Showing posts with label Christopher Marinello. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christopher Marinello. Show all posts

July 13, 2014

Newsweek reports on Art Crime Symposium held in New York in June

In the Newsweek article, "Outgunned in the Search for Stolen Art", Kris Hollington reports on the June symposium organized by Christopher Marinello, founder of Art Recovery International, at New York University. Hollington discusses restitution of Nazi-looted art and fakes and forgeries.

Mr. Marinello spoke on the Gurlitt case in Amelia last month.

The NYU symposium was also Tweeted.

July 3, 2014

"The Gurlitt Case -- An Inside View From Christopher A. Marinello, Lawyer and Representative for the Heirs of Paul Rosenberg" presented at ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference on June 28

Matisse, Femme Assise,
Paul Rosenberg Archive
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Amelia, Umbria -- Following Duncan Chappell and Saskia Hufnagel’s analysis of the legal issues involved in the controversy over the art collection previously in possession of the now deceased Cornelius Gurlitt, Christopher A. Marinello, a lawyer and the founder of Art Recovery International, spoke on representing the heirs of Paul Rosenberg in their efforts to recover Henri Matisse’s painting Femme Assise found in Mr. Gurlitt's Munich apartment and looted from Paul Rosenberg by the Nazis in 1940 (see information regarding the Task Force's decision here).

Chris Marinello discussed the company’s new Art Claim Database, which he said aims to become the world’s largest and technologically advanced private database of stolen, looted, and otherwise tainted works of art.  Based in London, Marinello said he has recovered and resolved title disputes involving over $350 million worth of artwork and offers free services to law enforcement, governments, and non-profit museums.

The heirs of Paul Rosenberg are still searching for 59 of the 400 paintings that were looted from the Paul Rosenberg Gallery in Paris which included works by Picasso, Matisse, and Braque, all close friends of the Jewish dealer. [Information on The Paul Rosenberg Archives housed at The Museum of Modern Art in New York is available here. The family business moved from selling antiques in the late 19th century to Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.]

Christopher Marinello in Amelia
Marinello's presentation included details of events after news of the Gurlitt "trove" was released to the public by Focus Magazine in November 2013. Marinello explained how his team of researchers quickly assembled a comprehensive analysis of the Rosenberg claim for the Matisse painting with supporting documentation after an image of Femme Assise appeared in the magazine.

Marinello criticized German authorities in their handling of this most recent discovery of long lost Nazi looted artwork but praised the efforts of the individual researchers who make up the “Task Force” faced with the herculean task of reviewing the provenance of the Gurlitt pictures.  
Despite the fact that German law offered little or no protection to his clients and other heirs of Holocaust claimants, Marinello explained that some of his strategy in the Gurlitt matter included direct contact with Cornelius Gurlitt himself. Marinello said that throughout the discussions that took place with Mr. Gurlitt’s lawyers, he refused to accept anything other that unconditional restitution of the looted Matisse. Marinello said that an unconditional release and restitution agreement negotiated with Mr. Gurlitt’s lawyers in late March was put on hold after an unusual series of events interfered with the execution of that agreement. The upheaval in Gurlitt’s legal team and the Task Force’s consideration of a competing, but ultimately fraudulent claim to the Rosenberg Matisse delayed matters long enough to see the death of the Cornelius Gurlitt, Marinello explained.

In an apparent snub of Bavarian officials, Marinello said, Gurlitt left his pictures to the Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland which has publicly pledged to return all looted works of art to their rightful owners.

Without revealing his current strategy, Marinello explained that he has been in contact with the museum in Bern and the German Probate Court and is confident that the Matisse will be restituted to the Rosenberg heirs in the next few months.

A three-time returning speaker at ARCA, Chris thanked conference organizers for developing a program that allows for spirited intellectual debate of important cultural property issues in a relaxed and friendly environment.

June 4, 2014

Follow Art Recovery International's NYU Art Crime Conference June 4-6 via "live tweeting" (@artrecovery)

Jerome Hasler will begin "live tweeting" Wednesday morning from the Art Crime Conference designed by New York University and Art Recovery International (Christopher Marinello's new venture). The three-day conference will cover the subjects of fakes, forgeries, and looted and stolen art. You can follow the @artrecovery Twitter account for updates. The first day of the conference, organized under the title of "Art Theft", will include opening remarks by Alice Farren-Bradley, Moderator, Museum Security Network; Associate Director of Recoveries, Art Recovery International Ltd.; Jane C.H. Jacob, President, Jacob Fine Art, Inc.; and Christopher A. Marinello, Attorney and Founding Director, Art Recovery Group. Anthony Amore, Director of Security, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; coauthor, Stealing Rembrandts, will deliver the Keynote Lecture: "Art Theft in America". Milton Esterow, former Editor and Publisher, of ARTnews will speak on "Investigating the Market and Informing the Public"; Joe Medeiros, Director and Writer, will discuss "Mona Lisa Is Missing: The Truth about the Man Who Stole the Masterpiece". You may read the rest of the program here.

March 18, 2014

Art Recovery International Announces Opening of London Office; ARCA Lecturer Dorit Straus Joins Team

Dorit Straus
Christopher Marinello, Chairman and Founder of Art Recovery International, issued a press release today announcing the opening of its new offices at Exhibition House, Kensington, London and the recruitment of several key staff, including Dorit Straus, a lecturer at ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection:
Joining the team are the following: 
Mark Maurice, Executive Director Mark specialises in corporate and personal wealth preservation and acts for some of the most prestigious dealers and collectors worldwide. He has a First Class Honours Masters in Land Economy from University of Cambridge and has focused his practice on international corporate structuring, private equity and wealth protection with particular emphasis on the fine arts sector. Mark has dealt with a number of high profile restitution and cultural patrimony cases involving complex cross border disputes. 
Dorit Straus, Insurance Industry Advisor Dorit has over thirty years experience in the fine art insurance industry and served as Vice President and Worldwide Specialty Fine Art Manager at Chubb & Son. Trained as a Middle Eastern archaeologist at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Dorit began her career at some of America’s top art institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, Peabody Museum of Ethnology and Jewish Museum, Dorit has an extensive knowledge of collection management, art shipment, exhibition loans and valuation. For the last five years Dorit has been a visiting lecturer at the Association for Research into Crimes against Art and regularly speaks about issues affecting the art market and associated insurance industry. 
Ariane Moser, Associate Director Client Relations Ariane studied Art History, Sinology and East Asian Art History at the University of Zurich and holds an MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Ariane was the Manager of European Clients at the Art Loss Register in London where she was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with major European auction houses, insurance companies, art dealers and law enforcement agencies. Later, at ArtBanc International, Ariane served as a Research Specialist where she engaged in comprehensive provenance research projects as well as assisting the Expert Committee in preparing art valuations, market analyses and intelligence services. 
Alice Farren-Bradley, Associate Director Recoveries Alice read Ancient History and Archaeology at Durham University before completing her Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course through the University of Law. She worked for four years at the Art Loss Register in London as Recoveries Case Manager and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Art Law and Professional Practice and Ethics in the Art Market, at Kingston University. In 2013 Alice was named successor to Ton Cremers as Moderator of the international Museum Security Network, which monitors and circulates information on cultural heritage crime to museums, security personnel, art market professionals and law enforcement agencies.
You may read the complete press release here.

August 8, 2013

Christopher Marinello on "Art Recovery: Negotiating with Criminals, Handlers, and Good Faith Purchasers" (The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2013)

Christopher Marinello writes on "Art Recovery: Negotiating with Criminals, Handlers, and Good Faith Purchasers" in the Spring 2013 issue of The Journal of Art Crime.
There was a good deal of press coverage surrounding a recent art recovery I handled for the Museum of Modern Art in Sweden. A UK-based dealer with significant connections to the Polish art market searched Matisse's Le Jardin against the Art Loss Register database. The results showed that the work had been stolen 26 years earlier, from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden and reported to the local police, INTERPOL, and the IFAR (later the ALR) database. 
Following confirmation of the match, my role was to ensure that the painting made its way into the UK, where I would secure the assistance of law enforcement in case a seizure of the work became necessary. I then proceeded to negotiate (with police approval) for the return of the work. 
Fortunately, I encountered a very cooperative dealer who was willing to listen to my analysis of the laws of Poland, the UK, and Sweden. (I think I might have bored him into submission). We engaged in considerable debate about what options he had available to him, knowing that he now held a stolen painting. Once obtaining his release, the painting was placed in a safe for eventual return to the museum in Stockholm. 
Many of the reporters covering the story wanted to know how much money was paid to the dealer, to obtain the release of this $1,000,000 painting. The follow-up question was just as direct, in wanting to know how much money the ALR was going to make from the recovery. The answer to both questions was, and is, zero.
Mr. Marinello's article is continued in the ninth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA (available electronically and in print via subscription and The Associate Editor is Marc Balcells (ARCA '11), Graduate Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science, John Jay College of Criminal Justice -- The City University of New York.

June 1, 2013

Alberge for The Observer on "Art Detective warns of missing checks that let stolen works go undiscovered"

Dayla Alberge wrote for The Observer on June 1, 2013 in "Art Detective warns of missing checks that let stolen works go undiscovered: Case of 17th-century landscape highlights failure of European auction houses, dealers and collectors to carry out searches" Christopher A. Marinello of the Art Loss Register found a landscape (beach) painting at an Italian auction house.

"We do find a lot of stolen and looted artwork in civil law countries such as Italy, France and Germany. Consigners of tainted works of art often try to hide behind the good-faith purchase laws of these countries while performing little or no due diligence," Marinello told Alberge.

The 1643 work, by 17th century Dutch artist Jan van Goyen, a 'pioneer of naturalistic landscape painting' was, according to the article, stolen from: the home of Paul Mitchell, an antique picture frame specialist in London in 1979:
'The thieves forced open a window to enter his house. Mitchell assumed that the slight noise that he heard from downstairs was the family cat. "Police call these people 'creepers', night-time burglars who specialise in burgling people when they are in their house," Mitchell said. Describing waking to discover the theft, he added: "The anguish is a very long, deep-seated thing which never really goes away. Hardly a day goes by when I haven't thought about it.
'The loss of the pictures was also painful because of their sentimental value [Marinello]. They belonged to his father, but had become so valuable that Mitchell could not afford to insure them for their full worth. Back in 1979, the paintings were valued £5,000 reward for their recovery, placing advertisements in international journals and approaching a specialist art detective. But the trail went cold.
'It surfaced by chance a few weeks ago after a Dutch dealer tried to buy it in Italy. Before paying for it, he decided to check the database of the Art Loss Register (ALR), which tracks down the world's stolen art from its headquarters in London.'
'Negotiations were particularly delicate because, under Italian law, if someone buys a stolen work in good faith the buyer is sometimes entitled to keep it.'

May 11, 2013

Boston Globe's Todd Wallack on "Prized stolen art frequently resurfaces after decades"

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)
Painting of William Ponsonby,
Second Earl of Bessborough, 1790
The Boston Globe's Todd Wallack points to the increased chance of recovery stolen art years after the theft in "Prized stolen art frequently resurfaces after decades" (May 10, 2013).

Wallack recounts the recovery of John Singleton Copley's portrait of William Ponsonby stolen from Harvard University in 1971 at the 2006 Stair Gallerie's Auction of items from the William M. V. Kingsland Estate. Melvyn Kohn, who went by the name of Kingsland, was later discovered to have died with a private collection of stolen art. Alex Acevedo, owner of The Alexander Gallery, had purchased the unattributed painting for $85,000 then discovered it had likely belonged to Harvard and contacted the FBI.

Wallack writes:
Art detectives say long-lost works like the Copley are increasingly turning up after going missing for ­decades, thanks in large part to readily available information on the Internet or in electronic databases. The trend is feeding hopes of art fans that the prized pieces taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 23 years ago could eventually surface as well. 
Though the vast majority of missing artwork is never recovered, stolen items are often discovered when they change hand, sometimes many years later, when brokers and buyers research the pieces online and through databases, according to brokers and others in the business.
“We’ve got recoveries happening every week,” said ­Christopher A. Marinello, an ­attorney for the Art Loss Register of London, which maintains an international database of more than 360,000 stolen, looted, disputed, or missing works around the world, including 1,000 from Massachusetts and hundreds of pieces from ­Harvard alone.
“It’s not that unusual to find artwork that has been lost for more than a quarter of a century,” Marinello said. “The valuable pieces either are recovered right away, or they go underground for a generation.”

February 1, 2013

Art Crime in the Media: "Art Cops" Highlights theft of Stradivarius, The Romanoff Heist, and the Art Loss Register's Most Wanted

Here's a link to Art Cops, "A new series dealing with the theft of works of art, antiquities, books and maps from major museums, cultural institutions and collectors" (Twitter), hosted by Burt Wolf, a public television host of Travels & Traditions.

This episode, which aired on September 1, 2012 on Iowa Public Television, tells the story of "The Missing Stradivarius", the 1995 theft of a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin stolen from the New York City Apartment of Erica Morini while the 91-year-old Viennese violinist was dying in the hospital. The rare violin remains missing today.  (You can read more about stolen Stradivarius violins on the website of violinist Joshua Bell in an article by David J. Krajicek for The New York Daily News.  Mr. Wolf interviews Mr. Bell; Christopher Marinello of The Art Loss Register (and a frequent speaker at ARCA's art crime conferences); Dorit Straus, world-wide fine arts manager at Chubb Insurance Company (and an ARCA Lecturer); Bob Wittman, former FBI agent; and Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, head of the FBI's Art Crime Team.

The same episode discusses "The Romanoff Heist" when thieves stole twelve art works by Pop Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtensteins from the residence of Robert Romanoff in Manhattan's Meat Packing District on Thanksgiving weekend in 2010.

Mr. Wolf also identifies three artworks Marinello and The Art Loss Register are "particularly interested in recovering": Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Dona Maar stolen in 1999 from the yacht of a Saudi Prince while anchored for repairs in the harbor at Antibes on the French Riviera; a portrait of Francis Bacon by Lucian Freud stolen when the Tate Gallery of London lent the painting to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin; and the theft of a painting by Gustav Klimt in 1997 from a gallery under renovation in Italy (someone opened the skylight).

January 31, 2012

Antiques Trade Gazette Reports that "iPhone Raid" Involved the Use of a Smartphone to Select Artwork in Heist in Northern Ireland

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor-in-Chief

Recently art thieves used a presumed iPhone in a robbery in Northern Ireland to select art during a robbery, and one art recovery expert expects more use of technology with even the release of the iPad 3.

Museum Security Network distributed an article yesterday from the Antiques Trade Gazette that reported "Violent Raid saw art expert direct gang by smart phone" in Northern Ireland on January 3:
"In what is being dubbed the iPhone raid, the two men with Irish accents used a third party to assist them with the robbery after forcing their way into a Co Armagh home. Beaten, bound and gagged, the victim watched as a 'smart' phone was used to film his collection. The videos were immediately sent to an apparently knowledgeable accomplice who then advised the thieves on what to steal and what to leave behind."
The unnamed victim "a retired vicar and well known at major art sales", according to the Antiques Trade Gazette, "Among the stolen items from what has been called a world-class art collection were two paintings by Canaletto, exceptional antique furniture and other chattels."

I emailed Christopher Marinello at the Art Loss Register and asked him what was the same or different about this theft. This is his response:
While it is interesting from the viewpoint of the i Phone technology used, it is, in my opinion, nothing more than the time honored practice of low level crooks doing the dirty work for a more sophisticated criminal. 
Many of the major art thefts that took place in the late 1960's and 1970's were committed by drug addicts paid by others to smash and grab their way through various galleries. The low level criminal would be paid small amounts of cash or drugs and would turn over the stolen art to a small gang leader who would then attempt to sell the items or demand a ransom for their return.

While this is the first published case of an iPhone being used, I have no doubt that the practice will continue or even expand after the release of the anticipated iPad 3. But let's not forget that any images sent via the internet or by a mobile device are traceable. Clearly, these crooks are not thinking about the big picture.

October 15, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2011: The Art Loss Register Recovery Update

"Portrait of a Man"
by Sir Henry Raeburn
In the Spring 2011 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Christopher A. Marinello, Executive Director and General Counsel for The Art Loss Register, answers the question "Is art ever stolen to order?"

Marinello serves as the ALR's chief negotiator and has mediated and settled numerous art related disputes for the world's largest private international database of stolen, missing, and looted artwork. In this editorial essay, he discusses the recovery of a photograph stolen from the Prague Museum; Andy Warhol's Candy Box; and a two-year dispute over Sir Henry Raeburn's 'Portrait of a Man', stolen from Joanne King Herring, who was portrayed by Julia Roberts in the film Charlie Wilson's War.

You may read Marinello's essay by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through ARCA's website or purchasing an individual issue through

September 20, 2011

The Art Loss Register Recovers Two Seventeenth Century Colonial Paintings Stolen from a Church in Bolivia

St. Rose Viterbo
ART LOSS REGISTER PRESS RELEASE - On Christmas Eve in 1997, more than a hundred religious artefacts were stolen from the Church (Templo) of San Andres de Machaca in La Paz, Bolivia. The church, declared a Bolivian National Monument in 1962, had been the target of thieves several years earlier before being stripped of its colonial masterpieces in 1997. The theft was reported to the Bolivian Ministry of Culture and Interpol and subsequently recorded on the Art Loss Register’s international database of stolen, missing and looted artwork.

Saint Augustin
In May 2011, over thirteen years after the theft, the Art Loss Register received a request to search its database of stolen art for two of the Bolivian colonial works. The request was submitted by a U.S. art dealer who claimed to have received the paintings on consignment from an elderly American collector. The art historians employed by the Art Loss Register were able to conclusively identify the portraits of ‘Saint Rose of Viterbo’ and ‘Saint Augustin’from several unique areas of damage thanks to the good quality archival photographs taken by the church prior to the theft.

Bolivian Ambassador Maria Beatriz Souviron Crespo
 and Christopher Marinello of the Art Loss Register 
Christopher A. Marinello, a lawyer who specializes in recovering stolen art for the Art Loss Register in London, handled the complicated negotiations that brought these iconic pictures back to Bolivia. “We could not have located these paintings without the important and groundbreaking work of Interpol and the Interpol Database of Stolen Art. This case is emblematic of the cooperation between the public and the private sector, a relationship that, in my view, is crucial to the protection of cultural heritage worldwide.”

In a brief ceremony at the Bolivian Embassy in London on 12 September 2011, the paintings were returned to Ambassador Maria Beatriz Souviron Crespo on behalf of the Bolivian Ministry of Culture.

August 16, 2011

ALR's Chris Marinello and ISGM's Anthony Amore Quoted About A Stolen Rembrandt Drawing from a California Hotel

Rembrandt's drawing "The Judgement"
 (The Linearis Institute)
Christopher Marinello, General Counsel for the Art Loss Register and a speaker at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference for two years, and ARCA Trustee Anthony Amore, Security Director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, are quoted in a few articles about the theft of a Rembrandt Drawing from a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles.

The 1655 drawing, titled "The Judgement" and measuring 11 by 6 inches, is owned by the Linearis Institute of San Francisco. It was stolen Saturday evening with a diversion tactic: the curator was distracted by a potential sale while another person grabbed the quill ink-and-pencil drawing.

You may read a few of the articles here:

The latter article by Chris Reynolds for The Los Angeles Times describes more lucrative hotel robberies.

March 9, 2011

Rodin's Naked Balzac Bronze Stolen Three Months Ago in Jerusalem During Museum Renovation, Reports; NPR Adds Quote from the Art Loss Register's Chris Marinello

Rodin Statue of Balzac (Photo Courtesy of
Although the Israel Museum discovered the theft of Auguste Rodin's "Naked Balzac with Folded Arms" three months ago, the information was not made public until yesterday on The heavy bronze could not have been moved out of the museum's garden without the use of a crane and a truck. The police investigation has been ongoing., in covering the story, added a few quotes from the Art Loss Register's Christopher A. Marinello whom you have read about on this blog.