Showing posts with label Fall 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fall 2012. Show all posts

December 3, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Noah Charney's Q&A with Joshua Knelman

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, editor-in-chief Noah Charney interviews Joshua Knelman, a journalist living in Canada who's first book, Hot Art, is about investigating stolen art.  In it he profiles Don Hrycyk and follows the story of several heists and their subsequent investigations.  Along the way he speaks with a number of ARCA staff and colleagues.

"We chatted with Joshua about his research and how he came to write this book," Noah introduces.

Here's the first question Noah Charney asks Joshua Knelman:

Which art theft do you discuss in your book and how did you choose those cases in particular? With over 50,000 reported art thefts per year worldwide, and with the Carabinieri databased packed with over 3 million stolen artworks, it must have been tough to choose where to focus.
I chose to focus on cases related to me by a wide range of sources, and followed the threads, hoping to identify criminal patterns.  I was less interested in following one art theft case than in figuring out how art theft as a phenomenon works.  So it wasn't a matter of one particular case.  The book showcases a wide variety of art thefts ranging from blockbuster art heists, to art gallery smash and grabs, to the almost invisible plague of thefts from private residences.  It was this last category which seemed to be less covered, but persuasive.  When I began the book, I have to admit, I was hoping for a Thomas Crown Affair story I could follow, bu the reality turned out to be far more complex, and, to my mind, more interesting.
You may read the rest of this interview by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.






November 30, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: "The Hattusa Sphinx and Turkish Antiquities Repatriation Efforts" by Aaron Haines

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Aaron Haines writes about "The Hattusa Sphinx and Turkish Antiquities Repatriation Efforts":
On March 1 of 2012, Art News journalist Martin Bailey reported that the Turkish government had prohibited the loan of cultural artifacts to the New York Metropolitan Museum of art, the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism stated that these museums have artifacts that were illegally removed from Turkey, and that the ban would be removed once the contested objects were returned.  Soon it was discovered that Turkey had given the ultimatum to many other museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Dumberton Oaks, the Museum of Art at Bowling State University, the Louvre Museum, and the Berlin Pergamon Museum.  Turkey has prohibited exhibition loans to any of these museums until the requested objects have been returned. 
Turkey has been petitioning for the return of most of these artifacts for many years, but most often these petitions have come in the form of simple requests.  This is the first time that the country has made such a widespread and forceful demand.  This should not come as a surprise, in light of recent events regarding Turkey's repatriation efforts.  Of particular importance was its recovery of the Hattusa Sphinx, returned last year from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.  Turkey was forceful with Germany, and the two countries were able to quickly come to an agreement.  This success emboldened Turkey and gave it the necessary confidence to use forceful tactics with other reluctant countries and institutions that own contested objects.  Exploring the motivations and actions of both parties involved with the Hattusa Sphinx will shed further light on why Turkey recently enforced this ban and what their plans are for the future.
Aaron Haines is a teaching assistant at Brigham Young University where he is pursuing a B. A. in Art History and Curatorial Studies.  He has worked at the Museo civico in Siena, italy as well at the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University.  He recently completed training with the Provenance Research Training Organization in Magdeburg, Germany and is a Foreign Language Area Studies Scholar.

November 26, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Review of Edmund de Waal's "The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance"

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Catherine Sezgin reviews Edmund de Waal's The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (Picador, 2010).

Edmund de Waal is a British ceramic potter and academic uses the history of his family's netsuke collection to allow readers to understand this Japanese art in his memoir:
I pick one up and turn it around in my fingers, weight it in the palm of my hand.  If it is wood, chestnut or elm, it is even lighter than the ivory.  You see the patina more easily on these wooden ones: there is a faint shine on the spine of the bridled wolf and on the tumbling acrobats locked in their embrace.  The ivory ones come in shades of cream, every color, in fact, but white.  A few have inland eyes of amber or horn.  Some of the older ones are slightly worn away: the haunch of the faun resting on leaves has lost its markings.  There is a slight split, an almost imperceptible fault line on the cicada.  Who dropped it? Where and when?
The story involves 19th century Paris, Nazi occupied Vienna, and post-war Japan.

"Not since Jonathan Harr's book, The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, has a book so influenced me," Ms. Sezgin writes in the review.

Ms. Sezgin edits the ARCA blog.

You may read this article by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.

November 21, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: "The Lord Byron Forged Letter: Where's the Questioned Document Analysis (QDE)?" by John Daab

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, regular contributor John Daab writes on "The Lord Byron Forged Letter: Where's the Questioned Document Analysis (QDE)?":
Lloyd Smith was an avid collector of rare books and letters amassing thousands of works upon his death.  In 1957 the Morristown National Historical Park Museum was elated to find that they were the recipient of 300,000 of Smith's works from his estate.  Contained with these artifacts was a letter from Lord Byron, the poet.  Over the last 40-50 years the letter was exhibited on occasion but, for the most part, it lay in storage (Pfister, 2011).  In 2010 the letter was scanned and brought to the attention of nearby Drew University scholars, who suspected that the work was not genuine (Appendix exhibit B). The evidence supporting the forgery call was that there were anomalies in signature, date, type of address to Captain hay (the receiver of the letter), and wording used.  The scholars argued that the signature was not that of Lord Byron, the dating of the months did not match Byron's dating, the word "affectionately" was not typical for Byron, and the use of "My dear Hay" to address Captain Hay his friend was not appropriate (Fischer, 2012 Appendix C).
To confirm the conclusion found by Drew Scholars, the National Historic Park Museum enlisted the services of Doucet Devin Fisher from the New York Public Library, a Byron scholar and member of the Byron Society.  Fisher compared the letter with the notes of a Rutgers University Byron scholar Leslie Marquand, and found that the letter was a forgery.  Fisher noted that the Byron letter under review matched a similar forgery.  What is not apparent from the various narratives and media accounts found regarding the announcement of the forgery, is a clear description of how the forgery was determined.  The fundamental rule in scholarly research and forensic examination is that another researcher may carry out the research in similar fashion and reach the same conclusion.  Verification informs reliability and, without it, specious conclusions may emerge.  What seems to be problematic and a serious issue is that those carrying out the process of document determination, in terms of authenticity, is the extent that the process establishing the forgery followed proper QDE, or Questioned Document Examination (FBI, 2009).  Before we engage in the QDE process ourselves, let us first define and discuss some of the concepts presented in the account of the latest Byron fake and those lacking in the examination.
John Daab was formerly a NYCTP Police Officer and an NYU Professor.  John holds the following designations: Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Forensic Consultant, Certified Criminal Investigator, Certified Instructor, Diplomate American Board of Forensic Examiners, Certified Homeland Security, and Certified Intelligence Analyst.  He holds the degrees of Ph.D. MA, MPS, MA, MBA, and BA.  He writes regularly for The Journal of Art Crime.

November 19, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: "The Sword in the Museum: On Whether La Vallette's Sword and Dagger, Currently Housed in the Louvre, Should be Returned to Malta" by Mario Buhagiar

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Mario Buhagiar writes on "The Sword in the Museum: On Whether La Valette's Sword and Dagger, Currently Housed in the Louvre, Should be Returned to Malta":
The debate about the spoils of war and national heritage is always an intense one.  Whenever I ask somebody whether a recognized objet d'art which used to be in a country's possession out to be returned to its first home, I always get a resounding 'yes.'  In Malta's case, the most popular objet d'art in question is La Valette's sword.  Together with its matching dagger, the sword was a gift from Philippe II of Spain in 1565 to The Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta at the time, Jean Parisot De La Valette (active 1557-1568), marking the Knights of Malta's victory in the Great siege and the subsequent retreat of the Ottoman forces.(1) The set of weapons remained in the Order's possession for more than two hundred years after the death of the Grand Master, who first received it on the Order's behalf.  This sword was later taken by Napoleon's forces when they invaded Malta, and is now on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Mario Buhagiar is a professor and head of the History of Art Department at the University of Malta.

November 2, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Columnist Noah Charney on "Counterfeit Money" in Lessons from the History of Art Crime

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, columnist Noah Charney writes on "Counterfeit Money" in Lessons from the History of Art Crime:
In this, and the last, issue of The Journal of Art Crime, we have seen excellent academic articles on aspects of counterfeit money (see Mihm, Stephen in the Spring 2012 issue, and Judson and Porter in this issue).  While counterfeit money is its own field of study, it has many parallels with art forgery, and we therefore have seen fit to consider it in this journal.  In doing so, I thought that it might be of interest to present a brief history of counterfeit money, for those unfamiliar with the subject. 
Perhaps the most well-known sort of forgery is the faking of money, whether counterfeiting coins, dollar bills, or treasury bonds.  The United States Secret Service, before they became best-known as the bodyguards of the president, were established in order to investigate counterfeit money printing operations and close them down.
Noah Charney is founder of ARCA and the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Art Crime.

October 22, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Review of Anne-Marie O'Connor's "The Lady in Gold: Extraordinary Tale of the Klimt Paintings"

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Catherine Sezgin reviews Anne-Marie O'Connor's The Lady in Gold: Extraordinary Tale of the Klimt Paintings (Knopf, 2012):
In 1907, Gustav Klimt finished the portrait of 24-year-old Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of a wealthy art patron who lived across the square from Vienna's Fine Art Academy.  In the same year, that same art school would reject Adolf Hitler's application for admission because he failed the drawing exam.  More than three decades later, these two events collided when a Nazi stole this portrait from the home of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a Jew who had fled Europe's great cultural center when Austria united with Hitler's fascist regime.
In Lady in Gold, the Extraordinary Tale of the Klimt Paintings, journalist Anne-Marie O'Connor tells the story of Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which would sell for $135 million to an American in 2007.  O'Connor first describes the relationship between Klimt, his Jewish art patrons, and the cultural environment in pre-Nazi Austria.  From the point of view of the Bloch-Bauer family we are told of the collaboration between Austria and the German Nazis to loot Jewish art collections.  The book concludes with the legal struggles of American attorney Randy Schoenberg to navigate the U. S. legal system and help Maria Altmann and the other surviving members of the Bloch-Bauer family to recovery four stolen Klimt paintings.  It's a story of how a legitimate government corrupted legislation to steal from, and murder, its own citizens.
Against the backdrop of the murder of 6 million Jews, restitution of stolen art may seem unimportant, especially as newspapers today sport headlines of Jewish families recovering and then selling artworks for millions of dollars.  Why is it so important that these paintings are returned to the families now? Weren't these issues of restitution settled decades ago when Allied forces discovered stolen art in the salt mines of Germany after the war? And why does the American legal system have to get involved in these cases, almost seven decades after armistice? Isn't this a metter for the government of Austria to decide? Lady in Gold answers these questions.
You may read this review by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.

October 17, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2012: Columnist David Gill on "Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic" in Context Matters

In the Fall 2012 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, columnist David Gill writes on "Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic" in Context Matters:
In January 2012 the Italian government announced the return of some 40 archaeological fragments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  The fragments had been bequeathed by a deceased American collector ("riconducibili alla collezione privata di un cittadino americano, deceduto").  The following day, the Italian journalist Fabio Isman reported, in Il Messaggero, that the anonymous collector was, in fact, Dietrich von Bothmer (Isman 2012).  Isman was able to add that some of these 40 fragments were part of objects that had already been returned to Italy from North American collections, or from objects that had been seized by the Carabinieri.  Bothmer had himself indicated that he "always gave fragments of mine when they would fit another vase in the collection" (Nørskov 2002:31). 
The Italian report specifically added the information that some of the fragments came from the Onesimos cup, returned by the J. Paul Getty Museum and now on display in the Villa Giulia in Rome (Sgubini 1999; Godart and De Caro 2007:78-79, no. 10); see Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312).  The first parts of the cup were acquired in 1983 from "the European art market" (Walsh 1984: 246, no. 73, inv. 83.AE.362).  At the time, it has been presented to the Museum, accession number 84.AE.8:" its acquisition was reported the following year (Walsh 1985: 169, no. 20, inv. 84.AE.80; see Williams 1991).  Further fragments, from the "European art market", were added in 1985 (Walsh 1986: 191, no. 47, inv. 85.AE.385.1-2).  It is significant that Dyfri Williams, who published the "Getty" cup, noted that he was shown photographs of "a rim fragment, made up of three pieces" in November 1990.  He does not specify who owned the pieces.  Subsequent research has shown that the fragments were derived from Galerie Nefer (owned by Frida Tchacos-Nussberger), and the Hydra Gallery (Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312).
David Gill teaches at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, England.  He is a former Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome and was a member of the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge.  He has published widely on archaeological ethics with Christopher Chippindale.  He has recently completed a history of British archaeological work in Greece prior to the First World War.

You may read Dr. Gill's Context Matters by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through the ARCA website.

October 8, 2012

The Journal of Art Crime, Issue 8: Fall 2012

The Journal of Art Crime is edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA Publications twice a year. The electronic version of the journal is available through a subscription. The eighth issue of The Journal of Art Crime for Fall 2012 includes academic articles, regular columns, editorial essays, and reviews in addition to a "Q&A with Joshua Knelman" by Noah Charney, a Summary of Papers Presented at the 2012 ARCA Conference on the Study of Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, and a list of the 2012 ARCA Awards.

Academic articles: John Kerr on "The Role of the Police in the Co-production of Art Security in London"; Ruth Judson and Richard Porter on "Estimating the Volume of Counterfeit U. S. Currency in Circulation Worldwide: Data and Extrapolation"; Asif Efrat on "Getting Governments to Cooperate against Looting: Insights from the American and British Experience"; Johanna Devlin on "Repatriation via the Art Market: A New Type of Recovery, New Trends Coming from China"; Penelope Jackson on "Planning Revenge: Art Crime and Charles Frederick Goldie"; and Dr. W. (Bill) Wei on "Fingerprinting Objects for the Control of Illegal Trafficking".

Regular Columns: in Context Matters, David Gill writes on "Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic" and in Lessons from the History of Art Crime, Noah Charney writes on "Counterfeit Money".

Editorial Essays: John Daab on "The Lord Byron Forged Letter: Where's the Questioned Document Analysis (QDE)?"; Aaron Haines on "The Hattusa Sphinx and Turkish Antiquities Repatriation Efforts"; and Mario Buhagiar on "The Sword in the Museum: On Whether La Vallette's Sword and Dagger, Currently Housed in the Louvre, Should be Returned to Malta".
  
Catherine Schofield Sezgin reviews Andrew Shea's documentary film "Portrait of Wally"; Edmund de Waal's book "The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance"; and Anne-Marie O'Connor's book, "The Lady in Gold: Extraordinary Tale of the Klimt Paintings".

In October we'll run subsequent posts on the blog with more information about each submission.