http://museum-security.org/
securma@xs4all.nl

May 15, 1998

CONTENTS:

- Louvre examines security following theft

- Louvre security comes under focus

- Antique watch collection missing from Kent store (The Beacon Journal)

- Antique decorations vanishing overnight (Philadelphia)

- Recovery of Brazilian stolen artifacts (rbruno@internetcom.com.br)

- Appeal (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

- 'Armed robber ripped Picasso from gallery'

- Defendant claims he knows real art thief (Times of London, May 9, 1998)

- 28 of 32 missing watches found hidden in Kent store (beacon Journal)

- NPCA News Release: NPCA Says $150 Million Needed for Park Science Advocacy Group

- Jewels, fine art the latest victims of Asia crisis

- 'The Simpsons' museum spoof

- 2 dealers accused of handling stolen collectibles (Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.)

- Bat swarms threatening artworks (Ker Munthit, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

- New theft from French museum

- Cat burglar admits role in plot to sell stolen Picasso

- Millions needed to save Gothic treasure for nation

- 'Gentleman' thief admits he was in picture on Picasso

- Theft admission ends tug-of-war over artwork (looted art and antiquities)

- Concealed Handguns

- RE: Concealed Handguns

- Diebstahl in der Nationalbibliothek

- NY judge orders Schiele paintings back to Austria

- Search For People Counter and Control

- Judge rejects seizure of disputed paintings from a N.Y. museum

- Judge blocks attempt to seize art allegedly stolen by Nazis

- Resolving a case that had alarmed the international art world

- Judge says disputed paintings can return to Austria

- International paintings can't be seized

- US court releases disputed works of art

- 16th century paintings stolen from Germany to be returned

- Monet's Le Grand Canal sells for over $12 million

- NPCA CALLS FOR PHASEOUT OF COMMERCIAL FISHING IN GLACIER BAY

- Looted war art heads back to German university

- Park Advocates Outline Reforms to Stop Hollywood's Explotation of National Parks

- Chorus of experts say Van Gogh ``Sunflowers'' a fake

_______________________________________________________


Louvre examines security following theft

PARIS -- (AP) -- Officials at the Louvre were examining security measures Monday after a painting by the French landscapist Camille Corot was stolen from a room without TV surveillance. The theft -- the second at the Louvre this year -- caused officials to question security at one of the world's most famous museums, spokesman Christophe Monin said. ``But there's no magic wand,'' he said, adding that a lack of funding prevented the museum in Paris from putting TV cameras in every room. Police questioned four guards and a curator Monday but failed to turn up any clues, according to police sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. Police believe that someone who collects 19th Century Impressionist works may have directed the thief to steal the painting, the sources said. Although the French government has spent about $1 billion renovating the Louvre, a lack of money for guards forces the museum to keep up to 20 percent of its collections closed to the public, Monin said. About 90 new guard jobs were created last fall. About 300 guards are posted in galleries throughout the sprawling museum, which handles up to 30,000 visitors on any given Sunday. The first Sunday of each month is free. ``The Louvre is fragile, and that's all,'' Louvre director Pierre Rosenberg told Europe 1 radio Monday. But former Culture Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said he was stunned by Rosenberg's ``fatalism.'' ``Must we wait for the Winged Victory to be stolen before getting a tough reaction from the [Louvre's] head?'' Douste-Blazy told French radio. Visitor traffic through the former royal palace has increased steadily in recent years, after a massive overhaul by architect I.M. Pei and the creation of an upscale, underground shopping mall nearby. Tourists were temporarily trapped Sunday afternoon inside the Louvre when a guard discovered that Corot's Sevres Road was missing from the third floor of the Sully wing. Officials quickly shut the museum, and police conducted body searches on hundreds of visitors as they left. Museum personnel were interrogated, and a police investigation is under way. The thief made off with the oil painting by removing pegs from behind the frame. Police took fingerprints from the frame and its protective glass. Earlier reports said the painting had been cut from its frame. The 19th Century painting, which measures 13 by 19 inches, is state property and was not insured. However, it was valued at $1.3 million when it went on display in 1996 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In early January, a Greek stele engraved with inscriptions dating to the Fourth Century B.C. was lifted -- despite camera surveillance -- from the newly refurbished Richelieu wing housing Greek antiquities. It has not been recovered.


Louvre security comes under focus

Theft of $1.3m Corot painting sparks review

By Associated Press, 05/05/98
PARIS - Officials at the Louvre examined security measures yesterday after a thief stole a $1.3 million painting by Camille Corot from a room without TV surveillance. The theft was the second this year at the museum. ''There's no magic wand'' to improve security, a spokesman, Christophe Monin, said yesterday, stating that a lack of funding had prevented TV cameras in every room. Police questioned four guards and a curator yesterday but did not turn up any clues, police said.Someone who collects 19th century Impressionist works may have directed the thief to steal the painting, the sources said. Although the government has spent about $1 billion renovating the Louvre, a lack of money for guards has forced the museum to keep up to 20 percent of its collections closed to the public, Monin said. About 300 guards are posted throughout the museum, which handles up to 30,000 visitors on any given Sunday. ''The Louvre is fragile, and that's all,'' Louvre director Pierre Rosenberg told Europe 1 radio yesterday. But former Culture Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said he was stunned by Rosenberg's ''fatalism,'' asking on French radio, ''Must we wait for `Winged Victory'' to be stolen before getting a tough reaction from the head'' of the museum?
This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 05/05/98. c Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.


Antique watch collection missing from Kent store

(The Beacon Journal)
Owners offer reward, ask thief to return items with no questions asked. Pieces valued at $30,000 BY COLETTE M. JENKINS Beacon Journal staff writer
KENT: It took Don Barrett 25 years to collect 32 antique pocket watches valued at $30,000. It took a thief less than five minutes to steal them. ``If it had been a case of diamonds, my dad could have gone to the insurance company and made one phone call to have them all replaced. But this collection of watches can never be replaced. They are pieces of history,'' Donnie Barrett, 16, said. The younger Barrett was minding the family store, City Bank Antiques on South Water Street, when someone apparently walked in, opened one of the antique display cases and lifted a showcase containing 32 pocket watches. The watches -- 28 solid gold, three gold filled and one silver -- ranged in price from $500 to $3,500. They were inside a black flat showcase with a hinged glass top and brass corner guards. The case had four rows, with eight watches in each row. The Barretts speculate that the watches were taken about 4 p.m. Friday, about an hour after Donnie reopened the store. His mother, Karen, had closed the store at 2:30 p.m. to attend an antique show in Bath Township with her husband. Donnie remembers being on the phone when a couple of customers were browsing in the store. The family believes that while Donnie was on the phone, the thief opened the unlocked display case and took the watches while his accomplice kept guard. When Donnie hung up the phone, the accomplice apparently distracted him while the thief made his way to the door. Donnie and the thief apparently passed each other on opposite sides of a column, which blocked Donnie's view of the thief. It wasn't until Saturday morning that Donnie and his mother noticed the showcase of watches was missing. ``When we walked into the store, the first thing we noticed -- because you're looking directly at the display case -- was an empty space where the watches had been,'' Donnie said. ``Since my dad had gone to a show in Niles, we figured he had taken them with him.'' But when Don Barrett returned Saturday afternoon, he said he had not taken the watches and the family called the police. Kent Police Lt. James R. Stein said his department has no suspects in the theft. He said he doesn't know how likely the recovery of the watches is. ``If some kid took them, he will probably try to get rid of them and they might turn up somewhere. But if it was a professional who knew what he was taking, there is a possibility they may not come back into circulation,'' Stein said. ``We don't have a clue whether they will reappear or not.'' Still, the Barretts are hopeful that the watches will resurface because they can be easily recognized by their serial numbers. The Barretts, who live in Kent, opened the antique shop three years ago in the old City Bank building, which was built in 1911. They remodeled the store in a Victorian-era style to give it a turn-of-the-century feel. ``When you walk into this store, it's like stepping back in time,'' Karen Barrett said. ``Even our display cases are from that era.'' But those display cases are expected to look a little different today, after the Barretts drill holes in them for locks. Among the stolen watches was a silver repeater that strikes a musical note on the hour and quarter hour; a solid-gold Howard, made in Boston; an 18-carat Jules Jurgenson; a Ball, made in Cleveland; a Hampden, made in Canton; and several Elgins and Walthams. Don Barrett said the thief is likely to try to unload the merchandise at a pawn, coin or antique shop. The Barretts have put a list of the stolen items on the Internet and have contacted major watch dealers nationwide. ``We just want whoever took the watches to bring them back. No questions asked and we will give them a substantial reward,'' Don Barrett said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Barretts at 330-677-1479 or 330-673-4246, or the Kent Police Department at 330-673-7732.


Antique decorations vanishing overnight (Philadelphia)

by April Adamson
Daily News Staff Writer
Candus Thomas has lived in the same North Philadelphia rowhouse for 36 years. Pictures hang neatly on the wall. Rooms are sunny and bright. A small garden brims with flower and vegetable plants. When pieces of ornamental iron disappeared from the rooftop of her beloved home about a month ago, Thomas quickly noticed. "It's really starting to get pathetic around here," Thomas said, shaking her head as she scanned the barren rooftops of her block the other day. "This is our home, what are we supposed to do? We own the house." In the past few months, dozens of finials have disappeared from roofs on 28th Street near Cumberland. Cops have no suspects. Many of the victims are elderly, longtime residents. They wonder how the wrought-iron ruffians get onto the roofs, then saw off the valuable, Victorian decorations without being seen or heard. "This is realy something to think about -- you're sleeping and someone's on your roof," said Cynthia Thomas, Candus Thomas' daughter. With most of the finials stolen, neighbors fear porch railings and decorative carvings will be the next. Thomas said junk pickers constantly wheel their shopping carts up and down the street. Some even ring the doorbell and ask if she has any extra junk. "You wonder when you come out in the morning -- are your railings going to be there? Is your door going to be there?" Thomas said. "They're probably scoping out the . . . houses." According to local antique dealers, the decorative copper and iron finials are purchased from junk pickers and sold to collectors looking for an art object to decorate living rooms or distinguish newer homes. Dealers will buy finials for $50 to $75, then turn around and resell them for $150 to $250. Charles Neri, owner of Charles Neri Antiques on South Street, said the diamond-shaped hunks of metal were used as decoration atop many North Philly homes built during the late-Victorian era, between 1875 to 1910. As long as the finials aren't damaged when they're removed, they can retail for up to $250. If you have been victimized by a quality of life crime and want to share your experience, call 215-854-5907 or e-mail crime@phillynews.com
c1998 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.


From: "Rizio Bruno Sant'Ana" rbruno@internetcom.com.br
To: TonCremers@museum-security.org
Subject:

Recovery of Brazilian stolen artifacts (rbruno@internetcom.com.br)

Dear Sirs,
today the Federal Policy of Brazil had recovered some 57 artifacts of sacred art stolen (mostly 17th- and 18th-century statuary) from baroque churches of Minas Gerais state (valuing about US$ 1,6 million), and locked 22 art dealers of Sao Paulo state who was selling the items. It's a fresh news, I've just seen on the television right now, but I think it will be of interest of the people on the list. The Brazilian newspaper of tomorrow will bring complete information on this, I hope.
Rizio Bruno Sant'Ana
Biblioteca Mário de Andrade, São Paulo, Brasil
rbruno@internetcom.com.br


From: Israel Israel@webaccess.com
To: securma@xs4all.nl
Subject:

Appeal (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

The major Jewish Organizations in the United States have established impressive Memorial buildings, with a major Holocaust center in Washington D.C. , including also in most western Countries in Europe. Why have the Jewish Organizations in the United States totally ignored this tragic issue, and are undermining and cooperating with the Polish Government of Denying any Jewish symbols as a Memorial Where my Parents, Brothers, Sisters, all my Relatives and about Fife and a half millions, Man, Women and Children from Poland, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Rumanian, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and from other Countries in Europe, who were murdered in Poland, because They were Jewish. This is very painful for me, because it is most unjust, of the exploitations by the Jewish Organizations in the United States , the Memories of the millions of Sacred Souls for personal and commercial reasons. The United States of America is the best and the fairest Country in the World, and if You have a conches and concern about this tragic issue, you also have a choice to do something about, no human being is immortal. The Jewish Organizations in the United States, have to practice what They preach, before They attempt to educate the American public about the Holocaust. During the Holocaust I and others, were also turtured by other Jews, but there was nothing I or any one could do except suffer, death was a constant reality. I and You have a choice, in this great Country to do somthing about, for the millions who were murdered in Poland because They were Jewish. In the beginning of the Holocaust all Jews in Poland and in other Countries in Europe were marked with a star of David so the Germans with the collaborates could identify all Jews for turture and murder. The millions who were murdered because They were Jewish , deserve at least to be remembered with a Star of David the places Where They were murdered in Poland. Please, respond to this tragic issue, do not forsake and permit the continue humiliation the Memories of the millions, Man, Women and Children who were murdered in Poland. I would like you and everyone concern , about this tragic issue to complain, to Mr, Andres Abril, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl.SW. Washington D.C.20024-2150 and to other Holocaust and major Jewish Organizations in the United States, and most important to the United States Senators, Congressmen and other representive of the United States Government.
Thank You Israel



'Armed robber ripped Picasso from gallery'

BY TIM JONES
THE son of a man who was once Britain's most wanted criminal funded his life on the run by carrying out a string of armed robberies, including the theft of a Picasso painting, valued at £650,000, from a London art gallery, a court was told yesterday. After ripping Tête de Femme from the wall of the Lefevre Gallery in Mayfair, Russell Grant-McVicar, 33, told the driver of a black cab who was forced at gunpoint to drive him away that it was an experience he could tell his grandchildren about. James Hines, for the prosecution, told the Old Bailey that Mr Grant-McVicar took the cab to the gallery in March 1977 and asked the driver to wait while he collected a painting. Once inside Mr Grant-McVicar asked how much the painting was worth and then allegedly told a terrified assistant: "I have got a shotgun. I want that painting." He then produced the stock of a double-barrelled shotgun from a holdall and, when she refused to remove the painting from the wall, he ripped it off himself. As he jumped back into the cab, Mr Hines said, Mr Grant-McVicar used his gun to threaten a passer-by who tried to intervene. After telling the cab driver to drop him off in the Wimbledon area, he told him to tell police to trace his fingerprints from the frame of a painting that he left behind in the vehicle. Mr Grant-McVicar denies 16 charges of armed robbery, attempted robbery and escaping from custody between June 1993 and May 1997. In all, the court was told, his crimes netted him more than £100,000. After his arrest, Mr Hines said, Mr Grant-McVicar had made a full confession to police, saying on several occasions that he had wanted to turn himself in. He allegedly told police: "You have put me up for five robberies, but I have admitted nine. The only time I have done these things is when I have run out of money." But, Mr Hines said, Mr Grant-McVicar had reneged on his promise to admit his crimes. "He said that was due to the fact that his father was John McVicar." John McVicar served 11 years in prison for armed robbery. He turned his back on crime to become a writer and broadcaster. Mr Hines said that, in another interview with police, the defendant told them: "I am very arrogant about these things. I could describe them to you in a kind of poetic, blasé fashion." Mr Grant-McVicar is defending himself.
The trial continues.


Defendant claims he knows real art thief (Times of London, May 9, 1998)

BY TIM JONES
A CAT burglar yesterday claimed he had concealed the identity of the young man he thought had stolen a £650,000 Picasso because he regarded himself almost as his father. Peter Scott, 67, told Snaresbrook Crown Court: "There is a sense of loyalty in all kinds of business and sometimes you have to pay the price of standing up." Mr Scott, whose victims included Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, denied handling the painting, Tete de Femme, which was stolen from the Lefevre Gallery, Mayfair, a year ago. The prosecution alleges that Mr Scott was trying to sell it for £75,000. But Mr Scott said that after hearing about the robbery on the radio he thought immediately that the crime had been committed by a young man to whom he had become very close. "Only he was mad enough to have done it ." He added: "I was for a number of years virtually his surrogate father." It was this man who had given him a suitcase - with the painting - and asked him to pass it on to a property dealer.
The trial continues.


28 of 32 missing watches found hidden in Kent store (beacon Journal)

Police think person who took them called in tip that led to their recovery

BY COLETTE M. JENKINS Beacon Journal staff writer
KENT: The owners of an antique store in downtown Kent were flabbergasted yet relieved to learn that 28 of the 32 antique pocket watches that they believed were stolen Friday were in the store the whole time. ``They were hidden under a colonial-type dresser at the back of the store,'' said Karen Barrett, one of the owners of City Bank Antiques. ``The bottom of the dresser was completely concealed, so nobody saw them -- not us, not the detectives.'' Barrett and her husband, Don, had reported the watches stolen Saturday after they discovered the flat black showcase that held them was missing from one of the store's antique display cases. On Monday, after several television and radio reports about the disappearance, Kent police received an anonymous call claiming that the case containing the watches could be found underneath a dresser in the store. On Tuesday, police went to the store and found the case with 28 of the watches -- ranging in price from $500 to $3,500 -- still inside. ``It looks like the perpetrator knelt down on the floor and took four of the watches out, then shoved the case under the dresser,'' Kent Sgt. Dennis DeLuke said. ``I think the suspect got a little worried after hearing the reports that a $30,000 theft had occurred and figured if we recovered most of the watches, the heat would be turned down.'' DeLuke said police have no suspects but are working to recover the four watches, two solid-gold and two gold-filled. ``The ultimate goal is still getting the other four watches back. For the owner, the sentimental value is equal, if not greater than, the monetary value,'' DeLuke said. The Barretts had speculated that while their 16-year-old son, Donnie, was minding the store Friday, a thief opened the unlocked display case and lifted the showcase containing the watches (28 solid gold, three gold-filled and one silver). Donnie remembered being on the phone about 4 p.m. when a couple of customers were browsing. The disappearance wasn't discovered until Saturday morning, when Donnie and Karen Barrett opened the store on South Water Street and noticed an empty space where the case should have been. Initially, they assumed that Don Barrett, an antique watch collector for more than 25 years, had taken the watches with him to a show in Niles. But when Don Barrett returned Saturday afternoon, he did not have the case. The family called police. The Barretts, who live in Kent, opened the shop, which specializes in antique watches and clocks, three years ago. The disappearance has led to a new way of doing business for them. ``We will have all of the locks installed on the display cases by the end of the week, and we're considering putting up a surveillance camera,'' Karen Barrett said. ``We are probably going to trim some of the more expensive merchandise from our inventory. It's unfortunate that we have to make these changes, but we're going to have to do what we feel is best.''


From: NPCA npca@npca.org
Subject:

NPCA News Release: NPCA Says $150 Million Needed for Park Science Advocacy Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 1998
CONTACT: Jerome Uher, (202)223-6722, ext. 122
NPCA SAYS $150 MILLION NEEDED YEARLY FOR PARK SCIENCE Asserts Increase Essential for NPS to Meet "Vision 2020" Initiatives Washington, D.C. -- The National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) today called upon Congress to authorize $150 million annually for efforts to promote scientific study and science-based decision making in the National Park Service (NPS). NPCA, in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation, and Recreation, praised efforts to bolster research in national parks, but said current legislation doesn't authorize nearly enough funding for the National Park Service to meet its cultural and natural resources protection mandate. "Fifteen million dollars does not come close to approximating what the Park Service needs to become a science-driven and resources stewardship-focused agency," said William J. Chandler, NPCA Vice President for Conservation Policy. "NPCA has consistently recommended an allocation of, at minimum, 10 percent of the Park Service budget for research." The subcommittee today held a hearing on the science provisions of the "Vision 2020" National Parks Restoration Act (S.1693), sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman Craig Thomas (R-WY). The bill, which addresses a number of park system reforms, would require the Department of the Interior to undertake a program of scientific study conducted by NPS employees and appoint a chief scientist within the Park Service. The program would also facilitate baseline studies of natural and cultural resources within the parks, solicit outside interests to conduct resource studies, enter into cooperative agreements with colleges and universities, and direct the incorporation of study results into park management plans and decisions. The bill would authorize $15 million a year for the initiative. In addition to increasing funding, NPCA recommended against appointing a chief scientist, instead endorsing filling vacant and unfunded scientific positions under the current NPS organization. The bill's proposed restructuring plan would "undermine better use of scientific information in park management and the objective of holding park managers accountable for the condition of park resources," said Chandler. NPCA also opposes the bill's requirement that the National Academy of Sciences review and comment on all individual park study programs. The provision appears to allow the Academy to micro-manage NPS. "No other title in this bill is as important to the long term health of the National Park System as this focus on science," Chandler said. "But it needs significant improvement in order to make a real difference in protecting park resources for future generations." NPCA, while commending Senator Thomas for proposing a number of critical park reforms through the "Vision 2020" bill, will not support the bill unless a number of changes are made to ensure improvement in the parks and the National Park System. The National Parks and Conservation Association is America's only private nonprofit citizen organization dedicated solely to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System. An association of "Citizens Protecting America's Parks," NPCA was founded in 1919 and today has nearly 500,000 members. A library of national park information, including fact sheets, congressional testimony, position statements, press releases and media alerts, can be found on NPCA's World Wide
Web site at http://www.npca.org.
National Parks and Conservation Association
http://www.npca.org
E-mail: npca@npca.org


Jewels, fine art the latest victims of Asia crisis

By Nick Edwards
SINGAPORE, May 9 (Reuters) - Jewels and fine art are the latest victims of Asia's deepening economic crisis. Singapore auctioneers put more than Singapore $20 million (US$12.3 million) of fine art under the hammer last year as paintings reached record prices and the market swelled. But with the downturn biting even into the pockets of the really rich, one sale has already been cancelled this year and top auction house Christie's this month will hold what is basically a cut-price sale. ``In response to the economic conditions we are offering smaller collections at more reasonable estimates,'' Irene Lee, managing director of Christie's International in Singapore, told Reuters at a recent media preview of the upcoming sale. Lee said estimates on the 193 paintings on offer have been chopped by an average of 20 to 30 percent from levels at the house's previous sale in September 1997. She said Christie's hopes to achieve sales of about Singapore $3.5 million (US$2.1 million) for the paintings, and a private jewel collection could fetch S$1.5 million. Christie's move follows reports that Tresors, the international fine art and antiques fair held in Singapore annually since 1993, had postponed its 1998 show indefinitely because of the economic crisis. Although the Tresors fair was not in quite the same league as the big money auction sales -- all three major firms Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonham's operate in Singapore -- its postponement was a worrying sign for the fine arts market. ``Obviously it was quite a pity because once you have built something up over a period of time and then it is discontinued, it sends out a very negative signal about the market,'' Lee said. But times are hard in Asia and there seems to be no sign of a drop in the number of pieces offered up for auction, said Lee. With the auction room often the last resort for those who need ready cash, she said there was an increasingly high number of good quality pieces available for buyers to pick up assets cheaply. The mood of the market though is more cautious than it was eight months ago and the buyers are less willing to get involved in heavy bidding wars -- which in itself is helping to attract a new breed of bidder. ``In previous times some buyers have been very impulsive. Instead of buying the three items they intended to buy, they ended up buying 10 because they got so carried away. Now if they intend to buy three they stick to three,'' Lee said ``The genuine new collector will probably find it an easier time to acquire things,'' Lee said. So too will buyers outside the region keen to develop Asian art collections, as their spending power has increased relative to Asia's decline. Americans, Europeans and Australians make their buying power felt, especially for Vietnamese and Filipino art and Chinese pottery. They replace crisis-hit Indonesians and Malaysians who could be two or three years away from being back to break the magic million dollar mark for regional artists as they did in 1996 and 1997 as sale rooms bulged with ever-bigger collections. But despite the crisis, Lee said art remained a good buy. ``Faced with a situation where some stocks have come down 70 percent and some currencies have depreciated more than 70 percent, I think paintings are a relatively good hedge. ``If you look back, a painting may have dropped 20 to 25 percent in estimated value, but it's still nothing like the stock or the currency falls,'' she said.
(US$1 - Singapore $1.62)
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


From: Roger Wulff museplan@erols.com
Organization: Museum Services International
To: securma@xs4all.nl
Subject:

'The Simpsons' museum spoof

I hope some of you caught 'the Simpsons' last night (it was hilarious, as always): Lisa was desperately trying to attend the Egyptian blockbuster "Treasures of Isis" exhibit, on its last open day---at the 'Springsonian' museum. Trying to convince someone to go with her, she notes something to the effect of 'but it's the first time these objects have ever been allowed out of England!'. Homer and Lisa (through a series of mishaps) miss the museums closing time, so they scale an outdoor Calder and climb in an unlocked window. Homer drops a mysterious Egyptian orb, only to discover it is really an ancient music box. Clearly the Springsonian has security issues.
Ellen


2 dealers accused of handling stolen collectibles ( Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.)

By Joseph A. Slobodzian
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Two Philadelphia dealers in antiques and collectibles were accused by a federal grand jury yesterday of trafficking in Royal Doulton figurines worth $400,000 that were stolen two years ago from the parking lot of a Fort Washington hotel. William Tonzelli, 49, of the 2000 block of East Stella Street in Kensington, and Joseph Fahey, 53, of the 200 block of East Wyoming Avenue in Juniata Park, were each charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Tonzelli, a flea-market dealer, and Fahey, owner of a small antiques store called Hidden Treasures in the 2500 block of Frankford Avenue, were arrested yesterday morning at their homes. After a court appearance, each was released on $50,000 bond pending arraignment. The theft of the Royal Doulton figurines, mugs and other collectibles occurred in March 1996 during the Greater Philadelphia Antiques Show at the Fort Washington Expo Center. On March 7, a 1995 Ford van belonging to Pascoe & Co., a Coral Gables, Fla., antiques dealer exhibiting at the show, disappeared from the parking lot of the nearby Fort Washington Inn. The van was discovered four days later in Philadelphia, burned out and its collection of about 650 Royal Doulton pieces gone. "We lost a lot of rare and retired pieces," Allan Medici, general manager of the 25-year-old Pascoe & Co., the country's largest dealer exclusively of Royal Doulton objects, said yesterday. "We had a tremendous investment in that collection and it was a setback for the company, although we recovered." Medici said the company lost almost a third of its inventory in the 1996 theft. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Goldman said that the thieves had not been caught but that the investigation was continuing; Tonzelli and Fahey are charged for their alleged involvement in transferring the pieces from Pennsylvania to an undisclosed site in New Jersey. Yesterday, the 161 pieces recovered were displayed by the FBI at its offices in Center City, a treasure trove of Royal Doulton that included a figurine called The Courtier, issued in 1929 and worth $7,000; a 1936 figurine called Pirrette, valued at $4,500; and Doris Keene as Cavallini, a 1918 figurine worth $4,000.


Bat swarms threatening artworks (Ker Munthit, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

About two million of the animals make a home in Cambodia's National Museum. Their waste is leaving centuries-old masterpieces in peril.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Some of Cambodia's greatest masterworks have survived wars, thieves and the terror of the Khmer Rouge. Now, they are facing another peril: bats. As many as two million tiny bats, each small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, have found a cozy home in the capital's decaying National Museum, and their acidic dung is threatening statuary and other centuries-old masterpieces. Every dawn for more than 20 years, the bats have poured into the museum through gaping holes in its roof, jamming the eaves, ceilings and grounds of the 80-year-old repository. And every dusk, they dart back into the night sky like a plume of thick black smoke. Some of the finest of the museum's treasures recently returned to the capital after a tour of the world's greatest museums, where they were seen by millions of people. But curators and art-loving Cambodians complain that the National Museum does not deserve the collection until it rids itself of the bats. Dragging his finger across the top of an 11th-century Buddhist statue, museum director Khum Samen looks at the black dust left on his forefinger and shakes his head. "Look, is there any clean place around here?" he asks. "We don't hate them, but we just want them to go somewhere else." All day long, the 95,000-square-foot building and an inner courtyard resonate with the sound of peeping bats. Visitors often leave scratching their heads or shoulders -- the result of bat fleas that have dropped from the ceiling. But it is the urine and the dung that has Khun Samen worried. He points to the stained ceiling, deteriorating because of excrement and lined with cracks through which the guano seeps. The question of what to do about the bats has sparked a small battle between art curators, like Khun Samen, who want to protect the sculptures, and wildlife conservationists, who want to protect the bats. At least one of the bat species, the Cambodian free-tailed bat, is believed to be unique to this small Southeast Asian nation. But to Khun Samen, a rare bat pales in value when compared with priceless Angkor-era statuary. "We always cherish the value of gold, protecting it with soft cotton, but these are worth more than gold," Khun Samen said. Museum workers have started placing nets over the large holes in the cavernous roof, hoping that frustrated bats will look for a new resting ground.


Cat burglar admits role in plot to sell stolen Picasso

By John Steele, Crime Correspondent
AN elderly cat burglar who claimed that he had given up crime after years of stealing from celebrities admitted yesterday that he plotted to sell a stolen £650,000 Picasso painting. Peter Scott, 69, had cultivated the image of a "gentleman burglar" who never hurt anyone during his years of scaling rooftops to filch jewellery and works of art. For five days at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Scott had denied a charge of conspiracy to handle the stolen Picasso, Tête de Femme, but yesterday, as the jury was about to retire to consider its verdict, he changed his plea to guilty. He was bailed but is likely to be jailed when he returns for sentencing with his associate, Ronald Spring, 70, who had admitted the charge and who testified against him. Judge Andrew Brooks told Scott: "This is an extremely grave and serious matter which attracts a substantial term of imprisonment." Scott admitted from the start that within hours of the theft of the Picasso from the Lefevre Gallery on Bruton Street in central London on March 6 last year he collected a suitcase from a man he knew as a "surrogate son" and then passed it to Spring. But he denied either knowing or ascertaining what was inside the case. Spring, 70, a former law firm worker, said Scott had given him the Picasso. He tried to sell it to undercover officers from the National Crime Squad who were posing as potential buyers of stolen art. He agreed to contact Scott with the supposed £70,000 proceeds from the sale and Scott, who had made a living recently as a tennis coach, was arrested after he tried to walk off with a bag full of cash, having smiled when he was shown the money. Speaking after the five-minute hearing in which he had admitted his guilt, Scott said that the weight of evidence against him had prompted him to change his original plea. "I was intellectually and morally convinced that after the prosecution's very skilful cross-examination I could not continue to sustain this not guilty plea without jeopardising my 10 years of honesty, decency and hard work," he said. Prison will not come as a surprise to Scott who, in a lengthy criminal career, has already served a total of 12 years. He claims that he stole many millions of pounds' worth of jewellery and preyed on victims such as Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Scott, who was born in Ulster to a military family and attended a minor public school, says he spent the proceeds. He now lives in a single-bedroom flat in Islington, north London. He maintained in his autobiography, Gentleman Thief - Recollections of a Cat Burglar, that he became hooked on theft and dishonesty at school and claimed to suffer from a mental impairment which meant that he had "no conscience about depriving people of their property". Seated behind the wheel of a Jaguar in his heyday, Scott was the ultimate "catch-me-if-you-can" rogue, teasing Scotland Yard. His exploits earned him the nickname of the "Human Fly", although in reality he had to use ladders most of the time.


Millions needed to save Gothic treasure for nation

BY DALYA ALBERGE
ARTS CORRESPONDENT
BRITAIN is in danger of losing the finest English Gothic manuscript - an illuminated prayerbook which scholars regard as the most magnificent English work of art from the late Middle Ages. The Sherborne Missal has been on loan to the British Library since 1983 but the owner, the Duke of Northumberland, has decided to sell it. Delicate negotiations have been going on for up to a year about a possible purchase by the nation. Art market sources said that the prayerbook was worth well in excess of £10 million. The duke confirmed yesterday that he was in the process of negotiating a sale with the Government to cover inheritance tax following the death of his elder brother from an accidental drugs overdose. "When I inherited the title [in 1996], we incurred a massive inheritance tax liability. "I felt that doing an in lieu of inheritance tax transfer was the best solution," he said. The missal was created for the Benedictine abbey of St Mary at Sherborne, Dorset, and dates from 1396 to 1406. Nothing compares to its scale - 2ft high and weighing more than 40lb - its textual complexity and the extent of the illumination which covers every space on nearly 700 pages. Brian Lang, director of the British Library, spoke of a possible arrangement in which part of the cost would be covered in lieu of tax and the remainder would be provided by the Library. The Library said that a public appeal may be necessary to raise the millions needed to save it for the nation. A donation may come from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which said that it was "sympathetic" to the cause. For the past decade, the missal has been given pride of place at the British Library in a case with the Lindisfarne Gospels. Exquisite depictions of flowers and animals, including some of the oldest and most famous naturalistic depictions in English art, fill every page. There are so many thousands of miniatures that they have never been counted or listed. There are also 70 coatsof arms, including those of the King of England and the Prince of Wales. The images include Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, Christ sending out His disciples and the Crucifixion. Elsewhere, it is peopled with saints, knights, priests, peasants and hermits. Figures are shown, in the minutest detail, jousting, feasting, sleeping and playing instruments. The missal is signed four times by the scribe, the Benedictine monk John Whas, who inserted a note about working so hard on the writing that by the end of a long day his body was emaciated with effort. No wonder: there are about 40,000 lines of text. The Library estimates that if he wrote a line in about two minutes - the average speed of a skilful medieval scribe - and worked six days a week, the writing alone would have taken him about 9 1/2 months. Most of the illustrations are by John Siferwas, a Dominican friar, who is credited with having painted the earliest naturalistic self-portrait in England. The missal remained in England, presumably at Sherborne, at the Reformation. It is believed to have been smuggled to France later, eventually entering the collection of a former controller-general of finance under Louis XVI, who was exiled to England in 1787. It was acquired by the 2nd Duke of Northumberland (1742-1817). According to one report, Ralph George Algernon Percy, the 12th Duke, is master of 120,000 acres worth about £120 million. His property includes Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where the Percys have lived since 1309.


'Gentleman' thief admits he was in picture on Picasso

BY TIM JONES
A RETIRED high-society cat burglar was told yesterday that he faced a return to jail after admitting his part in the theft of a £650,000 Picasso. Peter Scott, 67, who has spent 12 years behind bars, said that he had quit crime ten years ago. But yesterday he changed his plea to admit conspiracy to handle the picture, just as a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court, East London, was to retire to consider his original not guilty plea. As he left the court to await sentence, Scott said: "I was intellectually and morally convinced that after the prosecution's very skilful cross-examination, I could not continue to sustain this not guilty plea without jeopardising ten years of honesty, decency and hard work. I am a victim of circumstances." However, as his five-day trial unfolded, it was plain that far from being innocent, Scott had hoped all along to benefit by £75,000 from the sale of the painting which had been stolen by an armed raider from the Lefevre Gallery in Mayfair. Scott, the court was told, met the robber within hours of the raid in March last year, and passed the work to his accomplice, Ronald Spring, 70, a former legal executive. Spring, who had admitted handling the painting, Tête de Femme, agreed to give evidence against his one-time accomplice. He also faces a prison sentence. Whatever friendship had existed between the two men crumbled as the trial ran its course. Scott, stung by the fact that his colleage in crime had broken the burglar's code of honour, turned on his former friend in the dock. He said: "He is a wretched man. He handled my divorce and he handled it badly. He is a weak man who was programmed by very clever police officers. I was the top patsy. I am a professional, elderly patsy." Scott, wearing a white silk scarf and tennis shoes, said he earned a living as a society tennis coach. He told the jury that the painting had been stolen by a young man who regarded him as a surrogate father, and that his downfall had been caused by loyalty to the robber. "I knew this man, I got close to him, cared for him and in the end, boom," said Scott, who lives in an Islington council flat. The robber, he said, was a heroin user who believed in mysticism, Buddhism and was obsessed by the works of the German philosopher Nietzsche. "He was writing a manuscript, trying to emulate his father. His is of a very philosophical bent and is actually quite a gentle boy." After his arrest, Scott refused to co-operate fully with police and by way of justification quoted lines from Invictus by William Ernest Henley: "In the fell clutch of circumstance/I have not winced nor cried aloud/Under the bludgeonings of chance/My head is bloody, but unbowed." Scott was arrested outside the Sherlock Holmes Hotel in Central London, where he used to enjoy sandwiches and cream cakes for tea. He had claimed that he was an innocent go-between in a private deal arranged by Spring, 70, and the robber. During 40 years in crime, Scott, who was an accomplished cat-burglar, claims to have stolen jewels and property worth more than £40 million, including items belonging to Elizabeth Taylor. Prophetically, his book, Gentleman Thief, has on its cover a picture of him walking away with a French Impressionist painting under his arm. Last year Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of Diana, Princess of Wales, complained that Scott, who has been divorced four times, was stalking her by letter. He was quoted as saying: "We are two people who have trod the boards of passion and had to pay the price. I would marry her if I could."


New theft from French museum

01:39 p.m May 12, 1998 Eastern
PARIS, May 12 (Reuters) - Just over a week after the theft of a painting from Paris's Louvre Museum, authorities said on Tuesday thieves had again struck in a French museum, taking some 20 objects from the Chateau de Compiegne north of the capital. The Cultural Affairs Ministry statement said the objects included clocks, Sevres vases and marble statuettes, all from the 18th and 19th centuries. No estimates of value were given. Several other objects were damaged during the overnight break-in at the museum which was already robbed in 1996. The objects stolen on that occasion were recovered the following day. No arrests have been made in the latest break-in or in the case of the May 3 theft of ``Le Chemin de Sevres'' (The road to Sevres) by 19th-century artist Camille Corot at the Louvre which has yet to be recovered. Police fruitlessly searched thousands of visitors at the Louvre after the painting was stolen. The Cultural Affairs Ministry said the objects stolen at Compiegne were all listed in official international catalogues and difficult for thieves to sell to art dealers. Cultural Affairs Minister Catherine Trautmann said she would soon gather museum heads and security officers to study new measures to fight thefts from museums.
((Paris newsroom, +33 1 4221 5339, fax +33 1 4236 1072, paris.newsroom+reuters.com))


Theft admission ends tug-of-war over artwork (looted art and antiquities)

By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 05/13/98
An ailing, elderly Connecticut man has closed out an international legal dispute by admitting he pilfered seven valuable 16th-century miniature paintings in mid-1945 from a German mineshaft where they had been stored by a university library to protect them from bombing - and later sold them for $100. The affidavit of William A. Braemer resolves a 53-year-old mystery of how paintings of extraordinary value changed hands twice for little more than pocket money between men who thought they were cheap copies - until the Brookline rug dealer who bought them for $200 discovered they are originals. With Braemer's admission, the legal claim to the paintings by the rug dealer, Thomas P. Chatalbash, evaporated. Chatalbash had launched a protracted legal battle to keep them after finding out in 1989 that they are worth as much as $500,000. So in place of a contentious Boston federal court trial, the artworks will be returned to the University of Kassel Library at a ceremony tomorrow at the German consulate in Boston. The extraordinary paintings, four by Simon Bening, the most famous Flemish miniaturist of his time, will be available for viewing at the ceremony. They have been stored in a safe deposit box for the last nine years. The resolution of another case of World War II art looting, this one involving American theft from German collections, will be amicable - on the surface. The German consul, Peter Christian Hauswedell, will warmly thank Chatalbash. As part of the legal settlement, Kassel's American lawyers have withdrawn their legal claim that Chatalbash ''fraudulently concealed'' his possession of the paintings. And a corporate donor to Kassel, a German arm of the accounting firm KPMG, even will pay Chatalbash a substantial reward. But with increased public attention to the thousands of plundered artworks from World War II that remain unrecovered, the settlement also serves up troubling questions about how Chatalbash, his lawyers, and art experts responded after they realized the value and the origin of the artworks. The solution to the 53-year mystery resulted from detective work by Washington art investigator Willi Korte, who was assisting Kassel. With Chatalbash's attorneys asserting that Kassel could not prove the paintings were stolen, Korte discovered a 1978 case in which a New Haven rare-book dealer returned an 11th-century Cicero manuscript that had been in the Kassel collection. Korte, working with William M. Voelkle, an expert in medieval manuscripts at the Morgan Library in New York, learned that the Cicero manuscript had been removed in 1945 from the same mineshaft where the miniatures were stored and was later offered to the New Haven dealer by Braemer. Last week, Braemer's wife, Lydia, said her husband was a civilian employee of Republic Aircraft at war's end, and was dispatched to Germany to collect intelligence about the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmidt, which kept records in the same minseshaft where Kassel kept its artworks and rare manuscripts. At first, Braemer refused to cooperate. Early this year, Lydia Braemer told the Globe that her husband knew nothing about the miniatures. But when Kassel's lawyers visited Braemer in North Sterling, Conn., in March and showed him pictures of the seven paintings, he acknowledged taking them, and signed an affidavit, his wife said in an interview last week. Chatalbash was first alerted to the potential value of the paintings in 1989 when Alan Shestack, then the director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, saw some of the miniatures when he visited Chatalbash's shop just outside Coolidge Corner in search of a rug. Shestack arranged for MFA experts and a London manuscript expert to study the paintings. They concluded that the miniatures had been part of a medieval prayer book in the Kassel collection and had probably been removed without authorization. But when it became clear that Chatalbash had no intention of returning the works, Shestack extricated the museum from the issue on advice of the MFA's counsel, and made no effort to inform Kassel about the discovery. It was only after the London manuscript dealer, Richard A. Linenthal, vowed to report Chatalbash to authorities in 1996 that the rug dealer notified Kassel that he had the paintings and intended to keep them. Germany's lawsuit was filed last April. A Boston Globe report about the dispute last April prompted an article in the Art Newspaper, a widely circulated monthly. And that provoked a bitter response from Shestack, who is now the deputy director of the National Gallery of Art. In an assertion that raised eyebrows among many of his colleagues, Shestack argued in a letter to the Art Newspaper that museums and museum directors have no responsibility to report suspicions about stolen works that are not in their own collections. Chatalbash declined to comment on the settlement. But Henry Herrmann, one of his lawyers, said yesterday that Braemer's admission is proof that Chatalbash purchased the miniatures in the 1970s without any inkling they were stolen. Moreover, he said, Chatalbash was justified in keeping the artworks until the Braemer affidavit provided conclusive evidence of their theft. But Linenthal, the London manuscript dealer who in 1989 unearthed strong circumstantial evidence that the works had been looted, said in an interview last week that it is a ''shame that so much time and energy have been wasted. ''Finally, we have the right outcome,'' Linenthal said. ''But what a shame it was not done almost a decade ago, with greater grace. The turnover now cannot be accomplished with genuine smiles.'' Linenthal, like others familiar with the case, faulted Shestack and the MFA for walking away from the dispute in 1990. Last year, the MFA said its policy would now require notifying Kassel. But Linenthal said that in 1989, war loot ''was not a hot topic, as it now is. Now it's considered untouchable. Back then, people had not yet thought the problem through.'' What the Kassel Library will get back are miniatures that measure about 5 by 7 inches each. The seven are among 44 in an ornate prayer book of a German nobleman in the early 1500s. Four of them were painted by Bening, a Flemish master from Bruges whose assistants painted miniatures for the prayer books of royalty throughout Europe. The circumstances of the case, though not the looting itself, are an oddity for the art market: More typically, wealthy collectors who overestimate their expertise pay exorbitant sums for works that turn out to be fakes. But in the Kassel case, the reverse was true. Braemer, according to his wife, Lydia, kept the miniatures in storage for 30 years, then sold them at his frame shop for about $100. Last week, Richard McElroy, a Woodstock, Conn., antiques dealer, confirmed that he bought them and resold them to Chatalbash. Chatalbash, a recognized expert in antique oriental rugs, also kept them in a drawer for a number of years, before hanging three of them, in an unremarkable frame, on an office wall in his Brookline shop, where Shestack spotted them. Lydia Braemer said she once considered hanging them in her front hall, but rejected the idea for a reason that has resonance for most homeowners. ''They didn't match the wallpaper,'' she explained.
Previous Globe coverage on looted art and antiquities is available on Globe Online at www.boston.com. The keyword is paintings.
This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 05/13/98.


From: BHughes531 BHughes531@aol.com
Date sent: Wed, 13 May 1998 11:45:15 EDT
To: MMCNET@tcm.org, childmus@listserv.rice.edu
Subject:

Concealed Handguns

Send reply to: mmcnet@tcm.org
We are reviewing our policy on Concealed Handguns. In Texas, citizens are permitted to carry a concealed handgun, but employers may prohibit both employees and invitees from bringing concealed handguns to their place of business. Currently, we have signage that is displayed at the entrance in both English and Spanish that states possession of a handgun is prohibited. Has anyone had experiences with guest that carried a gun and if so, how was the situation handled? Also, is there someone willing to provide me with examples of written acknowledgments signed by employees regarding concealed handgun policy.
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed.
Thank you
Belinda Hughes
The Children's Museum of Houston
BHughes531@AOL.com


From: "Robert T. Handy" handy@bchm.org
Subject:

RE: Concealed Handguns

Hello Belinda, from the remaining holdout of the wild west--Brazoria County. You pose a good question. However, how is one to know if someone is carrying if the item is concealed? I suppose you wouldn't know unless it was revealed and then--given that there really wouldn't be much reason to be pulling a gun in a childrens museum--you would probably be more interested in getting your kids out and fleeing rather than discussing whether or not the party should have entered with the gun on his/her person. I have no idea how we would enforce a prohibition here so we simply have not addressed the issue. What would you do if you happened to see a gun under someone's jacket? Have him check it at the door? Throw him out? Call the police? The latter doesn't seem feasible given that the law says its o.k. to carry a gun if you have a permit.
Tough one.
------
Robert Handy
Brazoria County Historical Museum
museum_bob handy@bchm.org
http://www.bchm.org


From: Antonia Kriks antonia.kriks@munich.netsurf.de
Subject:

Diebstahl in der Nationalbibliothek

DER STANDARD
Die Strafe für Österreichs losen Umgang mit seinem Erbe: Diebstahl in der Nationalbibliothek
Der Bücherschatz der Nationalbiblio- thek ist nicht nur konservatorisch bedroht, er wäre auch schon mehrfach fast verbrannt. Daß die Gewähr gegen Diebstahl ebenfalls fehlt, zeigte sich nun.
Michael Cerha
Die Österreichische Nationalbibliothek ist Opfer eines spektakulären Kunstdiebstahls geworden. Der oder die Täter schnitten nach bisheriger Erkenntnis insgesamt 46 handkolorierte Kupferstiche aus dem zwischen 1817 und 1824 erschienenen dreibändigen Werke Les Roses des französischen Wissenschaftlers Pierre Joseph Redouté, Teil der sogenannten Eugeniana (siehe rechts unten) im Prunksaal der Nationalbibliothek. Der finanzielle und kulturelle Schaden ist beträchtlich.
In der Nationalbibliothek wurden gestern, Dienstag, noch die Unterlagen für die Anzeige zusammengestellt. Eine Verständigung der Antiquariatshändler ist bereits kurz nach der Entdeckung des Diebstahls in der vorletzten Woche erfolgt. Johann Marte, Generaldirektor des Hauses, hatte zum genannten Zeitpunkt nach eigenen Angaben einem Gesprächspartner im Prunksaal der Bibliothek einen der Bände aus der Eugeniana zeigen wollen. Dabei fiel ihm auf, daß, hinausgehend über bereits in früherer Zeit erfolgte ,Entnahmen" von Illustrationen aus dem betreffenden Band, weitere stattgefunden haben. Unklar ist für Marte vorerst noch der Zeitraum des Diebstahls: ,Es könnte auch sein, daß der Diebstahl schon vor längerem passiert ist."
Kein Verdacht
Einen konkreten Verdacht in Hinblick auf den oder die Täter hegt man in der Nationalbibliothek vorerst offenbar nicht. Am gestrigen Dienstag wurde die Lage in einer hausinternen Besprechung erörtert, wobei auch mit der Suche nach Dokumentierungen der verschwundenen Stiche begonnen wurde. Ablichtungen - wie sie in ausländischen Nationalbibliotheken, wo die Bestände längst lückenlos auf Mikrofilm gebannt sind, selbstverständlich parat läge - würde das Wiederfinden des Diebsguts erheblich erleichtern bzw. einen Verkauf am Markt unmöglich machen. Für die im Prunksaal der Nationalbibliothek verwahrten Bestände, die mit die kostbarsten des Hauses überhaupt sind, ist bisher eine konservatorisch einwandfreie Lösung aus Geldmangel wie aus architektonischen Schwierigkeiten nicht realisiert worden. Derzeit wird vom Josefsplatz aus ein mittig gelegener neuer Eingangsbereich gestaltet. Er soll demnächst fertig werden und zunächst den zur österreichischen EU-Präsidentschaft anreisenden Journalisten eine zentrale Arbeitsstatt bieten. In Zukunft sollen hier vor allem Ausstellungen und Veranstaltungen der Nationalbibliothek stattfinden - zur Entlastung des klimatisch problematischen Prunksaales. Eine Sicherheit der unschätzbaren Bestände der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek ist aber auch weder in Hinblick auf den Brandschutz noch auf Diebstähle verläßlich gegeben. Beim Hofburgbrand am 27. November 1992 hatten die Flammen bereits auf die Dachkuppel des Prunksaals übergegriffen. Das Wasser, das löschende Feuerwehrtruppen über das Gebäude sprühten, hätte im Herzen der Bibliothek leicht einzigartiges Kulturgut beschädigen können.
Prinz Eugens Bücher
Der Ankauf der Bibliothek des Prinzen Eugen, 1738 von Kaiser Karl VI. getätigt, stellt die bedeutendste Erwerbung in der Geschichte der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek dar. Der Kaufpreis bestand in 10.000 Gulden jährlicher Leibrente an Viktoria von Savoyen, die Nichte und Erbin des 1736 verstorbenen Prinzen. Der Wert der 15.000 Druck-, 287 Handschriften sowie 505 Kassetten Kupferstiche und Porträts wurde von Zeitgenossen mit 150.000 Gulden höher angesetzt als jener des Schlosses Belvedere. Die Eugeniana, die bei einem Schwerpunkt auf Geschichte und Geographie Werke aller Wissenszweige umfaßt, steht fast vollständig im Mitteloval des 1726 fertiggestellten Prunksaales der Bibliothek. Berühmt sind etwa der Atlas Blaeu van der Hem oder die ebenfalls topographische Tabula Peutingeriana. Im erweiterten Sinn zur Eugeniana werden auch kostbar illustrierte Werke gezählt, die im selben Teil des Prunksaals aufbewahrt werden, wie das ,Rosenbuch" von Redouté, das nun zu Schaden gekommen ist. (elce)
(c) 1998 DER STANDARD Automatically processed with COMLAB NewsMaker


NY judge orders Schiele paintings back to Austria

By Jeanne King
NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) - A judge ruled on Wednesday that two Viennese Expressionist paintings seized by New York authorities should be returned to Austria while officials investigate whether the works were stolen. The paintings by early 20th century artist Egon Schiele were seized in January from New York's Museum of Modern Art by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, causing a stir in the art world over paintings claimed by heirs of victims of the Nazis during World War Two. The Schiele works had been exhibited in the museum from October 1997 to January 1998. Rita Reif of New York and Henri Bondi of New Jersey claimed their families, persecuted in the Holocaust, were the rightful owners of the paintings. They had asked prosecutors to block return of the works to Austria until ownership was resolved. ``The Grand Jury is not precluded from proceeding with its investigation; it simply cannot retain the paintings. But, in point of fact, the paintings are not needed for the investigation,'' Acting New York Supreme Court Judge Laura Drager said in her 26-page decision. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said he would appeal the decision. ``We believe it to be bad public policy to exempt any stolen property from the reach of the law,'' he said. ``We do not believe New York should be a safe haven for stolen art.'' The museum said it was concerned about resolving ownership of the Schiele paintings and other art looted from Jews by the Nazi regime. ``This decision in no way diminishes the plight of the victims of the Holocaust,'' it said. The museum had filed a motion to quash the prosecutor's subpoena authorizing seizure of the paintings. The works have been in museum custody since prosecutors began the probe. The museum said ``the subpoena was directly opposed to New York law and could only damage the cultural vitality and economic well-being of the State without advancing the cause of the recovery of art looted by the Nazis.'' In granting the museum's motion to quash the subpoena, the judge said the court ``would authorize the taking of photographs (of the paintings) to preserve the evidence for the Grand Jury since such action could be done immediately and would not meaningfully interfere with the possession of the paintings.'' Prosecutors had wanted to use the actual paintings, ``Bildnis Wally'' (''Portrait of Wally'') and ``Tote Stadt'' (''Dead City'') claimed by Reif and Bondi, as evidence in the case. Officials said the investigation into ownership could take up to a year. The paintings belong to the Leopold Foundation, named after Viennese art collector Rudolf Leopold who sold Schiele's art to the Austrian state in 1994. Foundation lawyer Stephen Harnik said his client was ``very happy'' about Wednesday's ruling. ``The criminal case continues but the paintings go back to Austria in two weeks provided prosecutors don't appeal.'' Prosecutors said they were able to seize the art because the museum failed to register the paintings with the United States Information Agency (USIA). The museum argued that it was not normal or standard practice to register with the USIA for federal protection because ``loaned works of art were protected by other federal and state statues.'' ``Unless we thought the art work was stolen and there was no suspicion that it was, it was not necessary to take the additional step of registering with USIA'' a spokeswoman said at the time the paintings were seized.
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


From: "JAMES S HOLLEY" THEEARTH@prodigy.net
To: "MSN" securma@xs4all.nl
Subject:

Search For People Counter and Control

Hello To The Group,
I am looking for any information regarding people counters as well as flow and control. Focused on Museum admission entry and exit points. Something along the lines of how Disney Consultants would disect the amount of time it takes for a family of four to pay admission at the entrance of the park, time spent in lines waiting for a special attraction, and issues regarding the limiting of the number of persons in a certain areas.
Any consultants out there who have an opinion ?
P.S. I did see the Simpsons episode recently mentioned. I am glad I am not the only one to take a good laugh at the after hours hijinks of Homer and Lisa Simpson at the museum.
James Holley THEEARTH@prodigy.net


Judge rejects seizure of disputed paintings from a N.Y. museum

DA rebuffed on art Nazis may have looted

By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 05/14/98
_ The Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, had no legal right to effectively seize two Austrian paintings at a New York museum after claims surfaced in January that the works had been looted from Jews during World War II, a New York judge ruled yesterday. Morgenthau's use of his subpoena power against the Museum of Modern Art was unwarranted, the judge ruled, and the museum should now be free to return the two Egon Schiele paintings to an Austrian museum. But Morgenthau, in a statement that tapped the emotions that still attend the Holocaust, vowed to appeal. New York, he said, should not be ''a safe haven for stolen art.'' He also took sarcastic note of the judge's reference to increased sensitivity in the museum world to the problem of looted art. ''I am pleased to learn that 53 years after the end of World War II, museum directors have established a task force to address the question of looted art,'' Morgenthau said. ''Would they have done so if it had not been for our investigation?'' The successful move to quash the subpoena was made by the museum, where 150 paintings by the Austrian painter Schiele had been on exhibition. It was greeted with relief by many in the art world, who feared that such legal actions have inhibited the willingness of collectors and museums here and abroad to loan works for public display. But in ruling that Morgenthau acted without statutory authority when he moved to prevent the two paintings from leaving the country, state Supreme Court Justice Laura E. Drager cast the fate of the paintings' US claimants into an international legal limbo. The Rudolph Leopold Museum in Vienna, which loaned the Schiele collection to the New York museum, said after Morgenthau's Jan. 7 subpoena that it would give a fair hearing to the claims for the works, ''Portrait of Wally'' and ''Dead City III.'' Since then, however, the Vienna museum has sought to raise public doubts about both claims, and even some critics of the Leopold have said they believe the claim for ''Dead City III'' may be difficult to substantiate. Since then, however, Austrian journalists have unearthed evidence that other Austrian museums may hold hundreds of artworks that were stolen from Jews by the Nazis, and that the postwar Austrian government made it impossible for Jews to reclaim their art. In March, the Globe obtained a confidential 1950 US State Department report describing wartime Vienna's principal auction house as the major European ''fence'' for art looted by the Nazis. Austria's prime minister has promised an investigation. But in New York, as Morgenthau's supporters have acknowledged, the issue before Judge Drager had nothing to do with the Holocaust or the validity of the claims. At issue, was whether a state law designed to protect the owners of art borrowed by New York museums was intended to protect their owners against criminal subpoenas as well as civil actions. Morgenthau, when he issued the criminal subpoena, said the law offered no protection to the Leopold if the artworks were stolen property. Drager, after reviewing the state law and its legislative history, disagreed. The 1968 law, she noted, protected artworks ''from any kind of seizure.'' Still, Drager wrote, ''it is indeed troubling if museums and cultural institutions, which are `sources of civilized values,' are turning a blind eye to the exhibition of stolen art.'' She added, however, that museums seem to recognize that ''they must hold themselves to a higher standard.'' Morgenthau said he is convinced the judge was wrong. ''The exhibition of stolen paintings, or those of questioned provenance, does not advance the cultural life of our city and state,'' he said. In a statement, the Museum of Modern Art said that it and other US museums are committed to dealing honorably with wartime claims, but that Morgenthau's subpoena was an inappropriate way to do so. Even if Morgenthau loses the case, some think he has won the attendant argument by forcing the issue. Ori V. Soltes, the director of the National Jewish Museum, said that while he cannot disagree with the legal ruling, ''it is a classic case of trying to distinguish the law from justice.'' Soltes added: ''Even if the district attorney is legally wrong, he was morally justified.''
This story ran on page A04 of the Boston Globe on 05/14/98. © Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company.


Judge blocks attempt to seize art allegedly stolen by Nazis

NEW YORK -- In a case that alarmed the international art world, a judge on Wednesday rebuffed an attempt by the district attorney to seize two paintings on loan from Vienna that might have been stolen by the Nazis. The ruling means that the Museum of Modern Art can return the two borrowed Egon Schiele paintings to the Leopold Foundation of Vienna. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, in a combative statement that tapped the deep emotions that still attend the Holocaust, vowed to appeal. New York, he said, should not be ``a safe haven for stolen art.'' He also took sarcastic note of the judge's reference to increased sensitivity in the museum world to the problem of looted art. ``I am pleased to learn that 53 years after the end of World War II, museum directors have established a task force to address the question of looted art,'' Morgenthau said. ``Would they have done so if it had not been for our investigation?'' When the three-month exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art ended in January, Morgenthau intervened on behalf of two families who claim the works were plundered during the Nazi era from relatives. He obtained a subpoena blocking the paintings' return to Vienna while the question of ownership was investigated. On Wednesday, however, state Justice Laura Drager said New York law protects borrowed art from government seizure. She agreed with the museum that preventing the paintings from leaving threatens New York's towering position in the art world. ``With its vast array of cultural institutions, New York has a unique interest in maximizing the possibility of exhibiting art on loan from other states and around the world,'' the judge said. The Leopold Foundation has maintained that the paintings -- Dead City III and Portrait of Wally -- were acquired in good faith from legitimate postwar owners. ``Obviously, we'd like to have the paintings back as soon as possible,'' said Stephen Harnik, lawyer for the Leopold Foundation. The judge's jurisdiction applied only to the subpoena barring the paintings' return. She did not take up the issue of who owns them. Rita Reif, whose family has claimed that Dead City was looted from a relative who perished in a concentration camp, was dismayed by the ruling. The district attorney's subpoena had been seen by museums around the world as a threat to the free exchange of artwork. The institutions said it could discourage museums from lending artworks. Judge rules international paintings can't be seized during loans to U.S.
Copyright © 1998 Nando.net
Copyright © 1998 The Associated Press


NEW YORK (May 13, 1998 8:56 p.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) -- Resolving a case that had alarmed the international art world, a judge Wednesday rebuffed an attempt by the district attorney to seize two paintings on loan from Vienna that may have been stolen by the Nazis. The ruling means that unless the district attorney appeals, the Museum of Modern Art can return the two borrowed Egon Schiele paintings to the Leopold Foundation of Vienna. When the three-month exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art ended in January, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau intervened on behalf of two families who claim the works were plundered during the Nazi era from relatives. He obtained a subpoena blocking the paintings' return to Vienna while the question of ownership was investigated. On Wednesday, however, state Justice Laura Drager said New York law protects borrowed art from government seizure. She agreed with the museum that preventing the paintings from leaving threatens New York's towering position in the art world. "With its vast array of cultural institutions, New York has a unique interest in maximizing the possibility of exhibiting art on loan from other states and around the world," the judge said. The Leopold Foundation has maintained that the paintings -- "Dead City III" and "Portrait of Wally" -- were acquired in good faith from legitimate postwar owners. "Obviously we'd like to have the paintings back as soon as possible," said Stephen M. Harnik, lawyer for the Leopold Foundation. The judge's jurisdiction applied only to the subpoena barring the paintings' return. She did not take up the issue of who owns them. Rita Reif, whose family has claimed that "Dead City" was looted from a relative who perished in a concentration camp, was dismayed by the ruling. The district attorney's subpoena had been seen by museums around the world as a threat to the free exchange of artwork. They said it could discourage museums from lending artworks. In a statement, the Museum of Modern Art said it would work to develop guidelines to resolve claims to art taken during the Nazi era. But it said the seizure "could only damage the cultural vitality and economic well-being of the state without advancing the cause of the recovery of art looted by the Nazis." Since the Schieles were seized in January, two paintings by French artist Pierre Bonnard have been withdrawn by their owners from an exhibit scheduled to open at the MOMA next month, the museum said.
By SAMUEL MAULL, Associated Press Writer


Judge says disputed paintings can return to Austria

New York-area families claim art looted by Nazis

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A judge has rebuffed an attempt by New York City's chief prosecutor to block the return to Austria of two paintings that may have been stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The paintings by Egon Schiele, one of Austria's greatest modern painters, were loaned to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan by the Leopold Foundation in Vienna. Two New York area families claim the art was plundered from their relatives by the Nazis. New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau had issued a subpoena ordering the museum not to return the paintings to Vienna until questions over their ownership are settled. But on Wednesday, New York Supreme Court Judge Laura Drager quashed that subpoena, ruling that state law protects borrowed art from government seizure. Morgenthau quickly announced that he would appeal Drager's decision, which will delay any return of the paintings for at least two weeks. "We believe it to be bad public policy to exempt any stolen property from the reach of the law," he said. "We do not believe New York should be a safe haven for stolen art." Museum: Subpoena would have 'chilling effect' Museum officials feared Morgenthau's attempt to block return of the paintings would have a chilling affect on international art exchanges. Since the subpoena was issued in January, the owners of two French paintings withdrew them from a scheduled exhibition at the museum. In her ruling, the judge agreed with the museum's position, saying any attempt to block the return of the Schiele works "could only damage the cultural vitality and economic well-being of the state, without advancing the cause of the recovery of art looted by the Nazis." "With its vast array of cultural institutions, New York has a unique interest in maximizing the possibility of exhibiting art on loan from other states and around the world," she said. Drager also ruled that the paintings didn't have to physically be in New York in order for the investigation into their ownership to proceed, which could take up to a year.

Austrians say art bought in good faith

The Leopold Foundation maintains that the paintings -- "Dead City III" and "Portrait of Wally" -- were acquired in good faith from their post- war owners by Dr. Rudolf Leopold, a Viennese eye doctor who sold most of his art collection to the Austrian government in 1994. The foundation has proposed letting the questions over ownership be settled by a fact-finding tribunal -- but only after the works are returned to Austria. Claims that the two paintings had been looted by the Nazis were raised by Rita Reif of New York City and Henry Bondi of Princeton, New Jersey. Reif maintains that "Dead City III" was owned by Fritz Greuenbaum, a Jewish cabaret singer who died at the Dachau concentration camp in 1940. Reif is his cousin by marriage and one of his heirs. However, since the claim was made, documents have surfaced showing that the painting had gone to Gruenbaum's sister-in-law, who sold it to a Swiss art dealer in 1956. Bondi claims that "Portrait of Wally" belonged to his aunt, Lea Bondi, a Jewish art dealer who was forced to flee Vienna in 1938. He maintains that his aunt was forced to sell her art at greatly undervalued prices and that the money was then seized when she left for England.
Schiele was an expressionist painter who died in 1918. The paintings in question date from around 1910.
Reuters contributed to this report.


International paintings can't be seized

NEW YORK (AP) -- In a case that alarmed the international art world, a judge Wednesday rebuffed an attempt by the district attorney to seize two paintings on loan from Vienna that may have been stolen by the Nazis. The ruling means the Museum of Modern Art can return the two borrowed Egon Schiele paintings to the Leopold Foundation of Vienna. The decision could be appealed by District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. When the three-month exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art ended in January, Morgenthau intervened on behalf of two families who claim the works were plundered during the Nazi era from relatives. He obtained a subpoena blocking the paintings' return to Vienna while the question of ownership was investigated. On Wednesday, however, state Justice Laura Drager said New York law protects borrowed art from government seizure. She agreed with the museum that preventing the paintings from leaving threatens New York's position in the art world. "With its vast array of cultural institutions, New York has a unique interest in maximizing the possibility of exhibiting art on loan from other states and around the world," the judge said. The Leopold Foundation has maintained that the paintings -- Dead City III and Portrait of Wally -- were acquired in good faith from legitimate postwar owners.
"Obviously, we'd like to have the paintings back as soon as possible," said Stephen M. Harnik, lawyer for the Leopold Foundation. The judge's jurisdiction applied only to the subpoena barring the paintings' return. She did not take up the issue of who owns them. Rita Reif, whose family has claimed that Dead City was looted from a relative who perished in a concentration camp, was dismayed by the ruling. The district attorney's subpoena had been seen by museums around the world as a threat to the free exchange of artwork. They said it could discourage museums from lending artworks. In a statement, the Museum of Modern Art said it would work to develop guidelines to resolve claims to art taken during the Nazi era. But it said the seizure "could only damage the cultural vitality and economic well-being of the state without advancing the cause of the recovery of art looted by the Nazis." Since the Schieles were seized in January, two paintings by French artist Pierre Bonnard have been withdrawn by their owners from an exhibit scheduled to open at the MOMA next month, the museum said.


US court releases disputed works of art

_ Families of Holocaust victims seeking to reclaim art looted by the Nazis have received a setback after the Supreme Court in New York ruled that two paintings by the early 20th- century artist Egon Schiele on loan from Vienna were wrongly seized from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). A district attorney had ordered the seizure after two Jewish families claimed the paintings had been looted from their relatives by Nazis during the Second World War. Rita Reif of New York and Henri Bondi of New Jersey claimed their families, persecuted in the Holocaust, were the rightful owners of the paintings "Bildnis Wally" ("Portrait of Wally") and "Tote Stadt III" ("Dead City III"). They had asked prosecutors to block return of the works to Austria until ownership was resolved. But acting New York Supreme Court Judge Laura Drager said in her 26-page decision that although the grand jury is not precluded from proceeding with its investigation, "it simply cannot retain the paintings. " She said that the actual paintings were not needed as evidence in the case - as the prosecutor had argued. Museum welcomes outcome MOMA welcomed the decision. In a statement, the museum said it was concerned about resolving ownership of the Schiele paintings and other art looted from Jews by the Nazi regime and that the decision "in no way diminishes the plight of the victims of the Holocaust." But Jewish groups, campaigning for thousands of looted paintings to be returned, have described it as a setback. They say if the seizure of the works had been upheld, this case could have set a precedent for thousands of other disputed works of art hanging in galleries around the world. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who had ordered the seizure of the two paintings, said he would appeal the decision. "We do not believe New York should be a safe haven for stolen art," he said. The paintings belong to the Leopold Foundation, named after the Viennese art collector Rudolf Leopold who sold Schiele's art to the Austrian state in 1994. The Foundation's lawyer, Stephen Harnik, said his client was "very happy" about the ruling.


Report: 16th century paintings stolen from Germany to be returned

By The Associated Press
BOSTON -- Seven 16th century miniature paintings valued at $500,000 will returned to Germany after an admission they were stolen at the end of World War II, The Boston Globe reported today. The paintings, 5-by-7-inch miniatures made for a nobleman's prayer book, were once sold for as little as $100. The University of Kassel in Germany sued for their return after an art curator spotted them on the wall of an antique rug store. Rug dealer Thomas P. Chatalbash of Brookline had said he would fight to keep them, but agreed to return them after an admission from a Connecticut man that he took them from a mineshaft where they had been placed to protect them from Allied bombing in the closing days of the war, the newspaper reported. William A. Braemer of North Sterling, Conn., signed an affidavit in March acknowledging he took the paintings from the mineshaft in 1945 when he was a civilian employee of Republic Aircraft, his wife, Lydia Braemer, told the Globe. Mrs. Braemer said she didn't hang them in her front hall because "They didn't match the wallpaper." Four of the seven paintings are by Simon Bening, a Flemish master painter from Bruges. The paintings will be turned over to library officials Thursday, the Globe said. Chatalbash would not comment, but his lawyer said he was justified in keeping the paintings until Braemer's admitted they were stolen. The newspaper said a corporate donor to Kassel plans to give Chatalbash a reward.
Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)


Monet's Le Grand Canal sells for over $12 million


By Jeanne King
NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) - Claude Monet's ``Le Grand Canal'' fetched $12.1 million after a pre-sale estimate of $8 million to $10 million, making it the big winner among Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's Wednesday night, the auction house said. Monet painted the work in 1908 during his first trip to Venice. The auction house did not name the American dealer who bought the oil painting. On that journey, Monet painted 37 canvases, of which six are variations on the theme of Santa Maria Salute, mostly seen from the steps of the Palazzo.
``Apres le Bain,'' a large-scale oil painting of a female nude by Edgar Degas, came in as the second highest art work bid on. The bidding started at $4.5 million and went to more than $6.6 million including premium after a few minutes. The auction house pre- sale estimate of the work was $6 million to $8 million. Of the 57 lots put up for auction Wednesday, 43 sold and yielded a total of $77.9 million above the low estimate. ``We are extremely pleased with the result of tonight's sale which fared very well despite a difficult collecting period over the past six months,'' Diana Brooks, President and CEO of Sotheby's said. The sale fetched ``strong prices as a result of a strong economy and a market where there is a great deal of demand and not much supply,'' she said. The spring sale of Impressionist and Modern Art opened the session with the sale of the Thyssen Meissonnier Tureen which fetched over $5.7 million including premium. It sold to London dealer, Titus Kendall by telephone and set the record for the second highest price for silver at auction, Sotheby's said. The highest price was set by the Louis XV silver tureen by Thomas Germain from the Georg Ortiz Collection which sold for over $10.2 at Sotheby's New York on November 13, 1996. The auction house described the Thyssen Tureen as ``the most exciting piece of silver in the history of Western decorative arts.'' The Tureen is one of a pair designed by Juste-Aurele Meissonnier and executed in Paris between 1735 and 1740. The Tureen, which is 14-1/2 inches (36 cm) high, 18 inches (45 cm) long and 15 inches (38 cm) wide, was estimated to bring in more than $8 million. Its mate resides in the Cleveland Museum of Art on exhibition. Other highlights of the evening session included Vincent Van Gogh's ``Flowers In A Vase'' which sold for $4 million while two Pablo Picasso's - ``Casagemas Dans Son Cercueil'' and his ``La Lecture'' sold for $3.5 million and $3.1 million respectively. Pierre-Auguste Renoir's ``Gabrielle A Sa Coiffure'' and his ``Baigneuses'' both fetched $3.4 million each during the spirited bidding that followed the sale of the tureen. Two more sessions of Sotheby's sale of Impressionist and Modern Art are scheduled for Thursday. Christie's auction house, meanwhile, completed its two- day sale of 20th Century Art earlier on Wednesday with 261 lots going for a total of $23,350,250. Combined with Tuesday night's sale of $61,327,500, the auction brought in $84,677,750 for Christie's.
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 1998
CONTACT: Jerome Uher, (202)223-6722, ext. 122

NPCA CALLS FOR PHASEOUT OF COMMERCIAL FISHING IN GLACIER BAY

Parks Group Seeks Agreement to End Exploitation of Protected Alaska Waters
Seattle -- The National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA) today said it would support a proposed National Park Service (NPS) measure to phase out commercial fishing in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve if negotiators can’t work out a mutually agreeable deal. NPCA, in testimony before a Park Service hearing on its proposed rule, noted that commercial fishing is not currently authorized in Glacier Bay, but has continued unabated while federal officials work through the rulemaking process. “Considering the history of commercial fishing issues in Glacier Bay, the proposed regulations are, in fact, quite generous when compared to the proposed regulations published in 1991,” said Marcia Frenz, NPCA Legislative Representative. “If that proposal had been implemented, the phaseout period for all commercial fishing in Glacier Bay would have just ended.” NPCA has participated in an ongoing Working Group of interested parties to hammer out an agreement among fishing, environmental and other interests. As yet, no agreement has been reached. NPS in now moving forward with its proposals to regulate commercial fishing within the park. NPCA recommends the following actions at Glacier Bay: · Immediate closure of all wilderness waters, with the exception of the Beardslee Islands. That area may remain open for the remainder of an ongoing study of Dungeness Crabs. · The phase out of all commercial fishing in Glacier Bay proper over 15 years. · Immediate closure of Geike Inlet and East Arm. · Continuation of commercial fishing in outer waters under cooperative federal-state management, subject to reevaluation in 15 years. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve was designated as a national park in 1980, warranting the highest level of resource protection. The park was intended to provide a place where marine life and wildlife could flourish unimpaired by the direct or indirect impacts of human activities, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for scientific observation and study. “Although the park is the largest protected marine ecosystem on the Pacific Coast of North American, exploitation of resources within the bay occurs daily in the form of commercial fishing. This cannot continue,” Frenz said. The National Parks and Conservation Association is America's only private nonprofit citizen organization dedicated solely to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System. An association of "Citizens Protecting America's Parks," NPCA was founded in 1919 and today has nearly 500,000 members. A library of national park information, including fact sheets, congressional testimony, position statements, press releases and media alerts, can be found on NPCA’s World Wide Web site at http://www.npca.org.
National Parks and Conservation Association
http://www.npca.org
E-mail: npca@npca.org


Looted war art heads back to German university

BOSTON, May 14 (Reuters) - Seven small masterpieces looted from a German university in the days following World War Two were headed back to their proper owner on Thursday after a few strokes of a pen on court papers.
``Today is a bright day for Germany. Today is a bright day for art that should go back to the place where it is a part of the heritage,'' Boston's German Consul General P. Christian Hauswedell told a news conference.
The masterpieces were taken from a mine shaft in Germany by a Connecticut man more than 50 years ago and ended up in the window of a Boston carpet store. The university from which they were taken filed suit in Boston in 1996 for their return. The seven works are part of the original Mecklenburg Prayerbook, an ornate 16th century manuscript that since the mid-19th century had been part of the collection of the University of Kassel. Four of the 5-inch (12 cm) by 7- inch (17 cm) paintings are by Simon Bening, a famous Flemish miniaturist. Art experts said his work provides a link between the Medieval and the Renaissance periods. As Allied air raids threatened the library, the University moved some of its collection for safekeeping to a mine shaft in Springen, Germany. After the War, when the library's collection was returned, the miniatures and a number of other works were missing. Some 30 years later, Thomas Chatalbash bought the seven works for $200 believing they were copies of the originals. Chatalbash displayed them in the window of his carpet store, where they caught the eye of the director of Boston's Museum of Fine Art. Museum experts and a London manuscript expert confirmed they were the originals and worth about $500,000. Chatalbash notified the University of Kassel he had the paintings - and he intended to keep them. The university filed suit in 1996 in Boston's federal court seeking the paintings' return.
Two years later, William Braemer, an ailing, elderly Connecticut man helped settle the dispute by admitting in an affidavit he took the paintings from the mine shaft. The German university, with the help of the German branch of the accounting firm KPMG, agreed to pay Chatalbash a reward in return for the paintings. As part of the settlement, the size of the reward was not to be disclosed, however, Dr. Willi Korte, an art detective who specializes in 20th century German work, said that cultural institutions usually pay no more than 15 percent of an art work's fair market value.
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


From: NPCA npca@npca.org

NPCA News Release: Park Advocates Outline Reforms to Stop Hollywood's Explotation of National Parks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 1998
CONTACT: Jerome Uher, (202)223-6722, ext. 122
PARK ADVOCATES OUTLINE REFORMS TO STOP HOLLYWOOD’S EXPLOITATION OF NATIONAL PARKS
NPCA Calls For End of Free Ride for Production Companies
Washington, D.C. -- The nation’s leading national park advocacy group today supported efforts to require motion picture and television production companies to pay location fees for filming in taxpayer- supported national parks. National parks, while providing a backdrop for numerous commercials and films including Star Wars, Forest Gump and Thelma and Louise, gain almost nothing from their “scenic stardom,” according to the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA). Testifying today before the Senate Subcommittee on Parks, Historic Preservation and Recreation, NPCA Deputy Director of Conservation Policy Al Eisenberg noted a 10-page Park Service list of major films and commercials produced in national parks. “The films and commercial run the gamut of types from westerns to science fiction, but one threat remains common throughout. Every one of the films, whether it made money or not, provided almost nothing to the parks in return for the privilege of using public lands,” Eisenberg said. Under current Park Service regulations, film companies are only required to cover the direct cost of ranger supervision and any damage mitigation and are not allowed to charge location fees. All other costs of issuing permits are borne by the Park Service. Production companies can tie up roads and cause the closure of portions of parks for days or weeks during production. Utah’s Arches National Park alone has averaged 52 filmmakers per year for the last five years. A number of bills have been introduced in congress this year in order to close the loophole, yet none of them would both ensure a fair return for the taxpayer and provide a fair, efficient permit system for would be producers. One major difficulty is determining what a “fair market” value should be for unique locations found only in national parks. “There is only one Statue of Liberty, Devils Tower or Monument Valley in the world, and the uniqueness of the geologic and cultural features of the national parks are frequently the very reason the industry is attracted to these locations,” Eisenberg said. “There may be no comparative circumstance.” In April, NPCA hosted a workshop with representatives of the commercial filming industry, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and congressional staff to discuss reform of current filming permit operations. From what was learned at that workshop, NPCA recommends building a base schedule of fees for the parks that would consider: the physical mark on a park a proposed filming event would make; the size of the crew; the amount of time spent in the park; the level of disturbance; and the appropriateness of a premium for the special nature of the site or resource. “It’s simply unreasonable to ask the visiting public to pay increased entrance and use fees while, at the same time, fees for commercial uses of the national parks remain astonishingly low, or may not be charged at all,” Eisenberg said. The National Parks and Conservation Association is America's only private nonprofit citizen organization dedicated solely to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park system. An association of "Citizens Protecting America's Parks," NPCA was founded in 1919 and today has nearly 500,000 members.
National Parks and Conservation Association
http://www.npca.org
E-mail: npca@npca.org


Chorus of experts say Van Gogh ``Sunflowers'' a fake

By Jude Webber
ROME, May 15 (Reuters) - Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting ``Sunflowers,'' which set what was then a world record price when it was sold for 24.75 million pounds ($40 million) in 1987, is definitely a fake, a leading Italian art expert said on Friday.
Antonio De Robertis, a specialist on the Dutch post-impressionist and one of the first to doubt the painting's authenticity, said in a speech prepared for delivery at a Van Gogh symposium in London that a string of evidence proved one of the artist's best known works was undoubtedly a forgery.
Seven other international experts, including Jan Hulsker, a leading specialist on Van Gogh who issued a new edition of his catalogue of the master's works in 1996, and Thomas Hoving, former director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, also support the view that ``Sunflowers'' is not a true Van Gogh.
The London symposium will be the first time so many experts have said they do not believe the painting can be genuine. In his speech, obtained by Reuters and due to be published in leading Italian art review Quadri & Sculture next week, De Robertis said the size of the picture, the canvas, identifying labels on the back and the style all pointed to a fake. He said the lack of a signature, lack of mention of the work in Van Gogh's letters and other documentary evidence meant the picture of brightly coloured sunflowers in a vase, bought by Japan's Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co Ltd at Christie's auction house in London, could not be the real thing.
Yasuda, rebuked by Japan's finance ministry in 1987 for ``an excessive demonstration of wealth'' over the picture's price-tag, has said it is ``absolutely convinced'' it bought an original. The painting is on display at Yasuda's art gallery in its headquarters in Tokyo, where the owners have said visitors have increased 10-fold since the controversy began. Quadri & Sculture quoted unnamed ``reliable sources'' as saying Yasuda might now sue Christie's for ``many millions.'' De Robertis' theory tells a tale of deliberately cunning subterfuge, the effects of which have snowballed in the century since Van Gogh's death in 1890 at the age of 37.
It is an enthralling mystery that adds to the drama of Van Gogh's tortured life in which the artist, unlucky in love and in his career, plunged into depression, chopped off his ear and finally shot himself. Dissenters, however, dismiss the copy talk, pointing out Van Gogh just sold a handful of paintings -- some versions say only one -- during his lifetime, making copying them pointless. Doubts about the authenticity of ``Sunflowers'' and a string of other famous Van Goghs, including two on show in museums in New York and Paris, has long swirled in art circles. In response, Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum last year announced it was setting up an international commission to decide if ``Sunflowers'' was a fake and called Friday's symposium to get supporters and dissenters together to discuss the issue. Among the speakers will be the museum's curator Sjraar van Heugten, who has said ``we do not have any reason to doubt the authenticity of the painting.'' Bogomila Welsch-Ovcharov, a Van Gogh authority from Toronto University who wrote in British art review Burlington Magazine in March that ``Sunflowers'' was genuine, was also due to speak. The crux of the problem is that Van Gogh painted a series of similar- looking pictures of sunflowers while he was living in Arles in southern France. One famous version is in the Amsterdam museum and another in London's National Gallery. While six versions are well documented, the ``Yasuda Sunflowers'' is the odd one out, said Robertis, who has researched Van Gogh's correspondence for four years. He said the painting was the work of Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, whom he said made the copy while restoring another of the artist's other sunflower works.
According to De Robertis, Schuffenecker subsequently bought eight Van Gogh paintings, switched the frame and label from a different work that had been shown in an exhibition in 1891 -- in which, confusingly, two other sunflower pictures were shown -- put them on his fake ``Sunflowers'' and then speedily sold it. The painting took part in a 1904 exhibition, where it was registered as having been displayed in the 1891 show. ``Up to this day, this is the mistake which is the only base for the origin of the Yasuda painting,'' De Robertis said.
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.


Austria's Punishment for Neglection of its Heritage: Theft in the National Library

The treasures of the National Library are not only threatened in conservation terms, they even failed to burn several times. Now was proved that there are also no guarantees against theft.
The Austrian National Library has become a victim of a spectacular art theft. As far as can be seen by now, the one or several culprits cut in total 46 hand-coloured engravings out of the three-volume work Les Roses by the French scholar Pierre Joseph Redoute, published between 1817 and 1824, a part of the so-called Eugeniana in the National Library's Prunksaal. In financial and cultural terms the damage is considerable.
Yesterday, Tuesday, the library was still assembling the documents for the complaint. Antiquarian dealers were already notified instantly after the discovery of the theft a fortnight ago. According to his own words, General Director Johann Marte then wanted to show one of the volumes of the Eugeniana to an interlocutor and remarked that there were other than former 'takings' of illustrations from the concerned volume. Marte is not certain as for the period in which the theft happened: "Maybe, it has arrived already some time ago."

No Suspect

Obviously, by now the library is not suspecting any certain perpetrator. Tuesday yesterday, the situation was subject to an internal conference which begun also the search for documentations of the disappeared engravings. Copies on microfilm that would naturally have been taken by other national libraries for their complete holdings since long ago, would make it considerably easier to recover the prey or prohibit a commercial sale. The holdings kept in the library's Prunksaal are the most precious ones of the house, but due to budget as well as architectural difficulties no perfect solution was realised for their conservation until today. At present, a new entrance hall is under construction centrally from the Josefsplatz and supposed to be finished soon offering mainly working space to the journalists expected to arrive for the Austrian EC-chairmanship in the next time. In future times, there will be hold exhibitions and other events of the library, thus relieving the Prunksaal's climatic problems. On the other hand, security can't be guaranteed for the inestimable holdings of the Austrian National Library regarding fire protection as well as thefts. When the Hofburg burned in November 27, 1992, the flames had already taken over to the roof of the Prunksaal's dome. The water showered over the building by the fire-brigade for extinction could easily have damaged unique treasures in the heart of the library.

Prince Eugen's Books

The purchase of the library of Prince Eugen by Emperor Charles VI in 1738 represents the most important acquisition in the history of the Austrian National Library. The costs consisted in 10.000 gulden life-annuity for Victoria of Savoy, the niece and inheritess of the prince after his death in 1736. The value of the 15.000 printings, 287 manuscripts and 505 cassettes with engravings and portraits was estimated by contemporaries to 150.000 gulden, a sum higher than the value of the Chateau Belvedere. The Eugeniana comprise books of all branches of knowledge with concentration on history and geography and are arranged almost completely in the central oval of the library's Prunksaal finished in 1726. Famous examples are the maps of Blaeu van der Hem or the Tabula Peutingeriana, another topographic collection. In their expanded version, precious illustrated works arranged in the same part of the Prunksaal are also counted in the Eugeniana, as there is the 'Book of Roses' by Redoute which has been damaged now. *** --
Guenter Kroll, Dipl.-Bibl./Librarian
Handschriften- und Inkunabelabt. / Manuscripts and Incunabula Collection
Stadt- und Universitaetsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Germany email:
g.kroll@stub.uni-frankfurt.de / phone: ++49 69 21239250



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