March 6, 2011

Egyptian Conservator Dr. Hany Hanna Requests Cooperation and Vigilance in Recovery Looted Antiquities

You may read about Dr. Zahi Hawass' reasons for resigning as Minister of State for Antiquity Affairs on his website here.

ARCA alum Julia Brennan, a textile conservator, sent an email from England today which forwarded a message from a colleague, Dr. Hany Hanna, an Egyptian conservator, and Chief Conservator for the Division of Antiquities. "I send this message to you as Hany is clearly putting out an SOS and plea for international due diligence and assistance in the retrieval of artifacts lost during this current change and upheaval," Julia wrote.

This is the email from Dr. Hanna:
Dear Friends and colleagues, Greetings from Egypt, 
As we have cooperated in the past to work in returning the national stolen antiquities and objects from Iraq, Egypt etc. It is our time now to work hard in mentoring the market and borders…etc. for the stolen Egyptian antiquities and objects.  There is not time to waste regarding the lying of this who said in Jan 28 that “there are no lost object from Egypt such as the Egyptian Museum ”.  NOW it is our time to work. 
I appeal all our noble and honest friends in all the world to keep in mind to mentor every where and to keep our eyes open regarding the stolen Egyptian antiquities and objects, let’s cooperate as usual, all together, archaeologists, Conservators, lawyers. Officers, Journalists and media, all the organization such as INTERPOL, UNESCO, ICOM, AIC, Border Authorities, Heritage lovers Associations and Societies, NGO as well as governmental departments. This is our time to continue doing our Best for a new Well DONE. We call for the full wise accountable freedom, well-being, full respect and better life for all the Egyptian. We call for returning of the stolen Egyptian antiquities and objects. 
Best Regards,
Dr. (Mr.) / Hany Hanna (Ph. D)
- Member of Front Support of the Egyptian Revolution,
Member of the Council of Trustees of the Revolution and member of the Peer and Editing Commission on the Preparation of its Decisions
-International Expert in Conservation and Restoration.
-Chief Conservator, General Director of Conservation, Helwan, El-Saf and Atfeh Sector, Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), Egypt.
- Founder & Former Coordinator for the International Council of Museum-Conservation Committee - Wood, Furniture and Lacquer (ICOM-CC- Wood, Furniture and Lacquer) (Ex elected Voluntary International position).
-Professor, Higher Institute for Coptic Studies in Cairo (voluntary work).
- Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage.
- Writer, Egyptian and International Newspapers.
You may also read about Dr. Hanna's earlier status report in February on the Museum Security Network here.

Tulane Law School Symposium: "Defending Aphrodite: Enforcing International Cultural Property Law" in Siena in June

Cathedral of Siena (Courtesy of Tulane Law School)

The Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts, the University of Siena and the European University Institute will present "Defending Aphrodite: Enforcing International Cultural Property Law" from June 3 to 4 this year in Siena, Italy.

The panel "International Legal Order" will feature F. Francioni on "Plurality and Interaction of Legal Orders in the Enforcement of International Cultural Heritage Norms"; Ana Vrdoljak on "Enforcing Restitution of Cultural Property through Peace Treaties"; F. Lenzerini on "The Role of International and Mixed Criminal Courts in the Enforcement of International Norms on the Protection of Cultural Property"; L. Rush and M. Bogdanos on "Enforcement of International Norms for the Protection of Art and Cultural Heritage in Times of War."

The panel, "Enforcement by Domestic Courts" will feature R. Pavoni on "Sovereign Immunity and the Enforcement of International Cultural Property Law"; P. Vigni on "The Role of Domestic Courts in Adjudicating Underwater Cultural Heritage Disputes: A Comparative Analysis of US and Italy's Jurisprudence"; Patty Gerstenblith on "Enforcement of Criminal Sanctions in American State Courts"; Herb Larson on "Failure of the U. S. Department of Justice to Protect Art and Cultural Property"; and J. Gordley on "Reclaiming Cultural Heritage in Domestic Courts."

The panel, "Alternative Methods of Enforcement: Arbitration, Diplomatic, Soft Law & Settlement methods" will feature P. Lalive on "Enforcing International Cultural Property Law Through Arbitration"; H. Flora on "Enforcement by the Code of Ethics of Museums and Dealers of Art"; D. Fincham on "The Sources and Impact of Cultural Heritage Norms" and A. Chechi on "The Role of UNESCO in Promoting Compliance with International Cultural Property Law."

March 5, 2011

"The 1970 Convention: Past and Future" Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, March 15 and 16, 2011

UNESCO/S. Delepierre
Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

I have been invited to attend UNESCO's 40th commemoration on March 15 of the 1970 Convention which outlined UNESCO's fight against the Illicit trafficking of cultural property. One of the speakers has been featured prominently in the news recently: Dr. Zahi Hawass, Ministry of State for Antiquities of Egypt, who recently resigned his newly created post due to his professed inability to secure the museums and archaeological sites in Egypt over the past month.

In the morning, Dr. Hawass is scheduled to speak on a panel titled "Public Debate" moderated by Louis Laforge, Journalist, France télévisions with the following scheduled speakers: Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO; Bernd Rossback, Director of Specialized Crimes and Analysis for Interpol; Alfonso de Maria y Campos, General Director, National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico; Stéphane Martin, President of Musée du Quai Branly; and Jane Levin, Worldwide Compliance Director and Senior-Vice President, Sotheby's.

In the afternoon, a seminar titled "The legal instruments employed for the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property", will be moderated by Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO with these speakers: Marie Cornu, Research Director of CNRS, France; Lyndel V. Prott, Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia; Jose-Angelo Estrella Faria, Secretary General for UNIDROIT; Paolo Ferri, former prosecutor for the Republic of Italy and an international legal expert in cultural goods; Antonio Roma Valdés, Spanish prosecutor and expert in international cooperation and crimes against cultural heritage; and John Scanlon, Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

The evening round table, "Illicit trafficking of archaeological objects", moderated by Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, director of the Federal Office of Culture in Switzerland, is scheduled to include these speakers: Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Greece; Cecilia Bakula, former National Director of the National Institute of Culture and Ambassador of Peru; Petty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor of Law from De Paul University; Ridha Fraoua, Doctor of Law and expert in cultural heritage legislation; Sergio Mújica, Deputy Secretary General, World customs Organization; and Samuel Sidibe, Director of the National Museum of Mali.

You can read more about this commemoration here at the UNESCO website.

March 4, 2011

The Art Loss Register's Chris Marinello Discusses Egypt's Antiquity Crisis and Steps Taken to Recover Missing Objects

Statue of Ramsesses II in Aswan (Courtesy of Dr. Hawass)
by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's face of antiquities, reports regularly about the situation in Cairo and at the surrounding archaeological sites on his website where he recently listed the problems here on March 3.

The Art Loss Register has offered it's help in documenting and disseminating information through it's database.  As Christopher A. Marinello has spoken often with ARCA, we corresponded with him again.
ARCA blog: Mr. Marinello, what has the Art Loss Register been doing to help track the re-sale of recently looted items from Egypt? 
Mr. Marinello: Unfortunately, given the temporal nature of these events, I cannot be too specific. The Art Loss Register is registering any items reported to it as lost or stolen. We will enter these items in the Database and they will become part of our searching process. If we locate any of these items being offered for sale in the marketplace, we will immediately notify law enforcment and the registrant. 
ARCA blog: Has Egypt taken the ALR's offer to list missing items on the database for free? 
Mr. Marinello: We have had a number of institutions and individuals contact us already. In my view, we need to get the message out to those who are currently charged with securing Egypt's cultural heritage and I thank you for providing this forum which most certainly will aid in that effort. In prior years, everything would have gone through Zahi Hawass. Until a successor is named, I am afraid that there will be a gap in reporting thefts to us. 
ARCA blog: If ALR does recover items, would it return the objects to Egypt? And who at this point would safeguard those objects inside Egypt today? 
Mr. Marinello: The ALR would return any recovered item through official Egyptian government channels. As for specifics, I think that situation is still developing as this text is being written.

ARCA blog: What do you think will happen in Egypt about the security of museums and archaeological sites in Egypt with the resignation of Dr. Zawai Hawass? 
Mr. Marinello: I believe that the Egyptian government will eventually appoint a successor to Dr. Hawass or replace the man with a team of experts to handle the tasks of his Ministry. Right now it is the local police and members of the Egyptian army that are attempting to secure cultural sites. Let's face it, this is a major upheaval with potentially catastrophic consequences. Organizations working to protect Cultural Heritage worldwide should band together and develop a plan to assist the Egyptians during this time. Trade organizations as well as International Customs and Border Agents need to be especially vigilant.

Videos of Marc Masurovsky of the Cultural Plunder Database Speaking in Florida on the unfinished work of returning Nazi-looted art to the rightful owners some 65 years after the war

Marc Masurovsky
Last year I had the privilege to volunteer on the U. S. Holocaust Museum's Cultural Plunder Database of Nazi-looted art out of the Jeu de Paume in Paris.  My mentor, Marc Mazurovsky, the Project Director, recently spoke passionately and unapologetically in Florida at the Jewish Art Museum here on this video about the lack of transparency in the art market about the re-sale of art stolen from private collections.  After the devastation of millions of lives and households during the 12-year reign of the Nazis, the Allies became too distracted with the Cold War to continue prosecution of war criminals and to complete restitution of property and art to the surviving victims.  However, today, art works have been reappearing on the secondary market with total disregard for their status as stolen property.  In the second video here, Mr. Masurovsky discusses the U. S. government's failure to compensate Japanese-Americans interned in camps from 1941 to 1945 in their own country and stripped of cultural and real property.  "There is not a federal policy of restitution of looted cultural property... to safeguard the rights of Holocaust survivors [who have become American citizens]," Masurovsky says.  "There are no fiscal consequences for dabbling in looted cultural property. No one will lose their tax-exempt status if caught doing so."

He later says, "Restitution, or justice for the victim, has been left to lawyers and judges, history has taken a back seat to the rule of law, a bit like taking a square peg and shoving it into a round hole: not practical, not efficient, but there we are."

To be fair, justice has been done in a small number of instances, Masurovsky says, after years of battle against "hardened defendants" whether they be wealthy individuals, museums, or governments:

"Holocaust survivors are dying in growing numbers every day, their children and grandchildren are not intimately connected to their issues, for obvious reasons, sometimes they know, most times they don't.  Those who seem to be riding out the storm well and even better are the dealers, the collectors, the museums, and the institutions that buy, sell, trade, display, harbor these works and objects which really are three-dimensional reminders of past genocide and ethnocides. In at least 90% of these cases, the crime of plunder pays off very well with handsome returns on the investment."

He encouraged his audience (and now our readers): "If you do own or buy or receive works of objects produced before the early 1940s, you have the same duty to ask the same questions as if you were buying a car: who owned it before? is it kosher? do you have good title? was it ever stolen?"

Listen to the videos now for a compelling and passionate argument for returning stolen art to its rightful owners and the steps we can all take to participate.

March 3, 2011

Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 1 comment

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2009: A Summary Review

Cover Design by Urska Charney

The first issue of The Journal of Art Crime was published by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) and edited by Noah Charney in the Spring of 2009.

In his Letter from the Editor, Noah Charney writes:
"Inside, readers will find interdisciplinary articles from both academics and professionals, related to art crime, its history, and its repercussions. Relevant fields include criminology, law, art history, history, sociology, policing, security, archaeology, conservation, and more. There are few topical venues in which scholars can publish on the inherently interdisciplinary and international subject of art crime. Little empirical data has been available to scholars, leading few to turn their professional attentions to the phenomenon. The result is that there is relatively little material published on art crime, and still less that might be considered scholarly. ARCA seeks to encourage new scholarship in the study of art crime, by both encouraging young academics and students to focus on the subject, and to bring together established academics and professionals, bridging the gap between theoretical study and experience in the field. The salient question is: how can the academic study of contemporary and historical art crime help to protect and recovery art today?"
Academic articles include Virginia Curry on "United States v. Steven George Cooperman"; Howard Spiegler on "Surviving War & Peace: The Long Road to Recovering the Malevich Paintings"; Ann Shaftel on "Thangka Painting Techniques: Traditional, Contemporary, & Instantly 'Old'"; Erik Nemeth on "Plunderer & Protector of Cultural Property: Security-Intelligence Services Shape Strategic Value of Art".

Columns include Donn Zaretsky's Art Law & Policy; David Gill's Context Matters; Stevan Layne's Art Security; and Noah Charney's Lessons from the History of Art Crime.

Editorial essays include Jonathan Lopez on "7/8th Underwater -- Art Fraud"; Julia Williams on "Museums De-Accessioning Collections"; Colonel Giovanni Pastore on "Defending Art -- Excerpt from ARCA's book 'Art & Crime'"; Shima Ebrahimi on "Art Theft: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist & An Investigation into Title and Statute of Limitations".

Reviews include David Gill on "Cuno's 'Who Owns Antiquity?' and Waxman's 'Loot'"; Andrea Wood on "Dolnick's 'The Forger's Spell' and Lopez' 'The Man Who Made Vermeers'"; Virginia Curry on "Connor's 'The Art of the Heist' & Boser's 'The Gardner Heist'"; David Gill on "Nostoi Exhibition in Rome"; Andrea Wood on "'The Rape of Europa' PBS Documentary"; Susan Summerfield Hammerman's Annotated Literature Review of "Rare Book, Map, and Archive Crime Bibliography"; and Mark Durney's Annotated Literature Review of "Looting & The Illicit Trade in Antiquities".

Other articles include an interview with Vernon Rapley; a Q&A with Lord Colin Renfrew; and Noah Charney on "Top Ten Must-See Artworks in The Netherlands".

To subscribe to The Journal of Art Crime, please go to ARCA's website section "Publications" here.

March 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - No comments

Announcing the Death of Journalist Marilyn Henry

A friend of ARCA’s has lost a friend and a colleague.

This morning we received an email from Marc Masurovsky, co-founder of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP) and Project Director of the database “Cultural Plunder by the ERR: Database of Art Objects at the Jeu de Paume”:
Dear colleagues: 
I regret to announce the passing of one of the most extraordinary journalists of the Jewish community who stood for the rights of Holocaust survivors throughout her active and dynamic existence. Her name: Marilyn Henry. 
She will be always remembered for her relentlessness, her tenacity, her love of all things Jewish, and, most importantly, for her sincere attachment to the truth, regardless of where the chips may fall. Among other things, she is the author of a critical history of the Claims Conference. She was on the verge of completing a major work on art restitution. Marilyn Henry died yesterday evening at 9:28pm at her home near Teaneck, NJ. I've lost a great friend and survivors have lost an advocate.
Mr. Masurovsky included a few links to samples of her writings for the Jerusalem Post that we would also like to pass on to our readers:
We at ARCA extend our condolences to the communities, family and friends of Marilyn Henry.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - No comments

The Journal of Art Crime, Fall 2009: A Summary Review

The second issue of The Journal of Art Crime, published in the Fall of 2009 by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) and edited by Noah Charney, features academic articles, editorial essays, and reviews.

Academic articles include Graham Ospreay's "Issues in Identification and the Authenticity of Artist's Signatures"; Liz Losch's "Hebborn's 'Van Dyck': Authenticity and Authorship in the Forgery of an Old Master Drawing"; Bojan Dobovsek, Noah Charney, and Sasa Vucko on "Art Crime Archives"; Judge Arthur Tompkins' "A Permanent International Art Crime Tribunal?"; Stepahnie Goldfarb's "Lessons in Looting"; and John Yates "Vinlandsaga: The Mystery of the Yale Vinland Map".

Regular columns include Noah Charney's Lessons from the History of Art Crime ("Ten Cost-Effective Steps to Improve Security at Your Museum"); David Gill's Context Matters ("Looting in the Balkans"); Donn Zaretsky's Art Law and Policy ("Holocaust Era Cases Reviewed"); and Colonel Giovanni Pastore's Cultural Heritage ("Protection of the Concept and Profiles".

Editorial essays include Mark Durney on "Understanding the Motivations Behind Art Crime and the Effects of an Institution's Response"; Abiodun Johnson Eniyandunni on "Cultural Artifacts in Nigeria"; Judith Harris on "Financing Terror"; and Catherine Schofield Sezgin on "Turkish Archaeological Sites and the Trade of Illegal Antiquities".

Reviews include David Gill on "Whose Culture? The Promise of Museums and the Debate Over Antiquities"; Douglas L. Yearwood on "The Lost Chalice: The Epic Hunt for a Priceless Masterpiece"; James Charney on "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History"; John Kleberg on "Provenance"; and Emily Blyze and Kate Panella on ARCA's War Looting Literature Review.

Other items include Noah Charney's The Art We Must Protect ("Top Ten Must-See Works of Art in Madrid"); Mark Durney's profile of Chris Marinello, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Art Loss Register; Mark Durney's Q&A with Charley Hill; and the 2009 ARCA Award Winners.

If you would like to subscribe to this journal, please go to ARCA's website here. Thank you for your support in advance.

Cover Illustration by Urska Charney.

March 1, 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - No comments

The Journal of Art Crime, Spring 2010: A Summary Review

The third issue of The Journal of Art Crime, the first peer-reviewed academic journal on the interdisciplinary study of art crime edited by Noah Charney and published by ARCA, was published in the Spring of 2010. Based upon last month's success of highlighting articles in the fourth issue of The Journal of Art Crime, we're taking the time to backtrack to highlight the contents of the first three issues.

In his Letter from the Editor, Noah Charney highlights the second article from a new member of our prestigious staff of regular columnists: Colonel Giovanni Pastore, until recently the Vice-Commandant of the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage:
"Pastore, a founding trustee of ARCA, is one of the world's most decorated and respected art officers. His work has been particularly instrumental in encouraging international cooperation between police forces, and building a bridge between academia and law enforcement -- both fundamental goals of ARCA. Pastore's column appears in Italian and in English translation, to further emphasize the internationality of ARCA (with seats in Italy and the United States) and of art crime itself."
"We are also proud to introduce another new regular columnist, Ton Cremers. Cremers is an expert on museum safety and security and is the founder of the Museum Security Network, which assembles press releases on art crime and museum security worldwide for dissemination to members of the art and art security worlds. We are honored to include Cremers in this and future issues of the journal."
Academic articles include "Collecting Histories and the Market for Classical Antiquiteis" by David W. J. Gill; "Responding to Art Vandalism in British Museums and Galleries: a Survey of the Situation" by Helen E. Scott; "The Getty Kouros Mystery" by Miranda Vitello; "Copy versus Forgery: The Difficulty in Determining Motive with Regards to Modern Iconography and Icon Collections" by Riikka Köngäs; "Faking History: How Provenance Forgery is Conning the Art World" by Olivia Sladen; and "The Looting of the Iraq Museums: An Examination of Efforts to Protect Universal Cultural Property" by Simmy Swinder.

Some of our regular columns include Ton Cremer's "Security & Safety Reflections, Oxygen Reduction in Museums, Libraries, and Archives"; David Gill's "Context Matters: Italy and the US, Reviewing Cultural Property Agreements"; Colonel Giovanni Pastore's "Cultural Heritage, The Defense of Underwater Archaeological Heritage"; Noah Charney's "Lessons from the History of Art Crime, Did the Nazis Steal the Mona Lisa?"; and Donn Zaretsky's "Art Law and Policy.

Editorial Essays include John Kleberg on "What's in a Number?" and "University Treasures"; Judith Harris on "After 40 Years, Revelations about the Lost Caravaggio"; and David W. J. Gill on "The Returns to Italy from North America: An Overview."

Book reviews include "Nazi Plunder: Great Treasure Stories of World War II"; "America and the Return of Nazi Contraband: The Recovery of Europe's Cultural Treasures"; "Criminology and Archaeology: Studies in Looted Antiquities"; "The Restitution of Cultural Assets"; and four French books on Rose Valland.

Noah Charney reviews the exhibit "Caravaggio at The Quirinale" Exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome.

Other articles include Noah Charney's "The Art We Must Protect: Top Ten Must-See Artworks in the USA"; Mark Durney's profile of Ton Cremers and "Q&A with ICE's Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Program Head of the Northeast, Special Agent Bonnie Goldblatt"; and the 2010 ARCA Award Winners.

You may subscribe to The Journal of Art Crime here.