Showing posts with label Lessons from the History of Art Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lessons from the History of Art Crime. Show all posts

May 31, 2014

Noah Charney on "The British Origin of the Monuments Men" in "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" in the Spring 2014 issue of ARCA's Journal of Art Crime

Noah Charney is a professor of art history specializing in art crime and an international best-selling author of fiction (The Art Thief) and non-fiction (Stealing the Mystic Lamb). He teaches for American University of Rome and Brown University, and is an award-winning columnist for a variety of popular magazines and newspapers. He is the founder of ARCA, and has served as its president since its inception. In his column "Lessons from the History of Art Crime", Noah Charney writes about “The British Origin of the Monuments Men”: 
This winter, when George Clooney’s drama comes out about the Monuments Men and their adventures in saving Europe’s art treasures during the Second World War, viewers will be privy to a Hollywoodization of a true, dramatic, epic story of the race to rescue an estimated five million cultural heritage objects, from paintings and sculptures to rare books and valuable archival materials, that were looted by the Nazis and risked complete destruction. The Clooney film is only loosely based on historical fact—it necessarily compresses, condenses, and alters reality to fit the rules of a Hollywood feature. But one aspect of the Monuments Men that most American accounts skip past or exclude altogether is the fact that the Monuments Men began as a British operation—its spearhead was a most British brand of hero, Sir Leonard Woolley. 
The Monuments Men was the nickname of a group of some three-hundred Allied officers, members of the art world during their civilian lives (architects, conservators, archaeologists, art historians), who were charged with identifying art and monuments that might be in the line of fighting in Europe during the Second World War. Once these works, from Notre Dame Cathedral to the entire contents of the Uffizi, were identified, the officers would advise the Allied armies they accompanied on how, whenever possible, to avoid damage to these cultural monuments. That part of their call of duty was the British plan. But their role changed in practice, once the officers were in the field and it became clear, only late in the war, that there was an enormous, proactive art-looting plan that the Nazis had put into operation, led by their art theft unit, the ERR, and intended to both enrich the Nazi war effort and fill Hitler’s planned “super museum” that would occupy the entirety of his boyhood town of Linz, Austria, which would contain every important artwork in the world. Once in the field, as an under-appreciated and under-supported twig attached to the massive Allied armies, the Monuments Men began to act as war-time art detectives, seeking out key stolen works, piecing together clues as to the overall Nazi art theft plan, and eventually rescuing tens of thousands of looted masterpieces, including van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna—the twin focal points of the Clooney film.
You may finish reading this column in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue (#11) of The Journal of Art Crime edited by ARCA founder Noah Charney. The Journal of Art Crime may be accessed through subscription or in paperback from The Table of Contents is listed on ARCA's website here. The Associate Editors are Marc Balcells (John Jay College of Law) and Christos Tsirogiannis (University of Cambridge). Design and layout (including the front cover illustration) are produced by Urška Charney.

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.

February 7, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Editor-in-Chief and Columnist Noah Charney on "Lessons from the History of Art Crime

Photo by Urska Charney

In his column, "Lessons from the History of Art Crime", Editor-in-Chief Noah Charney examines the methods of authentication under the title "The Art World Wants to Be Deceived: Issues in Authentication and Inauthentication" in the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime.

Professor Charney writes about the three ways to authenticate art: connoisseurship, scientific analysis, and provenance. Although connoisseurship used to be the primary method of authenticating art, Charney writes, the new phenomenon of scientific analysis can be used by shade characters in shining armor. Provenance, the documented history of an object, has been on the rise in the past two decades but it relies on historical documents that rarely survive intact over the centuries. In the end, Charney recommends some combination of scientific analysis and provenance provides the strongest argument for authenticity, although the art world still relies on expertise which is still unregulated.

Noah Charney is the Founder and President of ARCA. Recently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, he is currently Adjunct Professor of Art History at the American University of Rome. He is the editor of ARCA's first book, Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009).

To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.