Showing results 49 - 60 of 667 for the tag: Cultural Property.

October 25, 2013

3rd International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property

Posted at 8:22 am in Events, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

A bit late posting this, as the event has already started.

The Third International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property is currently taking place in Greece, with events at a variety of locations.

If you want further details of the event, have a look at this web page.

3rd International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property

3rd International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property

From:
Greek Ministry of Culture

3rd International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property

4/10/2013

As a follow-up to the Second International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property, held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 16-17 October 2012, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports organizes the Third International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property.
The Conference will be held from Wednesday 23 until Saturday 26 October 2013. The opening ceremony, as well as the procedures of the first day will be accommodated in the auditorium of the Acropolis Museum, while the rest sessions from Thursday 24 to Saturday, October 26, will take place in Ancient Olympia (SPAP Conference Center).

The conference program is divided into two main areas:
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October 22, 2013

Feldmann case redux? New settlement reached between nazi loot heirs & British Museum

Posted at 6:02 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Back in the relatively early days of this blog, there was a lot of press coverage about the case of the painting belonging to Arthur Feldmann. Dr Feldmann was a Czech Jew whose paintings were seized by the Nazis. Eventually, some of his paintings ended up in the British Museum. The British Museum claimed that they wanted to return them, but couldn’t.

As a result of this, they brought a legal case, seeing if it was possible to over-ride the British Museum act. A lot of papers made out that the story that the case was about the Elgin Marbles, although this was more media spin than anything else. If you are not familiar with the case, I wrote a fairly lengthy analysis of it here. Some of the legal details from the case, which were not published until later are here.

Following the trustees of the British Museum losing the case (I’m not sure that anyone ever expected anything different), there were demands for changes in the law to handle such situations, although in reality, discussions relating to this aspect of Nazi loot restitution had already been going on for some time before that. These discussions were eventually incorporated into the law (after fairly long delays), in the form of the Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution bill.

In the end, because the British Museum was not allowed to return the paintings, the heirs settled instead for financial compensation (something that was outside the scope of the British Museum Act).

That should have been the end of things, but it appears that it wasn’t. The paintings that were the subject of the earlier case were not the only ones in the museum, that the Feldmann Heirs claimed were rightfully theirs. Although the original case was dealt with by the Spoliation Advisory Panel. This most recent case was not though & was instead dealt with through direct negotiation with the museum (the reasons behind this are not given in the articles that I have read).

Young Couple in a Landscape, 1535-45, in the style of Georg Pencz

What is interesting, is that as I described above, the law now allows the British Museum to return Nazi loot. The Feldmann heirs were still happy to accept an ex-gratia payment though, in lieu of the actual artwork being returned. Once again, the reasons for this are unclear, but the fact remains, that even when the law allows is, not every restitution case is settled by the actual artefacts being returned.

In some cases, the rightful owners only want it acknowledged that they are the owners. In many instances, people accept that the museums are better placed to look after expensive works of art – often you do not want something like this in your home, due to issues with controlled humidity & temperature, security, insurance costs etc.

From:
Haaretz

British Museum compensates collector’s heirs for art looted by Nazis
Family of Arthur Feldmann proved Gestapo had seized work of art in Czechoslovakia in 1939.
By Eitan Buganim
Oct. 17, 2013 | 2:15 AM

The British Museum agreed to compensate descendants of a Jewish art collector who owned a medieval German drawing in the style of Georg Pencz, which the Gestapo looted from his home with the rest of the family’s art collection in March 1939. The museum accepted a spoliation claim by collector Arthur Feldmann’s grandson, Uri Peled. It made an ex gratia payment that allows the museum to keep the drawing, “Young Couple in a Landscape,” painted around 1535-45.

The drawing had been acquired by the museum in good faith from Mrs. Rosi Schilling, in 1993. Peled, who lives in Tel Aviv, proved after extensive research that the drawing had originally belonged to his grandfather and was seized from him in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1939. Neither of the Feldmanns survived the war.
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More reports from the Parthenon Marbles round table event in Brussels last week

Posted at 1:04 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Both Henry Porter & Rodi Kratsa‘s talks from the Parthenon Marbles round table event held in Brussels last week have now been published.

This is in addition to Tom Flynn‘s, which he posted on his website last week.

I also wrote an article about the event, which includes some detail of the talks given by the other speakers who were there.

From:
The Parliament

Return of Parthenon marbles a ‘moral obligation’, says MEP
By Rodi Kratsa – 22nd October 2013

Protecting European cultural heritage, including the Parthenon marbles, is a ‘moral obligation’ and should be at the heart of the EU, writes Rodi Kratsa.

(…) The union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced”, stresses the Lisbon treaty.

Cultural heritage and its symbols undoubtedly constitute the main capital of European peoples and the soul of the European Union. Respecting and restoring them is a European obligation and concern.
Read the rest of this entry »

October 19, 2013

Press coverage of the Round Table on the Parthenon Marbles at the European Parliament

Posted at 10:55 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, International Association

There have been a few press articles about the Round Table event organised in Brussels last week, where various speakers explained why they supported the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Join in ‘mediation’ with Greece over Elgin Marbles, Unesco urges Britain
The long running dispute over the Elgin Marbles should be settled by mediation, Britain is told
By Martin Banks, Brussels
6:56PM BST 15 Oct 2013

William Hague has been urged to take part in a “mediation procedure” with Greece in a fresh diplomatic bid to resolve the long-running dispute over the Elgin Marbles.

Unesco, the United Nation’s cultural organisation, has written to the Foreign Secretary, to Maria Miller, the culture secretary, and to Neil MacGregor, the British Museum’s director, inviting them to sit down with Greek officials and seek a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the sculptures – once part of the ancient Parthenon building in Athens.
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October 11, 2013

Round table discussion on: The reunification of the Parthenon Marbles – a European concern

Posted at 2:00 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

The Swiss Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles are organising a round table event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event is entitled: The reunification of the Parthenon Marbes – a European concern

The event take place on Tuesday 15th October 2013.

From:
Swiss Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

MEP Rodi Kratsa, Vice-President of the European Parliament 2007-2012, and Professor Dusan Sidjanski, Chairman of the Swiss Committee, have the pleasure to invite you to the

Round Table

THE REUNIFICATION OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES : A EUROPEAN CONCERN

under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Hellenic Republic
Read the rest of this entry »

October 7, 2013

Greek Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos addresses the IARPS about the current strategies

Posted at 8:25 am in Elgin Marbles, International Association

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (IARPS) held a general meeting in Athens yesterday, to which representatives from all member organisations were invited.

During the course of the meeting, as well as being given a tour of the latest restoration works at the Acropolis, they were addressed by the Greek Minister of culture, Panos Panagiotopoulos.

From:
International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos addresses the IARPS
Mon, 2013-10-07 08:06

Member organisations from the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures met in Athens yesterday.

During the course of the meeting, Panos Panagiotopoulos, the Greek Culture Minister addressed us, with his thoughts on the issue.

He emphasised the requests for the return of the marbles do not stem from Greek nationalism: “This is not an effort that starts from nationalism, this is not an effort to reinforce the ego of a European Nation. This is an effort that is deeply universal, to restore the unity of a cultural monument for all humanity.”
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October 4, 2013

Meeting of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens

Posted at 7:35 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

The IARPS (Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures) is meeting in Athens this Sunday, for its member committees to discuss future strategies for the return of the sculptures (I have to start packing my bags ready to fly over there once I’ve finished posting this).

With the recently announced (but planned some time ago) plans to use try & negotiate on the issue using the UNESCO mediation process, it is potentially a pivotal time for the issue, as it is the first time in many years that the Greek Government has been publicly seen to be taking a clear direction on the issue and dealing with it at an international level.

From:
Neos Kosmos

Relaunching the campaign
Parthenon Marbles high on agenda
4 Oct 2013

The Greek Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles following the meeting between David Hill, Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, and the Greek Minister of Culture and Sport, Panos Panagiotopoulos, held in Athens on 23 September.

The call for return of the so-called Elgin collection of Parthenon Sculptures, currently on display in the British Museum, has been at the heart of one of the world’s most celebrated cultural property disputes. In July this year, Mr Panagiotopoulos met with the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, during which he asked Ms Bokova to bring her personal and institutional influence to bear and initiate formal bilateral discussions, with UNESCO serving as intermediary, with the British Government and (hopefully) the British Museum.

For many years, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation has wrestled with the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures and has tried, without much success, to bring both parties to the table for meaningful negotiations.

Mr Panagiotopoulos indicated that there is a pressing need for a common and coordinated strategy between the International Association, the various overseas committees and other culture-focused international bodies to maintain a sustained campaign for the sculptures’ return. The chairman of the International Association assured Mr Panagiotopoulos that all committees will support the Greek Government on whatever path it chooses to take.

The UNESCO Committee has met regularly over the past decade and on each occasion it has issued similar recommendations, including inviting the Director General to assist in convening the necessary meetings between Greece and the United Kingdom, with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures. These all too familiar recommendations have failed to produce any real or meaningful dialogue despite UNESCO’s best efforts.

And why has this occurred? For their part, the British delegation (which invariably includes representatives from the British Museum) has consistently stonewalled at these meetings, repeatedly pointing out that the decision rests with the British Museum Trustees and asserting that the marbles tell a different story in London. The British Museum has tried to recast itself as a “universal museum” – as a museum of the world – and in its public relations spin it has referred to the sculptures as “objects” which are best exhibited in different locations (most notably London), rather than being reunited and viewed within the context of the Parthenon.

It is this attitude on the part of the British Museum that the Greek Government, through its renewed request for UNESCO intervention, has to overcome.
If this initiative fails, then the Greeks will need to consider alternative strategies, including litigation.

The various international committees will meet in Athens this month to discuss the current state and future direction of the campaign. The Culture Minister has promised to address the delegates on that occasion. It is hoped that a more positive outcome is within reach.

October 3, 2013

Could mediation through UNESCO offer a solution to the Parthenon Marbles issue?

Posted at 5:44 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Greece has announced today, that it is has sent letters to the British government, in order to initiate a mediation process via UNESCO. I have known about this proposed initiative for some time, but was unable to say anything about it before the news became public.

If the mediation proceeds, it will be a test case for UNESCO (or more specifically the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin or Its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation). The rules for mediation were brought in a few years ago, but this will be the first case to use them.

I think that it is a great step forward, as for a long time, the lack of proper political action from Greece has left the British Museum in a situation where they feel that they are sitting comfortably with nothing that they need to respond to.

You can read the full rules under which the mediation will take place (if the UK agrees to enter into the process) here.

From:
Greek Reporter

UNESCO Mediates Parthenon Marbles Fight
By Maria Korologou on October 3, 2013

On October 6 in Athens the International Conference of committees will be held, which is a very important moment for the effort to return the Parthenon Marbles.

After the meeting of the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports with the Director-General of UNESCO in July 2013 in Paris, during which Panos Panagiotopoulos asked from Irina Bokova to exercise her personal and institutional influence in order for the mediation process with the British side to be initiated, the leading international organization for culture addressed a letter to the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller and the Director of the British Museum Robert Neil MacGregor.
Read the rest of this entry »

September 25, 2013

Why Jane Austen’s ring is a weaker case than the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:20 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The story of the ring belonging to Jane Austen, purchased by Kelly Clarkson has been running in the news for some time now. First there was the initial outcry, then there was the temporary export ban, and now, the money has finally been raised to keep it in the UK.

After the campaign to keep the ring in Britain started, people from all around the world supplied donations to the Jane Austen Museum, helping them to raise the funds to prevent it from being sent abroad.

The same thing often happens – we hear about some priceless artwork or other, and then various people who are campaigning to stop it being sent to some foreign museum. But, when Greece asks for the Parthenon Marbles back, or Nigeria asks for the Benin bronzes, they are accused of (amongst other things) cultural nationalism. Museum directors look down on them & imply that they are not playing the game that they are meant to be playing – highlighting the spread of cultural knowledge etcetera that having these items outside their country brings about.

Now many comparisons have been drawn by people commenting on press articles and on twitter to the case of the Parthenon Marbles. However, I would argue that the cases are in no way similar. As I have often mentioned before, restitution cases are all unique – each has their own set of circumstances & each should be treated on its own merits.

The case of the Elgin Marbles is, I believe, far stronger than that of Jane Austen’s ring. Little is known about the origins of the ring. Nobody is sure whether Austen purchased it herself, or was given it as a gift. As such, although it is connected to her through her ownership, it could hardly be classed as inextricably linked. Similar rings could have belonged to many other people & without the full knowledge of the provenance, nobody would be able to identify which one had belonged to Austen & which had belonged to someone else. Furthermore, rings are inherently mobile objects. They are designed to be worn, or carried about. As a result, there is little that really links a ring to a specific location or region of the world.

Compare this to the Parthenon Sculptures – they were designed to be part of the temple of Athena on the Acropolis. In many cases, they were actually carved in-situ and some of them formed structural elements. They were clearly designed with a specific location in mind, not to be re-arranged, sawn apart & exhibited elsewhere. If Kelly Clarkson’s purchase of the ring had gone ahead, no damage would have been caused to it. The ring could be returned at a later point in time, and no harm would have been caused by its time away from the country.

When the Parthenon Sculptures were removed by Elgin, he only had a permit to remove loose items and to take casts. The permits he had, gave no mention of dismantling the building to remove still intact sculptures. As such, the legality of the removal of the sculptures is at best questionable. In the case of the ring, the sale was completely legitimate – there is no suggestion that anything about the process was not above board.

Bearing in mind the above, the Parthenon Marbles should be seen as a far stronger case, than that of Jane Austen’s ring. So, logically, if we are arguing for the Austen’s ring to remain in the UK, then the same museums, individuals & institutions should equally be arguing for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures. But as it is a stronger case, the arguments should thus also be stronger.

Unfortunately I have not seen this happening. Many individuals support the return of the Parthenon Marbles – but the British establishment does not. More consistency and less hypocrisy is required. The British Museum should learn from the humility of Kelly Clarkson’s gracious response on learning that she would not be able to keep the ring “The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen’s House Museum.”

From:
BBC News

23 September 2013 Last updated at 15:37
Kelly Clarkson thwarted in bid to keep Jane Austen ring

US singer Kelly Clarkson has been thwarted in her bid to take a ring which once belonged to Jane Austen out of the UK.

She bought the turquoise and gold ring for £152,450 at auction last year, outbidding the Jane Austen’s House Museum.
Read the rest of this entry »

September 24, 2013

Chair of International Association meets with the new Greek Culture Minister

Posted at 1:14 pm in Elgin Marbles

David Hill, Chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures met Greece’s new Panos Panagiotopoulos yesterday to discuss the government’s strategies for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Panagiotopoulos has previously made statements that he intends to make their return a priority, but it will be interesting to see exactly what sort of approach to this he plans to take.

From:
Greek Reporter

Cooperation for Return of Parthenon Marbles
By Maria Korologou on September 24, 2013

The return of the Parthenon Marbles was at the center of the meeting that the Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos held on Sept. 24 with the Delegate to the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, David Hill.

Two months ago the minister visited Paris and attended a meeting with the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, during which he reiterated the demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles which are now exhibited at the British Museum.
Read the rest of this entry »

Recovering stolen artefacts for profit – the downsides to the Art Loss Register

Posted at 1:06 pm in Similar cases

The Art Loss Register has for some time now aimed to create a listing of stolen artefacts, with the aim that they can be more easily returned to their original owners if they are found. On paper this seems like a great idea, but the reality is somewhat different.

As I mentioned in a recent post there is a problem, in that auction houses are treating it as in some way authoritive, as a way of validating artefacts as not being looted. The reality though is that it is far from a comprehensive list.

It seems though that this is the least of its problems. The New York Times published a piece on it recently & since then, various people have blogged about their own issued with it.

In particular, I suggest reading Tom Flynn’s article & Dorothy King’s article.

From:
New York Times

Tracking Stolen Art, for Profit, and Blurring a Few Lines
By KATE TAYLOR and LORNE MANLY
Published: September 20, 2013

Early in the morning of May 11, 1987, someone smashed through the glass doors of the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, removed a Matisse from a wall and fled.

All it took was daring and a sledgehammer.

The whereabouts of the painting, “Le Jardin,” remained a mystery until the work was found last year and made a celebratory trip home in January.
Read the rest of this entry »

September 19, 2013

The questions that the curators didn’t like to be asked

Posted at 1:20 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Ask A Curator has been running on twitter for a number of years now, based on the simple enough premise, that for one day each year, you can ask curators of the museums who are signed up to it, pretty much anything you want.

Of course, not every question gets answered – for many of the more well known institutions, there will be too many and other questions may be completely inappropriate etc. Also, many of the staff answering tweets also have other work to do during their day as well.

This year, there was a definite trend (at least among the people that I was following), to ask questions about cultural property. However, as the day went on, it became few of these questions were actually getting answered.

Eventually, after being bombarded by questions about the Parthenon Sculptures, the British Museum bluntly stated:

For all questions related to the Parthenon sculptures please see this page stating the Museum’s position ow.ly/oYNy2 #AskACurator

The page that it directed you to though, answered very few of the actual questions that they were being asked. People were asking about all sorts of aspects, such as whether the museum planned to organise educational exhibitional exhibitions relating to the sculptures, to whether they would consider displaying a copy rather than the original (as is the case with the Rosetta Stone. However, everyone received the same response.

Now, I’m not asking for miracles, but it would be nice to understand whether the museums at least partially acknowledged people’s concerns, rather than just directing them to a statement written years ago, that takes no account of public opinion, or the nature of the actual question being asked.

This approach was not just taken by the British Museum. Many others seemed to ignore any queries about disputed artefacts in their collections, even when the question itself should not have been that controversial.

Dr Donna Yates made a far more impressive attempt to quiz the curators of museums around the world, but was met with a similar lack of responses.

You can also see my attempts to get an answer on the Marbles (Storify won;t show half my tweets for some reason today, so you don’t get to see the ones to other museums about other artefacts.