Showing results 1 - 12 of 25 for the month of July, 2006.

July 28, 2006

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts agrees to return disputed artefacts

Posted at 12:40 pm in Similar cases

Italy has been pursuing claims against Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for some time. This case was brought shortly after they first submitted their legal case against New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Now it appears that following their earlier successes in their case involving the Met, Boston’s MFA has also agreed to settle some of the claims by returning disputed artefacts. This reversal of position follows years of denial by the museum that any of the works were looted.

Boston Globe

MFA agrees to return disputed art to Italy
New joint effort on stolen works

By Geoff Edgers and Susanna Pinto, Globe Staff | July 28, 2006

After years of denying its collection included any looted art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has agreed to return an unspecified number of works to the Italian government.

In exchange, Italy will loan the MFA objects from the country’s vast antiquities holdings, and both sides have pledged to work together to ensure the museum doesn’t acquire stolen works in the future.
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July 26, 2006

Iraqi statue returned

Posted at 8:16 am in Similar cases

A statue which was looted from the Iraqi National Museum during the looting that followed the US led invasion in 2003 has been located & returned. Hopefully many more pieces will follow this one back to a rebuilt museum.

The Guardian

Prized Statue Returned to Iraq Museum
Wednesday July 26, 2006 10:46 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – A prized statue of an ancient king that was stolen during widespread looting in Iraq following the U.S. invasion three years ago has been returned to the country’s government, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a ceremony Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to repatriate the 4,000-year-old statue.
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July 25, 2006

Museums slow to check their collections for Nazi loot

Posted at 1:02 pm in Similar cases

A survey shows that museums in the USA are still not doing enough to check their existing collections for pieces that may have been looted by the Nazis.
Oddly, the Metropolitan Museum in New York & Boston’s Museum of Fine arts have been highlighted as having an exemplary record in this area.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

U.S. museums slow to check collections for Nazi-looted art
Last Updated Tue, 25 Jul 2006 15:55:41 EDT
CBC Arts

A survey of some of the biggest art museums in the United States shows that the majority of them are doing little to determine if any of their paintings were looted by the Nazis in the 1930s and ’40s.

Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a New York-based claims conference, surveyed 332 U.S. museums in February.
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July 22, 2006

The benefit of temporary collections

Posted at 12:51 pm in British Museum

The concept of the temporary exhibition at museums continues to grow in scale. They are popular with curators, as they increase the number of visitors throughout the whole institution (people will come for the exhibition & then look around afterwards). For many of the major museums in Britain they are also a source of revenue, as all other funding for the museums comes from government grants or donations.
For some time now, the Greek offer to the British Museum regarding the Elgin Marbles has included the proposals that artefacts unseen before in the UK (& in some cases unexhibited in Greece) would be lent to the British Museum. This would in effect be a continuous source of temporary exhibitions drawing in visitors & generating money for the museum – unfortunately the British Museum is still trying to completely ignore this offer.

New York Times

Art Rearranged: The Shock of the New and the Comfort of the Old

Published: July 22, 2006

PARIS, July 21 — Pity the curator in the age of the blockbuster.

While art museums are usually rated by the quality of their permanent collections, it is all too often their temporary shows that stir excitement and draw crowds. Not infrequently, a work of art that is barely noticed while on permanent display is suddenly lionized in a short-term exhibition.

One answer is to make the permanent collection seem, well, sexier. And to this end, some leading museums of modern and contemporary art are testing a fresh approach: if collections are frequently rearranged, either by bringing works out of storage or by changing the focus of installations, they can acquire something of the buzz of temporary shows.
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July 21, 2006

Previous warnings on Uşak security ignored

Posted at 12:56 pm in Similar cases

It now transpires that warnings had previously been given about the inadequate security surrounding the Croesus Treasury.

Zaman (Turkey)

CULTURE & SOCIETY 07.21.2006 Friday – ISTANBUL 13:43
2001 Warning Regarding Usak Museum Unheeded
By Abdullah Kilic, Istanbul

The Usak Museum scandal, referred to as the “Susurluk of museums” by Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Atilla Koc, has apparently been revealed as a systematic and calculated organization.

Three experts working at the museum filed petitions to the governorship, the General Directorate for Museums and the Ministry of Culture in 2001, reporting incidents of theft and corruption at the Usak Museum.
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Greece reclaims its pillaged past

Posted at 12:50 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Italy & Greece have long been seen as one of the easiest sources for the trade in Illegal artefacts, largely due to the convenience of their location & the vast amount of unexcavated / unguarded treasures in both of the countries. Tightening of legislation & security within these countries though is leading to an increase in the number of illegal excavations elsewhere.

The Guardian

It’s art squad v tomb raiders as Greece reclaims its pillaged past
As Athens and Rome clamp down, smugglers venture further afield
Helena Smith in Geneva
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian

For the connoisseur of ancient art, 6 rue Verdaine in Geneva’s old town is a jewel to behold. Set in its windows, like pearls in an oyster, are an elegant Attic red figure krater attributed to a 5th-century BC painter, an Etruscan pouring vessel and an array of vases.

Enter the plush showroom and the antiquities get better. Just in from the collection of an anonymous Swiss gentleman is a rare, 4th-century AD portrait of Helena, the mother of Constantine, the founder of Byzantium. The bronze bust, though severe of expression, is the showpiece of Phoenix Ancient Art – and comes with a £1.2m price tag. “Great-quality antiquities are a great investment,” says Ali Aboutaam, the gallery’s Lebanese proprietor. “They’re a fraction of the price of, say, buying a Picasso.”
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July 20, 2006

Discussions on the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:43 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

Members of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures have met with representatives of the British Department of Culture, Media & Sport to discuss the case for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Meeting with the British Government – July 17th 2006
Issued globally on Tue, 2006-07-18 18:04

At a meeting with the British Government in London on July 17, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures requested that the British Government commit to a process that would result in the Parthenon Sculptures held in the British Museum being returned to Athens.

A deputation from the International Association, including its Chairman David Hill (Australia), Diogenis Valavanedis (Serbia and Montenegro), Krister Kumlin (Sweden), and John Voorhees (U.S.A), met with the British Minister for Culture David Lammy MP at the House of Commons on July 17 2006.
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The return of greek heritage

Posted at 12:30 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

More coverage of the statements by Greece about recovering any artefacts that are believed to have left the country illegally.

Time Magazine

The Return of the Relics

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 18, 2006
A long Greek drama came closer to its end last week when the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return to Greece two ancient artifacts: a 2,400-year-old tombstone and a 6th century B.C. marble relief of women offering gifts to a goddess. For decades, Greece has noisily lobbied for the return of relics–especially the British Museum’s Elgin Marbles, which were stripped from Athens’ Parthenon in the early 1800s. Its efforts got a big boost last year, when Italian authorities put former Getty antiquities curator Marion True on trial for trafficking in looted works. Then in February, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return to Italy the Euphronios krater, a 2,500-year-old vase.
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July 19, 2006

The Grand Museum of Egypt

Posted at 12:55 pm in Similar cases

A new international wave of museum building is increasing the number of opportunities for the public to see ancient artefacts. One such new museum under construction is the Grand Museum of Egypt, one of a number of institutions which could be seen as restitution museums. Finally many countries are managing to disprove the argument that they would not be able to properly look after any artefacts which were returned.

Al Bawaba (Egypt)

New outlook for Ancient Wonders in Egypt
Posted: 18-07-2006 , 07:19 GMT

Egyptian visitors are already spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural attractions – and they will find even more evidence of the country’s rich civilisation in years to come.

The Culture Ministry aims to build a museum in every city in Egypt to preserve its heritage and raise cultural and archaeological awareness among residents and visitors.
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Who rightfully owns ancient artefacts?

Posted at 12:49 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Should artefacts ultimately be owned by museums which acquired them (sometimes in dubious circumstances) or should they belong to the countries from which they originated? Moreover, what level of provenance should be determined as adequate (or inadequate) to justify rightful ownership of an artefact by a museum?

Christian Science Monitor

from the July 18, 2006 edition
The fine art of returning art
The Monitor’s View
Who is the rightful owner of ancient artifacts – the famed Elgin marbles taken from the Parthenon, say, or the elegant Nefertiti head? Is it the museums and collectors housing them, or the lands from which these antiquities came?

The question takes on more relevance with each new case of ownership being passed back to the country of origin. In February, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return several prized items to Italy. Last week, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return two ancient works to Greece. Both countries claimed the items were stolen.

The Getty deal has emboldened Greece, which is drawing up a list of hundreds of suspect objects. “Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want back,” Giorgos Voulgarakis, Greek’s minister of culture, told the British newspaper The Guardian.
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July 16, 2006

The Medici conspiracy

Posted at 9:54 pm in Similar cases

A new book tries to uncover the true story behind art collectors & museum curators in the modern world – do the lead the plundering of ancient sites, or are they innocently caught in a situation outside of their control trying to preserve as much as they can? To consider it from another viewpoint, does the rest of the world see things in the same way as the curators of the Metropolitan Museum & the Getty?

The Australian

The Medici Conspiracy / Mona Lisa Revealed
Historical conspiracy theories meet the art world in these two scholarly works, writes Frank Campbell
July 15, 2006

The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities
By Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini
Hardie Grant Books, 380pp, $34.95
Mona Lisa Revealed: The True Identity of Leonardo’s Model
By Giuseppe Pallanti
Skira, 119pp, $29.95

COULD it possibly be true that the world’s greatest museums and collectors have presided over the worst destruction of ancient archeological heritage in history? Can they really be responsible for stripping the Mediterranean, China, Nepal, Iraq, India, Cambodia, Peru, Niger and all the rest?
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Museums work to prove acquisitions were legitimate

Posted at 12:44 pm in Similar cases

Prompted in part by the numerous restitution cases affecting American museums over the past year, The Houston Chronicle looks at the laws governing international trade in artefacts, along with the research that purchasers should be doing to check the provenance of any acquisitions.

Houston Chronicle

July 14, 2006, 2:50PM
Museums struggle to make sure they’re not receiving stolen goods
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The Athenian artist Polygnotos took enormous care when he painted the dance between Herakles and a satyr on a ceramic wine jar. The red-figured stamnos was created around 430 B.C., probably for ceremonial use — possibly in celebrations of Dionysus, the raucous god of wine and theater. Today that stamnos lives on a pedestal with protective glass, inside an air-conditioned gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
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