ARCA Blog: What is your academic background and how did you come to commit to a summer in Umbria studying art crime?
Tanya: I have a generalist background with a B.A. in French from the University of Wyoming and an M.B.A. from Thunderbird School of Global Management. While studying, I did stints as an exchange student for a year in France and a summer in China. Also, for the past fourteen years, I’ve had the great good fortune to travel fairly extensively in Europe and Asia with some of the world’s finest orchestral and choral musicians as part of my work with specialty tour operator, Classical Movements. Because of my long-term interest in art and culture, whenever possible I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to visit many museums along the way. My interest in studying art crime has developed over the years, but was first sparked while taking American Society of Appraisers courses on art and antiques appraisals. The topic came up in the context of establishing the provenance and value of objects, and had so many fascinating facets to consider that I was hooked! ARCA’s program seemed like a natural extension of this interest I’ve been pursuing on my own for years.
ARCA Blog: The program culminates in the writing of a publishable article. What area of art crime or cultural protection would you like to research?
Tanya: Though one might think art theft is a fairly narrow topic, in fact there are so many interesting aspects to this question that it could be hard to choose. However, I’m leaning toward finding a topic that focuses on the role of insurance industry in the arts and antiquities market because so many different factors come into play – establishing authenticity, provenance, evaluating risks of theft and damage, investigating losses, and seeking retrieval of lost or stolen items. Also, fortunately, the world seems to be increasingly aware of the problem of art looted during periods of war as well as through the opportunistic antiquities looting endemic in so many countries. I’m interested to know if and how the insurance industry may be responding to this trend.
ARCA Blog: Do you have a current fascination with an artist or period of art?
Tanya: I’m attracted to beauty throughout the world and throughout the ages. What I find most interesting is what happens when there is an exchange of ideas between cultures or eras - how has Asian art affected European art and vice versa, for example. My brain is wired to look for cross-disciplinary links as well. Italy is one country I’ve yet to explore, so I’m very excited to be spending an extended period in this historically important cradle of artistic ingenuity.