Showing results 13 - 24 of 28 for the month of August, 2006.

August 15, 2006

Restitution of cultural property in the USA

Posted at 7:37 pm in Similar cases

In the US, even smaller museums are now affected by requests for the return of items in their collections – particularly those classified as cultural treasures. A large number of these cases are related to Native American artefacts, but their experience with handling claims in that field has no doubt helped to move the goalposts with regards to the restitution of other artefacts, as highlighted by many recent high profile cases involving some of the country’s wealthiest museums.

Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon)

Monday, August 14, 2006
Plundered art creates quandary
Local museums often have returned such pieces
Statesman Journal
August 13, 2006

The international trade in looted antiquities and misappropriated cultural works may seem a distant matter to the museums and universities of the Northwest.

There are no Indiana Jones-type professors working at Oregon schools or museums with large collections of ancient works or large acquisition budgets.
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August 14, 2006

Attempts to decide if art is looted

Posted at 7:12 pm in Similar cases

Frank Robinson, director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca NY. In this interview here, he outlines some of the measures that the museum has been taking to try & find out if any of the items in its collection might have been looted by the Nazis.

Bloomberg News

Nazi Loot, Antiquities, Art Buying: Cornell Museum’s Robinson
Aug. 14 (Bloomberg)

Frank Robinson is director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, which lured 10,973 Cornell University students to classes and tours in the past year. While he has only a $3.5 million budget and $500,000 a year to buy art, his concerns mirror those of museums around the world.

Adding to the collection, Robinson shops at art fairs from Maastricht, the Netherlands, to Art Basel Miami Beach. In Ithaca, New York, he presides over research into many of the museum’s 32,000 objects to ascertain if any were stolen by Nazis or smuggled off excavation sites.
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Assessing Cyprus’s stolen past

Posted at 7:00 pm in Similar cases

A new exhibition at the Cyprus Museum reflects the illegal worldwide trade in cultural heritage, with particular emphasis on those originating from Greece & Cyprus. The museum moves to the Benaki Museum in Athens on 12th September

Cyprus Mail

Taking stock of our stolen past
By Constantine Markides

A LARGE banner hangs outside the Cyprus Museum reading, “You have been robbed.”

The dire announcement refers to an exhibition at the Cyprus Museum titled ‘History Lost’ on the illicit trade of antiquities around the world, with an emphasis on Cyprus and Greece.

The banner’s assertion is not an overstatement. Throughout Cyprus over 100 archaeological sites have been looted and an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Byzantine icons, mosaics and paintings have been stolen.
Cyprus is considered an archeological gold mine. In 1929 the priest of St. Eirini in the island’s north found in a field a terracotta sculpture, which he delivered to the curator of the Cyprus Museum. Read the rest of this entry »

August 13, 2006

Protecting New Zealand’s cultural heritage

Posted at 6:56 pm in Similar cases

More details on the move by the New Zealand government to limit the export of cultural artefacts from their country.

Gisborne Herald (New Zealand)

Treasures lost
by Kristine Walsh & NZPA
Saturday, 12 August, 2006

VISITORS to overseas museums can continue to enjoy the gleam of greenstone patu (clubs), the richness of totara carvings and the intricacy of woven cloaks, but those collections are unlikely to get any bigger. The New Zealand government last week passed a law that will make it harder for overseas collectors to get hold of Maori artefacts.

The British Museum alone holds more than 3000 Maori items and, according to Tairawhiti Museum researcher Jody Wyllie many of them — including a waka huia (treasure box) and carved portions of a meeting house — are “of particular interest” to Tairawhiti iwi.
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August 12, 2006

Guidelines for the treatment of sacred objects in museums

Posted at 6:39 pm in Similar cases

Many of the artefacts in museums that are subject to restitution claims are those that could be classified as being sacred to a specific culture. In many of these cases, those that are pursuing a restitution claim do not necessarily actually want the items back, but in some cases merely want better access to it, or to utilise it in certain ceremonies again. New guidelines in the US seek to advise museums on how to deal with such issues when they arise.

New York Times

Museums Establish Guidelines for Treatment of Sacred Objects
Published: August 10, 2006

When the Blackfoot Nation approached the Denver Art Museum about borrowing a horse shawl for a ceremony a few years ago, the museum faced a quandary. Curators were eager to oblige, but they worried that the ritual would expose the early-20th-century relic to the damaging effects of horse sweat. After a delicate negotiation, a compromise was reached: The tribe would use the object in the ceremony without actually putting it on the horse.

The story is not unusual. As American Indian and other groups have become increasingly assertive about guarding their cultural heritage, museums have struggled to strike a balance between the traditional practice of collecting indigenous objects as art and the often competing interests of the people whose ancestors produced them. In many cases federal laws have enabled tribes to reclaim works outright.
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Measuring the state of progress on Nazi looted art

Posted at 6:39 pm in Similar cases

Studies show that many American museums have not yet taken the effort to audit a subset of their collections to identify which items could possibly be classified as Nazi loot. I would suggest these figures are still far higher than for the remainder of their collections. The highly organised nature of the lobby for the return of Jewish artwork, along with funding to carry out their work, means that they have been relatively successful in pursuing restitution claims which relate to the Nazi occupation. By comparison, other cultures which have suffered widespread looting in the past have had far less results in terms of having their cultural artefacts returned.

Jerusalem Post

Aug. 6, 2006 8:48 | Updated Aug. 6, 2006 8:59
Outside the frame of justice

After a six-year hiatus, the US Congress recently rediscovered the question of Nazi-looted art. In hearings last week, it became clear that justice remains nearly as elusive for Nazi victims and their heirs as it was when Congress took a more aggressive role between 1997 and 2000.

True, there have been some blockbuster successes – notably the return by Austria of five major Gustav Klimt paintings to the heirs of the Viennese magnate Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. By most measures, however, little progress has been made in identifying and returning looted artworks to the original owners or heirs.
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Insurance cover for restitution claims?

Posted at 6:21 pm in Similar cases

Presumably prompted by the recent rise in the number of cases where the title of artworks in the US is contested, an insurance firm is for the first time offering specific coverage for the costs associated with such claims.

The fact that many museum artefacts in the UK are uninsured due to the prohibitive costs, it would seem unlikely that such a product would be popular amongst public institutions here, although maybe there are some that ought to consider it.

Maine Antique Digest

New Firm Offers Title Insurance for Art
by Lita Solis-Cohen

Considering the amount of newsprint devoted to stories about repatriation of looted art, art dealer bankruptcies, stolen art, WPA art seized by the government, and artists involved in copyright litigation or asking for residual payment when their works are sold in the secondary market, it is not surprising that someone would come up with a safety net for the collector: title insurance for art.

Lawrence M. Shindell, a Milwaukee attorney with a specialty in art law, and his sister, Judith L. Pearson of Denver, a veteran in the insurance business, have launched ARIS Title Insurance Corporation in New York. They are ready to sell their new product, Art Title Protection Insurance (ATPI) policies that insure title but not authenticity. Larry Shindell is the chairman and CEO, and Judy Pearson is president and director of the new company.
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August 11, 2006

Returned Klimts may end up back in Austria

Posted at 5:28 pm in Similar cases

Klimt paintings that were looted by the Nazis & returned to the original owner’s heirs in the USA may be repurchased by Austria. This restitution cases was always one about writing a wronged act in the past & personal financial gain. The heirs never really wanted the paintings themselves. Cases like this are very different to that of the Elgin Marbles, where they would be returned to be seen in a situation closer to their original context, & are part of a country’s cultural identity. In many ways, the Klimts are more a part of Austria’s cultural identity than that of the heirs who have live on the opposite side of the world.

China Post (Taiwan)

Friday, August 18, 2006
Buyer could bring Klimt back to Austria

A prominent businessman said Wednesday he has found a buyer to purchase one of five Gustav Klimt paintings that were recently returned to a California woman whose family lost them to the Nazis and bring it back to Austria for public display.

Christoph Leitl, president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, refused to identify the prospective buyer, who he said could afford the estimated euro19.5 million (US$25 million) price tag for “Haeuser in Unterach am Attersee” and has been interested “for a long time.”
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August 10, 2006

Elgin Marbles cartoons

Posted at 1:04 pm in Elgin Marbles

Lazaros Filippidis has updated his old website which contained cartoons he had created portraying what the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum might be saying if they could speak.

He has now completely overhauled the website & the updated site includes links where it is possible to order t-shirts with the cartoons on.

The new site can be viewed here.

Greece needs to market their archaeological sites better

Posted at 12:57 pm in Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

I am not the first person to have said, that Greece could better market many of their archaeological sites, particularly in terms of internet presence etc. It is proposed that gradually some museums within the country will be able to move away from the centralised Archaeological Receipts Fund paradigm & take more control over their own administration. This will allow them to keep more of the money generated from their own initiatives & reuse it, creating an incentive for museums to enhance their facilities & attract more visitors. One only needs to look at the way in which two private museum in Athens, the Benaki & the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art are run, to see the potential for improving the state museums.
The New Acropolis Museum in Athens is intended to be one of the first museums to explore this new freedom, evidenced by the cafe & restaurant that have been included within the building.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday August 10, 2006
Tourists depend on insider tips to know where to go
Receptionists at major hotels argue cultural events not promoted enough
Botero’s sculptures are hard to miss, but visitors often fail to hear of other important exhibitions.
By Margarita Pournara – Kathimerini

If you were to ask the minister of culture, the minister of tourism, the director of the Hellenic Festival or any other high-ranking administrative official of the capital’s museums or hotels what long-term goals Athens needs to set in terms of tourism, they would, in one voice, answer: strong incentives for foreign visitors to stay in the capital at least two or three days before heading for the islands, an opportunity for tourists to see something of Athens other than the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora and for them to leave with a good impression of the capital and the intention of visiting again. In short, what Athens needs is high-quality products and services and a long-term, inspired tourism development strategy such as that designed, and in part achieved, by Giorgos Loukos this year as director and architect of the revamped Hellenic Festival. Otherwise, the renaissance of Athenian tourism will remain in the hands of tour operators.
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Translation of Voulgarakis interview

Posted at 12:51 pm in Elgin Marbles

Eleni Cubitt of the BCRPM has kindly provided me with a translation of the interview that George Voulgarakis gave to Χωρά newspaper in Greece last Sunday.


Interview to the Greek Newspaper “Chorá” – of the 8th August 2006.
The Minister of Culture, Mr. Voulgarakis has set the terms for the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures on more diplomatic terms on the principle that the restitution of cultural artefacts is the obligation of the whole of humanity.
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August 8, 2006

Moonlight opening of the Acropolis

Posted at 12:46 pm in Acropolis

In recent years, a number of Greek Archaeological sites, most notably the Acropolis have opened late on the nights of full moons in the summer. This gives visitors to see the sites from a completely different perspective to how they appear during the day, made more unique by the limited number of times that it is possible to do this.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Tuesday August 8, 2006

Ministry says ancient sites will be open late tomorrow for full moon

The Culture Ministry said yesterday that it will observe its annual tradition of keeping Greece’s main archeological sites open past midnight tomorrow so visitors can enjoy the full moon. The sites that will be open until 1 a.m. include the Acropolis, Sounion, Kerameikos, Ancient Olympia and Delphi, the ministry said.