• If you own any Amedeo Modigliani sculptures, congratulations.  It seems they are the new must-have in the art world.
  • Click here to read about some of the seized objects, specifically griffins, located in the ICE warehouse in Queens.  But how many are genuine?
  • The UK has appointed Sir Andrew Burns as the new envoy for post-Holocaust issues.
  • The Fayetteville Museum of Art in North Carolina has closed with more than $500,000 in debt.
  • Police think that the Leonardo thieves may be linked to other art related crimes.
  • The renovations at the Cleveland Museum of Art are set to finish in 3 years, and cost $350 million.
  • Thieves steal wagon wheels from Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
  • CPAC is set to hold a public meeting to determine whether the current Memorandum of Understanding with Nicaragua will be extended.
  • Click here to read about what the AAMD accomplished at its annual meeting.
  • Don’t buy art on a cruise unless its so super you don’t mind its a fake.  Unhappy cruise ship buyers have sued Park West Gallery and it’s owner of selling forged artworks.
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  • Another reminder of the importance of context:  Archaeologists found what might be the world’s only well-preserved Roman gladiator cemetery near York.
  • A warehouse in Queens, NY is home to many artifacts seized in New York by federal agents.
  • An Armenian Church is suing the Getty over pages from a Bible.
  • The police of Quebec City are asking the the public’s assistance in recovering four stolen lithographs by Jean-Paul Riopelle.
  • Paolo Ferri, an Italian Prosecutor who has been active in seeking the return of antiquities, has made statements asking Christie’s to pull 3 works from their upcoming auction believed to have appeared in the Medici archive.
  • A case currently in litigation in Canada is a clear example of the bad practices in the Art world.
  • Click here to read about whether museum rentals of art collections will rise.
  • Is Shelby White’s expansion of the Leon Levy Foundation a good thing?
  • Italy and Greece plan to sign a bilateral cultural agreement soon.
  • ICE has returned looted artifacts captured in Miami to the government of Peru.
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Footnotes 6.3.2010

  • The Modern Art Museum in Paris is set to open its doors for the first time since the May 20th heist.
  • Charles Hill, A former Scotland Yard expert warns against the potential danger to London’s museums and galleries during the 2010 Olympic games.
  • Commercial galleries in Australia are preparing for whatever may come as a result of a new royalty law which takes effect June 9th.
  • Haverford College in PA is set to return a noted Descartes original letter to its rightful owner in Paris.
  • Two British families have returned antiquities to Libya, some of which date as far back as the 5th century BCE.
  • Click here to read about psychologist’s take on the motivations behind art theft.
  • Stately homes in England have been targeted by art theft gangs after valuable porcelain.
  • Click here to read the Wall Street Journal’s take on why we should give some masterpieces a rest.
  • Not everything you’ve heard about art theft is the truth.
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Footnotes 5.24.2010

  • Artist Justin Lowe plans to re-create the CBGB bathroom for a Connecticut Museum.
  • Members of the Military are offered free admission into many museums through a new NEA program.
  • The Fresno Metropolitan Museum will return 6 Ansel Adams’ works to Adams’ son rather than sell the works.
  • SMU’s Meadows Museum learned that three of its well-known works were looted from Jewish families by the Nazis.
  • Two Banksy prints were stolen from a London art gallery.
  • Jerry Brown has filed a brief in support of Marei Von Saher in the Norton Simon Museum case.
  • Marion Manekar analyzes the deaccession debate through Shelly Banjo’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Twin Kouroi statues were apprehended from two Greek farmers, who had attempted to illegally sell the statues for $12million.
  • The battle over the Rose Art Museum is heating up, again.
  • Does the move of the famous Barnes Collection symbolizes that is wrong with museum’s today:  “movies, restaurants, classes, gift shops, parties, pop-cultural exhibits, and interactive computers.”
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Footnotes 5.18.2010

  • Dramatically shortening a process that used to take years, archaeologists have shown how to use airborne laser signals to penetrate thick jungle cover and discover ancient Mayan cities, such as Caracol in Belize.
  • Artwork stolen from a popular Vancouver restaurant have been returned 20 years later.
  • Marguerite Hoffman, a prominent Dallas art collector, has filed suit against the financier for failing to keep a 2007 Mark Rothko sale a secret.
  • The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones has an interesting take on recent Picasso sales.
  • Kurt Lidtke, a disgraced Seattle gallery owner who served three years in prison for art theft, was arrested for, among other crimes, attempting to steal more art with a cellmate.
  • Don Thompson, author of the $12 Million Stuffed Shark, offers his thoughts on the art market.
  • Jeanne Marchig, the original vendor of a misattributed Leonardo da Vinci work, is suing Christie’s for negligence.
  • UNESCO launched its “bizarre” World Anti-Piracy Observatory (WAPO) on April 21, 2010.
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Footnotes 5.10.2010

  • Fritz Lang’s famous film Metropolis has been recovered, due in large part to Argentine film archivist Fernando Pena.
  • A misappropriation of a da Vinci by Christie’s could have cost one woman millions.
  • Zahi Hawass of Egypt calls for a unified approach on stolen antiquities.
  • Is American architecture coming to an end?
  • Indonesia is auctioning off over 250,000 antiquities from a recently discovered 10th century shipwreck near Java.
  • Pieces of silver were recently stolen from the National Trust’s Kedleston Hall.
  • Turkish forgeries were found hanging on the walls of the State Painting and Sculpture Museum in Ankara.
  • Organized crime networks in Iraq show no intention of halting the valuable business of looting ancient artifacts.
  • An English man is on trial for stealing valuable horticultural books from a famous library in London.
  • This is old news, but the Getty Trust elected Ronald Spogli, former U.S. ambassador to Italy, to its board, possibly in an attempt to strength its ties with Italy.
  • Click here to read in depth on the recently held ABA Section of International Law Panel on the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
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Footnotes 4.23.2010

  • Works found in a Parisian vault 40 years after WWII, including this Andre Derain, are going to be sold in a Sotheby’s auction after being tied up for 30 years in court.
  • An odd lawsuit over a breach of confidentiality has ensued between a Miami art collector and a New York art dealer.
  • Artists are rallying support for Brandeis’ Rose Museum by hosting a benefit to raise money for legal costs.
  • Stephen Spielberg should never have had to give up his “stolen” Normal Rockwell.
  • The video from the CUNY panel discussion on cultural heritage from April 7, 2010 has been posted.
  • Mark Durney argues terrorism and the illicit drug trade are linked to the $6 billion a year art theft industry.  Art theft is perhaps the 3rd highest grossing criminal trade over the last 40 years.
  • Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has done a tremendous job of elevating the profile of Egyptian antiquities. However, he continues to attack museums for not returning artifacts to Egypt.
  • An attorney in the Four Corners antiquities case wants evidence thrown out because the deceased FBI informant Ted Gardiner can’t be questioned about the evidence.
Questions or Comments? Email me at

Footnotes 4.16.07 VT

My research assistant, Jenny Higgins, who does a super job putting these links pages together would like to add this first note.  She’s a Virginia Tech Alum:

  • The image at right is a photograph taken of the Drillfield at the heart of Virginia Tech’s campus. Today, April 16th, is the 3 year anniversary of the deadliest school shooting in history. This image was organized several months after the shooting as the university’s way to thank the world for their support after the shooting. Like any other tragedy, it is important for everyone to remember the lives lost, but more importantly, it is necessary to appreciate life. Click here for a video of Virginia Tech professor and poet Nikki Giovanni giving a speech at the convocation one day after the shooting.

On to other mundane art-related news:

  • Steven Speilberg’s art dealer was exonerated from the lawsuit pertaining to the stolen Norman Rockwell. The highlight of the case was that the man who claimed title to it knew all along it had been stolen.  Don’t miss Tom Flynn’s excellent commentary on the implications for the art trade. 
  • The Guardian might be going overboard, but could the looted Native American artifacts in the Four Corners region possibly have cursed everyone involved?
  • A federal appeals court upheld the 7 year prison sentencing of a retired Massachusetts attorney for possessing looted artwork.
  • Techniques and secrets of the forged artwork business will be revealed in the National Gallery’s upcoming exhibition.
  • Fisk University seeks a trial date in an attempt to sell artwork from its Stieglitz collection.
  • Keeping most of its Oceanic art, the De Young Museum will sell some pieces from the collection to help settles a legal dispute.
  • Recovering Nazi stolen art is like playing resitution roulette for Jewish heirs.
  • An Israeli known for his illegal sale of antiquities was extradited to the U.S. and appeared in a Manhattan federal court.
  • Switzerland signed an agreement with Egypt to return artifacts.
  • Have things really changed with the passage of time regarding blatant destruction of cultural heritage and property by tourists?
  • Check out a report from the CUNY Center for the Humanities Symposium on April 7th, 2010.
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Footnotes 4.8.2010

Bamiyan after the intentional destruction, in 2005

  • An update nine years after the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed.
  • Oakland, CA may cut its art budget in half.
  • Feds collect more relics stolen in the Four Corners region art theft.
  • In an apparent effort to improve its image with Italy, the Getty has named the former American ambassador to Italy to its board of trustees.
  • On a positive note from the world of stolen art, the FBI Art Crime Team returned looted art to Peru.
  • A new book by Robert K. Wittman alleges that attempts to recover stolen Vermeers were foiled by FBI infighting.
  • Some improvement has been shown at Brandeis University, but the Rose Museum is still struggling.
  • Fisk University‘s legal struggles continue in an attempt to sell a portion of the Stieglitz/O’Keeffe collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR.
  • The Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts in Kentucky is dangerously close to shutting down.
  • A solo traveling exhibition by artist Peju Layiwola centered on the looting of African artifacts in Benin opened on April 8th, 2010.
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  • Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans file copyright suits against photographers who take their photographs without compensating them.
  • Deaccessioning running rampant in today’s art world.
  • The Department Interior’s decision to return human remains to Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians that are currently in museums and natural history collections will take effect May 14, 2010.
  • A couple of New York art dealers have recovered stolen art, but these recoveries are only minor successes in the $6 billion a year art theft industry; the art was found in Canada.
  • The two authors of Property Outlaws have written a detailed article about the law of fair use and “permission-based” creation of art.
  • Federal appeals court justices debated whether a U.S. man should sue in Spain and Germany before suing in the U.S. to recover a Pissarro painting stolen by the Nazis.
  • Hundreds of artworks from a state-run museum in Ankara, Turkey have perhaps been replaced by fakes or even gone missing.
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