Showing posts with label Richard Ellis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Ellis. Show all posts

May 17, 2017

Blast from ARCA Program Pasts: ARCA'13 Alum Summer Clowers asks: Is the ARCA program for you? Really now.

A medieval town & its secret passageways
by Summer Clowers, ARCA 2013

WARNING: this essay is a work of satire.  It is best understood when read in the haughty voice of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, from Downton Abbey.

As an ARCA alumna, I have come to warn you about all of the things that you will hate about this small program on art crime. With that in mind, I here offer a list of the woes of living in a small Umbrian town the likes of which will keep you up at night as you scroll through old Facebook photos.  A hue and cry, as it were, to any prospective ARCA-ites. Should you choose to ignore my advice, I cannot be responsible for the consequences.

Your first few days in Amelia will leave you with an intense urge to explore and make friends.  The town is ancient, surrounded on most sides by a Neolithic wall, and even more ancient history buried beneath it.  There are secret passages and hidden rooms and you will want to grab a new-found "buddy" as the Americans are saying and sneak through every one of them.  DON’T.  The more you explore, the more you will love the town, and it will make it all that much harder to leave.  Yes, there is a secret Roman cellar underneath one of the restaurants.  No, I will not tell you which one.  Yes, the town’s people do scatter the roads with rose petals in the shape of angels every June. No, pictures do not do it justice.  Yes, there quite possibly is a hidden room in your classmate's flat.  All of these things are beside the point.  Walk steadily on the path and avoid all temptations to adventure.

As for friends, stick with those gentle people that live near to you back in the real world.  I know Papa di Stefano is fantastic, and yes, he will befriend you in a way that transcends language, but do you really want to miss him when you’ve gone?  And your fellow students?  Well, most of them are going to live nowhere near you.  Who needs to have contacts in Lisbon and Melbourne and New York and Amsterdam?  Certainly not you.  No, you don’t.  It’s so damp in the Netherlands and we all know London is just atrocious.  I mean really, all those people. I do try to stay out of the south. Take my advice, ignore anyone that lives far from you.  You are here to learn and leave, not make connections that will last you the rest of forever.

You will also want to be wary of the town’s locals.  Amelia is tiny, so getting to know most of its shopkeepers and inhabitants will not be very hard, but you must resist the urge to do so as it is deeply improper to fraternize with the proletariat.  It is true that Fabio will know your coffee order before you get fully through his door, and the Count will open his home with a smile to show you around his gorgeous palazzo, but these things are not proper.  Do not mistake their overflowing kindness and warmth for anything other than good breeding.  And when you find yourself sobbing at the thought of saying goodbye to Monica, you can just blame your tears on the pollen like the rest of us.

Your instructors are going to be just as big of a challenge.  The professor’s are really too friendly.  I know that Noah Charney says that he’s available for lunch and Dick Ellis will happily have a beer with you, but is getting to know your mentor's socially, really appropriate?  I mean, we’ve all attended seminars where you barely see the speaker outside of stolen moments during coffee breaks, and that’s the best way for things to go, isn’t it?  Sterile classroom experience with little to no professorial interactions has been the way of academia for generations.  I know I never saw any of my professor’s outside of class.  And I certainly don’t keep up with Judge Tompkin’s travels through his hilarious emails; that would just be gauche.

And then there’s the conference.  It lasts an entire weekend.  Why would I want to attend a weekend long event where powerhouses in the field open up their brains for plebeians?  I mean honestly, meeting Christos Tsirogiannis at the conference will be a high point in your year, and it will be too difficult to control your nerdy spasms when Toby Bull sits down next to you at dinner.  And then, when you find out that Christos joined ARCA's teaching team in 2014, you’ll find yourself scrambling to come up with a way to take the program a second time just so you can pick his brain. Think about how much work that will be.  This should be like the grand tour, a comfortable time away from home so that you can tell others that you simply summered in Italy. 

And the program would be so much better served in Rome.  I mean, just think on it.  You would never have to learn Italian, because you’d be in a city full of tourists.  You’d get to pay twice as much for an apartment a third of the size of the one you rent in Amelia, and you wouldn’t have to live near any of your class mates.  A city the size of Rome is big enough that a half hour metro ride to each other’s places would be pretty much de rigueur.  This means you wouldn’t have to deal with any of those impromptu dinner/study sessions at the pool house.  And there certainly wouldn’t be random class-wide wine tastings at the Palazzo Venturelli. It's too much socializing anyway.  It really is unseemly.

And finally, let’s talk about the classes.  Do we really care about art crime? Sure, Dick Drent is pretty much the coolest human you’ll ever meet, and Dorit Straus somehow manages to make art insurance interesting, but really, do you care?  Isn’t that better left to one’s financial advisor?  And the secret porchetta truck that the interns will show you as you study the intricacies of art law, could surely be found on one’s own.  Couldn’t it?  I think we would all be much better served by just watching that  Monuments Men movie, fawning over George Clooney and Matt Damon, and thinking about the things we could be doing all from the safety and comfort of our own homes.  I do so hate leaving home.  The ARCA program involves work, and ten courses with ten different professors, and classmates that will quickly become family. It’s all so exhausting.  I mean really, tell me, does this sound like the program for you?

ARCA Editorial Note:  If you would like more information on ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program, please write to us at: education (at) 

We will put you on the list to receive application materials when the 2018 application period opens in Autumn 2017. 

February 26, 2015

Faculty and Course Schedule for the 2015 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

 The Faculty and Course Schedule for the 2015 Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection in Amelia, Italy has been confirmed** and  the general application period has been extended through March 30, 2015.

For a copy of this year's prospectus and application materials please write to ARCA at education (at)

For more information on this year's program please see this earlier blog posting.

June 2015

Course I  - “The International Art Market and Associated Risk”
Dr. Tom Flynn, Art Historian and London Art Lecturer,
Adjunct Assistant Professor Richmond The American International University in London
Senior Lecturer and Visiting Lecturer Kingston College and Christie's Education

Course II - “Art Policing, Protection and Investigation”

Richard Ellis, Law Enforcement
Detective and Founder of The Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard Art and Antiquities Squad (retired),
Director, Art Management Group

Course III - “Breitwiesers, Medicis, Beltracchis, Gurlitts and Other Shady Artsy Characters:  How to Analyze their Crimes Empirically”
Marc Balcells, Criminologist; Criminal Defense Attorney
Doctoral Fellow at The City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Professor, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche
Consultant, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Course IV - “Art Forgers and Thieves”
Dr. Noah Charney, Author, Founding Director of ARCA
Adjunct Professor of Art History, American University of Rome 

Course V - “Insurance Claims and the Art Trade”

Dorit Straus, Insurance Industry Expert
Insurance Industry Consultant, Art Recovery Group PLC
Vice President and Worldwide Specialty Fine Art Manager for Chubb & Son, a division of Federal Insurance Company  (retired)

July 2015

Courses VI - “Art Crime in War”
Judge Arthur Tompkins, Forensic Expert
District Court Judge in New Zealand

Courses VII - “Art and Heritage Law”
Dr. Duncan Chappell, Professor
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney,
Former Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology (1987-1994)

Courses VIII - “Risk Assessment and Museum Security”
Dick Drent, Security and Risk Management
Omnirisk, Director
Corporate Security Manager, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam  (retired)

Course IX - “TBA”

August 2015

Course X - “Looting, Theft, Destruction, and Repatriation of Cultural Property: Community Impacts”
Dr. Laurie Rush, Cultural Property Protection Expert
Board Member, United States Committee of the Blue Shield

Course XI - “Antiquities and Identity”

Dr. Valerie Higgins, Archaeologist
Associate Professor and Chair of Archaeology and Classics at the American University of Rome

**While the 2015 course listing has been confirmed as of January 13, 2015, the 2015 course listing and instructor line-up may change,in the event unforeseen circumstances affect the assigned instructor’s availability. 

January 30, 2015

Breaking News: Will the Real Owners of the Stolen Paul Gauguin Painting Please Stand Up? A Case for Mediation.

In April 2014 the stolen art world ignited when a press conference conducted by General Mariano Mossa of Italy’s Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale art crime squad and the country’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, announced that Italy had recovered two stolen paintings worth more than 33 million euros.

Originally owned by philanthropist Mathilda Marks, daughter of Michael Marks, who founded the Marks and Spencer retail empire and her husband, Terence Kennedy, the two paintings, Fruits sur une table ou nature au petit chien (Still Life with a Small Dog) by Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard’s La femme aux deux fauteuils (Woman with Two Armchairs) had been stolen from a opulent London flat in Chester Terrace in 1970.  The art thieves, posing as burglar alarm repairmen, gained access to the house on the pretext of verifying the owner’s alarm system.  Pretending to go about their work, the criminals quickly removed the artworks from their original frames and bolted while the housekeeper was distracted preparing tea.

After their theft, the art works were smuggled out of England and on to France where they were later abandoned on a Turin-bound train arriving from Paris.  The culprits were never identified though police speculate that whoever was transporting the paintings may have abandoned them when they were spooked by customs officials on the train.

Found by railway inspectors, the two paintings languished for more than a year in the Turin train system’s lost property section before being auctioned off by Italy's national railway network in 1975 as unrecovered lost property.  This time period is significant because the sale occurred five years before the Carabinieri's famous art crime tracking database came into existence.  Unaware of their importance, the pictures were sold for a mere 45,000 lire – €26 in today's money, to a Fiat employee identified only as Nicolò, who later moved back to Siracusa, Sicily when he retired from the auto industry job as a metal mechanic in Turin. 

The Antiques Trade Gazette, reported that Rome’s public prosecutor Marcello Cascini, has stated that the Carabinieri TPC had been alerted to the paintings when a friend of the Italian buyer tried to sell them.  Other news services have reported that the autoworker’s son, Salvatore voluntarily contacted the Carabineri TPC directly when he began to suspect that his father’s paintings where not merely bargain basement knock-off’s.  In either case, the family members have been cooperative and have avoided the lime-light while the paintings were sequestered in 2014 until rightful ownership could be established.

Who is entitled to proceed for restitution and is possession really 9/10ths of the law?

Despite EU efforts to reach uniformity, each domestic law system in the EC provides specific regulations that may vary between Common Law and Civil Code approaches in determining who the rightful owner of a stolen object is. 

Following Art.1153 of the Italian Code, "Effects of the acquisition of possession”, in order to resist a forfeiture claim and protect his interests, the bona fides Sicilian buyer first would have to establish that he acquired the artworks and currently holds the items under dispute.  Second he would need to prove that he had a "valid" title upon which the goods have been acquired and third he would need to show that he was acting on good faith when he purchased the paintings.

Based on Italian civil code criteria the paintings would have had to have been owned by the Fiat worker for 10 years if he was unaware they were stolen goods or twenty years if he had any knowledge that the artworks he had purchased were hot art.

On the basis of the civil code in Italy,  information provided by the Carabinieri TPC that specializes in art and antiquities and given more than forty years had passed since the time of the London theft and subsequent purchase, the Italian courts ruled in the autoworker’s favor last month.  The property was returned to its Italian owner who reported that he planned to sell the Gauguin.

His victory proves there is some truth to the old adage, ownership is easier to maintain if one has possession of something and difficult to enforce if one does not.

Italian law. UK law. Swiss Law. 

But while Mrs. Marks and her American husband, Terence Kennedy, had no children they did have heirs to their vast fortune.

Terence Frank Kennedy met Mathilda Marks in Paris and were married shortly thereafter on 23 August 1951.  A flashy couple, they travelled frequently and spent their money on jewellery, cars, dogs and art. They would buy the Guaguin painting in 1962 from Sotheby’s in New York.

Speaking with Richard Ellis, director of the Art Management Group and a former head of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Squad, ARCA learned that when Mathilda Marks died 01 September 1964 she left her widower as the principal beneficiary to her personal estate, leaving him the pictures, which remained in his Chester Terrace home in Regents Park until the high profile art theft in June 1970.

Later he would close the house and travel between Switzerland, London and the South of France where he met John Henderson, then a young actor, who would go on to serve as his personal assistant after he suffered from a major stroke.  Henderson would become Kennedy's lifelong friend, support person  and constant companion for the next twenty years.

When Mr. Kennedy died in 1997 he made Mr. Henderson his sole heir under a will administered in Switzerland. In addition to a will, Mr. Henderson can produce the complete provenance of the paintings and their original frames, complete with exhibition history.

According to Ellis, the terms of Kennedy’s will means that all of Mr Kennedy's possessions, whether in his keeping at the time or not, now belong to John Henderson, inclusive of the now contested stolen pictures and the paintings' frames which he still has. The fact that investigations revealed no insurance payout having been made on the pictures, means that at least under UK law, Mr. Henderson retains clear title to the art works.

Where do the “owners” go from here?

Mr. Ellis reported that he is attempting to schedule a meeting with Roberto Matarazzo, Italian legal counsel to the 70-year-old retired Fiat factory worker arguing that this evidence seems to dictate that the Carabineri TPC and Italian Courts may not have satisfactorily investigated the claim to ownership with regards to these valuable artworks prior to their ruling in the retiree’s favor.  Ellis would like to set up an appointment to discuss the matter in Naples as soon as possible but definitely before any potentially, controversial sale.

This may be a perfect opportunity for all parties to consider the advantages of extra-judicial methods of dispute resolution through the use of a mediator. By sitting down to talk and finding an agreement via mediation on this matter, both parties may be able to arrive at a satisfactory resolution for all parties via Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008.  This directive is specifically intended to encourage amicable dispute resolution vs. long litigious drawn out battles, particularly in civil and commercial matters.

Its the appropriate recourse for art and cultural heritage dispute in the event of an art theft where both the heirs and the purchasing party have vested interests, financial or emotional, in the artworks.

By Lynda Albertson, ARCA

References used in this article:

Italian Studies in Law: A Review of Legal Problems, edited by Alessandro Pizzorusso

March 2, 2014

Gurlitt Art Collection: ARCA Lecturer Dick Ellis interviewed by "Voice of Russia" about the general issues of art restitution

Richard Ellis, retired Scotland Yard detective
Voice of Russia features an exclusive interview with ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis in "Holocaust victims' heirs to reclaim Nazi-looted artwork if Gurlitt bill passed" (February 28, 2013):
An act allowing the heirs of Holocaust victims get more powerful leverage to claim their property, i.e. the works of art looted by the Nazis, is being debated by Bavarian legislature.The bill is named after Cornelius Gurliit - a Munich pensioner and owner of a spectacular collection of modernist paintings, drawings and watercolors. The Art Management Group and former Head of the Art and Antiques Union of Scotland Yard Richard Ellis and Gurlitt’s representative Stephan Holzinger explained to the Voice of Russia the legal aspects of the intricate "treasure hunt".
Mr. Ellis, who is not involved in the Gurlitt case according to the article, 'exclusively told the Voice of Russia that even if Germany will change its laws considering the looted art, the Gurlitt collection will remain out of legal prosecution.'

You can read the interview here.

December 1, 2013

ARCA Associates participating in International Conference on Protecting Cultural Heritage As a Common Good of Humanity: A Challenge for Criminal Justice; Italian conference scheduled Dec. 13-15 in Courmayeur Mont Blanc

ARCA's CEO Lynda Albertson; ARCA lecturer Richard Ellis and 2012 and 2013 award winners, Jason Felch and Duncan Chappell, will be speaking at the International Conference on Protecting Cultural Heritage As a Common Good of Humanity: A Challenge for Criminal Justice on December 13-15 in Courmayeur Mont Blanc in Italy 13-15 December 2013.

This cultural heritage protection conference is the initiative of International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council of the United Nations; Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme-ISPAC; Fondazione Centro Nazionale di Prevenzione e Difesa Sociale-CNPDS; and Fondazione Courmayeur Mont Blanc in co-operation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime-UNODC, Vienna under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
ISPAC is organizing an International Conference aimed at exploring the indispensable role of crime prevention and criminal justice responses, at both international and domestic level, in combating all forms of trafficking in cultural property and related offences in a comprehensive and effective manner. This Conference addressed to international organizations, national enforcement agencies, academics, cultural institutions, private sector operators in art and antiquities follows a long-established commitment of ISPAC in the protection of cultural heritage and public goods as one of the most relevant challenges for contemporary criminal policy. Cultural heritage has come to be perceived not only as an asset for the "source Countries", but also, more relevantly, as the object of a cultural right any human being is entitled to, as well as a fundamental heritage for the whole mankind. Hence the growing interest that the United Nations, as well as many other international organizations, have been developing in the phenomenon, and the commitment to produce and implement international legal instruments aimed at protecting cultural heritage. 
In the past, several instruments have been adopted. The prevention and sanctioning of harms traditionally inflicted to cultural property during wars was the first aim to be pursued through the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), and its Additional Protocols as well as the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions (1977). Other interventions by the international community focussed on illicit imports, exports and transfers of ownership of cultural property under any kind of circumstance, and namely the UNESCO Convention (1970), as well as the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995). The international commitment to the safeguard of cultural heritage found also expression in several other international instruments, such as the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001), the European Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property (1985), the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1969) and its revised version (1992). 
Nowadays the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, and its very complex features, are increasingly acknowledged at both international and national level. Trafficking in cultural property, as well as all other crimes related to cultural objects (such as looting, illicit import and export, forgery, and so on), are believed to be a constantly growing sector of criminality, and an increasingly attractive one for national and transnational criminal organizations. Hence, too, the growing involvement of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in drafting and implementing international instruments to face offences against cultural heritage. Since 2009 several initiatives were adopted pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 2008/23. In its resolution 2010/19, then, the Council considered that the Organized Crime Convention (2000), as well as the UN Convention against Corruption (2003), should be fully used for the purpose of strengthening the fight against trafficking in cultural property. At its twentieth session, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice prepared a draft resolution (2011/42) entitled Strengthening Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses to Protect Cultural Property, Especially with Regard to its Trafficking, in which it mandated the Secretariat to further explore the development of specific guidelines for crime prevention and criminal justice responses with respect to trafficking in cultural property, and invited Member States to submit written comments on the UN Model Treaty for the Prevention of Crimes that Infringe on the Cultural Heritage of Peoples in the Form of Movable Property. Finally, in April 2013, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice recommended to the ECOSOC a draft resolution on Strengthening Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses to Protect Cultural Property, Especially with Regard to its Trafficking, to be submitted for adoption to the General Assembly. The Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (to be held in Qatar in 2015) will specifically focus - among others - on comprehensive and balanced approaches to prevent and adequately respond to new and emerging forms of transnational crime, such as trafficking of cultural property. 
ISPAC's Conference aims at exploring the indispensable role of crime prevention and criminal justice responses in combating all forms of trafficking in cultural property and related offences in a comprehensive and effective manner; the need for States to consider reviewing their legal frameworks, in order to provide the most extensive international cooperation to fully address trafficking in cultural property; the possibility for national jurisdictions to make trafficking in cultural property (including stealing and looting at archaeological and other cultural sites) a serious crime, as defined in art. 2 UNCTOC, as well as to fully utilize that Convention for the purpose of extensive international cooperation; finally, the importance of a speedy and effective finalization of the Guidelines, on the basis of the work carried out in the last years. Further issues worth consideration will be the need for credible and comparable data on different aspects of crimes against cultural property, including the links with transnational organized crime and the laundering of illicit proceeds, as well as the benefits of collecting and comparing best practices both in the public and in the private sector. 
PROGRAMME (contacts with panellists are in progress)
Opening Session • LODOVICO PASSERIN de ENTRÈVES, Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Courmayeur Mont Blanc Foundation, Italy • FABRIZIA DERRIARD, Mayor of Courmayeur, Italy • AUGUSTO ROLLANDIN, President, Region of Aosta Valley, Italy • LIVIA POMODORO, President, Court of Milan, Italy; CNPDS/ISPAC Chairman • Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism • Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Keynote Address • JOHN SANDAGE, Director Division for Treaty Affairs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime-UNODC, Vienna, Austria 
Session I ILLEGAL TRAFFIC OF CULTURAL PROPERTY : THE NEED FOR A REFORM Chair DUNCAN CHAPPELL, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Sydney, Australia; ISPAC Board Member
• Cultural Heritage and Commons: New Tasks for International Community. UGO MATTEI, Professor of Private Comparative Law at University of Turin, Italy; University of California, Hastings College of Law, USA 
• Curbing Illegal Traffic of Cultural Property: Initiatives at the International Level STEFANO MANACORDA, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Naples II, Italy; Collège de France, Paris, France; Deputy Chair and Director ISPAC 
• Anatomy of a Statue Trafficking Network: an Empirical Report from Regional Case Study Fieldwork SIMON MACKENZIE, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of Glasgow, UK
• ALBERTO DEREGIBUS, Colonel, Cultural Heritage Protection Unit, Carabinieri Corps, UNESCO, Paris, France
• SARA GREENBLATT, Chief, Organized Crime Branch, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC, Vienna, Austria
• FOLARIN SHYLLON, Professor at Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Nigeria 
Session III INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES NATIONAL JURISDICTION Chair EMILIO VIANO, Professor, Department of Justice, Law and Society, American University, Washington DC, USA 
• HUANG FENG, Professor of Criminal Law, Director Institute for International Criminal Law, Beijing Normal University, China 
• DEREK FINCHAM, Associate Professor, South Texas College of Law, Houston, USA 
• Cultural heritage crime in the Islamic Penal Code of Iran MIR MOHAMMAD SADEGHI, Professor of Criminal Law and Head of Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran; UNESCO Chairholder for Human Rights, Peace And Democracy, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran 
• HELENA REGINA LOBO DA COSTA, Professor, University of São Paulo, Brazil (tbc) 
• ADOLFO MEDRANO MALLQUI, Professor of Criminal Law, Lawyer, Lima, Peru Coffee Break 
SESSION III (continued) POLICE COOPERATION Chair EMILIO VIANO, Professor, Department of Justice, Law and Society, American University, Washington DC, USA 
• RICHARD ELLIS, Founder of Scotland Yard! s Art and Antiquities Squad, London, UK • ANTONIO COPPOLA, Major, Head of the Operative Cultural Heritage Protection Unit, Carabinieri Corps, Rome, Italy 
• STÉPHANE GAUFFENY, Colonel, Central office for the fight against Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods (OCBC), Central Directorate of Judicial Police, Paris, France (tbc) 
• DOMENICO GIANI, Inspector General of the Gendarmeria Corps, Vatican City (tbc 
SESSION III (continued) RETURN, RESTITUTION AND CONFISCATION Chair LUIS ARROYO ZAP ATERO, Professor of Criminal Law, Universidad Castilla-la-Mancha, Spain
• Restitution and International Judicial Cooperation MARC-ANDRÉ RENOLD, Professor of Art and Cultural Property Law; Director of the Art-Law Centre; Holder of the UNESCO Chair in the International Law of Cultural Heritage at the University of Geneva, Switzerland
MARIE PFAMMATTER, post doctoral researcher, University of Geneva, Switzerland
• PASCAL BEAUVAIS, Professor, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre, Paris France
• STEVEN FELDMAN, Partner, Herrick, Feinstein LLP, New York, USA
• MARK V. VLASIC, Senior Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University, Washington, USA
• ROBERT WITTMAN, Art Crime Investigator, President of Robert Wittman Inc., Pennsylvania, USA
• JAMES RATCLIFFE, Head of Recoveries, The Art Loss Register-ALR, London, UK
• LYNDA ALBERTSON, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Research into Crimes against Art-ARCA, Rome, Italy
• ROBERT N. LAYNE, Executive Director, International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Denver, CO, USA
• MARK STARLING, Chair, International Convention Of Exhibition And Fine Art Transporters-ICEFAT, Toronto, Canada
Round Table PROTECTING CULTURAL PROPERTY: CASE STUDIES AND BEST PRACTICES Chair SIMON MACKENZIE, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of Glasgow, UK 
• GIOVANNI MELILLO, Prosecutor, Court of Naples, Italy 
• FABRIZIO LEMME, Professor and Lawyer, Rome, Italy
• TESS DAVIS, Vice Chair of the American Society of International Law! s Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group - Researcher SCCJR, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK 
• FABIO ISMAN, Journalist, Italy 
• JASON FELCH, Journalist, Los Angeles Times, USA 
Conference Venue Conference Hall, Hôtel Pavillon Via Regionale, 62 - 11013 Courmayeur (AO) Official Languages English and Italian with simultaneous interpretation 
Conference Secretariat Fondazione Centro nazionale di prevenzione e difesa sociale-CNPDS Palazzo Comunale delle Scienze Sociali 3, Piazza Castello - 20121 Milano MI Tel.: +39 02 - Fax: +39 02 E-mail: - Home page: Home page:

October 12, 2013

ARCA Symposium in London at the V&A on November 7, 2013 focuses on Art Recovery & Reward and Art Forgery & Provenance

The V&A will host a one-day symposium on art crime, organized by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art). The event will feature leading speakers in the fields of investigation and art crime research providing in-depth talks on the subjects of Art Recovery & Reward and Art Forgery & Provenance.

V & A Blue Gallery
Session 1 - Art Recovery & Reward - 10:00 am
Detective Sergeant Claire Hutcheon, Metropolitan Police, Head of the Art & Antiques Unit.
Charlie Hill, Security Adviser and Art Crime Researcher, Former Detective Chief Inspector, Metropolitan Police

Richard Ellis, Director of the Art Management Group, Former Head of the Art & Antiques Unit, Metropolitan Police.
Jonathan Jones, author, lecturer, journalist and art critic for The Guardian
                                                         Session 2 – Art Forgery & Provenance – 3:00 pm
by Moody, Francis Wollaston
Vernon Rapley, Head of Security and Visitor Services at the V&A, Chairman National Museum Security Group, Former Head of the Art & Antiques Unit, Metropolitan Police
Christopher Marsden, Sr. Archivist, V&A Museum and Chairman for the Standing Conference on Archives and Museums
Christos Tsirogiannis, Archaeologist and Art Crime Researcher, University of Cambridge, former member of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice
Noah Charney, Founder of ARCA, Author, Professor of Art History specialising in Art Crime
This symposium will be held in the Hochhauser Auditorium in the Sackler Centre at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London SW7, on Thursday November 7, 2013. Sessions begin promptly at 10:00 am and 15:00 pm, with a two hour break for lunch. Attendance is free and open to the public.
To register for this event please email the symposium coordinators at on or before November 1, 2013. Please indicate the names and email addresses of the attendees and if attendance will be for one or both sessions of the programming. Space is limited and attendees are respectfully encouraged to reserve early.

August 9, 2013

Report from ARCA in Amelia: More on the Pompeii field class, Napoli, and courses by Valerie Higgins and Dick Ellis

Painting of Amelia
 by A. M. C Knutsson
by Sophia Kisielewska, ARCA Intern

Extremely early on Sunday morning a large proportion of the ARCA class gathered outside the town walls of Amelia to wait for the bus that would take them to Pompeii. 

Other members of the class had taken a train two days earlier to enjoy at the great sights of Naples. High on everyone’s agenda seemed to be the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli; Caravaggio’s spectacular ‘The Seven Acts of Mercy’ at the church of Pio Monte della Misericordia; Napoli Sottoterranea (underground); and above all a pizza from one of the three classic Neapolitan pizzerias: Da Michele, Di Matteo and Sorbillo.

The class caught up with these students at the gates of Pompeii at around 11 a.m. After a much needed cup of coffee, the reunited class entered the site and met up with Crispin Corrado, ARCA’s academic director and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at The University of California, Rome Study Center. Dr. Corrado led the students around the site, successfully keeping everyone distracted from the desert heat. She explained how the inhabitants of Pompeii had been living at the time of Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 AD and the history of the site since its discovery in 1748 by Spanish Engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre. Later in the afternoon we visited the villa at Oplontis situated in the heart of the Mafia district, but a beautiful spot regardless. After this we all hopped back on the coach to return to Amelia. It was perhaps both the most beautiful and the most exhausting day yet.

Walking in Pompeii
Monday morning saw the arrival of the first British lecturer of the week, Valerie Higgins, the Associate Professor and Chair of Archaeology and Classics at the American University of Rome. Dr. Higgins teaches courses in Roman archaeology and history; ancient art; archaeological method and theory; funerary archaeology and human remains. Her personal research focuses on the role of archaeology in contemporary society covering aspects such as trafficking of antiquities; contemporary approaches to human remains; heritage in conflict situations; and the role of heritage in contemporary Rome. Her ARCA course, Antiquities and Identity, touched upon many of these topics. The primary focus of Day One was to assess how far the current issues of repatriation and disputed legal ownership are the result of the archaeology practices of the past and how contemporary attitudes to heritage are consequently changing, bringing new challenges to the field. To fully understand this problem, we were required to know a little more about the history of the field and this began with a lecture on the growth of antiquarianism and collecting from the time of Raphael. 

With a limited number of archeology trained students this summer, everyone was captivated by Day Two’s lectures in which Dr. Higgins explained the different archeological methods. A run through of the controversial debates that surround archeology in today’s climate was the heart of discussions during Wednesday’s lectures.

Mark & Laura renew vows at Palazzo Farrattini
Midway through this intense series of lectures, ARCA students and staff joined their classmate Mark and his wife of five years, Laura, at a ceremony to renew their marital vows at sunset in the beautiful garden at Palazzo Farrattini. It was a fantastic event and a welcome opportunity to relax and forget the murky world of art crime.

After lunch on Wednesday, Richard "Dick" Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad and current Director of Art Management Group, began the last course of the program, Art Policing and Investigation. Mr. Ellis brings an unparalleled level of expertise and field experience to the ARCA classroom. In his first class, Mr. Ellis directed the non-law enforcement figures in the room through the structure of police services around the world and their differing contributions towards the protection and recovery of stolen art.

The following two mornings, through a series of case studies, often ones that Mr. Ellis was closely involved in, the class learned the common reasons why art is targeted by criminals. We also understood, through such case studies, how large a role the global art market plays in aiding these criminals. The myth that art is stolen by the order of Thomas Crown-figures was immediately dismissed, and any sense of glamour evaporated as we were instantly made aware of the rather more sinister figures that govern the illicit art trade.

July 17, 2013

SMU Announces Dick Ellis and Virginia Curry in "The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime" at Southern Methodist University from October 14-18, 2013

Richard Ellis
Art crime investigators Richard "Dick" Ellis and Virginia Curry will present another seminar in "The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime" at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University from October 14 - 18, 2013.
The seminar will be presented by two internationally noted art crime investigators. Richard “Dick” Ellis is a former detective with New Scotland Yard, where he founded and led the Art & Antiques Squad for more than a decade. Virginia Curry is a former FBI undercover agent and Art Crime Team member whose high-profile cases have been chronicled in such books as Chasing Aphrodite and The Medici Conspiracy (see full bios at end of release). 
Topics to be covered include the following: 
• Museums: A lecture on museum operations will be followed by a trip to a regional art museum, where participants will visit with professionals regarding exhibit curation, conservation, security and provenance issues. 
Virginia Curry
• Auction houses: A talk about the auction business is followed by a visit to an auction house, discussion with staff, preview of an upcoming auction and participation in a mock bidding experience. 
• Art galleries: A lecture on galleries’ roles in identifying tastes, finding clients and working with them to build collections is followed by visits to local galleries and meetings with owners and artists’ representatives to discuss current collecting trends in contemporary and traditional art. 
• Art crime and looted cultural heritage: From Egyptian antiquities to Native American art to Nazi thefts during World War II, issues of rightful ownership, provenance and repatriation of art works continue to challenge art organizations and governments worldwide. Current cases will be discussed by international experts.
Last summer, Mr. Ellis and Ms. Curry presented their symposium at Stonehill College.

Mr. Ellis is also a lecturer at ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection. Ms. Curry presented at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference in 2009.

Here a link to this event on the SMU website for additional information about registering for the seminar.

July 31, 2012

Retired FBI Agent Virginia Curry Notes a "Lively" Beginning to Stonehill College's Art Crime Symposium with former Scotland Yard Detective Richard Ellis

July 30th was the first day of the art crime symposium conducted by retired FBI Agent Virginia Curry and retired Scotland Yard Detective Richard Ellis at Stonehill College outside of Boston.

A lecture on the economics of art began the day followed by lunch on campus. Then the sold-out class reviewed an auction preview at Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Massachusetts, Ms. Curry reported to the ARCA blog. Diane Rivas led a "lively" discussion about the auction market, Curry wrote.

Alex Bond (ARCA 2011) is at the Stonehill Symposium and is pictured here with Ms. Curry and Mr. Ellis.

Richard Ellis also teaches at ARCA's post graduate certificate program in International Art Crime Studies.

May 3, 2012

BOOK REVIEW CONTINUED: Joshua Knelman's Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives through the Secret World of Stolen Art

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

(Continued from yesterday)

In 2008, as economic chaos grips the bond markets and art prices continue to increase, Knelman interviews Donald Hrycyk of the Los Angeles Police Department; Richard Ellis, former head of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad; Julian Radcliffe of the Art Loss Register; FBI Art Investigator Robert Wittman; Matthew Bogdanos who led the recovery effort for antiquities looted from the National Museum of Iraq in 2003; Giles Waterfield, the former director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery who helped to recover “the Takeaway Rembrandt”;  and Bob Combs, head of The Getty’s security.

Knelman finds cooperation with Detective Hrycyk of the LAPD’s Art Theft Detail, the nation’s only full-time municipal unit dedicated to investigating art-related crimes.  The detective discusses solved cases, methods of investigation, and takes Knelman to the evidence warehouse. Knelman recounts Hrycyk’s background from patrolling the streets of South Central Los Angeles to the detective’s patient and precise work investigating art thefts.  In 2008, Hrycyk was training his partner, Stephanie Lazarus, just as his former boss and mentor, Bill Martin, had trained Hrycyk 1986 to 1989.

In Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, art theft was a hidden crime, blending many different worlds.  It cut across socio-economic lines and could move in a heartbeat from blue-collar to white-collar criminals.  A thug who knew nothing about art except that it was valuable could steal a painting; that same afternoon, the painting could wind up in the possession of an auction house; within the week or the month, it could be sold to one of the Los Angeles art elite.

In addition to visiting art galleries, auction houses, and museums, Hrycyk read the 1974 book by Laurie Adams, Art Cop, about the work of a former undercover New York City narcotics officer, Robert Volpe, who was probably the first detective in North America to investigate art theft full-time.  Knelman writes:
Volpe’s investigations included burglaries, robberies, and consignment frauds – when an artist or patron would lend a piece of work to a gallery and the gallery would vanish or refuse to return the art.  He believed that art theft in New York in the 1970s had reached the same stage as narcotics a decade earlier.
Hrycyk tells Knelman that the unregulated art world (just like the drug dealers Hrycyk arrested for years) relied upon a code of ethics where not asking for information seems to be part of that world’s business practices.  Buyers and sellers of art use middlemen just as drug dealers do.  “It is considered rude to ask questions about the provenance of an artwork – who owned it, where it came from.  Embarrassment is often one of the leading factors for secrecy,” Hrycyk tells Knelman.

Martin retired in 1992 but it wasn’t until two years later that Hrycyk returned to the Art Theft Squad to work with a rotating string of partners until he chose Lazarus to train in 2006.  Hot Art opens with a chapter on a ride-a-long with Hrycyk and Lazarus to the crime scene at an antiques store on La Cienega and recounts the detectives’ investigation.  A year later, Lazarus would be arrested for the murder of her ex-boyfriend’s wife and this year she was convicted of the crime.  Hrycyk, one of the most senior officers of the LAPD, has no successor to continue the investigative work built upon two decades of contacts in the art market.

Knelman’s sister, a student at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, introduces her brother to her thesis advisor Giles Waterford who had been the curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1981 when “the takeaway Rembrant” was stolen for the third time.  Rembrant’s very small painting titled Jacob de Gheyn III is an example of “Headache art” which attracts significant media attention.  Waterfield recounts his negotiations with a German businessman for a “Finder’s Fee” that leads to the recovery of the painting.

Paul "Turbo" Hendry tells Knelman that ‘there was one detective in London, in particular, who made his reputation dealing with headache art cases’, Richard Ellis, the man who re-started Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Squad.

As a detective, Ellis had been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including reclaiming a Vermeer from a criminal organizer in a chase that lasted seven years and spanned half a dozen countries.  That case was chronicled thoroughly in The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art, by Mathew Hart.

Ellis’ interest in art theft began with the burglary of his parents’ home in 1972 and the subsequent recovery of his family’s property at the Bermondsey Market, London’s Friday-only open market of junk and antiques.  Ironically, Ellis was never allowed to work on the Philatelic Squad that evolved from investigating crimes in the stamp market to the unregulated antiques industry that operated as Scotland Yard’s first Art and Antiques Squad.  Knelman recounts Ellis’ strategy of reopening the department in 1989 after it had been closed for five years. Ellis cases included the recovery of paintings stolen from the Russborough house in 1986; the 1994 recovery of Edvard Munch’s The Scream stolen from Norway’s National Gallery; and Jonathan Tokeley-Parry’s smuggling of antiquities out of Egypt in the 1990s. Knelman writes:
For Ellis, the Russborough case provided the link between stolen art and organized crime, diamond dealers, and a network that stretched across Europe.  The Schultz case, which involved 14 countries on four continents, proved that the stolen art network was sophisticated and involved criminals at all levels of the trade, from the men who dig in the dirt to the men in the shops and galleries on Madison Avenue.
Ellis retired from Scotland Yard in 1999.  ‘He told me that his success as a stolen-art detective was primarily due to his ability to gather information.  He relied on a network of informants to keep him abreast of what was happening in the criminal underworld.  His squad of detectives paid cash for useful information.  “Every Friday the calls would come in.  Payday,” Ellis explained.

Book review concludes tomorrow.

March 14, 2012

Joshua Knelman Launching "Hot Art" at The Flag Art Foundation in New York on March 22

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

"Interpol and UNESCO listed art theft as the fourth-largest black market in the world (after drugs, money-laundering, and weapons).  But what did that mean? ... one point was clear: don't look at the Hollywood versions of art theft -- the Myth.  This is a bigger game, with more players, and the legitimate business of art is directly implicated.  A lot of the crimes are hidden in the open.  Stealing art is just the beginning.  Then the art is laundered up into the legitimate market, into private collections, into the world's most renowned museums." -- excerpt from Joshua Knelman's Hot Art

Toronto journalist Joshua Knelman, author of Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detective Through the Secret World of Stolen Art (Tin House Books, 2012), will launch the American Trade Paper version of his  book from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 22 at The Flag Art Foundation in New York.

Knelman’s four year investigation of stolen art began with a local story about a burglary at a gallery in Toronto and ended with an international perspective. His nonfiction book begins in Hollywood in 2008 with the Art Theft Detail of the Los Angeles Police Department in a ride along with Detectives Don Hrycyk and Stephanie Lazarus who are investigating the robbery of an antiques store on La Cienega Boulevard.  Knelman immediately contrasts the meticulous and steady work of the police (he describes Hrycyk working art theft cases "with the patience of a scientist") with the images of glamorous heist movies such as The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).

In the first two chapters ("Hollywood" and "Law and Disorder") he links organized crime with art theft: the Los Angeles District Attorney's office had identified an Armenian gang for the antique-store job on La Cienega. In the second chapter, Knelman describes his coverage for The Walrus, a Canadian magazine, on a burglary at a small art gallery in 2003 and how the thief threatened him, tried to hand over stolen property to him, and then tries to educate him "about how art theft worked as an industry" as a way of distracting Knelman for the thief's own crimes:
He discussed how poor the security systems were at most of the major cultural institutions and of course at mid-sized and smaller galleries.  That made his job easier.  So there was that angle -- art galleries and museums weren't adequately protecting themselves against pros like him. 
Then he veered in another direction. 
"Okay, this is how it works," he said.  "It's like a big shell game.  All the antique and art dealers, they just pass it around from one to another."  He moved his fingers around the table in circles and then looked up.  "Do you understand?" He looked very intense, as if he had just handed me a top-secret piece of information, but I had no idea what he meant.  What did art dealers have to do with stealing art?  But our meeting was over.
Knelman published an article in The Walrus in 2005, "Artful Crimes", about international art theft.

In his book, Hot Art, Knelman meets cultural property attorney Bonnie Czegledi (author of Crimes Against Art: International Art and Cultural Heritage Law (Carswell, 2010) who introduces him to the roles of Interpol; the International Council of Museums; the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) and the Art Loss Register.  Knelman traveled with Czegledi to an International Council of Museums conference in Cairo, at his own expense, getting shaken down by a conference organizer for additional hotel fees above and beyond what he had agreed to pay the hotel manager.  Knelman meets Canadian police officer Alain Lacoursière and speaker Rick St. Hilaire, then a county prosecutor in New Hampshire who lectured on the impact of art theft in the United States and "knew a lot about the impact of art theft on Egypt." He visits the Egyptian Museum in Cairo with St. Hilaire and provides a great history of the collection and Napoleon's visit in the 19th century.

Knelman provides a personal account, both thrilling and dangerous, and admirable.  The book contains primary information for research into the black market of art, including a few chapters with an art thief, Paul Hendry, in England.

The book also provides a detailed profile of Don Hrycyk at the LAPD and the history of the Art Theft Detail, beginning with the work of Detective Bill Martin and includes information about Hryck's investigation of a residential art robbery in Encino in 2008; other cases ("his work was the most detailed example I found of a North American city interacting with the global black market"); a tour of the evidence warehouse which included fake art that had been the subject of a string operation into a Dr. Vilas Likhite; and an anecdote of an attempted theft at an unnamed major museum under renovation in Los Angeles.  In 2008, Knelman also interviewed artist June Wayne, founder of Tamarind Lithography Workshop (now the Tamarind Institute), who had a tapestry stolen in 1975; Leslie Sacks, owner of Leslie Sacks Fine Art in Brentwood, who discusses security measures and two burglaries; and Bob Combs, director of security at The Getty Center.

Both Hrycyk and Czegledi reference art historian Laurie Adams' book, Art Cop, about New York Police Detective Robert Volpe, the first detective in North America to investigate art theft full-time (1971 to 1983) after his role as a undercover narcotics cop in the late 1960s in a famous case memorialized in the film The French Connection about a ring of heroin dealers importing the drug from France.

Knelman also interviewed Giles Waterfield, director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London when a Rembrandt was stolen in 1981; Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Squad; and Robert K. Wittman, the first FBI agent to investigate art theft full-time, when Wittman was six months away from retirement; and Bonnie Magness-Gardiner from the Art Crime Team at the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Alain Lacoursière, Montreal police officer investigating art crimes in Quebec, including the unsolved 1972 robbery of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

The book features the anonymous blogger Art Hostage (Paul Hendry) that turns out to be Knelman's source on art theft; Jonathan Sazonoff and his website The World's Most Wanted Art; and Ton Cremers and The Museum Security Network (MSN).

Joshua Knelman will also be speaking at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at Book Soup in Los Angeles.

January 20, 2011

Amelia, Umbria: Pasticceria Massimo's Appearance in Daniel Silva's Novel 'The Defector'

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

While studying in Amelia at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in Art Crime Studies in 2009, I looked forward to July 21, the release date for another book in Daniel Silva's series on Gabriel Allon, art restorer, spy and assassin. Downloading the book from would allow me to listen to The Defector on my iPhone although I was in a medieval town in the middle of Umbria. And although I had been looking forward to this book since Silva had signed my copy of Moscow Rules in 2008, I would not be able to listen to the book until midnight.

That day, a Tuesday, Monica Di Stefano, Italian teacher extraordinaire and gracious Umbrian host, guided a group of students and attending family members through Narni, visiting a church, the duomo, and a stage theatre. We lunched on curried chicken, pesto trofilo, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes at a cucina off a side street. Desserts, baked there, included a flourless chocolate torte, a fruit crumble, and a crème brulee.

We explored Narni underground, an area discovered by some children in 1979 when they climbed into the vegetable garden of an old man who asked them to explore an area from where he could feel fresh air. Inside the opening, they discovered an old church used by the Dominicans from the 12th century and beyond that Inquisition torture chambers. A prisoner in 1759 had left carvings on his cell wall explaining his name, his military rank of corporeal, and signs related to Christianity and masonry. The man was likely a leader of the guards for the Inquisition chambers and had been put in prison for 13 years because he had tried to save another guard from torture. Another prisoner of the Inquisition was accused of having two wives -- something awful in Italy because two wives meant two mother-in-laws -- and when he killed a guard and escaped, he ended up in L'Aquila, outside the protected walls of the papal empire. The hidden chamber also revealed two skeletons, including one of a tall woman with a full set of teeth and clothing tied by ribbons at the sleeves, not sown, putting her in the 19th century.

After this field trip, we returned to Amelia, prepared for the next day's lecture and not until midnight did I insert earphones to listen to The Defector. Minutes later I heard: "Chapter Four, Amelia, Umbria."

Silva's Gabriel Allon describes the town:
"Amelia, the oldest of the Umbria's cities, had seen the last outbreak of Black Death and, in all likelihood, every one before it. Founded by Umbrian tribesmen long before the dawn of the Common Era, it had been conquered by Etruscans, Romans, Goths, and Lombards before finally being placed under the dominion of the popes. Its dun-colored walls were more than ten feet thick, and many of its ancient streets were navigable only on foot... It's main street, Via Rimembranze, was the place where most Amelians passed their ample amounts of free time. In late afternoon, they strolled the pavements and congregated on street corners, trading in gossip and watching the traffic heading down the valley toward Orvieto."
Allon enters Pasticceria Massimo and orders a cappuccino and a selection of pastries.

So the next day, after waking at 9 a.m., breakfasting at 10, ironing at 11 and getting dressed at noon, my family and I followed Gabriel Allon's path into Pasticceria Massimo to try the cappuccino and cream puffs. Massimo, the owner, and a woman wearing eyeglasses behind the counter -- possibly the model for the girl who had served Gabriel Allon in the book -- did not know of Daniel Silva or his books but were pleased to learn of the connection.

The Illy espresso was delicious, the foam smooth, and the service gracious. We later learned of Massimo's great tiramisu cakes and added Pasticceria Massimo to our daily routine. We were able to share our story with Daniel Silva and his wife Jamie Gangel who sent a signed bookplate to "the girl who presided over the gleaming glass counter of Pasticceria Massimo" as Daniel Silva wrote in his book. In exchange, the woman in the eyeglass at Massimo's, of course her name was Daniela, sent a memento of Amelia to Daniel Silva and is waiting for The Defector to be translated into Italian.

My first visit to Massimo's was followed by a two-hour Italian class with Monica Di Stefano and then a lecturer by Diane Charney, a French Literature Professor at Yale University, on the heroic work of Rose Valland who copied the negatives of looted art works processed through the Jeu du Paume in Paris during World War II.

That evening, after a trip to the fromaggerie for fresh yogurt and cardinale cheese in the afternoon, a group of us dined on pizza at Porcelli's Taverne and then two of us walked Diane Charney to her guest apartment on Via della Repubblica until Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard's Art Crime and Antiquities Squad, joined us on the street. When I introduced myself, he said that he had already met my husband and children earlier that day. The four of us chatted long enough for his wife to call and wonder what had happened to him when he went to park the car.

Without the aid of my journal, I would not have remembered that finding Amelia mentioned in Daniel Silva's 2009 novel was sandwiched in between Narni underground's Inquisition torture chambers and meeting Scotland Yard's Richard Ellis. But I have recalled those two days here for those potential candidates considering the program who wonder about the consequences of enrolling in ARCA's Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies. It was not a summer of lectures and assigned readings I had anticipated -- the rest of the summer could fill another novel!

Photo: Daniela Grillini, Pasticceria Massimo, possibly the model for Daniel Silva's character who "presided over the gleaming glass counter."

Pasticceria Massimo
Via delle Rimembranze, 8
Amelia (Tr)
Chiuso il lunedi/Closed on Monday

January 18, 2011

Profile: ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis speaks about "Art Policing and Investigation:

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Former Detective Sergeant Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Squad, will be returning to Amelia next summer to teach “Art Policing and Investigation” from August 1 through August 12 at ARCA’s Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies.

Mr. Ellis ran the Art & Antiquities Squad for New Scotland Yard from 1989 until his retirement from the police in 1999. After working for Christie’s fine Art Security Services and Trace recovery services, in 2005 he joined with security and conservation specialists to form the Art Management Group. He is also director of Art Resolve and Art Retrieval International Ltd.

As a specialist art crime investigator both in the police and in the private sector, Mr. Ellis has been involved in many notable recoveries such as ‘The Scream’ stolen from the National Gallery of Norway in 1994, Audobon’s ‘Birds of America’ stolen from the State Library in St. Petersburg, antiquities looted from China and Egypt as well as the recovery of numerous items of art and antiquities stolen from private residences throughout the United Kingdom and abroad including in 2005 silver stolen Stanton Harcourt and in 2006 paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard and Duffy stolen in London.

ARCA blog: Mr. Ellis, how would you describe the scope of your course? And how can students best prepare for your class?
Mr. Ellis: In scope, I have tried to ensure that my course gives the students a clear understanding of the breadth of cultural property crime, the responsibilities of the police/law enforcement nationally and internationally and the legal basis upon which investigations are built. The art market is global and cultural property crime mirrors this in every way, from theft and the disposal of the stolen objects, to fraud and the faking and forging of cultural objects. For a criminal investigation to be successful it is essential that the investigator understands how to project the investigation in to other jurisdictions, how evidence is legally obtained and then presented in courts foreign jurisdiction.
ARCA blog: In your course, you speak about working closely with former smuggler and Dutch art dealer Michel van Rijn. Does he still help the authorities and are you still in contact with him?
Mr. Ellis: I use Michel van Rijn to illustrate not only the importance of "informants" to the criminal investigator, but also the problems that "informants" can create for an investigator and hence the care that must be used when dealing with such individuals. I play an interview that I recorded with Michel in 2004 at the request of the Dutch Government, which was played to an EU conference to illustrate how criminals fabricate provenance and the difficulties that this presents for all those involved in cultural property. I am still in contact with Michel, which provides me with a constant insight in to the darker side of the art market. Michel will of course help the authorities if it is in his interest to do so and this is another reason why I introduce him to the students. Understanding why people become informants is essential to being able to use them and the information that they provide safely and legally and this is another part of the scope of my course. Understanding why people become involved in cultural property crimes, their motives and expectations will assist the investigator in reaching a successful outcome to a case.
ARCA blog: In the past three decades, do you think police agencies are more or less interested in investigating stolen art and antiquities? Do you think there are more resources out there today? What role does the Internet play in investigations today?
Mr. Ellis: The past three decades has been interesting in respect of the response to cultural property crime by the police in many countries. At the start of the 1980's there was little interest in this area of crime with the exception of Italy, who throughout this time have devoted considerable resources to protecting their cultural property and investigating those responsible for the theft of it. In 1984 the art squad at Scotland Yard was actually closed and its 14 detectives were dispersed on to other crime squads. In the USA the FBI had no dedicated team and only in the police departments in New York and Los Angeles was there any recognition that art and antique crime posed a problem. It was largely due to the restructuring of the art market during the 1980's and the rapid increase in prices that this generated that criminals recognised the potential in art crime. The resulting increase in crime forced law enforcement to adjust and review the situation.

By the end of the 1980's I had reformed the art squad at New Scotland Yard, the FBI in New York were handling an increasing number of international requests through one dedicated office and in Los Angeles an art detail was put in place run by a detective Bill Martin who was later appointed to the President's advisory panel on cultural property crime. During the 1990's more countries recognised cultural property crime as a problem and with the end of the cold war and the opening of international borders the trafficking of cultural property crime grew rapidly becoming a major concern.

The introduction of computer systems during this period, which recorded and made accessible information on stolen objects was a major step forward and Interpol has been able to provide a central record of at least the most important stolen cultural property. France, Italy, the USA and a handful of other countries developed their own databases of stolen cultural property supported by dedicated investigators. UNESCO developed a programme of workshops through which it was able to raise awareness of cultural property crime and by utilising the help of specialist police officers such as myself, it delivered a programme designed to assist countries in protecting their cultural heritage.

There followed a number of high profile cases which illustrated how with the cooperation of these dedicated national squads successful prosecutions could be achieved such as the recovery of the Scream and the prosecution of Tokeley Parry and Fred Schultz to name but two of my own cases. However, as we entered the new millennium, other international crimes overtook cultural property crime in importance for law enforcement. Drug trafficking, people trafficking and terrorism now occupy the top three positions and with the global economic crisis financial fraud has also moved above cultural property crime in importance and I fear that we shall see a gradual reduction in the number of specialist officers dedicated to cultural property crimes. This makes the work of ARCA all the more important as the private sector will now be required to handle the many crimes and disputes left untouched by law enforcement and only through some serious academic research to demonstrate the true scale of the problem that cultural property posses will governments and law enforcement agencies be persuaded to direct more of their limited resources to it. The internet offers a fantastic tool for the investigator in terms of information about objects and where they are appearing on the market for sale. It does not however replace the need to actually talk to victims of crime or to interview those in possession of disputed items in order to reach some kind of resolution to a dispute. These are skills that you can only gain by actually doing the job and no amount of internet research will give you those skills.

Finally and in answer to the last part of your first question, "How can students best prepare for your class?" I would suggest that they cover as many art thefts and investigations as they can find in books and on the internet. To keep an open mind on who has committed the crime and not to be influenced by the often ill-informed opinions of the journalists. To read "The Irish Game" by Mathew Hart, which sets out probably the most thoroughly investigated art thefts of a single collection and gives a good insight in to who commits such crimes and how the criminal has arrived at the routes to market available to them for iconic works of art. A topic to be covered in my class.
ARCA blog: Thank you, Mr. Ellis.

The application for the postgraduate program in Art Crime Studies and Cultural Heritage Protection is this Friday on January 21.