Showing posts with label oil painting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oil painting. Show all posts

September 4, 2019

Recovered: Stolen portrait of William Chester of East Haddon recovered after almost 30 years

LAPD Detective Detective Mel Vergara with
recovered painting stolen in 1991
Sometimes art is stolen with little public fanfare with the loss to owners never making newspaper headlines in quite the same way museum thefts do. This was the case almost thirty years ago when a thief or a group of thieves broke into the home of Judy Karinen in Hollywood Hills in 1991.  During that burglary, the culprit made off with a portrait of William Chester of East Haddon, painted around 1664, which Karinen had purchased for $4,000 in 1985.  


The painting was recovered this past summer, one of 50 stolen paintings Los Angeles police identified via a lead related to an auction earlier this year.  Searching through years of old police records, this single lost portrait was eventually identified by Los Angeles Police Detective Mel Vergara, who then contacted the painting's owner who was happy to have good news from the police department.

As a reminder to all art owners, LAPD officials commented that without the owner's original photo of the portrait of William Chester of East Haddon, which had been attached to the old police report, the stolen painting might never have been identified by officers doing a thorough records search.  Photographing and documenting your collection is key for detective work, as well as for most insurance policies.  Photographic records are also mandatory for listing missing items within the FBI's National Stolen Art File (NSAF) and in some other art loss databases such as the ones managed by Art Loss Register and Artive.

For now, the LAPD's search for artwork owners continues and the squad is asking for help identifying the owners of the portrait of a woman pictured above.  

August 6, 2019

Recovered: Almost half a century after it was stolen the Portrait of Admiral Charles Fanshawe comes home


In September 1971 six portraits were stolen during a burglary at the Valence House Museum in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Shortly after the thefts, law enforcement recovered two of the art works and all 6 frames but over the next four decades the investigation would grind to a standstill with no further recoveries.

That changed in January 2019 when the Fanshawe family set up a Google Alert to notify them if and when any family memorabilia might come up for sale and through a bit of good luck, received a Google notification that a Fanshawe portrait, listed at a value of $3000, was to be auctioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

With the help of the FBI Legal Attaché in London and the Upper Dublin Police Department, London's Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit worked with the FBI's art crime team in the United States to recover the portrait which is set to go on display later this month. 

April 11, 2019

The "Portrait of Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti," stolen 32 years ago from Palazzo Chigi, is finally home

Brigadier Chief Antonio Di Garbo with Arch. Francesco Petrucci at Palazzo Chigi
On Wednesday, April 10th, in a formal restitution celebration, Lieutenant Angelo Giovanni Busciglio, Brigadier Chief Antonio Di Garbo, and Deputy Brigadier Filippo Vassallo, of the Carabinieri Nucleus for the Protection of Cultural Heritage - Palermo, were honoured for their recovery efforts during a ceremony held at Palazzo Chigi, in the historic center of Ariccia.

Recovered Portrait if Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti, Palazzo Chigi - 10 April 2019
The unit was directly responsible for the discovery and return of an oil-on-canvas portrait depicting Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti (1649-1718), the wife of marchese Cesare Baldinotti, which once hung in the palace's stanza delle belle and had been stolen from the historic palazzo 32 years ago, along with 20 other works of art.  Portraiture of well bred ladies, those that made up the so-called galleria delle belle or cabinets des dames, were leitmotiv in the furnishing of noble residences during the seventeenth century.

Federico Fellini, immortalized next to
the portrait in Palazzo Chigi's "stanza delle belle".
The painting is attributed to Jacob Ferdinand Voet, a Flemish portrait painter from the Baroque period who is known for his portraits. The artist had an international career, which brought him to both Italy and France where he made portraits for members of elite families and appears to be strikingly similar to another portrait of the Marchioness which likely helped with the unsigned artwork's attribution and identification.  After training in Paris, Voet spent time in Rome, then Florence, and lastly Turin before returning, first to Antwerp in 1684 and later in 1686, to Paris where he was called as a painter of the French court. The Marchioness was the daughter of Felice Angelo Ghezzi, the Duke of Carpignano and Baron Zullino. On April 17, 1667, she married the Marquis Cesare Baldinotti di Pistoia (1636-1728) who was the Duke of Pescorocchiano.

Matching portraits of Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti
The painting was located on the art market by Brigadier Chief Antonio Di Garbo of the Carabinieri del Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (TPC) in Palermo in the sales inventory of an antiques dealer in Palermo.  During a series of investigative procedures, as well as a crosscheck of records within the Carabinieri Leonardo Stolen Art database, and with architect Francesco Petrucci, who is the conservator of works of art at Palazzo Chigi, the law enforcement officer's match was validated and the antiquarian questioned by the Carabinieri.   Giving an implausible answer as to how and where he had acquired the stolen painting and unable to substantiate a legitimate claim to the portrait, the painting was seized in the Autumn of 2018.

Palazzo Chigi's "stanza delle belle" then

During their investigations the Carabinieri squad in Sicily also identified a second individual from Marsala, who along with the antiquarian was referred to the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Court of Palermo where both have been denounced for receiving stolen goods.

Palazzo Chigi's "stanza delle belle" now

As a painter Voet was highly sought after and had numerous followers and imitators, many who copied his style of portraiture of well bred ladies.

March 1, 2019

Found in an attic, oh my.

I found it in an attic...never a basement, never on the wall, never in granny's bedroom.  The number of forgotten masterpieces purportedly found under the rooftops of houses, many of them French for some reason, sometime can seem too good to be true.  Not to mention an almost tritely predictable location.   

I've been in my parents attics lots of times but all I ever find is old Christmas ornaments, not priceless, formally unknown masterpieces. 

Here are some of the fortunes found (and not) in attics recently:


A masterpiece by Giambattista Tiepolo's "The Portrait of a lady as Flora" was reportedly found in the attic of a French château.  This artwork sold in 2008 via Christie's for £2.8 million. 



In 2010 family members found a Chinese 18th Century Qianlong porcelain Fish Vase, clearing out the attic of their uncle/brother's modest home in Pinner, a town in the Borough of Harrow, in northwest London shortly after he recently died.  The 18th century vase later sold at Bainbridges auction for a mind boggling £53.1 million.  


In 2013, after considerable doubt, then Van Gogh museum director Axel Rüger announced that the 1988 "Sunset at Montmajour" which had been “rediscovered” after sitting in a Norwegian attic,  was authentic.


In 2013 a tiny figurine, made by Faberge, depicting a known personal bodyguard to the family of Russian Czar Nicholas II was found in an upstate New York attic when relatives cleaned out the space following the death of a relative.  The jaunty soldier sold for $5.2 million.  



The artwork " Poise (1916), painted by Scottish Colorist John Duncan Fergusson was rediscovered in another French attic, this time in Giverny.  It was sold in November 2014 for £638,500.


In 2015,  a Scotsman, Dominic Currie told the world he was cleaning out old belongings that once belonged to his deceased mother, and purportedly found a work by the Cubist artist Pablo Picasso rolled up in an old suitcase he had stored in his attic in 2000, apparently too distraught to go through her things at the time of his mum's passing.  The artwork later turned out to be a hoax, though Currie claims that his ruse was simply a piece of performance art, done to raise awareness of the plight of struggling artists like himself.


In April of 2016, in still yet another French attic, near Toulouse, apparently produced a rare painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.  This artwork depicts the violent biblical scene of "Judith Beheading Holofernes" which, if it is to be believed, dates back to around 1600.  It will go under the hammer in Toulouse on June 27 this year and could fetch as much as $171 million.


In 2018 a second set of siblings cleaning out their parents attic in France found dozens of pieces of Chinoiserie.  One of them was an Imperial 18th-century ‘Yangcai’ Famille-Rose porcelain vase, found in a shoebox, created during the reign of Qianlong, the fourth emperor in the Qing dynasty.  It sold for 16.2 million euros via Sotheby's later that same year. 

Perhaps it's time to tidy up those dusty attic corners.

By:  Lynda Albertson

November 28, 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - ,,,, No comments

Recovered: "Portrait of Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti" stolen 32 years ago from Palazzo Chigi

Image Credit:  Carabinieri TPC
The team of the Carabinieri del Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (TPC) in Palermo, under the command of Magg. Luigi Mancuso, has proven once again that patience makes perfect when it comes to the recovery of stolen art.  While the squad has not yet recovered the Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence, the Caravaggio masterpiece stolen in 1969, they have recovered a painting from the 1600s stolen thirty-two years ago.  

The painting, an oil on canvas, is a portrait of Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti (1649-1718), wife of marchese Cesare Baldinotti, and was taken from Palazzo Chigi, a historic building in the historic center of Ariccia, in the province of Rome. The artwork was identified during a series of investigations as well as a crosscheck of records within the Carabinieri Leonardo Stolen Art database and was found to be part of the inventory of an antiques dealer in Palermo. 

Questioned by law enforcement, the antiquarian gave an implausible answer as to how and where he had acquired the works and when pressed for proof of ownership was unable to substantiate legitimate his ownership or how how he came to be in possession of the oil painting.  

During their investigations the Carabinieri squad in Sicily also identified a second individual, from Marsala, who along with the antiquarian has been referred to the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Court of Palermo for receiving stolen goods.


While the press release from the Carabinieri have not listed the name of the artist who painted the portrait the oil painting appears strikingly similar to another portrait of the Marchioness Marta Ghezzi Baldinotti attributed to Jacob Ferdinand Voet, a Flemish portrait painter from the Baroque period who is known for his portraits. He had an international career, which brought him to Italy and France where he made portraits for an elite.

Image Credit:
Screen Capture Sotheby's website
29 Nov 2018
After training in Paris, he spent much time in Rome, then Florence and Turin, before returning, first to Antwerp in 1684 and later in 1686, to Paris as a painter of the French court. The Marchioness was the daughter of Felice Angelo Ghezzi, the Duke of Carpignano and Baron Zullino. On April 17, 1667, she married the Marquis Cesare Baldinotti di Pistoia (1636-1728) who was the Duke of Pescorocchiano.

That version, which once belonged to architect, interior decorator and garden designer Giles Newby Vincent, was purchased by the architect in Paris in 2006 for €26,400, who then put the artwork up for auction in London at Bonham's in 2014 for between £20,000 and £30,000 but the painting went unsold. In 2016, it sold at auction in Paris at Sotheby's for €20,000.

Image Credit: Screen Capture Bonham's website 28 Nov 2018
As a painter Voet was highly sought after and had numerous followers and imitators, many who copied his style of portraiture of well bred ladies, those that made up the so-called galleria delle belle or cabinets des dames, which was  leitmotiv in the furnishing of noble residences during the seventeenth century when the artist was still alive.

October 29, 2018

Recovered: 26 years after its theft "San Carlo Borromeo in Contemplation"

Image Credit: https://www.ilcittadino.it

In a ceremony held at the San Pietro Apostolo in Cavenago d'Adda, Italy, parishioners celebrate the return of the 17th century painting "San Carlo Borromeo in Contemplation" by early Baroque artist Daniele Crespi.   Stolen twenty-six years ago, on February 5, 1992,  together with two other portraits, one of San Francesco d'Assisi and another of Sant'Anna, one of the three paintings has been recovered by officers from the Venice division of Italy's Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, under the supervision of Major Christian Costantini, commander. 

Focusing on thefts of works of art related to places of worship, the painting was found in September the possession of an individual living in Borso del Grappa (Treviso) accused of receiving stolen goods. 

This is not the first artwork by Daniele Crespi to have been stolen and recovered by the Carabinieri.

Image Credit:  Carabinieri TPC
The painting "Il Christo, Salvator Mundi" was stolen in between the 16th and the 17th of January 1989 from the private residence of an art collector in Castiglione Olona.  Recognised by the Carabinieri TPC in November 2011, the squad identified the stolen artwork from auction records at Sotheby's dating to 2004 in London.  After confirming with the painting's heirs that the artwork matched their stolen object and without valid export documentation. 


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.