after it was disclosed that Lord Irvine has borrowed 87 works from the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for three years to display in his official residence, which will be opened to the public on a limited basis from April. The loan, the biggest granted to an individual, was defended yesterday by the galleries involved. The total number of works of art on loan is more than 100, with 87 from the National Galleries of Scotland, 12 from the Royal Academy of Art in London, three oil paintings from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and an undisclosed number of First and Second World War pictures from the Imperial War Museum. The National Galleries of Scotland released details of the 87 works, which included eight paintings, 19 busts, 10 prints by Piranesi and 50 prints from the National Portrait Gallery. Opposition parties have accused Lord Irvine of behaving like a "medieval baron" but Downing Street said the Lord Chancellor was being picked on unfairly. The spokesman said other departments had pictures on loan from galleries, including 10 Downing Street, which had about 100 pictures currently on loan. He insisted that none of the works being loaned to Lord Irvine were on public display and all were in storage "in dark cellars". The Lord Chancellor's office said that the curators were delighted that Lord Irvine was to put them in the public domain. They would be open to view by arts clubs and other members of the public when the Lord Chancellor's residence is open to the public. It has not yet been decided how many of the 15 rooms in his official residence will be opened because it is also the private home of Lord and Lady Irvine. The Downing Street spokesman said: "If this had been in respect of any other Government building, I don't think the newspapers would have raised a peep." Lord Irvine had been the victim of "a number of stories we have not regarded as particularly fair and this story is one of those". Lord and Lady Irvine, who is an art historian, personally handpicked the paintings and sculptures over the last few months. Last night Dennis Canavan, the Left-wing Labour MP for Falkirk West, criticised Lord Irvine for "taking these priceless works of art" in the wake of the controversy over the refurbishment of his residence. But Timothy Clifford, the director of the National Galleries of Scotland, defended the move and said it was "standard practice". He added: "I don't think we have ever refused any government body before. We lend to the Secretary of State in Scotland at Bute House and Dover House and to the Prime Minister. It's standard practice." He added that his personal political bias was Conservative, but he believed the media had been "a bit tough" on Lord Irvine. The loan from Scotland includes one Boudin; two of the gallery's 19 paintings by William McTaggart, who has been described as one of Scotland's greatest artists; one of 32 works by Sir David Wilkie; 19 of its 200 Albacini plaster busts, including Socrates, Aphrodite and Eros; and 50 prints from the portrait gallery, dated 1748 to 1832. Anne Lorne Gillies, the arts spokesman for the Scottish National Party, said his behaviour was reminiscent of a "medieval baron looting Scotland's art treasures" and "indulging his arrogance". She added: "It is based on self-aggrandisement and it is nonsense to claim the paintings are being made available to the public. Lord Irvine's office is not exactly the next port of call for the average Scottish art lover." Struan Stevenson, for the Scottish Tory Party, said the "raiding" of Scotland's cultural heritage was unacceptable.
(Electronic Telegraph London)

Public pictures at a private exhibition


THE Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, is helping himself to more than 100 souvenirs after visiting some of the nation's grandest treasure-houses, it emerged yesterday. The sheer scale of his borrowing for the Palace of Westminster appears to be record-breaking. He has picked out more works than any other figure in his position: the total number of works on loan from national collections to other government buildings or individual politicians stands currently at 145. The Lord Chancellor's artistic activities contrast dramatically with those of the Prime Minister, who has changed only a handful of the 36 works loaned to 10 Downing Street, while Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has borrowed 18 for No 11 and Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, is believed to have only one. Lord Irvine has taken his pick from four institutions: 87 items come from the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, 12 from the Royal Academy of Arts, four from the National Maritime Museum in London and an unspecified number - but in single figures - from the Imperial War Museum. The Royal Academy confirmed yesterday that it had loaned a selection that included British masters such as Augustus John, Sir William Orpen and Sir Edwin Landseer. "It is not unusual for the Royal Academy to loan works," a spokeswoman said, noting that its permanent collection of nearly 2,000 works by Royal Academicians rarely saw the light of day because of a lack of space. The Imperial War Museum, which has an active lending programme that includes government buildings and military messes, would prefer its 15,000 works of art to be on show somewhere, rather than being kept in storerooms. The National Maritime Museum said: "Lots of national museums loan art or objects to government departments. We lend, for example, to the Ministry of Defence and Admiralty House." Lord Irvine has on his walls John Wilson Carmichael's Bombardment of Sveabourg, 1855; Jules Achille Noel's Napoleon III Receiving Queen Victoria at Cherbourg, 1859; Samuel Scott's A First-Rate Shortening Sail, 1736, and A Danish Timber Barque, 1736. His selection from the National Galleries of Scotland of seven paintings, 19 plaster busts and more than 60 rare prints is worth an estimated £1 million. It is the largest number of artworks borrowed by an individual from Scotland's galleries and includes work by some of the country's finest 18th and 19th-century artists. Lord Irvine's decision to take them to London has been described as high-handed by Duncan MacMillan, curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and author of Scottish Art 1460 to 1990. "I think the scale is startling," he said. "At least two of the paintings are significant Scottish works, including Sir David Wilkie's Josephine and the Fortune-Teller, which in my opinion should be on display in a public collection. It is a major work of art." The removal of so many pictures without consultation has allegedly upset staff at the National Galleries in Edinburgh. One, who declined to be named, said she had been astonished: "Surely they would be better hung in a gallery where anyone who wants to see them can." Roger Billcliffe, a former director of the Fine Art Society in Scotland, said he was concerned that the artworks might be damaged by exposure to bright light: "Works that are considered delicate are kept carefully by museums in appropriate conditions." Julian Spalding, director of Glasgow Museums, said it was a common practice to lend works of art, but not in such large numbers. "We have given Mr Blair eight pictures for public display in No 10. We lend only pictures from our collection that can be seen by the public and we lend only a few." Timothy Clifford, director of the National Galleries, defended his decision to hand over the pictures, which include two paintings by William McTaggart and prints by Sir Henry Raeburn, insisting that the row was "the most enormous storm in the tiniest tea cup". He said: "It is perfectly normal for galleries to lend works of art to politicians. We have to - we are civil servants. It is an appropriate function of the National Galleries and standard practice. No one gets excited about pictures being given to 10 and 11 Downing Street." The National Galleries had loaned worked of art to Malcolm Rifkind, the former Scottish Secretary, for Bute House, his official Edinburgh residence, as well as Lady Thatcher and Tony Blair for use in No 10. "Remember, we are lending to an institution, not to an individual. I do not think we have ever refused to lend art to a government minister," he said. Lord Irvine visited the National Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for a few days last summer before he made his selection. Mr Clifford, who accompanied him round the National Gallery store, said: "Lord Irvine has got a very good eye. He is not a philistine. When his apartments are complete, I am sure they will look very handsome." Mr Clifford, who has seen where the pictures will hang once the £650,000 refurbishment of the apartments is complete in April, added: "They will look wonderful and in keeping with the look of the place. As you walk down a gloomy staircase, there will be a little group of Piranesi's prison prints at the bottom, which will look marvellous." Mr Clifford said the pictures were on loan for three years with the understanding that the galleries could ask for them back at any time.

Art On Loan
Adorning the walls at Westminster

>From The Royal Academy
>From The National Maritime Museum
>From the National Galleries of Scotland
Andrew Geddes Andrew Plimer (1763-1837)
Dante Gabriel Charles Rossetti Beata Beatrix
William McTaggart Harvest at Broomieknowe
Sir David Young Cameron En Provençe
William McTaggart Autumn Evening, Broomieknowe
Giovanni Battista Piranesi The Round Tower
The Grand Piazza
The Smoking Fire
The Staircase with Trophies
The Giant Wheel
The Sawhorse
The Well
The Gothic Arch
The Pier with a Lamp
The Pier with Chains

Sir David Wilkie Josephine and the Fortune-teller
Sir William Quiller Orchardson The Rivals
Louis-Eugene Boudin The Beach at Trouville
Attributed to Louis-Eugene Boudin Venice: View from the Giudecca
Carlo and Filippo Albacini Herm-type bust of Aeschylus
Herm-type bust of Bias
Herm-type bust, probably of Carneades
Herm-type bust of Epicurus
Herm of Panyassis ("Democritus")
Herm of bearded man ("Alcibiades")
Herm-type bust of a bearded man -"Anacreon"
Herm-type bust of a bearded man -"Antisthenes"
Herm-type bust of a bearded man -"Socrates"
Herm-type bust of beardless young man wearing a wreath -"Hieron"
Double herm, possibly of Aphrodite and Eros, but labelled "Cleopatra
and Ptolemy Dionysius" Bust of a beardless man on a pedestal Bust of
Titus, in Erbach Head of Marcus Aurelius on a pedestal Bust of M.
Agrippa Herm-type bust of a bearded man Bust of a virtually bald
beardless man Bust of a woman on a pedestal -"Agrippina" Bust of a
woman on a pedestal -"Matidia"
Paul Pontius after Sir Anthony van Dyck Gaspar de Crayer, 1584-1669
Lucas Vorsterman, the Elder, after Sir Anthony van Dyck Joos de

Unknown Isaac Mytens
Paul Pontius after Sir Anthony van Dyck Peter Paul Rubens
Jacobus Neefs Marten Ryckaert
Vorsterman Cornelius Saftleven
Cornelius Schut
J Nieffs Sir Anthony van Dyck
Schelte Adams Bolswert Adriaen Brouwer
Lucas Vorsterman Theodor Galle
T Hodgetts & Sons General Sir David Baird
George White Allan Ramsay
Paton Thompson Robert Burns
A Smith David Hume
Abraham Wivell Allan Ramsay
Robert Charles Bell Adam Smith
John Kay Adam Smith
James Hutton
J Jones James Balfour
Henry Dawe Charles Hope, Lord Granton
J Jones Robert Dundas of Arniston
Thomas Hodgetts George IV
Colonel Alastair Ronaldson Macdonell of Glengarry
Thomas Charles Hope
Charles Turner Sir Walter Scott
Alexander Adam
James Hamilton
David Hume
John Clerk, Lord Eldin
Robert Cathcart
Professor John Robison

John Beugo Dr Nathaniel Spens
G T Payne Archibald Constable
William Ward John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute and 6th Earl of Dumfries
James Ward Henry Erskine
William Sharp Robert Dundas, Lord Arniston Sir Walter Farquhar
Maurin Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
John Beugo Adam Ferguson
William Nicholson Professor John Playfair
William Walker Sir Henry Raeburn
Henry Thomas, Lord Cockburn
William Walker jnr Sir Walter Scott
Charles Picart James Watt
Samuel William Reynolds Francis Horner
William Holl Sir David Brewster

>From The Royal Academy
Frank Brangwyn The Market Stall
Sir David Young Cameron Durham
Sir George Clausen Interior of an Old Barn
Augustus John Portait of a Young Man
Sir Edwin Landseer John Gibson
Sydney Lee The Red Tower
The House with the Closed Shutters
Sir William Orpen Le Chef de l'Hotel Chatham
Glynn Philpot A Young Man

>From the National Maritime Museum
John Wilson Carmichael Bombardment of Sveabourg
Jules Achilles Noel Napoleon III receiving Queen Victoria at Cherbourg
Samuel Scott A first rate Shortening Sail
A Danish Timber Barque
John Gibson Narcissus (sculpture)
Patrick MacDowell A Nymph (sculpture)
Edward Stephens Shielding the Helpless (sculpture)

Grand, but safe - the Saatchis will not be rushing to his door

Whatever else may be said about the Lord Chancellor's choice of art, there is nothing to suggest undue modesty. The pictures he has chosen from the National Galleries of Scotland include the grandest names of 19th-century Scottish painting. They complement his own collection of early 20th-century paintings, which boasts some of the best of the Scottish colourists. "Mouth-watering" was the reaction of one envious collector yesterday. On the other hand, Lord Irvine of Lairg's tastes could not be said to be at the cutting edge of modern art. The works he has chosen suggest art for pleasure, rather than anything too challenging. Considering that some of the young Scottish painters working today have been finalists or winners of the Turner Prize, much sought-after by international collectors, he might have been a little more adventurous. I doubt if the Saatchi brothers will be beating a path to his door. Sir David Wilkie, one of his choices, is a landmark Scottish painter of the 19th century, famous for his scenes of bucolic life and some portraits that compare with the best of Raeburn. Josephine and the Fortune-Teller is a luscious picture in the Baroque style, full of drapery, clouds and arch expressions. "Wilkie trying to be Guercino" was the way one critic described it acidly. Two paintings by William McTaggart, a 19th-century landscape painter of genius, arguably Scotland's Turner, are not, however, his most demanding works. Harvest at Broomieknowe and Autumn Evening, Broomieknowe are set in the gentle countryside of East Lothian and were described yesterday by a gallery owner as "lovely". The frames, he added, were splendid. The inclusion of 19 plaster busts by Albacini suggests that Lord Irvine may have had furnishing in mind as much as aesthetics. "Decorative kitsch," snorted one critic yesterday, "a sort of postmodern approach to interior decor." However, to have busts of Aphrodite and Eros as well as Socrates might suggest a judicious balance between the romantic and the intellectual, befitting a modern Lord Chancellor. There was more respect for his choice of ten prints by Piranesi, famous 18th-century engravings of prisons, which are of serious interest for scholars, and whose removal from Scotland, however temporary, could cause controversy. One thing is clear: Lord Irvine is a grand patron of the arts at a time when serious patronage is sorely lacking. His taste in Scottish art of a certain period cannot be faulted, and in this he may well have been helped by his wife, Alison, a graduate of the Courtauld Institute. It is a pity, however, that he has not felt able to stray into the late 20th century. "This is a collection that a Lord Chancellor might have put together a hundred years ago," was one comment. "Why, even Cardinal Wolsey collected contemporary painters, such as Holbein." If he does wish to bring his Scottish collection up to date, Lord Irvine might consider some of Peter Howson's gruelling scenes from Bosnia, or, in view of the Government's welfare-to-work programme, his painting The Noble Dosser, complete with pierced ear and scarred belly. He might find room in one corner for the Turner Prize-winner Douglas Gordon's video installation showing continuous footage of his own arm, shaved and unshaved. And in another, perhaps, the pictures of Ken Currie, a latter-day Breughel with a taste for figures marked by bubonic plague being carted off to hell. Art, after all, can be a salutory reminder that we are, in the end, only mortal.

Wolsey, tasteful patron

CARDINAL WOLSEY, the Lord Chancellor to whom Lord Irvine of Lairg jokingly compared himself last year, was every bit as fond of lavish decoration as his 20th-century successor (Mark Henderson writes). He was known as a patron of the arts, although much of his patronage was financed with distinctly dirty cash: he never balked at the chance to enrich himself at the expense of the populace. Like Lord Irvine, Wosley was a man of taste, employing such distinguished contemporary artists as the Dutch painter Holbein and the Italian sculptor Torrigiani. Further spending went on his sumptuous palace at Hampton Court - so richly furnished it aroused the envy of Henry VIII - and on magnificent banquets there and at his London residence, York Place, which the Venetian Ambassador considered to be finer than those served by Caligula and Cleopatra.

From: Antonia Kriks

art loan by politicians

Hello Ton,

thanks a lot for collecting the reports about Lord Chancellor Irvine. It is without doubt very interesting to read about the naturalness politicians take art away from public museums on loan. I did not realize before that this is happening and it's amazing to see how the directors and curators of museums oblige. I wonder now wether the same methods of decorating the home of politicians are used in Germany and Austria as well. It would be nice to hear from professionals or people who are concernd with museums in Germany if somebody has heard about a similar story. Is there somebody on this mailinglist from the German speaking community? Please do contact me under (selbstverstaendlich auch in Deutsch).
Thank you, Ton, for forwarding this message,
mit freundlichen Grueßen,
A. Kriks

Rauschenberg art returned

Court agreement places 15 pieces back into the Menil

Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle

A court agreement Wednesday returned 15 works of renowned artist Robert Rauschenberg for public display in his exhibit at the Menil Collection, while the legal fight that led to the seizure of the $6 million in artwork rages on. Attorneys for the Menil and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which is sponsoring the traveling exhibition, filed a lawsuit early Wednesday that asked for a temporary restraining order forcing the return of the artwork seized Friday. They alleged that the defendants -- Austin Art Consortium Inc. and Austin art broker Alfred Kren -- violated state laws in gaining orders for deputy constables to seize the artworks Friday. The art was stored in a warehouse, pending a public sale to satisfy a $5.5 million default judgment gained by the defendants against Rauschenberg in Austin. That suit centered on allegations that the artist failed to pay commissions due ACCI and Kren. On Wednesday, state District Judge Lamar McCorkle approved the agreement for the return of the art. In it, the Menil agrees to not allow the artwork to be moved until further legal orders are issued by a "Texas court of appropriate jurisdiction." Attorneys in the case said the jurisdiction is currently uncertain because there is legal action in both McCorkle's court and in the 126th District Court in Austin -- and the issues could be ultimately determined by an appeals court. However, the lawyers said they are hopeful that, regardless of the outcome of the debt issue or ownership, the art will remain on display through the end of the multivenue Houston exhibit on May 17. David Medack and Gary Schumann, attorneys for Kren and ACCI, said they expect the court fight to shift back to state district court in Austin, where the judgment was entered against Rauschenberg. "I suspect the wheels will get rolling very quickly," Medack said. The dispute centers on ownership of the artwork. Schumann said that even the exhibit information states it belongs to Rauschenberg. However, museum attorneys and those for the artist said it is instead the property of Untitled Press Inc., a Florida company that is owned by Rauschenberg. Seizure of the art attracted international attention to the museum and exhibit. The suit said the Menil paid $150,000 to the Guggenheim to exhibit the work, and $1.1 million more in transportation and related costs of exhibition. The suit by the Menil and the Guggenheim said that publicity devastated the respected reputations of both institutions. Owners of collections will refuse to lend works to a museum unless they are assured of the security of the artwork at those institutions, the suit said. "This is a time in the international art world when all eyes are focused on Houston and the Menil museum," said the Menil attorney Bob Singleton. He said the museum had fielded calls from "all over the world" from concerned owners wondering if their loaned art was seized. The message from the publicity, he said, is that "Houston and Texas is not some place to loan your art, because somebody is going to take it." Guggenheim attorney Justin Toth said the seizure was illegal because Rauschenberg's company -- not the artist himself -- was the true owner. Regardless, Toth said, the Menil and the Guggenheim have legal possession of the works. He said the creditors and deputy constables could have properly executed the legal writs by merely taking it to the Menil, without disturbing the artwork itself. New York State, he said, has a law banning such seizures of artwork from museums. Tactics by the creditors "were designed to embarrass" the artist, he said. Schumann said the seizure was entirely legal and not intended to disturb the exhibition. He (Rauschenberg) had repeatedly ignored efforts by AACI and Kren to deal with him, and that the seizure "got his attention after he's been thumbing his nose at the Texas courts all this time." Schumann said deputy constables worked with museum staff to minimize the problems, and even had the staff crate the works to insure no damage. He said that they only took 15 works out of the 300 on exhibit, "and nobody but an art expert would miss these." As for the museums' fears about the reaction to news accounts of the case, Schumann noted that interest in the exhibits has increased as a result. "The message they've been sending out to the press is that any publicity is good publicity," he said. The Guggenheim had hosted the exhibit four months, ending on Jan. 11. Houston is showing Rauschenberg's works at the Menil, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Contemporary Arts Museum through May 17. It is scheduled to travel for a June 27 opening at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, will have the exhibit beginning Nov. 20.


Re: art loans to politicians

For what it is worth, loans of art to politicians occurs in the U.S. as well as abroad. As a security consultant, I can't violate the confidentiality to talk about who is doing it, but I can tell you that more than a few times I have been involved in projects to: 1. find missing art that has been on loan to offices and homes, 2. advise on how to secure art on loan to offices and homes or to survey the offices or homes prior to a loan, and 3. render an opinion that a loan to a politician is absolutely out of the question for security reasons. I am asked to render this opinion so that the museum director doesn't have to be the one to say "no."
Steve Keller, CPP
Security Consultant
22 Foxfords Chase
Ormond Beach, FL 32174 USA
(904) 673-9973

from: Antonia Kriks

art loan to politicians has tradition

The most serious Austrian losses of cultural treasures during and after the Second World War are primarily due to the so-called "Entlehnung" (borrowing) of cultural objects from Austrian museums and monasteries to be used as decoration in national socialist offices. Until this day, most of the valuables have still not been returned by the 'borrowers', their legal heirs, or present owners. As early as in 1938, the "Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien" (Museum of Art History Vienna) had to 'lend' three series of tapestries to the "Reichskanzlei" (Chancellery of the Reich) in Berlin. All three series were handed over to the Reichskanzlei with borrowing slips of February 27th, 1939. Since the end of World War II they are lost without trace. The tapestry series depict scenes of the life of Alexander the Great (8 tapestries, Dutch, 17th century, following Charles Le Brun's paintings and the cartoons made after them for the gobelin manufacturing in Paris). They further show scenes of the life of Decius Mus (5 tapestries, Brussels, 17th century, with the city symbol of Brussels, after cartoons by Rubens) as well as episodes from the life of Dido and Aeneas (8 tapestries, Antwerp, 17th century, by M. Wauters following cartoons by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli). In the same way 9 tapestries from the "Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien" were 'lent' to "Karinhall" (the country house of Hermann Goering in Schorfheide/Brandenburg) and are missing since the end of the war. Six of these hunting scenes - Goering was a so-called "Reichjaegermeister" (hunting master of the Reich) - not only carry the city symbol of Brussels but also the signature of the weaver Daniel Eggermans. They were woven around the middle of the 17th century after sketches by Peter Paul Rubens. Three other hunting scenes, all marked with the symbol of Brussels and the name of the weaver Frans van der Borght, date back to the middle of the 18th century. Research from 1973 to 1975 on the whereabouts of the tapestries led to the National Museum of Warsaw/Poland, where two of the tapestries of the "Kunsthistorisches Museum" could be located; originally they had been taken to the "Gauleitung" of Niederschlesien (Lower Silesia) in Breslau in 1938. A year later the People's Republic of Poland gave these tapestries back, pointing out that "they were given to them by the Russians". Therefore, the question arises if the third tapestry "The Battle of Alexander and the Capture of Darius' Family", Flemish, 16th century, which was also lent to Breslau could be found. Especially the objects of the picture gallery of the "Kunsthistorisches Museum" which were lent to the "Reichskanzlei" in Berlin are of major artistic and historical value. An example are the paintings by Angelika Kaufmann that were aquired by Emperor Joseph II. Lists of such paintings are available in the "Kunsthistorisches Museum", as well as similar lists of historical weapons (also from the "Kunsthistorisches Museum"), and lists of losses suffered by the Austrian Museum for Applied Arts and by the Austrian Gallery in the Belvedere. Other institutions than state museums signed "Leihvertraege" (loan contracts) more or less under duress. One example shall be mentioned. During the administration of the Upper Austrian St. Florian convent by the national socialist "Gauleitung", respectively by the "Reichsrundfunkanstalt" (Broadcasting Company of the Reich) many objects went missing: paintings (e.g. Breughel's "Der Brand von Rotterdam" (The Fire of Rotterdam)), copper engravings (e.g. Adam Sculptor Maruanus, Michelangelo, 73 engravings by Ghisi, "Figuren der Deckengemaelde der Sixtina" (Figures of the Ceiling Frescoes of the Sixtina), ca 1650), gobelin upholsteries of tables and chairs. Then after the war, very valuable furniture of the Upper Austrian convent "Kremsmünster" disappeared; they had been taken by order of the infamous national socialist "Gauleiter" August Eigruber. While the whereabouts of the series of tapestries, paintings, weapons, etc., which are the property of the "Kunsthistorisches Museum" Vienna and of the other collections mentioned, are still unknown, the properties of the Austrian National Library could be located: 560 numbers of Pahlewi-papyri and parchments from Middle Persia have been discovered in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg. Although the director of the Hermitage, Michael Piotrowski, declared his willingness to return the collection still wrapped in the original paper envelopes, it's the bureaucracy which has since prevented the return. The question suggests itself whether those missing artworks 'lent' to the "Reichskanzlei" in Berlin, to "Karinhall" and to Breslau also could have been taken to Russia and might still be there today. Another starting point for research into Austrian losses of cultural treasures are the monasteries, churches, castles and palaces outside the cities. For safety reasons a great number of artworks were taken to these places during and after the war. Apart from extensive destruction of buildings and great damages to other buildings, it is surprising how few moveable cultural treasures were destroyed, since Austria was part of the immediate war-zone. A very lamentable incident, however, is the fate of Immendorf Castle, situated in the Northeast of Lower Austria, which was completely destroyed on May 8th, 1945, by an explosion of no military necessity. Highly valuable moveable treasures were sacrificed through this act of senseless destruction carried out by one of the units of the SS division "Feldherrnhalle". All the private art collection, kept in the castle for safety reasons since 1943, as well as the stocks of the Museum for Applied Arts of Vienna and of the Austrian Gallery were destroyed (among them works by Gustav Klimt). Losses of cultural goods taken for safekeeping to the buildings mentioned above and losses of their original furniture immediately after the war can be summed up under three perspectives:

1. The Allied military forces needed rooms for their lodging and administration. Clearing the buildings of the stocks often was done hastily and without realizing the value of the objects. Therefore, many objects were deposited in inadequate rooms or piled up in the open; like this almost the entire works of the composer Richard Strauß were destroyed.

2. The furniture needed in the military offices was taken from museum collections and the interiors of castles and probably destroyed by use.

3. Due to the negligence and lack of interest of the supervising personnel plundering was facilitated; in the light of such an easy access, many soldiers, prisoners of war in those days, and local people could take whatever they desired.

Because of the massive amount of objects lost, it would be beyond scientific accuracy to even attempt to quantify or estimate the kind of damage and loss suffered. >From what has been said, it is clear that after the war in Austria - other than in Germany - no transportation of cultural treasures as spoils of war took place. The reason for that seems to be the Moscow Declaration from November 1st, 1943, in which the Allies stated that in 1938 Austria had become the victim of aggression. Also the individual attitude of certain officers of the Allies led to the return of cultural treasures to their place of origin, not only on the side of the Western Allies (direct returns of artworks to the Austrian museums, careful transportations from recovery sites such as Alt Aussee, Bad Ischl and Lauffen via the Collection Point in Munich to Salzburg and Vienna) but also the Soviet side helped to prevent some losses, by providing ten lorries daily by Marshall Konjew to transport works of art back to the museums. As an exception - or rather a violation - to the Moscow Declaration can be regarded the treatment of about 30 boxes with manuscripts and books belonging to the University Library of Graz which were transported towards Maribor by troops from ex-Yugoslavia. Recently one of the 85 manuscripts vanished then was offered for sale to the university. A similar situation applies to the Castle Grafenegg/Lower Austria: Soviet soldiers transported artworks by the waggon load, so that an empty castle was left behind. A list of these losses does exist. The "Oesterreichisches Bundesdenkmalamt" (Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments and Cultural Properties) tried at all times to recover all pieces of art, situated in Austria in 1938, and to return them to the country. By doing so the specialized department exceeded its usual agenda, but a separate institution responsible for the return of looted cultural treasures did not and still does not exist in Austria. The whereabouts of Austrian cultural goods still held back in other countries are investigated on the diplomatic level. In the future, the "Zentrale Stelle" (Central Office) of the "Bundesdenkmalamt" will have the authority to implement the guideline 93/7/EWG (European Economic Union) on the return of cultural goods illegally taken from the territories of the countries belonging to the European Community.

From: Antony Anderson

Re: Return of Rauschenberg Art Loan to Menil

Dear Editor,

In George Flynn's article "Rauschenberg art returned" of 18th Feb you report Menil Attorney Bob Singleton as saying that the message from the publicity is that: "Houston and Texas is not some place to loan your art, because somebody is going to take it." Art Loans are not just at risk in Texas, but world wide - witness the recently siezed Schiele paintings in New York and the controversy over a Morisot painting in San Francisco. There have even been cases where somebody has stolen art from one museum in order to be able to lend or give to another! See Art Loans Gone Awry at
Nevertheless Mr Singleton may speak truer than he knows: the Rauschenberg Art Loan is not the first Art Loan in Texas to go wrong.

In 1990 the $5M Denney Loan Collection was removed from the Dallas Museum of Art by means of forged letters signed as if by the owner but written after his death. These works of art by Appel, Alberto Burri (the Italian artist who was earlier a POW in Texas), Dubuffet, Fontana, Sam Francis, Louise Nevelson, Mathieu, Saura and Tapies were subsequently made the subject of an apparently bona fide dontation to the City of Toulousein France, thereby depriving the Denney estate of most of its assets. The legal struggle to recover the collection is still ongoing. (One item, a sculpture by Horst Egon Kalinowsky, still remains in the care of the DMA, but that is another, and equally interesting story.) You will find the full Denney story at: "Lessons from the Denney Collection"
In this paper I make some positive suggestions for improving the security of Art Loans, including a distributed register of art loans accessible via the internet.
I would much appreciate it if you could bring the URL of "Lessons from the Denney Collection" to the attention of your readers. I would be more than willing to contribute a short piece on the subject of the risks of art loans to the Chronincle if you so wished.
Antony Anderson
Dr Antony Anderson
26 Westfield Drive
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel/Fax +44 191 2854577

From: Clifford Scheiner

Re: Re: Return of Rauschenberg Art Loan to Menil

Dear Ton,

With the art world in more than the usual uproar in light of all the activities to repatriate art and cultural material "displaced" by war and aggression over the last 60 years, it seems that the idea of title insurance for art, similar to that universally used for real estate, should be an attractive proposal. Has any one proposed this in a formal fashion? I also wonder if art stealing equivalent to that done in the World War II period also occured in the World War I period.
Best wishes.
C.J. Scheiner
Hello Clifford,

There should be records about W.W.I art stealing equivalent to that done in the World War II period. Perhaps some of our subscribers know more about this. For some strange reason looting that took place many years ago becomes acceptable in the long run (for example the looting of the Elgin Marbles from Greece, now in the British Museum). It is a very good thing that so much attention is given to the W.W.II period (it is a shame that it took so long for people to really realize what happened in those days and that all of us had to wait until 1997 for real action to recover looted art). This must never happen again. So let's not wait fifty years before paying attention to the looting of art during recent wars.
On our we have a link to a page totally dedicated to the destruction of museums and libraries in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In fifty years from now, if, Deo Volente, many of us are still alive, we cannot afford to say that we did not know about that. I am convinced that a large part of the war in former Yugoslavia was financed by the illegal trade in cultural property (both art, books and ancient manuscripts).
Ton Cremers

Stakes high, penalties harsh in artifacts fight

One collector fears extradition to Bolivia

By MARK SMITH Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- For the past year, Robert Duff has worried about a telephone call or knock on the door that could send him to a Bolivian prison for six years. Unlike others who have faced possible extradition for violent crimes or drug trafficking, Duff's offense might seem innocuous. He exported native textiles from Bolivia. But he is caught up in an increasingly bitter legal, political and cultural war over control of patrimony -- artifacts considered a central part of a people's cultural history. In the Americas, the fight has its roots in the European migrations that overwhelmed indigenous American civilizations centuries ago. The struggle has intensified in recent decades as governments representing the descendants of ancient civilizations have pledged to hold on to remnants of their heritage. Laws passed to uphold those pledges in the United States and elsewhere are worrying collectors, dealers and museums with a financial or professional stake in free trade of native artifacts. And Bob Duff's criminal conviction shows why these interests have ample reason for their concern. "This could signal the end of museum collecting as we know it," said Frederick Schultz, president of the National Association of Dealers in Ancient, Oriental & Primitive Art, based in New York. Without a viable international antiquities market to bestow a monetary value on artifacts, collectors argue it is doubtful many of the world's existing cultural treasures would have been preserved. The trend toward greater restriction, they say, limits trade and private ownership, and will hinder the ability of museums to obtain artifacts from different cultures and past civilizations. Archaeologists and officials in artifact-rich "source" countries say, however, that the laws are needed to quell a boom in the illegal trade of items looted from archaeological sites. They say the pillage of artifacts has caused irreparable harm to the study of past civilizations, and that the United States -- the largest importer of antiquities -- should take the lead in enacting and enforcing restrictions. "Unless collectors, dealers and museums act very positively we will see over the next five decades the complete destruction of the cultural heritage of some countries," said Lyndel V. Prott, with the cultural advisory division of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. "It is not surprising that countries that are seriously affected are passing very severe control laws. They have a responsibility to their own people to try to preserve something."

Robert Duff's ordeal

Duff, 45, would agree that the laws are severe. For nearly two decades, he collected and openly exported Bolivian textiles and other artifacts. But on Sept. 27, 1993, Bolivian officials searched Duff's La Paz residence for stolen colonial church artifacts. Not finding any, they seized his collected artifacts, along with other items such as the rugs on his floor and blankets on his bed. Some 500 of the 700 items -- including ceramics, stone bowls and figurines --were alleged to be Bolivian antiquities, although many items were made recently, he says. The authorities also seized a 200-year-old Peruvian rug Duff had purchased for $22,500 in the United States and had brought to Bolivia for repairs by the skilled weavers there. "It was not even Bolivian, but they claimed it as national patrimony," Duff said. Duff was arrested under laws prohibiting the sale, export and collection of cultural items made before 1952. La Paz District Attorney Javier Dipps agreed to drop charges, Duff says, if he would pay a fine and return 80 Andean Indian textile weavings that he had shipped to his Florida home. When he returned the weavings, however, Bolivian cultural officials claimed the textiles corroborated allegations that he was an illegal exporter of national antiquities Duff fled Bolivia after prosecutors returned his passport and told him they could no longer honor their prior agreement to drop charges. "They told me I would never get a fair trial in Bolivia because I was political cause, not a judicial cause," Duff says. He was tried in absentia and without his knowledge in late 1996, convicted and sentenced to the maximum six years in prison. His Bolivian attorneys only discovered his conviction a few days after his appeal date had expired. Duff says he didn't know about the laws he was charged with violating until his run-in with authorities. Like other critics of new patrimony protection laws, he contends that the Bolivian law is vague and too broad. He says he was aware of a specific, publicized ban in the late 1980s on the sale and export of communally owned textiles from the Indian village of Coroma. His textiles were not from Coroma, he says, but were bought from private, family owners. Duff says he declared them properly with Bolivian and U.S. Customs officials. (Bolivian officials initially alleged that several of Duff's textiles might be from Coroma, but have since dropped that allegation.) And Duff says that government officials, businesses and tourists continue with impunity to buy, sell, collect and export items similar to those confiscated from him. Store owners and other sources confirmed that such items are advertised and sold in Bolivian tourist shops, store owners and other sources say. "My crime is that I had such quality and quantity of artifacts," Duff said. "I was a legal collector fraudulently prosecuted by Bolivia in order to `Get the American!' " Duff became subject to possible extradition within days of his conviction, when the United States and Bolivia signed a 1996 treaty that made drug trafficking and the "traffic of historical and archaeological items" extraditable offenses. The prior U.S.-Bolivian extradition treaty -- in effect since 1900 -- had failed to list either of the two offenses as crimes serious enough to merit extradition. "I think Duff simply got railroaded by the Bolivian government," said a U.S. gallery owner and Andean textiles collector familiar with Duff's case. "Until U.S. collectors like Duff and I went to Bolivia in the 1970s, there had been no market for these weavings. Without us these textiles would have been lost forever. "For 400 years the Bolivian government did nothing to help preserve these items and everything to ensure the textiles' destruction," said the collector, who asked not to be identified. "Now that the rest of the world likes these items, the government is saying that no one outside of Bolivia should own them." An official at the Bolivian Institute of Culture said it is "a possibility" that the institute will pursue Duff's extradition, but declined further comment. U.S. State Department officials say they are unaware of any attempt to extradite Duff, but defend the U.S.-Bolivian extradition treaty as a valuable weapon against drug traffickers and other criminals. But Duff says the treaty has opened U.S. citizens to prosecution in absentia under the vagaries of foreign law and inequities of an unfamiliar justice system.

A drug-war factor?

His attorney suggested the government might sacrifice Duff or other collectors in the war on drugs. "If our government believes it can gain drug traffickers in return for an art collector, they may make the deal because it makes them look tough on crime," said Houston attorney Mike Lamson. The international debate is fueled by wide differences over exactly what constitutes cultural patrimony. Many of the wealthier "market" countries have narrow definitions of cultural patrimony and few restrictions on the trade or private ownership of art. Poorer "source" countries define patrimony broadly, restrict the export of artifacts and limit private ownership. Dealers and collectors maintain that many antiquities are redundant or otherwise lack special archaeological, historical or cultural significance. "How many ceramics and textiles does a nation need for its collections and research purposes? How many is enough?" asked Joe Rose, a former New York antiquities dealer. "The truth is the overwhelming majority of affordable and collectable ancient objects have little or no relevance to the cultural patrimony." Nonetheless, some source countries have filed successful protests seeking repatriation of antiquities from art dealers, collectors and museums. Last December, Mali and Guatemala asked for the return of Malian terra cotta figures and pre-Columbian Mayan artifacts exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, alleging the items were looted. Both nations have banned the export of artifacts without permission. Museum officials say the items were brought to the United States legally. During the dispute, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala assisted Guatemalan officials, and even offered to pay their air fare to Boston to view the Mayan artifacts. Art dealers and collectors say this represents a significant change in U.S. trade policy, which historically has allowed the free commerce of art and and has not enforced foreign cultural patrimony laws. Embassy officials say they simply were complying with a recent bilateral agreement designed to help Guatemala protect its cultural patrimony. Since April, the U.S. State Department has entered into similar agreements with Peru, Mali and Canada. The restrictions -- authorized under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 -- require antiquities buyers to gain export permits from source countries before exporting hundreds of types of artifacts dating back as early as 12000 B.C. U.S. Information Agency officials who recommended the restrictions say the agreements, known as memorandums of understanding, are designed to thwart a multibillion-dollar illicit trade of art and antiquities. Dealers and collectors say the cost figure is exaggerated. "We are struggling for a balance between a legitimate trade in objects that encourages understanding and education, vs. the destructive takings that occur simply because a lot of money is driving the market," said Martin E. Sullivan, director of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., and chairman of USIA's Cultural Property Advisory Committee. The memorandums don't ban trade in antiquities, because they only require that dealers obtain permits from source countries, Sullivan contends. And the measures can be re-evaluated when they expire in five years. But U.S. art dealers and collectors claim the memorandums represent a de facto ban since several of the source countries seldom issue export permits for antiquities. The patrimony issue, they say, has become intimately linked with nationalist feelings and memories of past exploitation by richer, market countries. Dealers fear the new restrictions may prompt a rash of questionable patrimony challenges that will pose a real risk to dealers, collectors and museums. "Even a small country has more lawyers than a rich person," said Joe Gerena, a dealer of ancient, Asian and tribal art in New York. "They will say: `It's all cultural patrimony; It all belongs to us and we want it all back,' " he said. Even the Cultural Property Implementation Act's sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-New York, has threatened to convene hearings in the Senate Finance Committee to investigate whether federal officials have gone overboard with the recent restrictions. "Central to our intention drafting the act was the principle that the United States would bar imports of particular cultural properties, but only as part of a concerted international response to a specific, severe problem of pillage," Moynihan said in a recent letter to USIA Director Joseph Duffey.

Creating a black market

U.S. art dealers and collectors argue that adopting strict import control laws on artifacts unilaterally -- without other major art-market countries participating -- may only send the art into a black market where the public wouldn't see it, or to such countries as Japan, Germany or England that lack similar import restrictions. James F. Fitzpatrick, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer representing national art dealers, argues that the memorandums represent a de facto, piecemeal U.S adoption of the controversial Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegal Exported Cultural Objects, which has not been ratified by Congress. Unidroit is the French acronym for a larger effort to expedite legal procedures that cross international boundaries. And the convention on cultural objects is intended to stem illegal trading and smuggling of cultural relics. The convention allows a signatory country to attempt to reclaim cultural property by filing a lawsuit directly in the courts of another signatory country. Although a number of source countries have signed and ratified the convention, few market countries are expected to ratify it. Critics say that under Unidroit, good-faith purchasers of artifacts could be forced to return antiquities without compensation. Objects exported without a source country's permission would be not merely illegal exports, but stolen property. Supporters argue that Unidroit and the recent U.S. trade restrictions are essential to protect archaeological sites from looting and to prevent the flow of cultural property to consumers in wealthy market nations. The U.N.'s Prott, author of the three-volume Law and the Cultural Heritage, says most source countries just want to keep a "representative sample of their heritage." These countries fear that once cultural artifacts are exported, they'll be gone for good because the source countries can't match the price on the international market. In the early 1980s, most museums began to use greater caution in acquiring antiquities, and many signed a code of ethics requiring strict proof of legal ownership, known as provenance. Ricardo Elia, an associate professor of archaeology at Boston University, estimates that more than 80 percent of existing private and museum artifact collections have come from "looted" archaeological sites in which trained scientists were not present to oversee and document the excavation. "The secret little claim of the art market is that it is the rare piece that is stolen," Elia said. "The fact is that it's the rare piece that gets caught and has to go back." Susan McIntosh, a Rice University anthropologist and USIA Cultural Property Advisory Committee member, agreed that most artifacts in existing collections were removed without the approval of source countries. "I think the question is: `How far back do you want to apply the standards of today?' " she said. Elia says clues to history have been destroyed in the pillaging of the world's monuments, burial grounds and other archaeological sites. Looting flourishes in economically depressed countries where impoverished peasants and laborers search for archaeological treasures that bring high prices from wealthy collectors. Even under the tighter restrictions, the incentive to plunder may continue because of record prices at auction houses like Sotheby's, where a pre-Columbian gold pendant sold last year for more than half a million dollars. "The Latin American peasants who engage in off-season digging to uncover materials are clearly doing it because it is a form of harvest, a form of subsistence that replaces other things if crops fail," said Sullivan, the chairman of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. "Economic development and lending in countries where looting is happening needs to be a piece of the puzzle to stop this problem." Looting has wrecked some sites, Elia says, citing as one example the Central American nation of Belize, where archaeologists discovered "looters' camps" with bulldozers and housing for 70 to 80 people. "These items are ripped out of sites and tombs, and it's being done in such a way that the information is completely destroyed," he said. "The object isn't lost, but associations and contexts are lost, rendering them useless for scientific study." "It's like you had a history book and ripped out many of its pages," said Carlos Enrique Zea Flores, Guatemala's vice minister of culture. "When you try to read the book, you lose so much that is becomes difficult to understand." George Ortiz, one of the world's top art collectors, says that because of brisk Third World development, many new discoveries result from chance finds during construction and agricultural work. "With no free market in antiquities there is no reason for the chance finder to save anything," said Ortiz, 70, who lives in Vandoeuvres, Switzerland. He maintains that collectors have protected the world's antiquities from widespread destruction in natural disasters and wars. Though most artifacts were not found in their "historical context" within an archaeological site, Ortiz says, "the reality is that scholarship over the past 200 years -- based on the study of art, most of which had lost its context -- has immeasurably contributed to our understanding." Ortiz also challenges source country claims of "national patrimony" because he says "borders change, the geography of religions and populations change, and the ethos of the inhabitants change." "Instead of each little group claiming its own heritage, we need to create one common culture allowing art to circulate around the world," Ortiz said. He says he fears growing art-trade restrictions, compounded by the failure to require source countries to exhibit and share their archaeological treasures, will prevent museums from obtaining new art. "Millions of school children and citizens from countless countries have enjoyed, learned and shared the cultural heritage of humanity in museums and exhibitions," he said. "At the inception of all art museum collections are passionate collectors." Art collectors say the current trend is that artifacts will remain in the source country. "It means that you must go to Turkey to see Turkish art, or go to Egypt to see Egyptian art, or Italy to see Roman art," said David Lantz, a New York-based art dealer. But source country officials contend that the restrictions will not prevent the temporary loan of artifacts to museums and researchers. "If the main purpose of a museum is to show cultural patrimony from anywhere in the world, they can do that through temporary exhibits," said a Peruvian Embassy spokesman who asked not to be identified. "The emphasis should go that way instead of through private ownership and looting." McIntosh, the Rice University professor, is sympathetic to that viewpoint. She disputes

`Systematic looting

"The most sought-after artifacts come from remote areas where construction and road projects don't occur," she said, "and looting in such areas often is systematic and organized." "The myth of chance finds," Elia added, "allows collectors to pretend you have these farmers accidentally finding these things and in order to avoid the onerous Nazilike bureaucracy of the state, they smuggle them out and people collect them. It makes collectors appear like saviors preserving art." But critics of the stricter rules say that they benefit corrupt officials able to earn extra money by accepting bribes in return for export permits. "These laws are usually designed to seize the patrimony from peasants and poor, and convert it into the hands of the rich and powerful who are politically connected and who then sell these items in Europe, Japan or the United States," said an antiquities dealer. Besides, they say, it often is difficult to link an artifact with any certainty to a particular nation's cultural history. "For example, the Andean cultures crossed a lot of boundaries," said one major collector who declined to be identified. "They didn't stay within the strict political boundaries that exist today, but crossed into four or five countries." And some items claimed as patrimony, such as coins, stamps, blankets and textiles, have been bartered and circulated for centuries, sometimes throughout entire continents. Collectors also note that source countries often lack the resources to exhibit or store existing artifact collections -- a deficiency that some of the countries acknowledge. But U.S. officials say they will insist that these countries do their part to preserve and protect artifacts. "If we monitor closely and there is evidence things aren't changing, or a graft and bribery system is in place, I would be hard-pressed to argue that the United States should spend time and energy to enforce something the host country has failed to enforce," Sullivan said. Many collectors say the lack of funding and failure of archaeologists to dig more artifact sites has led to loss of cultural patrimony. Added Lantz, "It's not like these things under the ground are in inert gas-sealed cases. They are in the ground and deteriorating every year." Various cooperative programs have been proposed -- though not adopted by source countries -- to better finance archaeological excavations. The proposals include the use of a private corporate sponsor or a United Nations umbrella foundation to help finance excavations. But whatever happens on the political and diplomatic front, for now Robert Duff is a convicted criminal facing at least the possibility of extradition and time in a Bolivian prison. "The absurdity of it all," Duff said, "is that the ceramics, stone bowls and textiles that were confiscated were destined to be lost without the attention and reverence brought to them by collectors like myself." To add insult to injury, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has ordered Duff to pay $115,000 in taxes and penalties on the value of his seized artifacts and returned Andean textiles. The IRS denied Duff's attempt to classify the artifacts and weavings as commercial inventory, and instead ruled that the items constituted private, personal holdings not eligible to be considered a business loss. "In my criminal conviction the Bolivian courts said I was exporting commercial items for sale, while the IRS is claiming that my items were not commercial sale property, but private, personal property," Duff said. "I guess its too bad the IRS doesn't work for Bolivia."

from: Antonia Kriks

Hundreds works of art have not been given back to the owners after 1945

Still much more looted art in Austrian Museums

Here is the translation of the first part of a DER STANDARD article and a summary of the second part, which is just documents and so on. The interesting thing about it is that the Schiele-case in New York started this discussion in Austria and it might strike back now because some of the art, which was stolen by the National Socialists from Jews in Austria ended up in Museums in USA.The folowing article is about that and how museums and state galleries in Austria fighted after the 'Anschluss' to get the best pieces which where stolen from Jewish people who fled the country. I wonder when Germany will start to discuss those things.
Antonia Kriks.
Samstag/Sonntag, 21/22. February 1998, Seite 1

Hundreds work of art have not been given back to the owners after 1945

Still much more looted art in Austrian Museums

STANDARD-serial reconstructs the whereabouts of Jewish collections

Wien - After World War II the Republic of Austria acquired much more by Nationalsocialists looted art objects than it was common knowledge until now. In the Art History Museum alone are more than hundred paintings on exhibition which until 1938 belonged to Jewish private collections. The archivist oft he Art History Museum, Herbert Haupt: " I assume that everything which was acquired between 1938 and 1945 is questionable. Many objects stayed after the war in state galleries because of compulsion: Under the excuse of the preservation of Austrian cultural possessions the owners or their heirs would not get an export-license. For example the heirs of the industrialist Bloch-Bauer had lo leave back a large part of his art collection in Vienna after 1945 to be able to export at least a few paintings. (red)
The STANDARD Saturday/Sunday, 21/22. February 1998, page 8 series:

The defrauded inheritance - art robbery, part 1

After 1945 the authorities prevented the correct restitution to the NS-victims

"To delay for tactical reasons " STANDARD author Hubertus Czernin about the National Socialist art robbery, which was followed at the second republic by the next :a legacy of the dishonor, which concerns most Austrian museums and should be finally reappraised now. In the Austrian gallery in the Belvedere are 32 paintings of Gustav Klimt . Seven of it once had been in possession of the entrepreneur family Bloch- Bauer, as it is to take from the stock catalog of the Austrian gallery:
Buchenwald (Birkenwald): 1948 Vermächtnis Familie Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Adele Bloch-Bauer I: 1941 Widmung von Adele Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Schloß Kammer am Attersee III (Wasserschloß): 1949 Widmung von Familie Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Adele Bloch-Bauer II, stehend: 1948 Vermächtnis Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Der Apfelbaum I: 1936 Widmung von Adele und Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Häuser in Unterach am Attersee: 1948 Vermächtnis Familie Bloch-Bauer, Wien.
Amalie Zuckerkandl: 1988 Widmung von Dr. Vita Kuenstler (ehem. Zuckerkandl, Wien; Bloch-Bauer, Wien; Prof. Mueller-Hofmann, Wien).
Some about the attribution appears strange: The portrait 'Adele Bloch - Bauer I' cannot have been dedicated by the wife Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer in1941, since she already died in 1925. The painting the 'apple tree I', painted by Klimt 1912, can have been just as little intended in 1936 by the family Bloch -Bauer to the Austrian gallery, since it appears also after the " Anschluß" 1938 (means the connection with Germany) in the inventory lists of the art collection of the family, as can be proved. About the portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl, which remained unfinished, it cannot not be said, when and how it was delivered. On basis of the documents which are available to the STANDARD it cannot be said when and how it was given away from the collection Bloch-Bauer - in 1939 it is in any case still mentioned as a piece of the family.

Much which was publicly discussed in the passed weeks and months, after the seizure of two paintings of Egon Schiele from the collection Leopold in New York about National Socialist art robbery and the laid down restitution of art objects to its original owners after 1945is to describe and explain by the example of the collection Bloch-Bauer - as a story of theft by the Nazis and following compulsion by the Second Republic (of Austria). . More than one hundred pictures in the Austrian museums, which is low counted, can clearly be identified as by National Socialists stolen property which the State Departments acquired after the war. Concerned are all larger Austrian museums and in addition the auction house Dorotheum which became in the course of the history one of the main tradecenters for art objects of doubtful origin. .

Summary of the second part of the article by Antonia Kriks:

The author Hubertus Czernin describes further very detailed the economic situation of the family Bloch-Bauer. They where connoisseurs and owned one of the largest and exceptional beautiful art collection in Austria which was widely known. They fled to Zuerich in 1938 and had to leave their collection behind of course. Even Hitler ordered 6 of their paintings, many pieces where auctioned off in Vienna. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer did not want to come back to Austria after the war and he engaged a lawyer in Vienna to find the remaining art work. Bloch-Bauer died in 1946 and his heirs tried to get the art collection back which was scattered all over Austria and hidden away in different places. A mountain of documents in the Federal Office for Monuments shows, says Huberus Czernin, how the victims of the National Socialism got deceived once more by the democratic Austrian Authorities and curators. After the looting by the National Socialists the robbery by the Second Republic followed, this time under the guise of preservation of Austrian interest and Austrian cultural possessions. And then he quotes documents which proof, that and how the authorities cheated and fighted to be able to keep some of the paintings. They used a kind of blackmail and moral pressure and some legal tricks and managed this way to give back only 18 of 40 paintings.

Lord Irvine hits back at critics

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, says he did not decide on the refurbishment of his apartment The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has hit back at critics of the controversial £650,000 refurbishment of his official residence and his decision to borrow works of art from public galleries. In his first personal statement on the matter, Lord Irvine said that he did not decide to upgrade his apartments in the Palace of Westminster. He said the decision was made by the House of Lords. He also said that artworks which will be displayed there would come from reserve collections. He added that the public would be able to view his rooms and the works of art. He said the decision to refurbish his residence was made by several Lords committees and agreed by the full House. "The quality of the refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's residence is determined by the decisions of these committees and is to no higher a standard than would apply to any other part of the Palace of Westminster of comparable importance," he said. Lord Irvine also said that the building was an important part of national heritage and deserved to be maintained in a historically authentic manner. He pointed out that Lord Boston of Faversham, chairman of Lords committees, had said in July last year that a duty was owed to future generations to ensure that the building was maintained in such a way that they could appreciate it. Lord Irvine also insisted that neither he nor his department had ever tried to say that the refurbishment was actually agreed before Labour came to power.

Art will be seen

On the recent controversy surrounding the loan of art for display in the apartments, Lord Irvine said all the pieces he was borrowing would come from reserve collections and were currently not on show. He said they had been loaned on the express undertaking that they would be returned immediately if requested. He added that there would be "substantial public access to view the residence and these works." He said a number of charities had sought permission to use the residence for charitable fund-raising occasions. "All these requests have been met and these charities will enjoy the use of the residence free of any charge," he said. He also said the decisions to lend works of art were taken by the independent trustees of each of the following galleries:
The Royal Academy
The Imperial War Museum
The National Maritime Museum
The National Gallery of Scotland

Inmate tied to art theft hospitalized

By Anne E. Kornblut, 02/23/98

Myles J. Connor Jr., the imprisoned art thief who has been linked to the $200 million robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, is hospitalized with an unknown medical illness, his attorney said yesterday. Fellow inmates said Connor, 55, was removed from his prison cell at McKean Prison in Lewis Run, Pa., yesterday afternoon on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in nearby Bratford, attorney Martin K. Leppo said. Prison officials would not release information about Connor's condition, but ''I t's certainly some kind of medical situation,'' Leppo said. Connor had been suffering from a serious flu last week. But the former Milton resident has no history of heart trouble, and Leppo said his client keeps a strict athletic regimen - running 50 miles per week and doing 1,000 push-ups a day. Connor, who is serving a 10-year sentence for trafficking in stolen art, recently suggested he might offer information that would lead to the return of the 11 paintings stolen from the Gardner in 1990 in exchange for his release.
This story ran on page D11 of the Boston Globe on 02/23/98.
c Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.

Obelisk to be given back to Ethiopian holy city


A FOURTH-CENTURY obelisk looted by Italy from Ethiopia 60 years ago is to be returned to its original site "within the next two months", Italian officials said yesterday. The announcement appears to bring to an end a long-running dispute over the fate of the obelisk, pictured, which was removed from the holy city of Axum in 1937 by Italian troops on the orders of Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator. Its return was negotiated by President Scalfaro, who visited Addis Ababa last November and formally apologised for Mussolini's invasion and occupation of what was then Abyssinia in 1935. The colonisation of Ethiopia was part of Mussolini's attempt to create "an empire worthy of ancient Rome". The 60ft-high granite obelisk was erected amid triumphal ceremonies outside the Fascist Ministry for Colonial Africa, now the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, near the Circus Maximus. Ethiopia was liberated by the British in 1941, but the obelisk remained in Rome. Maria Luisa Tabasso, of the Ministry of Culture, said Italy was obliged to return "war booty" under treaties with its former colonies dating from 1947. The return of the monument, however, has been held up not only by political opposition from the extreme Right, but also by technical doubts about whether the obelisk could be moved without damage. Signora Tabasso said that in 1937 the obelisk had been found lying on the ground in five pieces at Axum, which is in an earthquake zone. It was taken to Italy in pieces and re-erected, with the fragments joined together by iron rods. She said it could therefore be dismantled again for the move back to Ethiopia. Eugenio La Rocca, the Superintendent for Archaeology in Rome, said the Ethiopians had offered to replace the monument with "a work of modern art sculpted from the same kind of stone", as a "gesture of reconciliation and friendship".
(Times of London)

From: (Gary Yee)

Re: (Fwd) art loan by politicians

MSN wrote:
> thanks a lot for collecting the reports about Lord Chancellor
> Irvine. It is without doubt very interesting to read about the
> naturalness politicians take art away from public museums on loan. I
> did not realize before that this is happening and it's amazing to
> see how the directors and curators of museums oblige. I wonder now
> wether the same methods of decorating the home of politicians are
> used in Germany and Austria as well. It would be nice to hear from
> professionals or people who are concernd with museums in Germany if
> somebody has heard about a similar story. Is there somebody on this
> mailinglist from the German speaking community? Please do contact me
> under - (selbstverstaendlich auch in
> Deutsch).

> mit freundlichen Grueßen,
> A. Kriks

Paintings from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are on loan all the time. About 5% of our collection is displayed here at our museums and this is a way for us to exhibit more paintings. Presently, paintings from our collection grace our State Capital building in Sacramento and our City Hall in San Francisco. There's even a painting in Mayor Brown's office. Naturally, all loans are accounted for by our Registrar (T. Chen). My concern from a security viewpoint is humidity and lighting and the protection of the artwork is difficult when it is on loan.
G. Yee

From: Antonia Kriks

Standard series on looted art

DER STANDARD Dienstag, 24. Februar 1998,

Serie: The misappropriated inheritance part 3

How the museums of Austria took work of art from Jewisch collections for themselves

,Every purchase was questionable"

Standard-Autor Hubertus Czernin about the looting of art by National Socialists which was followed by the looting of the Second Republic: The Austrian Gallery in the Belvedere still calls art work its own which never was ment to belong to it. Museums, State Galleries and other interested people on governmental level had been served perfectly. The directors and art experts travelled to Vienna to have a look at the booty in the 'Reichskunstdepot' - the storage rooms of the 'Reich' - at the 'Hofburg'. For example the Major of Salzburg at that time thanked in February 1940 for the ,most friendly supported viewing" and ordered at the same time 80 singular pieces from the collection of Oskar Bondy. (Some quotations follow from the exchange of letters between the state authorities and curators and directors of museums which proof, how they shared out the work of art, which was confiscated by the Nationalsocialists from Jewisch collections. A.K) The mediculousness with they divided out Jewish property is remarkable. The documents at the Office for Protection of Monuments show, that every single work of art was catalogued, got numbers and was earmarked for that museum which showed interest for the looted art. (Examples of which object of art from confiscated Jewish collections went to which museums, everbody wanted to profit. A list of paintings shows how a lot of it went to the Austrian Gallery, some paintings were given back after the war, but not all. A.K.): Only now, after the minister for culture and science, Elisabeth Gehrer, has required the Austrian museums to open up their archives it is possible to start a systematic investigation of the Nationalsocialistic looting of art and the Austrian politic of restitution. (Elisabeth Gehrer did this after the confiscation of the Schiele paintings in New York, A.K.) The archivist of the Kunsthistorischen Museums, (Historical Museum of Art), Herbert Haupt: ,I stand for it that everything will be cleared up. I think in any case that everything which was purchased in the years between 1938 till 1945 was questionable." Also a look into the catalogue of the 'Residenzgalerie Salzburg' of the year 1955shows what is still not cleared up and reappraised: Quite a few paintings are registered with , purchased in 1944"- among them a 'Stilleben Herbert Böckl und Gustav Klimts Am Attersee '-is registered with: ,purchased in 1944." Really purchased? Or stolen and ,arisiert"? Or extorted for ridicolous prices like the unique collection of contemporary art of the dentist Heinrich Rieger from Vienna, who was killed in Theresienstadt in 1942. It was 'purchased' after the 'Anschluß 1938' by the painter Luigi Kasimir and his compagnon Enrnst Edhoffer for 17 000 RM.
Recherche: Gabriele Anderl/ Hubertus Czernin
Tomorrow: Looted Art in the Historical Museum of Art

From: Antonia Kriks

Standard-translation - minister announces new office;

Standard comment on it

The complete newspaper (Der Standard) is full of art-articles and they opened up not just the archives but a new office on restitution for Jews who got robbed by the Nationalsocialists and cheated by the burocracy of the Second Republic. Until now there is nothing in other newspapers about it and I expect quite an uproar about that, and I wonder what is going to happen in Germany. There is a long interview with the minister as well and a long, long article of the series. It is fascinating - 60 years after it happened all of a sudden it comes up and disturbes all those established museums, there are hundreds of paintings in museums which are looted art - imagine!
Donnerstag, 26. Februar 1998, Seite 1

Foundation of a clearing-office for looted art

Gehrer pleads for generosity on the return of paintings

Ministery for culture and science ordered to contact the original owners

Wien - To guarantee a complete reappraisal of the archives regarding the extorted or not restituted work of art Minister for culture Elisabeth Gehrer ordered to install a clearing and service office above party politics. An art historian is to deal with the inquiries of the families who have been robbed during Nationalsocialism and past war times respectively have been forced to donate paintings. In addition Gehrer ordered to contact the affected persons respectively their descendants. She declared at the STANDARD-Interview that no documents are hold back. Should the directors and curators of the museums not obey to her instruction to reveal the material it would be punished. Even if the claim for the work of art had come under the statute of limitation she pleads vehement for it to handle the restituion "generous", "if there was something morally not irreproachably".
Donnerstag, 26. Februar 1998, Seite 28 Kommentar

It is time for the truth

About the rediscovery of a moral responsibility at the museums

Michael Cerha

Who says A can try for a long time everything in order not to have to say B as well. Because of this principle on politics often seems to be incontrovertible one is not just pleased but also a littel astonished about the newest announcement of the minister for culture Elisabeth Gehrer: In January she said A and ordered to open up the archives 50 years late to make inquiries how it happened that a lot of treasures of art which have been stolen from their Jewish owners endet up in the museums of the Second Republic after 1945. This was followed by B now and the insurance of the will really to take the consequences which means to approve that illegal purchased objects are "generously" of restitution.
It might be late, even very late, but never to late to compensate the wrong. Austria's government needs it badly. How it was proofed by the STANDARD through precise investigation the state after the war purchased a until now unknown number of art treasures in a way which was wether morally nor legally acceptable. They are shown in the museums until today with vague information about their provenance, and all of us have been standing in front of it if we visited one of those houses and have been - not knowing how justified - 'thieving' (play on words in German, it means also mischievous) proud about our collective possession.
How welcome the announcement of Gehrer therefore might be she would be better off not to emphasise the "generosity" to much. The complete, unconditional return of the by the NS-regime expropriated private possession had not even been a "generosity" if it had happened immediate in 1945. Austria is because of its substantial complicity on the crimes of Nationalsocialism obliged to the victims, at least the heirs of the victims, to give material justice in the end.

It is time for truth.

Es ist Zeit für die Wahrheit. Wie es scheint und seit langem allen unterschwellig bewußt war, hatte sich nach 1945, durchaus passend zu Erscheinungen in anderen Bereichen, in Österreichs Museumsszene ein von Eifersucht und Habgier geprägtes, von historischem Schuldbewußtsein dagegen völlig unbelastetes Distributionsunwesen ausgebildet, das in vielen Fällen an die beteiligten und allseits ausgestreckten Hände exakt dieselben Kunstwerke vergab, die schon in der NS-Zeit ihr Begehren geweckt hatten. Als Greifwerkzeug diente in verzwickteren Fällen etwa das Kunstausfuhrgesetz von 1918, das jede Ausfuhr eines Kulturgutes an eine Ausnahmebewilligung des Bundesdenkmalamtes band. Im Hagel von Einflußnahmen nötigte dieses Amt offenbar Emigranten, die ihr Hab und Gut in Österreich lassen hatten müssen und nach dem Krieg nicht in dieses Land zurückkehren wollten, zu "Schenkungen" ausgesuchter Objekte, wofür im Gegenzug andere Objekte die Ausfuhrgenehmigung erhielten. Das Amt machte sich so, zweifellos unrechtmäßig, zum "Keiler" der Kunstsammlungen der jungen Zweiten Republik. Gehrers Wille zur Restitution fragwürdig erworbenen Besitzes wird auf das abwartende Mißtrauen jener stoßen, die bzw. deren Familien über fünfzig Jahre das Verhalten des offiziellen Österreich beobachten mußten. Dieses Mißtrauen darf nicht abermals bestätigt werden. Das Vorhaben, daß der Bund von sich aus auf einzelne Erben zugeht, ist deshalb zu begrüßen. Doch wäre es darüber hinaus unverständlich, würde die Anerkennung der moralischen Pflicht bei den Museen haltmachen, also im engsten Bereich des Anlaßfalles, der peinlichen Beschlagnahme zweier staatlicher Schiele-Bilder in New York.

(summary: It is about time to tell the truth. It seems that after the war museums and galleries were much more occupied with satisfying their greed than with finding a historical feeling of guilt. After the war they had an opportunity to get what they had already been looking for a long time during the NAZI period. The 1918 law on exportation of valuable art was used as an excuse. Emigrants that did not want to return to Austria after the war were 'invited' to donate objects of art in return for permission to take other objects out of the countr. Geherer's intention to return art will be met with suspicion by those who experienced Austrian's officail policy for fifty years.)


From: Antonia Kriks

Series: Looted art - The misappropriated inheritance

Mittwoch, 25. Februar 1998,

Serie: Kunstraub - Das veruntreute Erbe, Teil 4

Dedicated and robbed Gewidmet und geraubt

Purchase of paintings by the Museum of Art History during Nationalsocialism/ Bilderwerbungen durch das Kunsthistorische in der NS-Zeit

Like the Austrian Gallery in the Belvedere the Kunsthistorische Museum as well calls a number of paintings ist own which have been puchased during Nationalsocialism: So wie die Österreichische Galerie im Belvedere nennt auch das Kunsthistorische Museum eine Reihe von Bildern sein eigen, die in der NS-Zeit erworben wurden: Ludolf Backhuizen, Kriegsschiffe und kleinere Schiffe in einer Brise (erworben 1944); Bartolomeo Bettera, Stilleben mit Musikinstrumenten, Globus und einem Teller mit Gebaeck (erworben 1939) und Stilleben mit Musikinstrumenten, Notenblaettern und Buechern (erworben 1939); Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, Amors Krönung (erworben 1941); Ferdinand Bol, Maedchen mit Lira da Gamba (erworben 1942); Jan Both, Landschaft mit Merkur und Argus (erworben 1941); Pieter Claesz, Vanitas-Stilleben (erworben 1941); Jacob van Geel, Waldlandschaft (erworben 1942); Johan van Hughtenburgh, Reiterkampf (erworben 1945); Alessandro Magnasco, Gerichtsszene (erworben 1941) und Waescherinnen (erworben 1938); Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt, Bildnis einer jungen Frau (erworben 1941); Joos de Momper d.J., Gebirgslandschaft mit Burg (erworben 1942) und Gebirgslandschaft mit Flußtal (erworben 1942); Bartolomeo Passarotti, Bildnis einer alten Frau (erworben 1943); Giambattista Pittoni, Hannibals Schwur (erworben 1938); Rembrandt, Selbstbildnis im Pelz, mit Kette und Ohrring (erworben 1942 von Frau von Mendelssohn); Salomon van Ruysdael, Landschaft mit Plankenzaun und hohem Wolkenhimmel (erworben 1939); Isaak Soreau, Stilleben mit Fruechten, Weinglas und Blumenvase (erworben 1944); Dirck Stoop, Italienische Seekueste (erworben 1943); nach Valentin de Boulogne, Musizierende Gesellschaft (erworben 1942); Januarius Zick, Paulus in Athen (erworben 1945).

In addition to that are those paintings which immediately after the war were extorted from the former owners in exchange for an export licence for other work of art:

Dazu kommen jene Bilder, die unmittelbar nach dem Krieg frueheren Eigentuemern gegen die Erteilung der Ausfuhrgenehmigung fuer andere Kunstwerke abgepreßt wurden: Aelbert Cuyp, Landschaft mit Hirt und Herde (1947 von Louis Rothschild gewidmet); Frans Hals, Tieleman Roosterman (1947 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Alphonse Rothschild gewidmet); Bildnis eines Mannes (1947 von Baron Louis de Rothschild gewidmet); Bildnis einer Frau (1947 von Baron Louis de Rothschild gewidmet); Hans de Jode, Maultiertreiber (1947 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet); Gabriel Metsu, Maedchen und Offizier (1947 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet); Isack van Ostade, Halt vor dem Wirtshaus (1947 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet); Hyacinthe Rigaud; Graf Philipp Ludwig Wenzel Sinzendorf (1948 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet); David d.J. Teniers, Erzherzog Leopold Wilhelm in seiner Galerie Bruessel (1948 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet); Jan Wynants, Landschaft mit Jaegern (1948 von Baronesse Clarisse de Rothschild zum Gedaechtnis an Baron Al_phonse de Rothschild gewidmet).

Dedications with a similar background lead to the assumption that other work of art in the Kunsthistorisches Museum was extorted as well: Widmungen mit aehnlichem Hintergrund sind auch noch bei anderen im Kunsthistorischen Museum haengenden Gemaelden zu vermuten: Bei Bartholomaeus d.AE. Bruyns auf Eichenholz gemalten Portraet des Gerhard von Westerburg, das 1947 von Rudolf von Gutmann "gewidmet" wurde. Gutmann, der ueber eine beachtliche Sammlung verfuegte, war 1938 emigriert. Das Gemaelde Diana Stuart, Lady Milner von Sir Thomas Lawrence, wurde ebenfalls 1947 von Baronin Valerie Springer "gewidmet". Gentile Bellinis Kardinal Bessarion verehrt die Kreuzreliquie kam 1950 in den Besitz des Museums - mittels einer 1950 erfolgten Widmung durch Erich Lederer.
Mittwoch, 25. Februar 1998

Series: Looted art - The misappropriated inheritance

part 4

In the fiftties Heinrich Drimmel took a turn against the practice of restitution "Offends against moral principles" Standard-author Hubertus Czernin about Nationalsocialstic looting of art which was repeated by the Second Republic : The Federal Goverment already knew in the 50ies about the questionable proceedings htr authorities used on restitution. Of course, if owner or heirs applied they would be refunded. But not much more happened. The Austrian treaty intended something different: Paragraph 1 des Artikels 26 im Österreichischen Staatsvertrag: "... Austria binds itself in every case, where property, legal rights or interests in Austria since March 13. 1938 because of racial descent or religion of the owner has been object of forcible assignment or measures have been taken of sequester, confiscation or control, to give back the indicated property and to make restitution of all legal rights and interests with all attachments. Where return or restitution is not possible, there will be granted a compensation for all losses which have been taken because of those measures, to the same extent like every Austrian citizen gets on war damages now or general.." But very often one was satisfied with formal action. For instance the Austrian Federal Government published in 1969 in the 'Wiener Zeitung a list of 8423 works of art, which was sent to all embassies. But - what was to achieve since nearly nobody red the 'Wiener Zeitung'? Only a glance into the archives of the Office of Monuments in Vienna is enough to realize how much there is still to reappraise. Displaced persons who just managed to save their lives had been deceived of their legitimate right - be it because of carelessness, because of lack of interest or even deliberate. It nearly seems like the new state authorities in the time after the war looked at it as a 'Holschuld' - duty? of the victims and their descendants to get restitution. (Even the top level politicians of the new state after the war did not want to know anything about thoroughly restitution. The author proofs it by documents from the years 1945-1952). Albert Sternfeld, who was engaged in questions of restitution like nobody else for many years wrote already in 1990 how things where handled in Austria: "Victims quite often had to make many concessions because they and not the 'Ariseure' (Nationalsocialists) where under pressure."

The case Lederer

The Viennese historian Oliver Rathkolb investigated one of the most spectacular cases within this context. It concerns the collection of August Lederer of which remainings his son Erich, who was banished in 1938, wanted to export to Switzerland after the end of the war. Erich Lederer for that had to leave with the Republik of Austria several paintings, drawings and watercolor paintings: Gentile Bellini, Kardinal Bessarion verehrt die Kreuzreliquie (im Kunsthistorischen Museum); drei Entwürfe zum Zauberflötenzyklus von Moritz von Schwind: die Aquarelle Königin der Nacht; Pamina und die drei Knaben; Pamina und Monostatos (Albertina); Egon Schiele, sechs Handzeichnungen (Albertina); Franz Alt, Inneres des Stephansdoms (Stadt Wien). The case Lederer concerned the Federal Government as well. In March 1950 Minister for Sience Felix Hurdes wrote to chancellor Leopold Figl: "The demands of the 'Bundesdenkmalamt' - Federal Office for Monuments do not seem to be exaggerated to me. I could not agree anyhow to hinder the Bundesdenkmalamt in its efforts to save some important pieces from the collection Lederer for the Austrian cultural possession." Six years later Minister for science , Heinrich Drimmel, in a letter to Hurdes, who in the meantime became 'Nationalratspräsident' - President of the National Assembly - looked after the case Lederer: "I refer to our talk these days about the request of Mr. Erich Lederer. I had another look at the documents in the meantime because it always was on my mind that the practice about those questions not just offends against the law but also against morals. In my opinion it is inevitable that even the most generous export allowing which are burdened with the shortcoming of a gift under the well-known circumstances belittles in the opinon of the public the obligingness of the Denkmalamt and therefore the state authority itself. Now that this questionable compromise-solution is practised for years and the art treasures of the state this way have increased its value a lot. (...)" Drimmel proposed a revised version of the export regulations. Because of the persistence of Erich Lederer the Austrian government was concernd with the case up to the 70ies. Only then negotiations succeded, which have been started by Bruno Kreisky personally and with the help of the industrialist Karl Kahane, to put the matter off dispute finally. The Republic of Austria purchased at this time one of the most valuable objects of the collection Lederer: Gustav Klimt's 'Beethovenfries' .

Disappeared paintings.

Other victims of the Nationalsocialists had even more difficulties, because quite often art work, which was looted by the Nationalsocialists could not be found anymore. From the lists, which had been made by the US-Allies about the collection Thorsch for example it is to reconstruct that - not to talk about other assets - only a small part of the work of art was on restitution. Those are some of the disappeared pieces:

die Silbersammlung;
Dirk Daelens, sechs Landschaftsbilder;
holländisch/deutsch 18. Jhd., zwei Reiterbilder;
holländisch/deutsch 17. Jhd., zwei Stilleben;
holländisch, Mädchen mit Schüssel/Krug;
Agricola, Gräfin Defours-Waldrode (lag zuletzt im Lager der Bodencreditanstalt);
ein vom Hofmaler der englischen Könige Jakob I. und Karl I., dem Holländer Daniel Mytens (erste Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts), gemaltes Porträt;
Rudolf von Alts Interieur einer kleinen Kirche;
ein Landschaftsbild des Franzosen Constant Troyon (1810-1865);
eine Zeichnung des Niederländers Ludolf Backhuizen (1631-1708);
zwei Stiche von Jean Michel Moreau (1741-1814);
das Aquarell Landschaft mit Kirche von Thomas Ender;
und eine Vielzahl von Familienporträts.

In the documents of Thorsch in the archive of the Bundesdenkmalamt there is not the slightest indication where those paintings and work of art could have remained. Very likely one or the other piece endet up in the Dorotheum. (auction hall)
Recherche: Gabriele Anderl/ Hubertus Czernin

sotheby's: T_H_E__I_N_S_I_D_E__S_T_O_R_Y


BY JENNIFER HOWARD | 1998 isn't even two months old and already it's been a lousy year for the art world. In January, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau slapped the Museum of Modern Art with a subpoena -- the legal equivalent of shouting obscenities at a black-tie fund-raiser. At issue: two paintings by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele, on loan to MOMA from Austria's Leopold Museum. Morganthau is holding the paintings in New York while he decides whether they should go back to the heirs of the original owners, Viennese Jews who lost them to the Nazis.

Though it stands out for sheer drama and its greater implications for museums, Morgenthau's action is just the latest in a series of assaults on the art business. Last year in Britain, journalist Peter Watson lobbed a grenade at a pillar of the art establishment when he published "Sotheby's: The Inside Story." The book, played up in the British press, makes the eminent auction house out to be a den of pimps and thieves, willing to subvert the laws and jeopardize the cultural heritage of other countries in order to smuggle valuable objects into London and onto the sales block. Watson also aired his allegations in a series of TV programs he did for Britain's Channel 4; in the U.S., "60 Minutes" picked up the story.

The American edition of "Sotheby's: The Inside Story" doesn't have all the dirt the British edition did -- material on arcane schemes involving Iran, Japan and the British Rail Pension Fund didn't make the transatlantic jump -- but it still slings enough mud to keep Sotheby's in dirty laundry for a long time. For Sotheby's, Watson suggests, money is the only object. Are you in the market for some rare Apulian vases, illegally excavated from graves in southern Italy? Easy. Have a hankering for sacred carvings swiped from villagers in India? No problem. Or maybe you want to get your Old Master painting out of Italy, which, along with India, has some of the most stringent export laws in the world. Laws, apparently, were meant to be broken. Want to make sure that Old Master goes for a tidy sum? Let the auctioneer do a little "chandelier bidding" -- accepting fictitious bids to drive the price up.

Although the sins he describes are many, plausible and infuriating, Watson's no angel. He's a little too pleased with himself for uncovering all this sliminess. And he likes to forget he's writing nonfiction, slipping eagerly into spy-novel mode to describe the undercover operations -- complete with surveillance vans, cameras hidden in jewelry, even a sting involving an Italian Old Master painting -- that he and his team used to collect proof of wrongdoing. And when it comes to ethics, Watson doesn't bother to classify different magnitudes of transgression. (Is chandelier bidding really as heinous as grave robbing?)

Rarely does a book topple an institution, and the Sotheby's that Watson describes, hepped up on money and aristocratic arrogance, isn't about to crumble. Though much of his evidence seems sound -- the team secretly taped a Sotheby's employee practically begging a client to let him smuggle a painting to London -- no legal prosecution followed. (Sotheby's did make the requisite noises of protest and conducted an "internal investigation" that resulted in a few personnel changes.) Still, as an article in Art and Antiques pointed out last year, Sotheby's top brass now run the show out of New York, and in New York there's a feeling that the old ways of doing business are as antique as anything in a Sotheby's catalog. Revelations like those in "Sotheby's: The Inside Story" make you think it's past time museums and auction houses were held accountable for what they do.

And they are being held accountable. Not every case of contested art offers the seedy thrill of catching Sotheby's with its pants down, or the drama of the district attorney and the disputed Schieles. But this year will see a boom of such cases, as the victims of cultural property crimes -- from Holocaust victims' heirs to countries tired of watching their heritage auctioned off -- learn to point fingers and bring suit. No wonder the art world is nervous. The tussles over who owns what are likely to get more and more bruising, as those seeking reparation find the nerve and the cultural support to challenge those whose business depends on hanging on for dear life to what they've got.
SALON | Feb. 26, 1998
Jennifer Howard, assistant editor of the Washington Post Book World.

Flood dents armor in Mass. museum

By Trudy Tynan / Associated Press

WORCESTER, Mass. -- In days of old, when knights were bold, they had squires armed with greasy rags to keep their armor from rusting in the rain. Six hundred years later, squires are in short supply. And the iron breastplates and greaves that once deflected battle axes and longbow bolts proved just as vulnerable to water when a ruptured pipe flooded storerooms in a museum devoted to arms and armor. "Water is the worst enemy of a collection like this," said Kent dur Russell, director of the Higgins Armory Museum. "It rusts instantly. Fire would have been far easier to deal with." At least 200 items were damaged. Restoration is expected to take months and cost more than $85,000. The museum is trying to raise money for the repairs. Modern armorers have taken the place of the squires, gently removing the rust by hand using ever finer and softer polishing compounds and cloths. As a final protection before an item is placed on public display, it is dipped in a soft protective wax. The flood during the New Year's holiday started when a heating pipe burst in a third-floor office and sent water cascading through the administrative wing below. It swept away a gift shop -- just reopened after a $100,000 face-lift -- soaked a newly refurbished library and research center and poured into basement storage rooms housing thousands of pieces of centuries-old armor. "We had just completed our most successful year, endowments were up, the renovations were finished and we came in the next morning and found this," said dur Russell. "Even the heating pipe that broke was relatively new." The water stopped short of the castle-like exhibit halls housing the museum's prime pieces, which range from ancient Greek and Roman helmets to more than 70 suits of medieval and Renaissance armor. And it came inches from destroying a special display of illuminated manuscripts. But the extensive research collection was hard hit, even though storeroom walls were shrouded in protective plastic and many items were separately wrapped. Experts in armor from around the world have rallied to help with the huge task of sorting through and cataloguing the damage. "It's triage," said Walter J. Karcheski Jr., a curator who splits his time between the Higgins museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. "And at the same time that we need to stabilize the collection and minimize the rust damage, we can't move too quickly for fear of doing more damage." Even the slight bit of salt and acid on human hands is enough to damage the brittle old steel used by early European armorers, he said. "Each time it is cleaned a little of the metal is lost, no matter how careful you are," Karcheski said, ruefully examining a bloom of rust on the cheek of a mid-16th century German Burgonet helmet. "And over the centuries some of the pieces can become paper thin."
Copyright 1998, The Detroit News

From: GEC1800

Re: Nazis-WWII stolen art from the Louvre

In a message dated 98-02-26 04:06:17 EST, you write:
<< Subj: Nazis-WWII stolen art from the Louvre
Date sent: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 21:31:40 EST

WWII Stolen Art

Where would I be able to locate, on the Internet, information about stolen art objects, e.g. dishes, vases and similar small items, by the Nazis-WWII from the Louvre? I'm researching this subject.
Thank-you. >>
The WWW address for the MNR works of art is: "" this address has all the 2000 works of art that were intrusted to the French government at the end of the WWII. They have a picture of most of the art and is indexed by artist.
Good luck

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