Showing posts with label Louvre Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louvre Museum. Show all posts

December 21, 2016

Museum Theft Identification: Louvre Museum "Le Campement de bohémiens" by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps

Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (1803-1860)
Le Campement de bohémiens, Oil on wood - 18 x 24.8 cm 
In a developing story, first reported by France's La Tribune de l'Art, a stolen painting, Le Campement de bohémiens, believed to be by the artist Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, has been identified in an online auction catalog at the Paris auction house Hôtel Drouot

The artwork was first spotted by Xavier de Palmaert, who in turn notified Jacques Ranc, an art historian working on Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps catalog raisonné.  The painting on auction is believed to be one of 17 by the artist bequeathed to the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1902 from the collection of Thomy Thiéry.  Not on display at the time of its disappearance, the artwork was identified as being missing during an inventory check on January 15, 1977 and is believed to have been taken from the museum sometime between 1973 and 1977. 


2833 — Le Campement de bohémiens. 

Devant un mur dégradé, des bohémiens, un homme, une femme et uhc fillette, ont allumé du feu et font bouillir la marmite. La femme, au premier plan, misérablement vêtue, est assise sur une pierre ; l'homme, assis à terre, à gauche, est appuyé contre le mur du fond, tandis que la fillette debout, à droite, la pincette à la main, surveille le feu qu'abrite une vieille porte de bois. Quelques récipients grossiers sont à terre. 

Signé sur une pierre, à droite : Decamps. 

Bois. Haut., 18 cent.; larg., 24 cent. 

Collections J. Fan, Véron, dit Taillis, H. Didier. 
M"'"' la baronne Nath. de Rothschild et Denain. 
Catalogue Moreau, p. 193. 

(Translated in English)
2833 - The Gypsy Camp. 

In front of a degraded wall, gypsies, a man, a woman and a young girl, lit the fire and boil the pot. The woman in the foreground, miserably clad, sat on a stone; man, sitting down, left, is leaning against the back wall, while the girl standing, right, tongs in hand, watching the fire beside an old wooden door. Some containers thrown crudely down. 

Signed [by the artist] on a stone, on the right: Decamps. 

Wood. 18 cent .; 24 cent.

Collections J. Fan, Véron, dit Taillis, H. Didier. 
Miss Baroness Nath. Of Rothschild and Denain.
Catalog Moreau, p. 193.



Considered by some to be the founding father of Orientalism, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was one of the first French painters of the 19th century to turn from Neoclassicism to Romanticism.  Due to his influence, Decamps is likely one of the most copied and forged artists of the nineteenth century.

For Mr. Ranc to consider this work as potentially authentic is a big statement, especially as he has been vocal about the number of fakes or copies or "in the manner ofs" Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps artworks that are part of museum collections.

Hôtel Drouot has long been one of France’s most venerable and prestigious auction houses.  In March 2016 a scandal broke when 40 of the firm's self-governing and self-employed corps of porters, known as the ‘red collars’ indicted for pilfering' thousands of items. 

For the moment, the painting has been removed from sale pending the official demand for restitution by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication in France. 

Further details of the painting's history and provenance found on the Ministry's cultural patrimony portal: 

Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
Photo Credit: Eugene Disdéri
Domaine: peinture
Dénomination: tableau
Titre: Le Campement de Bohemiens
Auteur/exécutant: DECAMPS Alexandre Gabriel
Précision auteur/exécutant: Paris, 1803 ; Fontainebleau, 1860
Ecole: France
Période création/exécution: 2e quart 19e siècle
Matériaux/techniques: peinture à l'huile ; bois
Dimensions: H. 18, l. 24.8
Inscriptions: signé
Précision inscriptions: Decamps (S.mi-h.d.)
Sujet représenté: scène (nomade, préparation des aliments)
Lieu de conservation: Paris ; musée du Louvre département des Peintures
Musée de France: au sens de la loi n°2002-5 du 4 janvier 2002
Statut juridique: propriété de l'Etat ; legs ; musée du Louvre département des Peintures
Date acquisition: 1902
Anciennes appartenances: Thomy Thiéry
Numéro d'inventaire: RF 1386
Bibliographie: Catalogue des peintures du Louvre, I, Ecole Française, Paris, 1A972, p. 121 ; Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du musée du Louvre et du musée d'Orsay, Ecole française, III, Paris, 1986, p. 190



July 15, 2015

Columnist Noah Charney on “Napoleon: Emperor of Art Theft” in "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

In his regular column "Lessons from the History of Art Crime" Noah Charney writes on “Napoleon: Emperor of Art Theft” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Art Crimeedited by Charney (with Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis) and published by ARCA:
When Citizen Wicar, one of the key members of the art theft division of Napoleon's army, died in 1843, he bequeathed 1436 artworks as a gift to his birthplace, the city of Lille. Though most were works on papers (prints and drawings), this is an astonishing number. But there are two more facts about this bit of historical trivia that make it that much more surprising. First, almost all of these works had been stolen by him, personally, over the course of his service to the Napoleonic Army, in which he and several other officers were charged with selecting, removing, boxing up and shipping back to Paris art from the collection of those vanquished by la Grande Armee. Stealing over a thousand artworks is no small feat for a single person, even when with the sort of unrestricted access his position with the army allowed. Impressive enough, until we reach the second fact: Citizen Wicar had already sold most of the art he had stolen over the course of his post-war life, but still had those thousand odd pieces left over, to bequeath. In terms of quality, Citizen Wicar, who would serve as Keeper of Antiquities at the Louvre Museum, is the most prolific art thief in history. But it is his boss, Napoleon Bonaparte, who is often crowned with that title.
Noah Charney holds Masters degrees in art history from The Courtauld Institute and University of Cambridge, and a PhD from University of Ljubljana. He is Adjunct Professor of Art History at the American University of Rome, a Visiting Lecturer for Brown University abroad programs, and is the founder of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a non-profit research group on issues of art crimes. Charney is the author of numerous academic and popular articles, including a regular column in ArtInfo called “The Secret History of Art” and a weekly interview series in The Daily Beast called “How I Write.” His first novel, The Art Thief (Atria 2007), is currently translated into seventeen languages and is a best seller in five countries. He is the editor of an academic essay collection entitled Art & Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World (Praeger 2009) and the Museum Time series of guides to museums in Spain (Planeta 2010). His is author of a critically acclaimed work of non-fiction, Stealing the Mystic Lamb: the True History of the World’s Most Coveted Masterpiece (PublicAffairs 2011), which is a best seller in two countries. His latest book is The Thefts of the Mona Lisa: On Stealing the World’s Most Famous Painting (ARCA Publications 2011). Upcoming books include The Art of Forgery (Phaidon 2015), The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art (Norton 2015), and Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves, an edited collection of essays on art crime (Palgrave 2014). 

Here's a link to ARCA's website about access to The Journal of Art Crime.