Showing posts with label black market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black market. Show all posts

March 2, 2018

Repatriations - a 17th century Italianate landscape and a first century CE marble sculpture depicting Aphrodite

Two months into the new year brings with it two significant repatriations for objects stolen in Italy and illegally transferred for sale on foreign art markets.  Both artworks, an oil painting and a marble statue, were discovered during auction sales, despite having been stolen in Italy. 

This week a 17th century Italianate landscape, attributed to either Giovanni Paolo Pannini (1691-1765) or Andrea Locatelli (1695-1741), has made its way home to Italy.  

Donated in 1892 by the Italian noble Torlonia family, the oil painting was stolen on January 1, 1994.  In November 2017 the artwork was identified by the Italian authorities when it came up for sale at a London auction house. Its starting bid: 40.000 GBP.

At some point the painting appears to have passed through the hands of the Roman branch of the London auction house, before being transferred to London for sale.  Under Italy’s Cultural Heritage Code any artwork created more than fifty years ago (i.e. before 1947 in this case) by a deceased artist requires an export licence in order to be exported.  No information has been released by the Italian authorities as to if the consigner provided the auction house with such a document and if so, if that document was valid or fabricated.  

After this week's press conference, the painting will be returned to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and reintegrated into the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica where it will go on display at either the the Palazzo Barberini or the Palazzo Corsini. 


One month earlier, on January 30, 2018 the Carabinieri reported that a first century CE marble sculpture depicting the torso of the goddess Aphrodite had also been repatriated to Italy.  This marble statue, with an estimated value of €300.000 had been stolen in 2011 from the University of Foggia and was identified by Italy's Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale for sale in Munich Germany in 2013. 

In the scope of a lengthy investigation, Italian and German authorities identified identified an organized smuggling ring, operating between Italy and Germany, where looted antiquities plundarded from Italy passed from the hands of a looter, through a  middleman, who carried out the deliveries abroad, on to the individual in Germany who sold objects to collectors interested in antiquities in Germany. 

In 2016, when those involved in this trafficking operation were taken into custody, more than 2,500 objects were seized which had not yet made their way to Germany.   The statue of Aphrodite, was returned to Italy via international letters rogatory and with cooperation from the German authorities as well as the Public Prosecutor's Office of Rome. 


December 27, 2014

Viktorija Zupancic and Bojan Dobovšek publish on "Criminality Related to Cultural Heritage - Analysis of Interviews" in the Fall 2014 issue of The Journal of Art Crime

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin,
   ARCA Blog Editor-in-chief

In the Fall 2014 issue of The Journal of Art CrimeViktorija Zupancic and Bojan Dobovšek publish on "Criminality Related to Cultural Heritage - Analysis of Interviews".  Here's the abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to define the existence of crime against cultural heritage and determine whether this type of criminality is on the rise around the world. By carrying out guided interviews with experts in this field, the authors wished to define guidelines for the fight against this type of criminality. By studying the available literature, the authors found that crime against cultural heritage is on the rise. Economically and socially less-developed countries, from which most antiquities originate, are most susceptible to this type of criminality. Such countries of origin include particularly the countries of South America and the Middle East, while the Western part of the globe is mainly market-oriented and represents the final destination of smuggled antiquities. This paper also aims to determine the adequacy and appropriateness of legal acts governing the protection of cultural heritage and the fight against this type of criminality. Problems are mainly related to the implementation and enforcement of such legal provisions and related sanctions in practice.
Viktorija Zupančič is a student at the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security of University of Maribor, Slovenia. Bojan Dobovšek is Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor, Slovenia.

Subscriptions to The Journal of Art Crime or individual copies of eEditions or printed issues may be obtained through ARCA's website here.