Showing results 13 - 24 of 25 for the month of July, 2006.

July 14, 2006

Ten people charged in Croesus theft case

Posted at 9:43 pm in Similar cases

Following on from the suspected theft of items from the Croesus treasury in Turkey, a number of arrests have now been made. Depending on how the case develops, this is an important step towards Turkey regaining international confidence that items which are returned will be safe in its museums.

Turkish Daily News

10 charged in missing brooch case
Friday, July 14, 2006
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

The Uşak Prosecutor’s Office has charged 10 people, including a local museum director, with embezzlement and artifact smuggling in a case involving the theft of a piece of the famed Lydian Hoard at the Uşak Museum.

The office sought 25 years’ imprisonment for eight of the suspects and four years each for two others.
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Bob Hecht & the Euphronios Krater

Posted at 1:10 pm in Similar cases

Suzan Mazur continues here exposé of the circumstances surrounding the Metropolitan Museum’s acquisition (& later return) of the Euphronios Krater.

The previous two pieces covered the politics of the purchase of the krater & the agreement reached with Italy for the return of it.

Scoop Independent News (New Zealand)

“Bully Bob” Hecht And The Euphronios Questions
Friday, 7 July 2006, 2:15 pm
Opinion: Suzan Mazur
“Bully Bob” Hecht & The Unanswered Euphronios Questions

“Bully Bob” Hecht is best known for escorting Italy’s priceless Sarpedon Euphronios vase to the US in 1972 and selling it for personal profit to a private museum that gets public funding — the Metropolitan Museum of Art; his price was $1million. Hecht is also known for his threatening fist, including an attempted assault on this writer.

The two episodes are not unrelated. They are facets of Hecht’s ruthlessness, of his violent history.
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The Conservation and Deaccessioning of The Ancient World

Posted at 12:53 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Minerva looks at the benefits of allowing museums to more easily deaccession items in their collections.
The Anti-deaccessioning clauses in the British Museum Act are one of the key arguments which is regularly given by the British Museum as to why the Elgin Marbles can not be returned.


The Conservation and Deaccessioning of The Ancient World

As Minerva goes to press, Laura Novak of The New York Times (29 March) has highlighted the Getty Conservation Institute at the Getty Villa in Malibu and its great strides worldwide in training conservators to conform to international standards. According to Timothy P. Whalen, the director of the Institute, the Getty spent $35 million in 2004 in its global conservation programmes, much more than any other American organisation. As terrifically responsible as this investment clearly is in trying to preserve surviving ancient heritage, either on archaeological sites or in museums, there is no escaping the reality that the modern predicament is akin to fighting forest fires. The quantity of sites being excavated each year, and the hundreds of thousands of artefacts unearthed annually, are mind-boggling. There is no conceivable way that all of these sites can be properly conserved and protected or their finds recorded and safely stored in proper facilities for future generations.
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The future for the British Museum

Posted at 12:33 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The Museum Security Network has for a long time supported the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens.
Here, Ton Cremers who runs the network provides an interesting commentary on an article about Neil MacGregor’s tenure at the British Museum

Museum Security Network

Introduction to the article:

Below is another adulatory article – or ‘sycophantic guff’. This is only one of a series of articles designed to put a stop to the request for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures all inspired and probably written by MacGregor himself. The need for all these spurious articles is the fact that MacGregor knows that the new Acropolis Museum is reaching completion and once it opens its doors it will be impossible for the British to continue with their assertions that they are ‘theirs’ and will never go back. Read the rest of this entry »

July 12, 2006

Greece demands return of stolen heritage

Posted at 9:11 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

This article in the Guardian on the Getty’s decision to return two artefacts to Greece adds some additional slightly confusing details.
The article quotes Giorgos Voulgarakis (The Greek Minister of Culture) as saying: “Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want back”. This statement goes against previous statements made by the Greek government & contradicts other points in the same article. I think the issue here is that something was muddled in the translation from the original Greek statement – My understanding is that Greece is not asking for the return of any Greek artefacts held in foreign museums, but only for those that they believe left the country illegally.

The Guardian

Greece demands return of stolen heritage
· Getty museum success inspires antiquities hunt
· We’ll scour world to get them back, says minister
Helena Smith in Athens
Tuesday July 11, 2006
The Guardian

Greece is to reclaim hundreds of looted art works and antiquities from museums and private collections around the world, the government said yesterday.

Emboldened by the J Paul Getty Museum’s move to return two prized antiquities to Greek ownership, Athens had decided to demand more repatriations, said the culture minister, Giorgos Voulgarakis. A list is being made of items believed to have been illicitly removed.
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The College of Staten Island’s Parthenon project

Posted at 9:04 pm in Acropolis

The College of Staten Island in New York State is planning on using casts & photos that they have of the Parthenon frieze as the basis for providing facilities for in depth study of the sculptures.

Greek News Online

July 11, 2006
Community: The Parthenon Project at the College of Staten Island
Posted on Monday, July 10 @ 22:03:55 EDT by greek_news

Community New York.- The College of Staten Island, centrally located on Staten Island, is the largest school in the CUNY system. Its 204 acres of lawns and woodlands are graced by 19 neo-Georgian brick buildings, which house academic, administrative and recreational activities. The College serves a diverse student body of more than 12,800 full-time and part-time students pursuing associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Within its academic programs; the creation of the Honors College with emphasis on excellence; the internationally known MacroMolecular Assemblies Institute and Center for Engineered Polymeric Material, which expands the frontiers of biotechnology; and, its nationally-recognized Discovery Institute, serving local intermediate and high school teachers; CSI has placed teaching, learning and research at the center of its priorities.
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British government asks for opinions on returning Nazi loot

Posted at 8:59 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

For some time now, the British Government has been talking about making changes to the acts governing many of Britain’s major museums & galleries. The change being considered is to allow the return of looted artefacts taken stolen by the Nazis which ended up in British Institutions.
Last year, there were two high profile cases, that of the Benevento Missal in the British Library & that of the Feldmann paintings in the British Museum, which would have been directly affected by such a change in the law.
Now the government’s Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) is at last inviting public opinion on the issue before they consider the details of such a change in the law.
Any changes in the limiting anti-deaccessioning rules that govern so many British institutions are to be welcomed, allowing more flexibility in the restitution of artefacts when required. One thing that I have never understood about these proposals for a change to the law is why the change should be limited to such a specific period in time – excluding any equally valid cases that occurred before or after specific dates.

BBC News

Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Public’s views sought on Nazi art

The government “would like to enable the return” of art stolen during the Nazi era, culture minister David Lammy has said.

In recent years, some items that ended up in UK collections have not been returned to their owners because of legal restrictions.
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Nazi loot in museums throughout America

Posted at 12:26 pm in Similar cases

This article looks at some recent restitution cases in the USA – focusing on cases involving Jewish owned artworks which were taken by the Nazis & have now ended up in museums.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Plundered art plagues museums all across America
New York Times Syndicate

While the Kimbell’s sudden return in June of its sole Turner painting makes it the first Texas museum to restitute — without immediately buying back — a prized part of its permanent collection once plundered by the Nazis, it is far from the only national institution to be confronted with this complex dilemma.

Art repositories from Seattle to Boston have been entangled in a movement to ferret out Holocaust-era stolen art and restore it to its victimized owners.
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July 11, 2006

Getty deal with Greece

Posted at 8:47 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Further details of the agreement announced yesterday by the Getty to return two artefacts to Greece.

Los Angeles Times

3:30 AM PDT, July 11, 2006
Getty Will Return 2 Greek Artifacts
Greece applauds the move. But two items of greater significance and value remain in disputel
By Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, Times Staff Writers
July 11, 2006

The J. Paul Getty Trust agreed Monday to return two antiquities that Greek authorities say were taken illegally from their country.

The move to repatriate a 4th century BC inscribed tombstone and a 5th century BC marble relief, both on display at the Getty Villa, comes two months after museum director Michael Brand visited Athens and promised to address a decade-old request by the Greek government for the return of four disputed objects in the Getty’s collection.
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Getty to return two Greek artefacts

Posted at 8:39 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Following their statement last month that they would return some artefacts to Italy, the Getty has now also announced the details of two artefacts which will be returned to Greece.
It is interesting to note that these various negotiations with Greece & Italy (& presumably other parties as well?) are continuing despite (or perhaps because of) the ongoing trial of former curator Marion True in Italy.
There are a number of interesting points to note from this announcement:

  1. The Getty was eager to resolve the issue rapidly to improve their working relations with Greece: Mr. Brand said the museum decided to give up title to the stele and votive relief even though negotiations are incomplete because the Getty was eager to establish a new working relationship with Greece.
  2. Greece hopes that this agreement will help to pave the way for the return of other antiquities illegally residing in foreign museums: At a news conference in Athens, Mr. Voulgarakis said the breakthrough would lent momentum to Greece’s bid to recover additional antiquities from museums in the United States and Europe.
  3. One of the keys to securing the return of these two artefacts was a change of director at the Getty – the implication of this is that the new head of the institution, Michael Brand, sees the benefit of negotiating such claims rather than ignoring them: For the first time in 10 years, we had a Getty director coming to us with a proposal to work things out,” said Ms. Vassilopoulou, who took part in the negotiations.

New York Times

Getty Museum Will Return 2 Antiquities to Greece
Published: July 10, 2006

After months of intense scrutiny of its collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles said today ay that it had agreed to relinquish ownership of two of four rare ancient works that the government of Greece says were illegally removed from within its borders.

The compromise accord, which was initially reached in May at a meeting in Athens between the museum’s director, Michael Brand, and the Greek culture minister, Georgios A. Voulgarakis, provides for the return to Greece of a large stele, or grave marker, acquired by the museum in 1993 and a small marble relief from the island of Thasos bought by the museum’s founder, the oil magnate J. Paul Getty, in 1955.
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July 6, 2006

US courts try to sell off looted Iranian artefacts

Posted at 8:04 pm in Similar cases

A while ago, I mentioned a somewhat complex case involving looted Iranian artefacts which had ended up in the United States. Rather than returning the pieces, they have become part of a deal to try & secure reparations from Iran for a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 1997 in which American citizens were injured. I am still unclear about how stolen cultural property can just be sold off without contravening international treaties on the sale of such artefacts.
Iran has now spoken out against this proposed action by the US.

Far News Agency (Iran)

News numbre: 8504120353
14:38 | 2006-07-03
MP Condemns US Court Ruling on Iranian Ancient Tablets

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- An Iranian MP condemned a US federal court ruling that authorizes putting to auction of ancient clay tablets dating back to the Achaemenid era, saying that since the artifacts are part of Iran’s national assets the court decision is against international norms and regulations.

Eshrat Shayeq told FNA here on Monday that Americans violated the law when they took the said items out of Iran, “and now they intend to legalize their aggressive action under the mask of a court ruling.”
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British Museum may borrow terracotta army

Posted at 7:51 pm in British Museum

A deal to temporarily exhibit a large number of the statues that make up the terracotta army is being negotiated by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. This exhibition would be a part of the reciprocal agreement that has allowed the Chinese to display important exhibits from the British Museum.
Arrangements such as these can allow many people to see artefacts that they would never otherwise have been able to. Temporary exhibitions draw in a huge number of visitors to the British Museum & equally importantly generate money for the institution. In the past, Greece has made offers whereby if the Elgin Marbles were reunited in Greece on a long-term loan, Greece could loan the British Museum important artefacts – not just a static collection, but one which could change on a regular basis. This would probably draw many more visitors to the Museum than the Sculptures of the Parthenon currently do, but it appears that Neil MacGregor only wants to enter into this sort of agreement when he is able to define all the parameters himself & feels that he is the one controlling the process.

The Independent

3 July 2006 09:42
China’s ancient terracotta army set to march on British Museum
By Louise Jury, Arts Correspondent
Published: 03 July 2006

The biggest exhibition of the terracotta army of Xian seen outside China is being planned by the British Museum.

The deal to bring to Britain a large number of the more than 8,000 figures buried with the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, 2,200 years ago is being brokered by the museum’s director, Neil MacGregor. If the detailed negotiations are concluded successfully, the show would be the most dramatic result of a partnership signed between the two countries last year.
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