February 29, 2016

How many repatriated (previously looted) Khmer statues can you name?

Torso of the warrior god Rama
On Wednesday February 24, 2016 the Denver Art Museum flew the repatriated tenth-century statue of the warrior god Rama, looted from Prasat Chen temple at the Koh Ker temple complex during the country's civil war in the early 1970s, home. The statue’s torso is missing its head, feet and hands.  Koh Ker (Khmer: ប្រាសាទកោះកេរ្ដិ៍) sits 120 kilometres northeast of Siem Reap and was briefly the capital of the Khmer kingdom from 928 to 944 CE. 

The Torso of Rama is just one of a series of sculptures from the Prasat Chen temple that have been repatriated over the last three years as the result of their identification as being looted. 

May 2013 - The Metropolitan Museum returned two 10th century Koh Ker “Kneeling Attendants” which had been displayed as part of the Met’s permanent collection galleries for almost 20 years. 

December 2013 - The statue of warrior Duryodhana, which once graced the cover of Sotheby’s Asia Week catalog was returned.  In situ, this warrior was one of two matching statues facing each other in a rendition of the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata. 

June 2014 - The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena returned Duryodhana’s enemy Bhima. It had been on display at the museum since the 1970’s. 

June 2014 - The Christie’s auction also agreed to return a statue of Balarama which it had sold twice on the licit market, despite its illicit origins, once in 2,000, once in 2009,

May 2015 The Cleveland Museum of Art returned a one meter high sculpture of the monkey god Hanuman acquired by the Museum in 1982.

February 2016 - The Denver museum finally relinquishes the statue of the warrior god Rama at the urging of Unesco’s representative to Cambodia. 

Four more statues from the Prasat Chen temple are believed to be held in private collections.

Anne Lemaistre, Unesco’s representative to Cambodia made a public appeal to all collectors of Khmer antiquities stating,

“To have all of the statues returned to Cambodia is something Unesco has been working hard to achieve, and we appeal to anyone who may currently have one of the remaining statues in their private collection to follow the nice gesture of the Denver museum and return it,” 

For the present time the statues are being housed at National Museum in Phnom Penh. According to Cambodia Daily, the Rama torso is expected to undergo conservation treatment over the next year. 
It is hoped that there will be an opportunity to reconstruct the figure grouping as they were originally placed which can be seen in this video reconstruction.



Prasat Chen Temple at Koh Ker and “Kneeling Attendants” 

Duryodhana

Bhima

Balarama

Monkey God Hanuman


February 22, 2016


SAT 27 FEB, 2016

Symposium on Art and Terrorism
The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

Saturday 27 February 2016 - 10:00 am - 6:30 pm
Registration from 09.30
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre,
The Courtauld Institute of Art,
Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

Organised by

Professor Julian Stallabrass: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Dr Anna Marazuela Kim: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Dr Noah Charney: ARCA, Association for Research into Crimes against Art
Lynda Albertson: ARCA, Association for Research into Crimes against Art



Bringing together scholars of the image, art and violence with experts on counter-terrorism and conflict antiquities, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) present a day-long symposium on the subject of Art and Terrorism. The collaborative event aims to provide a forum for engaging issues of urgent and wider public concern.

Two strands of inquiry inform our discussion. One concerns histories and theories of war and images, including terrorist use of visual images and media, such as YouTube videos and the documented destruction of cultural monuments. The other takes a criminological approach, examining the use and abuse of art and antiquities by terrorist groups, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the IRA.

The event inaugurates a new initiative, Courtauld Debates, that brings the significance of art history to a wider audience through public facing dialogue. It also highlights a new collection of essays, Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves (Palgrave), which features numerous expert speakers on this important and timely subject.

The day's talks will include the UK's first screening of الزلزلة (The Quake), a musical and video collaboration between Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone and filmmaker Matteo Barzini and produced by Feel Film Production in collaboration with UNESCO. 

The film narrates the tragedies of the Syrian war creating an analogy between the destruction of human life and cultural heritage. Images of prewar Syria alternate with the devastation of minarets, mosques, temples, towns and human life in a modern day war opera through the syncopated notes of Morricone's musical themes.

Programmme

09.30 – 10.00 Registration

10.00 – 10.15 Welcome – Alixe Bovey (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Session I
Chair: Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld institute of Art)

10.15 – 10.30 Noah Charney (Founder, ARCA): A Very Brief History of Art and Terrorism.

10.30 – 11.00 Jennifer Good (Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Documentary Photography, London College of Communication): Totalising Narratives of 9/11.

11.00 – 11.30 Anna Marazuela Kim (Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art): The New Image Wars.

11:30 – 12.00 Francesco Rutelli (Former Italian Minister of Culture and Mayor of Rome, Chairman Associazione Incontro di Civiltà, President Cultural Heritage Rescue Prize): The Return of Iconoclasm: Ideology and Destruction by ISIS as a Challenge for Modern Culture

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch (provided for the speakers/chairs only)

Session II
Chair: Noah Charney (ARCA)

13.00 – 13.30 Mike Giglio (Investigative Journalist and War Correspondent):
Antiquities Looting and Terrorism: a View from the Field.

13.30 – 14.00 Michael Will (Manager, Europol’s Organized Crime Networks Group):
Europol and European Involvement in the Fight Against Cultural Goods Trafficking.

14.00 – 14.30 Sam Hardy (Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School, American University of Rome):
‘Blood clings to these things’: Uncovering the trade in conflict antiquities.

14.30 – 14.45 Film screening: “The Quake” الزلزلة Directed by Matteo Barzini
Musical score by Ennio Morricone, Produced by Feel Film Production

15.00 – 15.30 Discussion

15.30 – 16.00 Tea/coffee break (provided)

Session III
Chair: Anna Marazuela Kim (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

16.00 – 16.30 Julian Stallabrass (Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art): Representing the Iraqi Resistance.

16.30 – 17.00 Edmund Clark (Award-winning photographer) Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition

17.00 – 17.30 Neville Bolt (Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of War Studies, King’s College, London): The Violent Image in Non-linear Conflict.

17.30 – 17.45 Giovanni Boccardi (Chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit of UNESCO’s Culture Sector): UNESCO’s Global Action to Protect Cultural heritage Under Threat.

17.45 – 18.30 Plenary Discussion

18.30 Reception

Second Sentry guard shot at incident at the Deir el-Bersha archaeological site has died

Egyptian news wires have reported that Ali Khalaf Shāker, (علي خلف شاكر), the second site guard protecting the Deir el-Bersha archaeological site, has apparently died on Sunday, February 21, 2016 of his injuries. Mr. Khalaf Shāker was shot during a gun battle with unidentified archaeological site looters along with his colleague and fellow guard A'srāwy Kāmel Jād. 

Information in Arabic on this updated situation can be found here.

Respecting the loss to these two families and their archaeological teammates, ARCA has elected to not post pictures taken of the crime scene. 

For further details on this incident in English please see our earlier two posts here and here. 

The team of the Dayr al-Barsha project, KU Leuven, Belgium has established a Go Fund Me page for A'srāwy's and Ali's family, in order to cover, or partially cover some portion of the loss of his wages. Those who would like to contribute can follow this link

ARCA strongly discourages the purchase of antiquities without a solid collection history; this includes anything made of stone or pottery likely to be more than 100 years old.  We urge collectors to buy the work of contemporary artisans using traditional methods and materials, and to not promote the trade in blood antiquities. 





February 21, 2016

Sentry guards killed at Deir el-Bersha archaeological site identified, Fundraiser established for their families.



In a notice on the university team's webpage the Deir el-Barsha Project has released the following statement.


As the Project's statement might be confusing to blog readers who do not read Arabic, ARCA would like to add some clarifications.  Ghafir (arabic خفير)in this case means site guard or site sentry and is not the guard's first name.

According to Arabic language newspaper Masr al-Arabia, the guard killed in the exchange of gunfire has been:

عسراوي كامل جاد، الشهير بـ "واعر"، المقيم  بقرية دير أبو حنس بملوي

A'srāwy Kāmel Jād, alternatively known as "Wāa'r" who was a resident in the village of Deir Abu Hanas in Mālwi.

Masr al-Arabia lists the guard wounded in the exchange of gunfire as:

علي خلف شاكر، المقيم  بقرية دير أبو حنس بملوي

Ali Khalaf Shāker who is a resident in the village of Deir Abu Hanas in Mālwi.

Shāker passed away on Sunday as a result of his injuries.  

The team of the Dayr al-Barsha project, KU Leuven, Belgium has established a Go Fund Me page for A'srāwy's and Ali's family, in order to cover, or partially cover some portion of the loss of his wages. Those who would like to contribute can follow this link.











February 20, 2016

Notice: Two sentry guards killed at the archaeological site at Deir el-Bersha in Egypt

ARTICLE UPDATED - 22 February 2016

Two archaeological site guards on duty at the archaeological site at at Deir el-Bersha in Egypt have been killed after unknown assailants apparently opened fire while at the site to loot archaeological material.

Sentry A'srāwy Kāmel Jād, alternatively known as "Wāa'r" was a resident of the village of Deir Abu Hanas in Mālwi.  He had been a long standing sentry at the archaeological preserve.  A'srāwy was killed on site.

A second guard, Ali Khalaf Shāker, also a resident of Deir Abu Hanas in Mālwi was transferred in serious condition to Minya University Hospital.   Ali died of his injuries on Sunday, February 21, 2016.

The Coptic village of Deir el-Bersha is located on the east bank of the Nile, south of Hermopolis, what is known today as El-Ashmunein.  It sits on the opposite side of the Nile river from Mallawi. The archaeological site is part of the governorate of Minya. 

The site of Dayr al-Barsha in Middle Egypt has been known since ancient times for its limestone quarries and its renowned Middle Kingdom nomarchal tombs.  The site's necropolis is located at the entrance of Wadi Deir el-Nakhla, in a remote area east of the Nile that is difficult to get to.

Individuals passing through the site do not do so casually. Given the fragility of the site and previous issues of looting, the area is closed to the general public and it is only with  special authorisation, that persons can visit, accompanied by a government official. 

The remoteness of the site is evidenced by the attached Youtube video. 


The site's most important tombs are those of the Nomarchs of the XV Nome, the Nome of the Hare, of Upper Egypt during the XI and XII Dynasty. The tomb of Djehutihotep is the most well studied of the 39 tombs documented at the necropolis. 

Last year, on May 11, 2015, Egyptian Archaeologist Monica Hanna reported looting and extensive destruction to the tomb of Djehutihotep.  According to reports by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) archaeology mission, which has been working at Deir el-Barsha in Middle Egypt under the direction of Harco Willems since 2002, a wall relief fragment had been hacked out from the 3,850 year-old tomb which measured 30 by 50 centimeters (12 by 20 inches.)


Pictured below are two sets of comparison images, on showing relief decoration on the left, including the head of a seated figure which were removed.  The second image shows a small triangular segment removed.  Some news reports also suggested that the dig house had also been looted in 2015. 


Image Credit: Dayr al-Barsha Project

ARCA strongly discourages the purchase of antiquities without a solid collection history; this includes anything made of stone or pottery likely to be more than 100 years old.  We urge collectors to buy the work of contemporary artisans using traditional methods and materials, and to not promote the trade in blood antiquities. 

February 16, 2016

Tutta italiana la prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale

Unite for heritage (#Unite4Heritage) 


La prima task force a protezione del patrimonio culturale del mondo, i Caschi Blu della Cultura con i Carabinieri Tpc, nati oggi firmando l'accordo con l'Unesco e presentati a Roma nel complesso delle Terme di Diocleziano. Firmata anche la nascita dell'International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage, centro di formazione che sarà a Torino, dedicato al nuovo gruppo d'azione.


By:  Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna

Originally published in its entirety, with permission from Di Roma here. 

(a fine testo, prima un video sulla nuova task force e poi una galleria immagini sulla distruzione dell'antica e celebre città di Palmyra, demolizione voluta dall'Isis)


"Una nazione è viva quando è viva la sua cultura". Con queste parole scritte in inglese e in antico persiano si è dato il via alla presentazione della prima task force operativa a protezione del patrimonio culturale mondiale, i Caschi Blu della Cultura "Unite for heritage" che vede impegnati per primi al mondo i Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale.

La frase fu scritta per la prima volta nel 2002 su un pezzo di stoffa appeso all'ingresso del Museo Nazionale dell'Afghanistan a Kabul, struttura salvata da saccheggi e distruzione, avviata alla sua ristrutturazione e restauro delle opere d'arte lì custodite.  Un simbolo chiaro come risposta inequivocabile e ferma, è la nascita di questo gruppo che vede i militari dell'Arma appartenenti al suo nucleo specializzato, insieme a esperti del settore, studiosi e professionisti, pronti a operare in tutto il globo.

Ne dà notizia la stampa di tutto il mondo, tanti i giornalisti non solo italiani alla presentazione. Ne scrive l'organizzazione internazionale ARCA (Association for Research into Crimes against Art) in un suo articolo dettagliato. 


Una presentazione, quella avvenuta oggi nell'aula X delle Terme di Diocleziano – Museo Nazionale Romano, che ha visto la presenza di ben quattro titolari di dicasteri, del direttore generale dell'Unesco, del Comandante dell'Arma dei Carainieri, del sindaco di Torino: i ministri Dario Franceschini (Beni e attività culturali e del Turismo), Roberta Pinotti (Difesa), Stefania Giannini (Istruzione, Università e Ricerca), Paolo Gentiloni (Affari esteri e Cooperazione internazionale), la direttrice Unesco Irina Bokova, il generale Tullio Del Sette e il primo cittadino del capoluogo piemontese, Piero Fassino.

«Il patrimonio culturale è di tutti e tutti abbiamo il dovere di proteggerlo e difenderlo - ha detto il ministro Franceschini - La comunità internazionale protegga patrimonio culturale umanità. Siamo il primo Paese che mette a disposizione dell'Unesco una task force completamente dedicata alla difesa del patrimonio culturale mondiale e già operativa. Spero siano molti i paesi a seguire questa strada».

Il tutto fa seguito all'accordo firmato a ottobre 2015 e con l'approvazione di una risoluzione all'Unesco presentata dall'Italia e firmata da altre 53 nazioni.

«Il patrimonio del mondo non è più minacciato nel corso di un conflitto dalle azioni di guerra, come avveniva nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale - ha sottolineato Franceschini - Ora la distruzione viene filmata e usata come propaganda, a simbolo dell'eliminazione di una cultura diversa, per cancellarla. L'importanza dell'atto firmato oggi non è solo simbolica ma ben concreta».

Il generale Tullio Del Sette ha ribadito la lunga storia operativa del nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale del carabinieri, «nato 47 anni fa (ndR: 3 maggio 1969), primo reparto al mondo dedicato a questo tipo di attività operativa».

I carabinieri Tpc sono stati messi a disposizione anche di diverse nazioni che ne hanno avuto bisogno a seguito di situazioni di grandi crisi», momenti che hanno messo in pericolo il loro patrimonio culturale e tanto per fare un solo esempio numerico, questo Nucleo dell'Arma ha recuperato fino a oggi circa 750mila beni culturali fra opere e reperti.

«Questa Task force contrasta la strategia del terrore seguendo un'azione tipicamente italiana che viene della strategia anti-terrorismo - ha sottolineato il ministro Gentiloni che riferendosi all'Isis ha continuato - Va contro quelle azioni che colpiscono luoghi-simbolo per eliminare la cultura di nazioni e, obiettivo ancora più insidioso, per cancellare la diversità e la pluralità che hanno caratterizzato e caratterizzano le civiltà e i popoli o la "pulizia culturale" dell'Isis in Medio Oriente, con le persecuzioni delle minoranze cristiane e yazide».

L'Unite for heritage può contare su circa 30 carabinieri specializzati e altri 30 tra storici dell’arte, studiosi, restauratori dell’Istituto Centrale del Restauro e dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze. Presto anche anche professori universitari che vogliono partecipare all'azione del gruppo. Da qui la scuola di formazione a Torino, anche questa nata oggi con la sigla del sindaco della città, Fassino.

Il capoluogo piemontese ospita già lo Staff College delle Nazioni Unite. Il nuovo centro di formazione dedicato ai Caschi Blu della Cultura si chiamerà Itrech (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage), fondato anche dall’Università degli Studi, il Politecnico, l’ILO/OIT, il Consorzio Venaria Reale e il Centro Studi Santagata che è storico collaboratore dell'Unesco. L’Itrech avrà come base il Campus delle Nazioni Unite che oggi dà sede anche al Centro Internazionale di Formazione dell’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro, allo Staff College e all’Unicri, agenzia Onu per la lotta alla criminalità (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute).

«Siamo testimoni oggi di un dramma a livello mondiale – ha detto Irina Bokova, direttore generale dell'Unesco nonché possibile nuovo segretario generale Onu – la distruzione del patrimonio culturale, il dramma della pulizia culturale delle minoranze etniche e di ciò che le caratterizza. L'entusiasmo nei confronti dell'Italia è grande perché questo Paese si è reso protagonista di questa nuova iniziativa che contrasterà la depredazione e la perdita del patrimonio mondiale, un'Italia che ha già 54 siti patrimonio dell'umanità, grandi ricercatori, studiosi e i carabinieri che tanto ci assistono con la loro opera».

«Avverto oggi un grande senso di responsabilità per l'apertura di un nuovo capitolo per la protezione del patrimonio culturale - ha concluso la Bokova - Stiamo lanciando oggi un grande messaggio. Ecco le nostre risposte contro l'estremismo, risposte che devono essere la ricostruzione di un mausoleo, il restauro degli scritti della sapienza islamica, dalla matematica all'astronomia, la ricostruzione del ponte di Mostar».


Come specificato anche dal ministero, l'Unite For Heritage non agirà sui fronti di guerra perché la gestione dei conflitti non rientra nel campo operativo del gruppo. I Caschi Blu della cultura non saranno schierati, per esempio, a difesa dell'antica città di Palmira difendendola dall’Isis ma, su specifica richiesta dell’Onu, interverranno in momenti di gravi crisi civili, come durante un terremoto, ad esempio quello del Nepal, per porre riparo a emergenze legate al Patrimonio, oppure verificheranno i danni a opere e siti archeologici dopo un conflitto e dopo il ritiro delle truppe coinvolte. Potranno predisporre il trasferimento in luoghi di sicurezza di opere che potrebbero essere in pericolo e, naturalmente, contrastare i depredatori e trafficanti di reperti utilizzando ogni strumento, compreso il vastissimo database dei Carabinieri TPC che sta alla base di un vasto programma Interpol per la protezione del patrimonio culturale.










The UN's Blue Helmets for Culture Initiative Has Been Signed in Rome


During the joint UNESCO - Italy press conference in Rome this morning a new task force has been formalized to create an international training center for the Blue Helmets for Culture (Italian: 'Caschi Blu' della Cultura).  This body of officers will be tasked with the protections of the world's cultural patrimony.   The agreement was signed at the city of Rome's Baths of Diocletian in the presence of the Mayor of Turin, Piero Fassino, Italy's Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini and the director general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

 Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna,
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Working with a mixed composition of specialized personnel including approximately 30 civilian experts (historians, scholars, restorers of the Central Institute of Restoration in Rome and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence) and 30 officers from Italy's art crime squad, the Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale the training center will be based in Turin and called "ITRECH" (International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage).  

Earlier this week Bokova stated that “the establishment of a Task Force bringing together cultural heritage experts and the Italian Carabinieri force specialized in the fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property will enhance our capacity to respond to future emergencies.”

The project will be located at the city of Turin's Campus of the United Nations and will serve to build capacity by assessing cultural heritage risks and quantifying damage.  It will also work to develop action plans as well as towards providing technical supervision and training to local national staff of countries in conflict. 

The Blue Helmets for Culture Unit will also assist in the transfer of movable heritage to safe zones  when and where possible and will work to strengthen the fight against looting and illicit trafficking of antiquities. The overarching goal of the initiative is to protect cultural and religious pluralism within a framework of international action to combat terrorism.

Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale Task Force
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
The Turin training site, located at Viale dei Maestri del Lavoro 10, in Turin, Italy is already an international training campus for other International and UN groups such as UNICRI - United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the ITCILO, the Italian training arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO),  and the UNSSC – United Nations System Staff College.

By:  Lynda Albertson, CEO, ARCA

"ITRECH"
(International Training and Research Center of Economies of Culture and World Heritage) 
Italy's Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com
Celebrating the signing of the Blue Helmets for Culture Accord
Image Credit: Giuseppe Grifeo Di Partanna 
Journalist, Il Tempo and www.di-roma.com

February 2, 2016

Tuesday, February 02, 2016 - , No comments

"Picasso" Painting Recovered in Turkey is Deemed a Fake

The purported Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) canvas of “Woman Dressing Her Hair” seized by Turkish authorities has been deemed a fake on Monday by the Paris-based Picasso Administration, charged with managing the artist's estate.   Agence France-Presse confirmed with New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that the original artwork, a portrait of Dora Maar, remains safe and is part of their collection.

Image Credit AFP
The Picasso Administration issued a statement saying "the painting seized in Istanbul is a copy" of the famous 1940 work by the great Spanish artist.

Art forgery is the creating and selling of works of art which are falsely credited to others and often involve famous artists or artists who's work can be easily duplicated. 

Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques as well as digital and paper catalogue raisonné -- the most comprehensive, authoritative resource for authentication help to make the identification of forged artwork much simpler to identify. 





February 1, 2016

Monday, February 01, 2016 - , 1 comment

Before and After Comparison and Overlay of Stolen "Picasso" Recovered in Istanbul

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) - “Woman Dressing Her Hair” - 
Royan France, June 1940, Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 (130.1 x 97.1 cm)

While it is likely too early to see a large quantity of illicit conflict antiquities transiting through Turkey on their way to backroom collectors, that doesn't mean that the stage hasn't been set for flogging other purportedly stolen artworks.  On Saturday, January 30, 2016 Turkish authorities announced the recovery of what appears to be a badly damaged Pablo Picasso oil painting, "Woman Dressing Her Hair" that was once exhibited in a travelling exhibition from August to November 2012 at London's Tate Britain and the National Galleries of Scotland and on displat for a time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 
On Display in London

While several news reports have stated that the painting was stolen from a residence of an unnamed female New York collector, the painting's provenance, listed by the MOMA website states:

Original Owner: Pablo Picasso, from 1940 until the summer of 1957; 
Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, Inc., New York;
Mrs. Bertram Smith / Louise Reinhardt Smith, New York, 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Louise Reinhardt Smith bequest, 1995.

Louise Reinhardt Smith, was one of New York’s most discerning and passionate collectors of modern art as well as a prized supporter of the Museum of Modern Art.  She died quietly at 91 on Thursday, July 13, 1995 at her home in Manhattan and it can be assumed that it was in or near 1995 that the painting's ownership shifted to the MOMA though this is not clearly specified in MOMA's collection history.    The MOMA's website merely states that the work is not on view.  

Posing as buyers, Turkish authorities have indicated that they recovered the painting after a month-long investigation involving back and forth negotiations over the price with the prospective sellers. During that time, officers posing as collectors met with the suspects first at a hotel, then at a yacht marina in the Bakırköy district and ultimately at a cafe in Fatih, on the European side of Istanbul, where the purchase of the painting for $7 million dollars was supposed to be arranged.  There officers took two males, identified as A.O. and M.E.O, into custody and the damaged canvas was recovered.
Original and Recovered Painting
Comparison Overlay

Based on Dora Maar, a young and comely photographer who photographed Picasso in her late twenties, "Woman Dressing Her Hair" was completed in Royan, France during the summer of 1940. Some believe the painting was the artist's representation of a person trapped in anguish, made insane by being exposed to the terrors of war.   In the painting, Picasso painted Maar in an enclosed and compressed space with green walls and a purple floor as well as with hoof-like hands. 

As seen by the above before the theft and after the theft images as well as this simple comparison overlay, the recovered painting's brushstroke dimensions, appear to generally match the original artwork, at least with respect to the artwork's proportions. Pigment matches, useful in authentication, have not yet been made, nor have authorities mentioned the similarity of this painting to the one in the MOMA collection.

The recovered canvas reportedly carries the collector’s name and seals showing its collection history on the reverse side and as a result has been sent to Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University to be examined further. 

By Lynda Albertson