Showing results 1 - 12 of 32 for the month of September, 2006.

September 27, 2006

Medici offers solution to end trial

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

Giacomo Medici is currently on trial in Italy as part of a much wider crackdown on the smuggling of antiquities. Medici was responsible for the Met’s acquisition of the Euphronios Krater (since returned to Italy).
In a somewhat bizarre twist to proceedings, while continuing to protest his innocence, he is now offerering to hand over to Italy a piece which he describes as having greater value the Euphronois Krater. He believes that the value of the (as yet unseen piece) will be enough to cover the fines imposed on him by Italy – thereby allowing him to go free.
Quite how he can have access to this unknown piece, yet deny dealing in looted artefacts is more than a little unclear at present.

Bloomberg News

Updated: New York, Sep 26 09:04
Art Smuggler Offers Italy Mystery Masterpiece `X’ to End Trial

By Vernon Silver

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — A convicted antiquities smuggler has offered to return a previously unknown ancient masterpiece known as “Object X” to Italy in exchange for reducing the jail time and fines he faces for supplying loot to U.S. museums.

A famous artist from the ancient world whose work compares to that of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci created Object X, says the convicted art dealer, Giacomo Medici, who is free while awaiting appeal. The object, which may be a statue, vase, or something else — he’s not saying — is worth millions, he says.
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Free admission to Acropolis today

Posted at 12:16 pm in Acropolis

To mark World Tourism Day, the Acropolis in Athens (along with other major sites) will not be charging admission fees today.

International Herald Tribune

Greece to grant free entrance to museums, sites on World Tourism Day
The Associated Press
Published: September 26, 2006

ATHENS, Greece Entrance to the ancient Acropolis, major archaeological sites and museums will be free Wednesday to mark World Tourism Day, the Culture Ministry said.

The ministry will also open a 15-meter (50-foot) high spherical video display, the tourism planetarium, at the marble Pan-Athenian stadium, in downtown Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.
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September 25, 2006

More details on return of looted kigango

Posted at 12:48 pm in Similar cases

Further details of the return of the Kenyan kigango from Illinois State Museum. This is just one of many stolen artefacts that are currently displayed in museums however, as highlighted by the Egyptian case discussed at the end of the article.

St. Louis Today (USA)

Illinois museum surrenders artifact
By Kevin McDermott

A 4-foot wooden tribute to the dead is on its way back to Kenya, after a theft and global trip that ultimately landed it in the vault of the Illinois State Museum.

Kenyan government officials hope the return of the artifact – the first gesture of its kind by a Western museum – will spur others to stop viewing objects from Kenya’s native customs as mere pieces of interesting art.
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September 24, 2006

Stolen Greek icon recovered

Posted at 12:52 pm in Greece Archaeology

A priceless icon stolen from a Greek monastery has now been recovered by police in Crete following a tip off. Part of the problem though which drives the theft of artefacts is the fact that there are private collectors who are willing to pay for artefacts which lack any sort of provenance to prove that they have not been stolen.

BBC News

Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Greek police recover stolen icon

Greek police have recovered a priceless 700-year-old icon stolen last month in a daring raid on a cliffside monastery.

A Romanian man, arrested in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, following a police tip-off, confessed to the theft.
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Recovering Nazi loot

Posted at 12:35 pm in Similar cases

The Times looks at the work of Clemens Toussaint; an investigator who tracks down artworks looted by the Nazis – with a great deal of success.

The Times

The Sunday Times
September 24, 2006
Trader of the lost art

This £22m old master is stolen property. So why is it on display in an American museum? And why won’t they give it back to its rightful owner? It is one of thousands of priceless works of art that were looted by the Nazis and ended up scattered across the world in respectable institutions. Clemens Toussaint has vowed to track them down and get them back. And they call him a merciless plunderer. Report by John Follain

His name causes museum and gallery curators across the world to shudder, for his calling card is blank space where paintings once hung. But he is no thief – quite the opposite. More than 60 years after the war, thousands of works of art plundered from Jewish collectors by the Nazis are still installed in European institutions. Clemens Toussaint, a 45-year-old German multimillionaire, has made it his business to track them down and return them to their rightful owners.
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Stolen artefact returned to Kenya

Posted at 12:30 pm in Similar cases

Illinois State Museum is to return a stolen artefact to Kenya. It is believed that this is the first time that a foreign museum has returned a stolen African artefact to its rightful owners. Hopefully this will set a precedent for the return of other looted African artefacts held in foreign museums.

People’s Daily (China)

Kenya takes back stolen historic artifact from U.S.
UPDATED: 09:04, September 22, 2006

The Kenyan government has taken back a historic artifact from the United States, National Heritage Minister Suleiman Shakambo said on Thursday.

The 4-foot-tall wooden memorial post, called kigango which was stolen from a local family 20 years ago, was reclaimed from a museum in the United States a week ago, Shakambo told a news conference in Nairobi.
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September 22, 2006

The Greenland repatriation experience

Posted at 1:22 pm in Similar cases

A conference on repatriation of cultural heritage is going to be held in Greenland early next year. At first, Greenland may seem an odd country to host such a conference – however, when you look into the details of it, Greenland has been at the centre of one of the worlds largest repatriation programs, whereby 35,000 items were returned to the country from Denmark since becoming semi-autonomous from the country. As a result of this, despite being one of the remotest places in the northern hemisphere, it is at the forefront of cultural property restitution having undergone a more comprehensive programme than possibly any other country in the world.
Giorgos Voulgarakis, the Greek Minister of culture will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Greenland National Museum & Archives

Repatriation of Cultural Heritage Conference 2007
The Greenland repatriation experience

The return of 35.000 objects
For 20 years Greenland and Denmark has been engaged in a successful partnership involving the repatriation of 35.000 items of cultural heritage. During the Colonial Period of Greenland (1721-1979), large quantities of ethnographic and archaeological objects relating to prehistoric and historic times have been collected and brought to Denmark by Danish officials, arctic explorers and missionaries. As a consequence of this collecting process, the National Museum of Denmark has held six important collections of cultural heritage originating in Greenland:
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Italy & Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts

Posted at 12:48 pm in Similar cases

Suzan Mazur continues her series of articles looking at looted artefacts in American museums – or more specifically the involvement of Bob Hecht as a common theme in many of these cases.

Scoop Independent News (New Zealand)

Ancient Art Italy Wants Back From Boston’s MFA
Friday, 15 September 2006, 5:35 pm
Opinion: Suzan Mazur
First Peek At The Ancient Art Italy Wants Back From Boston’s Museum Of Fine Arts — Plus — A Chat With Bob Hecht Mfa Pal, Cornelius Vermeule
By Suzan Mazur

Hunt-Sotheby’s, lot #14: Calyx krater, Lucania, South Italy, 400 BC. Detail of the final scene from Euripedes’ Medea with Medea fleeing in a chariot drawn by crested serpents, following the murder of her children. She is dressed in an ornate robe and Phyrgian tassled helmet, the chariot surrounded by a “solar mandorla”. The vase sold above estimate for $360,000 (before sales tax). But where is it now?
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September 20, 2006

US courts may limit Nazi loot claims

Posted at 12:58 pm in Similar cases

Following recent cases in Germany it appears that there is a certain level of resistance in the museums world to some cases that involve Nazi looted art. In these instances though, it is not the same as the resistance to restitution cases in the first place, but issues with the circumstances under which the works may have left the original owner’s control which are seen as the problem.
Now, a case in New York looks at a completely different case which does however have certain similarities. In this instance, the family that are now asking for the return of a painting, despite the fact that it was well known to them for years where this painting was now located. This inaction is being used to try & block the case & hence not treat it in the same way as other cases involving Nazi looting.
Cases like this can harm the image of restitution – it seems that they are normally only intended to create personal financial gain for someone who usually does not appear to legally deserve the compensation that they are requesting. On the other hand though, cases like this in the US & Germany show how far some countries are ahead of Britain with their restitution laws – while the UK is still talking about revising laws to allow galleries & museum to return Nazi loot to its rightful owners, other countries have already dealt with this & are now going through phases of revising & refining these laws based on their experience of their usage in the real world.

New York Sun

September 15, 2006 Edition > Section: New York
Court Decision Could Make It More Difficult To Recover Artwork
BY JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 15, 2006

The steel magnate Albert Otten took many paintings with him when he fled the Nazis. He resided in Manhattan for a time and died a prominent man, near the end of the 20th century.

For several years, he shared the city with a man named Curt Glaser. It is unclear whether the two ever met, but Glaser, at one time a prominent art historian, surely knew well an Edvard Munch painting in Otten’s collection. The artist once gave the painting to Glaser. In 2004, an executor of Glaser’s wife’s estate went to court to try to get the painting back.
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September 19, 2006

Return of burial ashes sparks celebration in Tasmania

Posted at 1:00 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Tasmanian aboriginals are excited about the return of cremation ashes from the British Museum last week. There is disappointment however, that many other museums do not seem to have dealt seriously with restitution requests, giving various reasons why they feel that returns of human remains in their collections are not possible.

Tasmania Mercury (Australia)

Return sparks a celebration
September 16, 2006 12:00am

THERE were tears, cheers and overwhelming joy, as the remains of Tasmanian Aborigines arrived in Hobart yesterday.
Two young indigenous Tasmanians returned from London with bundles of cremated ancestors to return to their traditional community, after at least 100 years in a British museum and more than 170 years after they died.

Adam Thompson, 28, of Launceston, who is the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s land management co-ordinator for northern Tasmania, and Leah Brown, 23, of Hobart, who works for the Aboriginal Heritage Office, were greeted by about 50 Tasmanian Aboriginal community members at Hobart Airport.
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Looted headdress returns to Peru

Posted at 12:52 pm in Similar cases

Following its unexpected discovery in the UK last month, a looted headdress has now been handed back to Peru.

ABC News (USA)

September 18, 2006
Peru Gets Looted Gold Headress Returned
Looted 1,300-Year-Old Gold Headdress Returned to Peru After Recovery in London

LIMA, Peru Sep 15, 2006 (AP)— Peru celebrated the return Friday of a prized 1,300-year-old embossed gold headdress looted from an ancient tomb nearly 20 years ago. With a feline face at its center and eight curving tentacles, the artifact which collectors say could be among Peru’s most valuable treasures and worth close to $2 million was recovered last month in a raid on a London lawyer’s office.

The golden headdress was made in the image of an ancient sea god and dates back to around 700 A.D., making it a prized example of artwork by the Mochica civilization that inhabited northern Peru.
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Greece to allow filming on Acropolis

Posted at 12:46 pm in Acropolis

Throughout the modern history of Greece, the country has closely guarded the usage of the Acropolis for commercial activities, stressing that it does not want to show disrespect to the sacred space. Now, for the first time they are going to allow parts of a feature film to be shot at the site, hoping that it will give valuable international publicity to Greece’s archaeology.

The Guardian

Acropolis to make Hollywood debut
Helena Smith in Athens
Monday September 18, 2006
The Guardian

The Acropolis will soon become the backdrop for a big-screen comedy after Athens gave the green light for the glory that was Greece to be used by Hollywood for the first time.

Breaking with a no-go policy, applied without distinction to the great and good of modern cinematography, Greece’s powerful archaeological council (KAS) has permitted the classical masterpiece to feature in the movie – known for the moment as My Life in Ruins, and produced by Tom Hanks.
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