Showing results 1 - 12 of 43 for the month of April, 2006.

April 29, 2006

Turkish replica of Pergamon altar

Posted at 1:37 pm in Similar cases

In an attempt to raise the profile of one of their restitution cases, Turkey is building a replica of the Pergamon altar – but with a sign on it saying that it is a replica & that the original is in Germany.

Zaman (Turkey)

Replica of Bergama Altar to be Erected
Ankara, Anka
Published: Monday, March 06, 2006

The Turkish Culture Ministry will erect a replica of the Bergama (ancient Pergamum or Pergamon) Zeus Altar, which is now on display in the Berlin Pergamon Museum, and attach a sign indicating the original is held in Berlin.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc told The New Anatolian that he is deeply saddened about the artifacts lost by being smuggled out of Turkey and that their return must not be compromised.
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More details on Feldmann case resolution

Posted at 1:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Following the details of the settlement reached for the non-return of the paintings in the British Museum to the Feldmann family, some later articles add a few extra details. Most interesting is the fact that the Feldmann heirs suggest that this is what they think their grandfather would have wanted anyway – for the paintings to remain displayed in the museum to be seen by the public. This fact does imply that the whole case was in fact about financial compensation from the outset – but to obtain financial compensation the family had to go through the whole legal process to prove that the paintings could not be returned.

BBC news

Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Payout for Nazi art theft family

The UK government is to compensate the heirs of an art collector whose drawings were stolen by the Nazis before ending up in the British Museum.

Relatives of Dr Arthur Feldmann are to receive £175,000 after a special panel decided they had “firm evidence” that the works had been seized in 1939.
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April 28, 2006

Feldmann case conclusion?

Posted at 12:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Earlier this year, the Art Newspaper indicated that the British Museum would be paying compensation to the Feldmann family in lieu of the return of four paintings. The return of the paintings was prohibited by anti-deaccessioning clauses in the British Museum act.
Further details have now emerged on the scale of the payout which is being made. Unfortunately the government still appears to be relatively slow to amend the laws governing return of looted artefacts which were talked about well before the case, but highlighted again at the time of the verdict.

Czech News Agency

Britain to compensate Czech heirs of drawings
08:03 – 28.04.2006

London- The British government will pay a 175,000-pound compensation to the heirs of four drawings from the collection of Czech Jewish lawyer Arthur Feldman that were stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and are displayed in the British Museum in London, AP news agency reported on Thursday.

Feldman’s grandson Uri Peled and the British Museum have jointly proposed the compensation which will enable the museum to preserve the valuable artifacts, AP added.
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April 27, 2006

Turkey makes official claim on British Museum artefact

Posted at 12:47 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Turkish government has just requested that the British Museum return a Basalt Stele which is in their collection. Although there are a lot of potential restitution claims involving the British Museum, it is relatively rare for museums to receive an official request from a foreign government for the return of a piece.
At present there is no documentation to suggest that the stele was exported illegally – similarly there is nothing to indicate its legality either.

The Art Newspaper

Turkey claims stele in British Museum
Posted 27 April 2006
By Martin Bailey

LONDON. The Art Newspaper can reveal that the Turkish government has made a claim for a decorated stele in the British Museum (BM). This happened after a Turkish diplomat in Japan spotted the antiquity on loan to an exhibition on “Alexander the Great: East-West Cultural Contacts from Greece to Japan”, which was shown in Tokyo in 2003. It was not until last September that a letter was sent by the Turkish embassy in London. Although there is much talk of restitution claims against the BM, official requests are comparatively rare.
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April 25, 2006

Adverse consequences of a restitution case?

Posted at 1:36 pm in Similar cases

The Kroiosos Treasury was returned to Turkey by the Metropolitan Museum in 1985. Due to the remote position of the Usak museum where it is held & lack of advertising of its presence, museum officials say that les than 800 people have visited it in the last five years.
Some articles have highlighted this as being a problem with restitution cases – that items are returned & as a result become less accessible to the public. However, this argument follows the same line as the British Museum’s reasoning that they should retain artefacts because more people can see them in London. At no time in the past though did people agree that the pieces would be shipped to wherever they would be most visible – it is a post rationalised justification which has no relevance to those for whom the artefacts have an actual cultural significance.

Zaman (Turkey)

04.25.2006 Tuesday – ISTANBUL 11:02
Kroisos Treasury Attracts Very Few Visitors
By Melik Evren, Usak
Published: Thursday, April 20, 2006

Currently on display at the Archeology Museum in Usak, the Kroisos (Karun) Treasury has attracted only 769 visitors in the past five years, museum officials said.

The lack of a suitable advertising budget has been blamed for the poor attendance, even though the Kroisos Treasury is considered to be unequaled in the world.
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Why stolen treasures should be returned

Posted at 12:46 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Writing in the Guardian, Philip Hensher starts off his article on restitution cases positively, saying that it seems likely that in the end the Elgin Marbles will be returned to Greece. From that point however he drops into focusing on the specific case of a museum in Sudan which eh saw whilst on holiday, complaining about the way in which the pieces were presented there. He then continues to add that no one is currently requesting the return of any artefacts to Sudan, making the whole of this section o the article relatively worthless.
He seems to feel that the Elgin Marbles only gained much of their prestige through being in London – as though (if this is the case) the Greeks should actually be thanking Elgin for publicising their culture. All this of course ignores that fact that these ideas are presented as some sort of unanimous decision for what is best, yet in all of the various arguments of this type which are presented, one party was never consulted nor agreed on what was happening.

The Guardian

Honour amongst thieves
Our museums may be full of stolen treasures, but as long as they’re cared for, why give them back?

Philip Hensher
Monday April 24, 2006
The Guardian

These days, we are less and less comfortable about having the monuments of other countries in our museums. When we go to the British Museum, or drive alongside the Thames and notice Cleopatra’s Needle, the immediate response is not what it used to be. Fifty years ago, we might have thought: “How wonderful to live in a country with all these wonderful treasures.” Now, we are just as likely to speculate as to who stole them, and how long it is going to be before they are handed back.

For some, this is uncontroversial. In many cases, such things were not come by honestly; sometimes they were stolen, or seized by force, or bought in dubious circumstances. They were not ours in the first place, never have been truly ours, and the time is fast approaching when we are probably going to have to give them back.
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Fight for the return of stolen African art

Posted at 12:40 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Despite the fact that Kiprop Lagat & the British Museum seem to feel that it is not an important issue, many Kenyans still feel aggrieved that they are only receiving their stolen artwork back on short term loan as a temporary exhibition.

Daily Nation (Kenya)

Battle for return of stolen African art
Publication Date: 4/24/2006

Many years ago, thousands of priceless craft were looted and shipped overseas. A few are back now, on a short loan from Britain. They have a strange cheer around them … but they will be spirited away again to cold and alien cages.

She stands tall and proud – a true scion of the Nyamwezi people of Tanzania. Power and elegance surround her like a halo, her gaze steady and unblinking. By her side are diminutive valets. They cater for her every whim.
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For the sake of the art or for himself?

Posted at 12:36 pm in Similar cases

More on the recovery of Iraq’s looted artefacts.

The Boston Globe

For art’s sake, or his own?
A soldier’s role in retrieving Iraqi relics is controversial
By Geoff Edgers, Globe Staff | April 23, 2006

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. — The Marine opens with a line from ”Hamlet.”

‘I could a tale unfold,” Matthew Bogdanos tells the 200 people gathered at Concordia College to hear how he stormed across war-torn Iraq with a handpicked band of brothers, all for the sake of stolen art.

As usual, Bogdanos doesn’t use a microphone. It’s too restrictive. His voice booms through the auditorium, a skill mastered during years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. He paces the room, clicking through slides of looted galleries and raided palaces, peppering his talk with quotes from Socrates, Voltaire, and Mark Twain.
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April 24, 2006

John Boardman & the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:49 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

John Boardman has written a very negative piece for the Wall Street Journal about the Parthenon Marbles. He starts off by giving a historical account which is relatively accurate.
However, once he starts discussing the sculptures this all changes. Boardman claims that “The oriental bargaining that went on and the interpretation of licenses to remove sculpture from the Acropolis are the stuff of modern arguments about ‘legality’ that are quite foreign to the manners of the early 1800s.” which makes one wonder, if this is the case, why so many questions were raised in parliament about Lord Elgin’s conduct at the time of the acquisition of the sculptures by the British government.
Like many accounts he dwells on how Elgin suffered great financial loss in acquiring the marbles – I have never understood how the fact that the seventh Earl of Elgin was financially incompetent should alter the moral or legal aspects of the case.
Then he drops back to the old argument much loved by the British Museum of how so many more people see the sculptures in the museum – as if there has been some sort of mutual agreement between countries that all cultural heritage should be relocated to wherever the most people are, ignoring any sort of a connection they might have had with their original context.

Perhaps the main issue though, is that most of his arguments are post-rationalisations of what happened. Someone decided to do something & then many years later people realised that what the person had done had unknowingly to them created all sorts of other benefits – At the time events occur no one can anticipate what other things might happen in the future, so any post-rationalised ideas should at best be classified as fortunate co-incidences, rather than being implied as part of the original intention.

It is worth bearing in mind that when the British Museum held a symposium in 2000 about the cleaning of the Parthenon Sculptures under Lord Duveen, John Boardman was the only one amongst the various delegates there who specifically stated that he thought this contentious cleaning had been a good thing & that the sculptures had been improved by it.

Wall Street Journal

What Were the Elgin Marbles?
And should they really go back to Greece?

Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

At a time when issues of “national heritage” seem to arouse passion, the Elgin Marbles (pronounced with a hard “g”) are regularly invoked. For many the matter seems simple: They were stolen from Greece by an English lord and, since they are the symbol of all that ancient Greece–as progenitor of modern civilization and democracy–stands for, they must go back. It might not hurt to consider just what they are.

In the middle of the fifth century B.C., Athens, which we regard as the home of democracy, was more effectively an imperial state, which had taken advantage of success against the Persian invasion to generate an “empire” in Greece. This had come to exclude only those too powerful to be conquered, and Athens was probably the most hated state in Greece. It was also rich, from Persian spoils and “tribute” from its empire. Athens’ leaders, notably Pericles, wished to demonstrate their success and claim a role for Athens as champion of the Greeks, through the construction of a great temple–the Parthenon.
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April 18, 2006

Recovering Iraq’s treasures

Posted at 1:08 pm in Similar cases

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is the person who has been put in charge of the recovery of Iraq’s treasures. The fact that someone is in charge of the situation indicates that following intensive media coverage, the US government now realises the seriousness of the problem. On the other hand, it is still too much a case of to little too late.

The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin)

April 17, 2006
Recovering pillaged Iraqi art is expert’s goal
By Jacob Stockinger

When it comes to funding terrorism, stealing art in Iraq is like growing opium poppies in Afghanistan, according to one expert in art, crime and terrorism who will speak soon in Madison.

“There is no doubt that the international trade in illegal Iraqi art and antiquities is funding the insurgency,” says Col. Matthew Bogdanos, a reserve officer in the U.S. Marines who holds advanced degrees in law, art history and military strategy.
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The destruction of Babylon

Posted at 12:47 pm in Similar cases

Along with the looting of Iraq’s Museums after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, were many cases of accidental damage to archaeological sites. Since foreign observers were able to re-enter the country, archaeologists have alleged that the US forces stationed at the Babylon site have caused huge amounts of damage to the ancient buildings. The British Museum has long highlighted the problems with the looting & damage in Iraq but neglects to mention that many pieces in their own collection were acquired from situations in the past which were not dissimilar.

The Ledger (Florida)

Published Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Ruined Treasures in Babylon Await an Iraq Without Fighting
New York Times

BABYLON, Iraq In this ancient city, it is hard to tell what are ruins and what’s just ruined.

Crumbling brick buildings, some 2,500 years old, look like smashed sand castles at the beach.
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Worshipers of Zeus want to use the Acropolis

Posted at 12:30 pm in Acropolis

People who worship the twelve gods of Mount Olympus are planning on asking the Greek government if they can practice their faith at various ancient sites which were originally dedicated to these gods, such as the Acropolis.
There is already a precedent for the use of ancient monuments in this way, where Stonehenge is visited by modern day druids for the summer solstice celebrations. The neo-pagans probably have as much connection to the original users of the temples as the neo-druids do with Stonehenge (the first recorded druidic ceremonies at the site in modern times were in 1905).

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Monday April 17, 2006
Zeus worshippers want to head for Acropolis

Worshippers of the 12 gods of Mount Olympus are planning to ask the government to allow them to practice their faith at ancient sites like the Acropolis, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini.
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