March 26, 2014

Nominees for ARCA's 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery Announced

Here are the nominees for ARCA's 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery, which is usually given to a police officer, investigator, lawyer, security director or policy-maker. This year ARCA has combined two of the previous year’s awards categories as more often than not, individuals were double nominated in two award categories.

Past winners have included: Vernon Rapley and Francesco Rutelli (2009), Charlie Hill and Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew and Paolo Giorgio Ferri (2011), Karl von Habsburg, Dr. Joris Kila Ernst Schöller (2012), Sharon Cohen Levin and Christos Tsirogiannis (2013).

The Nominees for the 2014 Award for Art Protection & Recovery Award are:

Monica Dugot, Senior Vice President and International Director of Restitution, Christie’s Auction House. Nominator's Synopsis: "In her more than 17 years of practice in the restitution field, Ms. Dugot has been instrumental in resolving major claims and in developing international policies in this area. Under her guidance, Christie’s was one of the first auction houses to publish on its website a detailed explanation of its practices with regard to claims to artworks consigned for auction. In so doing, Ms. Dugot has led the way in prescribing for claimants and possessors alike the manner by which claims could be resolved without the need for litigation, especially in emotionally fraught cases involving Nazi-looted art. She would be a worthy addition to ARCA’s illustrious list of past recipients of this award."
Monica Dugot is responsible for coordinating Christie's restitution issues globally. She and her team of researchers vet nearly every lot Christie’s offers at auction, which means somewhere in the region of 200 sales a year, from Old Masters and Books to Impressionist and Modern Art focusing on provenance between 1933 and 1945; to identify possibly spoliated but unrestituted objects; and to help in resolving restitution claims for works consigned for sale. 
Prior to joining Christie's, Ms. Dugot served for almost eight years as Deputy Director of the New York State Banking Department's Holocaust Claims Processing Office, where she coordinated the Art Claims branch of the HCPO's work and assisted owners and heirs in seeking to recover art collections that were lost or looted during the Nazi era. She has represented New York State on art restitution matters at many venues including the 1998 Washington Forum on Holocaust-Era Assets and the International Conference on Holocaust Era Looted Cultural Assets in Vilnius, Lithuania. Ms. Dugot is on the Advisory Board of Claremont McKenna College’s Center for Human Rights Leadership, and the Society of American Friends of the Jewish Community Vienna. She is currently a member of the Art law Commission of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA). She also served as a member of the NYC Bar Association's Art Law Committee.
Martin Finkelnberg – Special Investigating Officer, Art and Antique Crime Unit of the Netherlands. Nominator's Synopsis: "Martin was the only art detective in the Dutch police force, and was assigned, pretty much on his own, to set up the force’s first arts unit. He runs it now with several part-time officers who are art historians, and yet he has great success in coordinating art-related cases from throughout the Netherlands and abroad."
Martin Finkelnberg is the Head of the Art and Antiques Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Division which is part of the recently reorganized National Police Force of the Netherlands. He joined the police force in 1976 as a junior intelligence officer and for roughly 30 years was mainly involved in firearms investigations and counter terrorism. 
In 2006 he was asked to build a national database on stolen works of art. At the same time he also had to restart the Art and Antiques Crime Unit that had been discontinued in 2002. Today this unit is composed of four individuals. Over the course of the years Finkelnberg also felt necessity to establish contact points within each police region. In 2013 this led to the appointment of not only ten dedicated police officers -- one in every region -- but also to a dedicated national public prosecutor. These are however not experts and they are being trained on a regular basis by Finkelnberg and others on legislation, awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage, and on criminal trends and activities. The unit, in principal, is not an investigating body itself but an intelligence hub for the regional police forces who are responsible for carrying out criminal investigations. 
However, because of the complexity of Dutch legislation regarding illegal trade in cultural property, Martin Finkelnberg occasionally goes out on the road himself. During several of these occasions and in close cooperation with the Cultural Heritage Inspection, he recovered more than 70 items from Iraq, some of them dating back to 5,000 B.C.. He and his unit also proved to be instrumental in solving many major museum break-ins such as the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden Museum in 2011 in which case the police recovered a 15 Million euro painting by Frans Hals; and the Museum Gouda where in 2012 the burglars used an explosive device to blow up the front door of the museum (In this case the unit was also able to establish links between these suspects and another museum break-in in 2009 and to them identifying several other museums as possible targets).
(Jointly) Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini, Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Etruria Meridionale. Nominator’s Synopsis: "Pellegrini and Rizzo are well known for their groundbreaking forensic work from for the Italian government. During that period, they were responsible for identifying dozens of looted and smuggled masterpieces for the Italian judicial authorities from the confiscated archives of illicit antiquities dealers Giacomo Medici, Gianfranco Becchina, and Robin Symes, etc. Based on Pellegrini and Rizzo's meticulous research, the Italian state managed to repatriate numerous stolen treasures of antiquity and to have solid evidence for the prosecution of several members of the international illicit antiquities network. Their more recent work, while less well known to the general public, involves ongoing negotiation with museums around the globe encouraging them to return looted objects found in their collections."
Dott.ssa Daniela Rizzo and Maurizio Pellegrini are employees of Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) who work directly for the Soprintendenza for Southern Etruria's Archeological Heritage which covers the archaeological territories of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci, Veio, Lucas Feroniae, Civitavecchia, Sutri , Tuscania, Pyrgi, Volsinii and San Lorenzo Nuovo. Dr. Rizzo oversees the department of Goods Control and Circulation with the assistance of Massimo Pellegrini. Their offices are located at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. One of the main commitments of their department and the Soprintendenza overall is the fighting of criminal activities and illegal traffic of archaeological objects from the southern territories. 
In 1985 the Soprintendenza set up a special service, "The Office of confiscation and illicit excavations" (ufficio sequestri e scavi clandestini), which constantly monitors the phenomenon of illegal excavations and the finds of illegal trafficking. To achieve this goal, their office began working closely with Italy’s National Judicial Authority and the security forces (Carabinieri TPC and Guardia di Finanza), which work together in this sector. This collaboration aims to recover Italian archaeological materials that have been taken away illegally from the national territory and often have ended up in important foreign collections. Since 1995, their work has achieved very positive results and has resulted in the identification of numerous archaeological objects taken illegally and found in a number of American and European museums or in private collections abroad. Based on the inspection of and matching between confiscated photographs and documents, their investigations have facilitated negotiations between American and European museums which have often concluded in important cultural agreements rather than lengthy judicial prosecutions. Thanks to these agreements, archaeological finds are regularly being returned to Italy from places like New York and Boston. 
Through their in-depth work, the famous Euphronios crater, now on display in the new rooms of Villa Giulia, has been recognized as property of the Italian state and was returned to Rome in 2008 from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Similar agreements have been concluded with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the J.P. Getty Museum of Malibu. In cases where traffickers have been identified their work with the "Procura della Repubblica" (Italian prosecutor's office) and the Court of Rome has made it possible, in some circumstances, to try specific cases associated with illegal trafficking of antiquities within Italy. Cases of note include the exemplary punishment imposed by the Court of Rome on an Italian trafficker, who operated in Switzerland and the 2005, criminal proceedings that were initiated against Marion True, the former curator who purchased trafficked archaeological objects for The Paul Getty Museum, and cases involving Robert Hecht. As a result of their work and the recovery of objects, a room in the Villa Giulia has housed a temporary traveling exhibition to increase the public’s awareness to the impact of trafficking, the significance of the problem and what is being done to combat it. The carefully curated exhibition included numerous objects which have been repatriated from Southern Etruria as well as examples of documents used in their ongoing investigations and prosecutions by the Italian authorities.
Roma Antonio Valdés– Public Prosecutor, Carrera Fiscal, Fiscalía de Santiago de Compostela, Spain Nominator’s Synopsis – "A public Prosecutor for the Government of Spain, he is an expert in legal international cooperation and crimes against cultural heritage. He was the public prosecutor in charge of the successful recovery of the Codex Calixtinus, a 12th-century illuminated manuscript from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The Codex was stolen in July 2011, and successfully recovered in 2012 in the garage of a former employee of the Cathedral."
Roma Valdés holds a Licentiate in Law from the University of Alcalá, a PhD in Archaeology from the University de Santiago de Compostela, and a diploma in advanced studies in criminal law from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain. He has been a prosecutor since 1994 and specializing in crimes against cultural Heritage since 2004. He also serves as a professor in procedural Law at the University of A Coruña and serves as a representative to Spain in some international conventions. He is the author of 5 Law books, 48 Law papers, 7 History books, and 43 History papers. Some of these documents can be accessed at:
Below are a listing of significant art crime cases he has been a part of: 
- 2011-2014 Theft and recovery of the Codex Calxtinus. Investigation and prosecution of the theft of one of the main medieval books of Europe. 
- 2008-2014 Affaire Patterson II. The collection above was exported without authorization from Spain to Germany. The case implies another precedent, in this case of use of the most recent Framework Decisions of mutual recognition of judicial resolutions principle in Europe. Other cases were open to prosecute cases of illicit trade of cultural heritage. Now, there is a non guilty decision pending appeal. 
- 2007-2009 Affaire Patterson I. The case, followed mainly by Latin American media, implies the judicial international cooperation between the Republic of Peru and the Kingdom of Spain to send more than two thousand of Pre-Columbian objects, some of the with a great historic importance. After the Republic of Peru, other Latin American states claimed successfully another pieces. The case is the main precedent in legal cooperation among judicial authorities in the field of the restitution of cultural heritage. 
- 2009 Corrubedo. During March 2009, several British divers were condemned to damage a XIX c. boat sunk in the Galician coast. Another similar case is open now. 
- 2000-2004 Os Castriños. The owner destroyed an archaeological site to build a camping site. Besides the fine, the Spanish jurisdiction for the first time prohibited developing activities not directed to the diffusion of the archaeological culture. Since then to now, more cases were open to prosecute owners of buildings and sites that destroy them to sell new buildings.