Showing posts with label new york city. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new york city. Show all posts

July 29, 2014

ARCA '14 Art Crime Conference: Jordan Arnold on "Hello Dalí: Anatomy of a Modern Day Art Theft Investigation"

Jordan Arnold, formerly with New York County
District Attorney's Office
AMELIA -- At ARCA's Art Crime Conference on June 29, Jordan Arnold, formerly head of the Financial Intelligence Unit with the New York County District Attorney’s Office, spoke about the recent art theft investigation which involved artwork by Salvatore Dalí.
In the middle of the afternoon on June 19, 2012, inside an art gallery near Central Park, a man removed a 1949 Salvador Dali watercolor from the wall, placed it in a shopping bag and disappeared into the streets of Manhattan. The ensuing international investigation—led by NYPD Major Case Squad detectives and a Manhattan DA prosecutor—provides an illustrative case study of modern investigative techniques joined with time-tested law enforcement methods to recover a stolen work of art and convict the thief. 
The lead prosecutor in The People v. Phivos Istavrioglou, Arnold presented a concise narrative of the investigation into the theft by Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio, including: determining initial investigative steps; ruling out an inside job; recovering the piece; identifying the thief (a foreign national); placing him in Manhattan that day; using social media to track him to Europe (right down to his favorite café); seizing damning digital evidence of his guilt; luring him back to New York (through an elaborate undercover sting), and; securing his confession, indictment and conviction. The presentation included an explanation of the tools, techniques and approaches utilized, and the attendant legal considerations.
Jordan Arnold is with the New York office of K2 Intelligence, an investigative and risk consulting firm. Jordan previously served as a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he created and headed its Financial Intelligence Unit. Prior to that, Jordan served on the homicide chart and as lead prosecutor for the NYPD Major Case Squad. Twitter @jordarnold.

December 13, 2013

Sotheby's sells Symes marble matched by Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis in the Schinousa archives for more than $4.6 million today; Sotheby's withdraws The Medici Pan; and Christie's in NY aims to sell Symes Pan tomorrow

Looting Matters: Hermes-Thoth
Image: Schinousa Archive
Today Sotheby's auction house in New York sold an ancient marble head for more than $4.6 million even after Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis pointed out that the piece, owned by Robin Symes, matched an image in the Schinousa archives. 

On December 5, Professor David Gills wrote on his blog "Looting Matters" under the post Symes and Hermes-Thoth about a 2,000 year old marble head for sale at a New York auction house today:
I am grateful to my Cambridge colleague Dr Christos Tsirogiannis for pointing out that the head of Hermes-Thoth due to be auctioned at Sotheby's New York next week had once passed through the hands of Robin Symes (December 12, 2013, lot 39). The estimate is $2.5-3.5 million.... Colour images of the head feature in the Schinousa archive where they were identified by Tsirogiannis.


In 2006, Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini published The Medici Conspiracy: the illicit journey of looted antiquities, from Italy's tomb raiders to the world's greatest museums, an expose about the network of tombaroli and art dealers who funneled looted antiquities into private and public collections from the 1960s through the 1990s. Peter Watson wrote Mr. Symes legal problems in "The fall of Robin Symes" in 2005. On Trafficking Culture, archaeologist Neil Brodie summarizes the illegal activities of Giacomo Medici, convicted in 2005 of receiving stolen goods, illegal export of goods, and conspiracy to traffic. Here's how Symes is believed to have been involved:
By the late 1980s, Medici had developed commercial relations with other major antiquities dealers including Robin Symes, Frieda Tchacos, Nikolas Koutoulakis, Robert Hecht, and the brothers Ali and Hischam Aboutaam (Watson and Todeschini 2007: 73-4). He was the ultimate source of artefacts that would subsequently be sold through dealers or auction houses to private collectors, including Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman, Maurice Tempelsman, Shelby White and Leon Levy, the Hunt brothers, George Ortiz, and José Luis Várez Fisa (Watson and Todeschini 2007: 112-34; Isman 2010), and to museums including the J. Paul Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Sotheby's Hermes-Thoth
Neil Brodie explained in September 2012:
Investigative reporter Nikolas Zirganos took a special interest in the activities of British antiquities dealer Robin Symes, and was present in April 2006 when Greek police raided a villa on the island of Schinoussa belonging to Symes and his deceased partner Christos Michaelides. Zirganos described how the villa on Schinoussa was used for what he described as the ‘preparation and closing of deals’ (Zirganos 2007: 318). The villa was in effect a social and commercial hub, where Symes and Michaelides would entertain archaeologists, museum curators, conservators and wealthy collectors to gossip about the market and what was available for purchase, and to arrange sales. Thus, it was possible for a customer to purchase an illicit artefact on Schinoussa without actually coming into contact with it. The artefact would be smuggled separately to Switzerland, where the customer could take possession of it.
Jason Felch, author of Chasing Aphrodite and an investigative journalist for The Los Angeles Times, wrote of Symes in January 2013:
Last year, the Getty quietly returned 150 marble fragments in the collection (88.AA.140 - 88.AA.144) to Italy after evidence emerged that they joined objects found in the same looted tombs of Ascoli Satriano that produced the Getty's Griffins and statue of Apollo, which were returned to Italy in 2007. The objects and fragments were acquired in the 1980s from London dealer Robin Symes.
Dr. Gill described the Schinousa archive last June on "Looting Matters":
This photographic archive records the material that passed through the hands of a London-based dealer. If material from this archive resurfaces on the market, it would be reasonable to see the full collecting history indicated. But such information would no doubt be provided by rigorous due diligence searches.
December 12, 20013, Sotheby's sold the late Hellenistic marble head of Hermes-Toth for $4,645,000 (Hammer's Price with Buyer's Premium)."

The Medici Pan withdrawn from sale at Sotheby's New York

Professor Gill also noted in "Looting Matters" that Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis identified "The Medici Pan" that was later withdrawn from the sale:
Sotheby's New York are due to auction a giallo antico marble bust of Pan next week (December 12, 2013, lot 51). The estimate is $10,000-$15,000. Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has pointed out to me that a polaroid image of the sculpture was found on the Geneva Freeport premises of Giacomo Medici.
The Symes Pan for sale Dec. 13 at Christie's Rockefeller Plaza

Again, on the blog "Looting Matters", Dr. Gill writes about another item for sale that caught the eye of forensic archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis:
Tsirogiannis has now identified a terracotta Pan from the Schinousa archive that is due to be auctioned at Christie's Rockefeller Plaza (December 13, 2013, lot 114, estimate $8000 - $12000). Christie's have offered the following collecting history:
with Edward H. Merrin Gallery, New York, 1968.
Private Collection, New York, 1968-2011.
So when was the Pan in the possession of Robin Symes? What is the identity of the private collection? Is the collecting history presented by Christie's robust? What authenticated documentation was supplied to Christie's?
The Edward H. Merrin Gallery has been linked to the bronze Zeus returned to Italy, material in the collection of Dr Elie Borowski, as well as the marble Castor and Pollux on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Artemagazine

The Italian Artemagazine  in "Pezzi di Medici e Symes all'asta: fino a quando?" (authored by Fabio Isman and his team) asks why illegally excavated antiquities from Italy are being offered for sale in New York City after Cambridge's Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis has identified the items to archives collected in police raids.

November 5, 2012

MoMA Director Glenn Lowry's Responds to Hurricane Sandy; NYC museum works with American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team

Yesterday Glenn D. Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, sent an email letter to the art institution's "members and friends" expressing concern for those people affected by Hurricane Sandy:
Our foremost concern has been for our neighbors and friends who have suffered so much hardship and damage.  A MoMA curator and the director of MoMAPS1 put out a call for volunteers from the art community and together they filled a bus with donated supplies and headed to one of the many areas in need of help today.  This is but a small part of the relief effort, but we were humbled by the incredible commitment of the volunteers.  Our staff will continue to play a role in the recovery, and we invite those of you who are able to join us in these efforts.
The Museum of Modern Art's conservation staff and speakers from the American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) were scheduled to meet Sunday in "a series of workshops to help the many artists and galleries whose works were affected by Hurricane Sandy":
They will provide suggestions and answer questions on how to safely handle damaged paintings, drawings, books, sculptures, and other artistic and cultural materials.  Visit MoMA.org for more information on this program.  MoMA has also issued Immediate Response for Collections, a document offering step-by-step guidelines for dealing with artworks damaged by flooding, and we will continue to lend knowledge and support to those carrying for collections affected by the storm.
If you are in a position to help others, you may want to visit nyc.gov for information on making donations and nycservice.org for information on volunteer opportunities.  Visitors to MoMA will also find a collection box in the Museum's lobby, with proceeds to be donated to relief efforts in Greater New York.

May 3, 2012

Sotheby's Sells Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 in New York City -- the most expensive artwork sold at auction -- over the objections of the descendants of the Jewish collector Hugo Simon who owned it from 1926 to 1937

Sotheby's sold Evard Munch's "The Scream" for $119.9 million in New York City tonight.

Lot #20, identified from the 'Property of the Olsen Collection', a pastel on board in the original frame, measures 32 by 23 1/4 inches, executed in 1895, and signed 'E. Munch' and dated in the lower left corner.  It is one of four versions of an man with an open mouth, his hands clasped to the side of his head, recognizable to even middle school children.  The artist lived from 1863 and to 1944.

According to Sotheby's provenance information, Arthur von Franquet purchased the work in 1895.  The Berlin banker and Jewish art collector Hugo Simon had acquired it by 1926 and by October, 1993, Mr. Simon had left the painting on consignment with the art dealer Jacques Goudstikker in Amsterdam.  Simon left it with the Kunsthaus Zürich by December 1936.  Then it was on consignment for sale by Simon in January 1937 with M. Molvidson, Konst & Antikvitetshandel in Stockholm where Thomas Olsen, the current owner's father, purchased it.

Jori Finkel for The Los Angeles Times reported that the price of $119.9 million set the record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction:
The identity of the buyer, who was bidding by phone during the 12-minute auction, has not been confirmed.  Bidding started at $40 million, with at least five bidders.
Today the Holocaust Restitution Project posted a link on its Facebook page to an article in a German newspaper that the great grandson of Hugo Simon, now living in Brazil, told the newspaper "Die Welt" that the painting had been sold "out of necessity" when his family fled from Germany during the Nazi era. the Holocaust Restitution Project documents property losses at the hands of the National Socialists and their allies across Europe from 1933 to 1945.

October 14, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2011: Noah Charney on "The Art We Must Protect: Top Ten Must-See Artworks in New York City"

In the Spring 2011 issue of The Journal of Art Crime, Editor-in-Chief Noah Charney writes "The Art We Must Protect: Top Ten Must-See Artworks in New York City."

Art historian Noah Charney selects works of art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Kouros, Edgar Degas' Nude Woman Bathing, Rembrandt van Rijn's Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer); the Brooklyn Bridge; Edward Hick's The Peaceable Kingdom at the Brooklyn Museum; Kazimir Malevich's Untitled Suprematist White-on-White at the Guggenheim Museum; Robert Campin's The Merode Alterpiece at The Cloisters; the Chrysler Building at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue; Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon at MoMA; and Bronzino's Portrait of Lodovico Capponi at the Frick Collection.

Find out why you should run all over NYC to see these artworks by subscribing to The Journal of Art Crime through ARCA's website or by purchasing this issue through Amazon.com.