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July 8, 2008

Stopping illegal trafficking of cultural property

Posted at 12:47 pm in Similar cases

In Mexico, many churches contain valuable artefacts, but because of their remote locations & lack of wealth, they are unable to protect them at all times. These artefacts provide easy prey to looters & often end up in galleries & with private collectors around the world. San Diego Museum of Art is returning one such painting to Mexico & in a lecture, its director has explained what other museums can be doing to try & avoid such situations.

The Daily Transcript (San Diego)

Guarding against illegal traffic of cultural property
By Pamela Bensoussan, ASA
Monday, July 7, 2008

Appraisers, in exercising due diligence – particularly for donation appraisals – must investigate to the extent possible the provenance and legal title of cultural property.
On February 25 the new Director of the San Diego Museum of Art, Dr. Derrick R. Cartwright, spoke candidly to members of the Latin American Arts Committee on an important topic: cultural patrimony and the role played by museums in guarding against illegal traffic of cultural and stolen property.
The talk was particularly interesting in light of recent events surrounding an 18th century Mexican colonial painting, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, purchased by SDMA in 2000.
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