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April 27, 2012

Interpol's Stolen Art Database Reports Eight Cézanne Paintings Missing

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog

Interpol is the international police organization established in 1923.  In 2009, its database for Stolen Art was made available to the public.  It takes about one to two weeks to obtain permission and a password to access the lists of recovered and stolen art objects.

Earlier this month, police in Serbia recovered a painting by Paul Cézanne that had been stolen from an Impressionist museum in Zurich in 2008.  Interpol lists eight stolen artworks created by Cézanne.

Auvers sur Oise
Period: 1889-18892
Measurements: 46 cm x 55 cm
Stolen from Oxford, United Kingdom, on January 1, 2000.

La Montagne Sante Victoire
Period: Circa 1865
Measurements; 33 cm x 49 cm.
Stolen from Le Pecq, France, on March 27, 2008.

Peches sur un plat
Period: 1872-1877
Measurements: 23 cm x 30.50 cm
Stolen from Argentina, Buenos Aires, on December 26, 1980.

Still Life
Measurements: 49 cm x 64.20 cm
Stolen from Oberageri, Switzerland, on April 25, 1996.

Paysage au Lac
Period: 1896

Sentier parmi les roches
Period: between 1899 and 1902

Vue dans un jardin (watercolour)
Stolen from France on December 8, 2003.

Human Face

Stolen from France on December 8, 2003.  This watercolour is painted on the reverse side of another painting, Vue dans un jardin.

April 25, 2012

LAPD Art Cop and his example of a fake Certificate of Authenticity

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

Don Hrycyk is the only full-time police officer assigned to investigate art crime and makes up the Los Angeles Police Department's Art Theft Detail.  Here is an example of a fake Picasso work and its equally disreputable Certificate of Authenticity from Detective Hrycyk's collection.

Certificate of Authenticity


Picasso, Pablo (1881-1970). Born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain.  Pablo Picasso was probably the most famous artist of the twentieth century.  During his artistic career, which lasted more than 75 years, he created thousands of works, not only paintings but also sculptures, prints, and ceramics.  He almost single-handedly created modern art.  He changed art more profoundly than any other artist of this century.  First famous for his pioneering role in Cubism, Picasso continued to develop his art with a pace and vitality comparable to the accelerated technological and cultural changes of the twentieth century.  Each change embodied a radical new idea, and it might be said that Picasso lived several artistic lifetimes. Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France at the age of 91.

“Pour Roby” (Portrait of a Young Man). Plate signed on the lithographic plate by Picasso and shown in reverse on the printed image.

Entitled: “Pour Roby”

Description: Restrike Etching

April 24, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - No comments

HARP's Public Letter to Senator Leahy to Withdraw S.2212/H. R. 4086 (the "Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act" from any consideration or vote

April 15, 2012

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

RE: S. 2212

Dear Senator Leahy:

I am currently Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University, and former Director and Curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, where I curated over 80 exhibitions. I am also the co-founder and Director of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project (“HARP”), and have spent the past 14 years researching and consulting on the issue of Nazi-plundered art.

In my capacity as a HARP Director, I respectfully ask that the Senate withdraw S.2212/H.R. 4086, the “Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act” from any consideration or vote.

The effect of passing S. 2212 would be nothing short of disastrous for Holocaust survivors who may have looted art claims, as well as source countries with claims for the return of looted antiquities and other artworks.

First, the language of S. 2212 raises a number of significant issues. 

The bill, which was already passed in the House of Representatives as H.R. 4086, without consultation or solicitation from all interested parties, only focuses a “Nazi” exception just on "Nazi", but not on "Axis" related activities.  Because the bill only covers governments occupied by Nazi Germany or governments that were allies of Nazi Germany, it eliminates claims involving objects from countries occupied, annexed or controlled by non-Nazi Axis powers, i.e. Japan and Italy.  Therefore, all claims involving objects from the following countries would be excluded: British Somaliland, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Albania, several regions of Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia-Slovenia, Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), South Karafuto, Manchuria, several regions of mainland China, Portuguese Timor, Hong Kong, French Indochina, Thailand, Burma, British New Guinea, the Philippines, Malaya, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, several regions of Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei, British North Borneo, Nauru, the Dutch East Indies, Guam, Imphal, Wake Island, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Christmas island, Attu and Kiska.  Such an effect cannot be considered acceptable.

Additionally, the so-called “Nazi” exception in the bill would exclude all objects obtained from forced sales or other forms of looting or plunder not executed directly by Nazi forces, or from forced sales or other transactions apparently legal in form or purporting to be voluntarily effected, when in fact the intent was to deprive Holocaust victims of their property, rights and interests in artworks.  Again, such an effect from this bill cannot be considered acceptable, given that most of the recent looted art cases involve non-direct acts of looting and dispossession of artworks.

Beyond the Nazi exception and its exceedingly narrow definition of Nazi-plundered art, this bill will result in making the coming of all other kinds of plundered art into the United States immune not just from seizure, but from being recognized as plundered.  In fact, in its most disastrous effect, the bill will allow every archaeological artifact originally looted, as well as the foreign government entity attempting to profit from its exhibition in the United States, to be completely protected from any damage or suit.

Finally, the narrow focus of the bill to a Nazi-only exception mischaracterizes the Holocaust: by adopting this bill, Congress will crystallize the Holocaust as an event specifically Jewish or specifically European, enabling it and the public to ignore the larger human issue of Holocaust-like events which have taken place since World War II and the associated large-scale cultural plunder associated with those events.  If Congress passes S. 2212, it recognizes that the Holocaust is nothing but a simple historical aberration, enabling all of us no longer to consider the consequences, costs or risks of persecution and its associated cultural plunder in other situations.  In essence, Congress’ message in passing S. 2212 is as follows: Nazi looting is not OK, but cultural looting and plundering in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cyprus, are all OK, protected and shielded by the will of the U.S. Government.

Therefore, I urge you and your committee to withdraw S. 2212 from any further consideration, review, amendments or vote.

On behalf of HARP, I thank you for your leadership on this important issue and for your support.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the address above. 

Sincerely yours,
Ori Soltes
Theology and Fine Arts
Georgetown University
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20057

April 20, 2012

Looted Nuraghic bronze statuettes from Sardinia Sold in Germany and the United States according to the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection unit in Sassari

Translation by Francesca Rossi, Our Correspondent in Amelia

ARCA blog asked Ms. Rossi to translate the first part of the article "Germania e Usa le ultime mete dei bronzetti trafugati" (Germany and the USA are the destinations for looted bronzes) published by, a daily newspaper in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia.

Forced to emigrate even after two or three thousands years spent in Sardinia: crammed into trucks or inside a bag between trousers and shirts, in the aircraft hold. They make stopovers of four to five years in Switzerland, ‘cause the rest is good (and certainly allows the dust to settle). And then they cross the continents: to the United States or Canada on one side, Japan on the other. This is the clandestine journey of nacelles and Nuraghic bronze statuettes. A new emergency, according to Paolo Montorsi, Commander of the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection nucleus of Sassari, who, during a conference organized by the Carabinieri during the Week of Culture, spoke about this argument.

The phenomenon of illegal excavations has declined compared to previous years, though. “Probably – clarified Montorsi – because the valuable pieces are already gone”. This doesn’t mean the Carabinieri do let their guard down: there’s a new line of investigation, which obviously is still secret, that takes us in Germany and United States. Pieces easy to take away because of their reduced dimensions, but of great value: some of those bronze statues, in the black market, are valued about 20.000€/cm.

In particular, the highest number of illegal excavations is recorded in the area of Nuoro. “It’s very important when a theft is reported – explained Montorsi – to provide a photo of the stolen handwork, so it can be inserted in a database interacting with the Interpol.”

April 19, 2012

Last week's ABC News Video of "Stolen Cézanne Recovered by Serbian Police"

Recovered Cézanne painting
Last week ABC News broadcast the video footage of the Serbian police recovering a Cézanne painting hidden in the roof upholstery of a vehicle.

Cézanne's painting, Boy with a Red Waistcoat, had been stolen from the Foundation E. G. Bürhle in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2008.

Other information about this recovery may be found here and here.

April 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - ,, No comments

Dr. Laura Rush Named ARCA's 2012 Writer in Residence

by Lynda Albertson, ARCA CEO

Each year, The Association for Research into Crimes against Art honors distinguished and emerging writers specializing in art crime and cultural heritage preservation, inviting them to Amelia, Italy as the Association's annual Writer in Residence.  Designed to promote critical and reflective writing and funded by ARCA supporters, The Amelia Writer in Residence Program reflects ARCA's belief that the basis for any critical and comprehensive writing involves the opportunity for contemplation, research, collaboration and support.

By hosting writers in residence, ARCA strives to create an intellectually stimulating home base for an author's literary and research activities. Throughout this residence, the writer spends most of his or her time working on a literary project but also contributes to the intellectual community of ARCA's postgraduate certificate program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.  By sharing their scholarship and professional experiences, their presence and contribution has meaningful impact on this specialized didactic program.

The Writer-in-Residence is chosen from candidates proposed by a Nominations Subcommittee, whose members have been selected by ARCA trustees and faculty. The Nominations Subcommittee proposes candidates whose work and character are known to them and selection is made by group consensus predicated on a writer's professional standing in his or her field of specialization.  Heavy emphasis is placed on projects that promote and foster interdisciplinary cooperation in art protection and recovery. While in Italy authors are asked to contribute keynote lectures or to present at ARCA's Annual Art Crime conference enriching the dialogue by speaking about their manuscript project or a topic of mutual professional interest to scholars and students in

For 2012 ARCA is pleased to announce that our third annual Writer-in-Residence will be Dr. Laurie Rush.

Dr. Laurie Rush has a BA from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, Summa Cum Laude, and an MA and PhD from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she was a fellow of the University and of the National Science Foundation.

Teams working with Dr. Rush have discovered over one hundred fifty Native American archeological sites on Fort Drum including one dating back over 10,000 years and another documenting earliest French contact in the region.  Her research on the possibility for paleo-maritime culture in the Great Lakes has been recognized by eminent archaeologists as having potential for better understanding of the peopling of the Americas.  As part of her Fort Drum responsibilities Dr. Rush also established consultation partnerships between the installation and three Haudenosaunee Nations, the Oneida Indian Nation, the Onondaga Nation, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Dr. Rush was the Booth Family Rome Prize winner for 2010-2011 in Historic Preservation at the American Academy in Rome.  She is also winner of numerous military and collegial awards including the 2007 Chairman's Award for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation, the 2009 Register of Professional Archaeologists Distinguished Service to the Field, and in 2007 and 2009 Manager of the Best Cultural Resources Program and Team in the US Department of Defense. Dr. Rush also recently served on the American Anthropology Association Ad Hoc Commission on the Ethics of Engaging with the Security and Intelligence Communities.

In 2009, Major General Oates requested that Dr. Rush serve as the military liaison for the successful return of the Ancient City of Ur to Iraqi stewardship, and in 2010, Dr. Rush traveled to Kabul with Central Command personnel to participate in Environmental Shuras and to meet with the Director General of Heritage for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and US State Department officials on behalf of establishing increased awareness and military partnership for preservation projects in Kabul and Mes Aynak. This participation resulted in allocation of over one million dollars by the US Army Corps of Engineers to support artifact conservation at the ancient Buddhist City of Mes Aynek.

As the Director of the In Theater Heritage Training Program for Deploying Personnel, Dr. Rush helped to establish a partnership between the Archaeology Institute of America and the Department of Defense.  This project, funded by the OSD Legacy Resource Management Program and implemented in cooperation with Colorado State University, produced archaeology awareness playing cards for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt; Soldier pocket cards in multiple languages; replica archaeological sites for military training; educational presentations for military personnel; Central Command regulations for protection of cultural property, detailed archaeology maps for Iraq and Afghanistan, heritage reference websites for military personnel, and archaeology construction checklists for military engineers.  These accomplishments helped to build the US Combat Command Historical Cultural Action Group that is now working at the global level toward improved archaeology mapping for military planning and establishing military guidelines for stability operations in archaeologically sensitive areas.  She is also a founding member of the International Military Cultural Resources Working Group that participated in the recent cultural property inspections in Libya.
Dr. Rush is editor of the recently released volume, Archaeology, Cultural Property, and the Military and has an article forthcoming in the journal Military Review that focuses on lessons today's US personnel can learn from the accomplishments of the Monuments Officers of World War II.

We hope the ARCA community will embrace and support Dr Rush as this year's invited Writer in Residence.

April 17, 2012

Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiquities Squad, sets the record straight on recent comments attributed to him on the blog Art Hostage

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

On April 13, 2012, Art Hostage, a blog on art theft, re-printed an article about the recovery of a stolen Cézanne painting in Serbia, then added comments he attributed to Richard Ellis, founder of the Art and Antiquities Squad at The New Scotland Yard, that accused Serbian police of corruption.

The Boy with the Red Waistcoat was one of four paintings stolen from the Foundation E. G. Bührle in Zurich in 2008.  [You may read about it here and here on the ARCA Blog).

The ARCA Blog asked Mr. Ellis about the nature of the comments attributed to him on the Art Hostage blog.  This is Mr. Ellis' reply:
I have had absolutely no contact or conversation with Paul Hendry, aka James Walsh the author of "Art Hostage" since his conviction at Lewes Crown Court in September 2010 for offences of benefit fraud and his subsequent imprisonment.  For some time before his conviction Hendry had taken to making unsubstantiated claims on the Art Hostage blog supported by quotes of his own invention. He has as a result turned what was initially a responsible and informative blog spot, where he would voluntarily edit and correct inaccuracies if requested to do so, in to an unreliable and unbelievable blog supported by lies, made one can only speculate for the benefit of his own ego.
Mr. Ellis explained that Hendry/Walsh was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and served it in full.

According to Paul "Turbo" Hendry, he 'served three months three weeks in HMP Ford Open Jail; another three months three weeks on electronic tag; then another three months three weeks on probation, reporting to a probation officer once a month, ending August 2011. "The conviction is subject of an ongoing IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) inquiry looking at a cover up by Police," Mr. Hendry wrote in an email. "I pleaded not guilty to the charges/indictments and that is  why I was sent to jail. If I had pleaded guilty I would have been fined. The Police refused to reveal the contents of their files in court under a D-notice, Public Immunity Certificate, which would have vindicted me and proved they authorized the Benefit claim back in the year 2000." [Mr. Hendry's comments are from an email to the ARCA blog dated July 12, 2013].

Mr. Ellis teaches Art Policing and Investigation at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies in Amelia.

April 16, 2012

Irish Artist Michelle Rogers Secures Release of 14 Paintings Seized by Police at Gallery Suspected of Tax Fraud and Money Laundering

Michelle Rogers' Lampuedusa (200 x 300 cm)
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor

Fourteen paintings by Irish artist Michelle Rogers seized by police in a raid of a gallery in Rome two years ago were finally released to the artist in March.

Rogers' paintings were held in police custody when a gallery's inventory was taken as part of a police investigation into tax fraud and money laundering.

"The court believed that the paintings belonged to the gallery owner and my fight over the last two years was to get them to realize that the paintings belonged to me," Rogers explained.  "Eventually, after a lot of work by my lawyer and requests from my embassy in Rome, the courts accepted that the art work was mine."

The more than one dozen paintings ranged from 100 x 80 cm to 200 x 300cm.

Michelle Rogers, who also lives part-time in Rome, traveled to Bosnia in 1993 and exhibited works reflecting on the theme of the 9/11 attacks in North America.  Lampeudusa, according to her website, "explores the plight and flight of immigrants of Italy."

Wanted in Rome reported (Return of Michelle Rogers paintings in Rome) that the 14 paintings by Rogers had been exhibited at the Aequalias Contemporary Art Gallery on via Margutta when they were seized in an investigation of the owner, Massimo Micucci, suspected of tax fraud and money laundering for Silvio Scaglia, the billionaire owner of Italian telecommunications company Fastweb.

April 14, 2012

Associated Press: Serbian officials announce recovery of Degas painting stolen from Bührle Collection in 2008; Ransom paid one year after theft

Degas' Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters/Bürle
by Catherine Sezgin, Editor-in-Chief

Serbian officials announced this week that payment of a 400,000 euro ransom returned Edgar Degas' painting Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters to the Bührle Collection one year after it was stolen, according to "SEE IT: Serbian and Swiss police raid nets stolen Cézanne painting", an article written by Dusan Stojanovic, Chief Correspondent for the Associated Press in Belgrade, and published April 13 on the website

This information was released at a news conference in Belgrade attended by Serbia's organized crime prosecutor Miljko Radisavljevic and Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, Stojanovic reported.

The FBI and Interpol had still listed the Degas painting as stolen and missing as of this week.

Other interesting details Stojanovic reported from the press conference:

The police raid recovered the Cézanne painting in the roof upholstery of a black van;

Four men, including the leader of the gang that conducted the robbery, were arrested in Belgrade and Cacak, according to Prosecutor Radisavljevic;

The police raids this week, planned since 2010, "took place when the suspected robbers decided to take the Cézanne painting to a wealthy Serb who agreed to buy it for (euro) 3.5 million ($4.6 million), according to Interior Minister Dacic.

Police also found $2 million in cash and firearms with the four men, according to Dacic.

Thank you to Marc Balcells, ARCA alum, who noticed the news on recovery of the Degas painting.

April 13, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012 - , 2 comments

Kenya's Dr. George H. O. Abungu Wins 2012 ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art

ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at)

ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art
Past winners: Carabinieri TPC (2009), Howard Spiegler (2010), John Merryman (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Mark Dalrymple, Maurizio Seracini, Sandy Nairne
2012 winner: George H. O. Abungu

Dr. Abungu, a native of Kenya, has served as Chairman of the International Standing Committee on the Traffic of Illicit Antiquities since 1999, and as Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya from 1999-2002.  Among his many projects, he was involved in the return to Kenya of looted Vigango (grave markers).

Dr. Abungu has over 60 publications in the disciplines of archaeology, heritage management, and museology, culture and development and has championed the role of the arts and its respect and protection in many of his publications, public forums and in his works as a museum professional, scholar and administrator.

He has been an advisor to the Aluka project of the Mellon Foundation, the Global Heritage Fund, and is Vice President of International Council of Museums (ICOM), a Member of the International Jury of the UNESCO Melina Mecouri International Prize for Safeguard and Management of Cultural Landscapes and Board member for TARA, the Trust for African Rock Art, among others. He has sat on the World Monuments Watch panel and was Kenya’s Representative to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and Vice-President of its Bureau (2004-2009).

He is awarded for his long-term efforts to secure the cultural heritage of Kenya and other African nations.

April 12, 2012

Serbian Police Recover Cézanne's The Boy in the Red Waistcoast Stolen in 2008 from the E. G. Bührle Collection in Switzerland

Cézanne's "The Boy in
 the Red Waistcoast"/
Foundation E. G.
 Bührle Collection
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief
BBC News reported today that Serbian police recovered "Boy with a Red Waistcoat", a painting by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) stolen in 2008 from the Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection in Zurich.

According to the BBC, police arrested three people in Belgrade and Cacak.

The blog, Eastern European Forum, has a simple English translation of the information in Sebia's daily Blic: "The operation was organized by the Service for the Fight Against Organized Crime (SBPOK) and the Organized Crime Prosecution.  The Serbian police cooperated with their colleagues from several states and the operation was prepared for several months."

Cézanne's Le Garçon au gilet rouge measures 79.5 by 64 centimeters.  Emil Bührle, a German-born industrialist who sold arms to the Nazis during World War II, purchased the oil on canvas for 400,000 Swiss Francs in 1948. It is now estimated to be worth more than $100 million.

On Sunday, February 10, 2008, "three armed men in ski masks" ("Armed robbers steal $160 million worth of art from Zurich Museum", The New York Times, February 11, 2008) entered the Zurich museum 30 minutes before closing to steal four paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Van Gogh, and Monet.

One week later, two of the paintings, Vincent van Gogh's Blossoming Chestnut Branches (1890) and Claude Monet's Poppies Near Vétheuil (1879) were "discovered in the back seat of a white sedan parked outside a psychiatric hospital" "about 500 meters from the gallery" (BBC News Online, "Stolen Paintings Found in Zurich").

Edgar Degas' Ludvovic Lepic and His Daughters (1871, oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm) is still missing.

If you would like to read more about recovering stolen art in Serbia ....

In October 2011, former Scotland Yard Detective Richard Ellis recovered two Picasso paintings in Serbia that had been stolen from Switzerland in 2008.

Sandy Nairne, author of Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners, discusses the Serbian underworld with The Independent's Mathew Bell in July 2011. More information about Nairne's book can be found on the ARCA blog here and here.

UPDATE: The report by Reuters here.

The story appears to have originated with journalist Tamara Markovic Subota of Serbia's Blic, a daily newspaper.  According to the translation by Google here, the three arrested were Serbian nationals and part of organized crime -- a fourth accomplice was arrested for trafficking in firearms.

Provenance of Cézanne's Boy with a Red Waistcoat/Le Garçon au gilet rouge (Buehrle website):

Ambroise Vollard, Paris (ca. 1895–1909) (1) ▪ Marczell de Nemes, Budapest (1909–1913) (2) ▪
Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, Langerfeld/Wuppertal, Munich, Lugano, Ascona & Lausanne (1913–1948) 
(3) ▪ Emil Bührle, Zurich (28 August 1948 until [d.] 28 November 1956) (4) ▪ Given by the heirs of 
Emil Bührle to the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection, Zurich, no. 18 (1960).
(1) Acquired from the artist, most probably in connection with the exhibition of 1895 in the dealer's gallery, Cézanne to Picasso, Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde, (exh. cat.) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York etc. 2006–07, pp. 47 (n. 88), 284.

(2) Acquired from the above on 30 July 1909 for FF 20.000, exh. cat. as above; Catalogue des tableaux 

modernes […] composant la collection de M. Marczell de Nemes de Budapest, (sale cat.) Galerie ManziJoyant, Paris (18 June 1913), no. 90.

(3) Acquired at the above sale for FF 56.000, R. K., "Die Auktion der Sammlung M. von Nemes", in Cicerone (5) 

1913, pp. 516, 518; Peter Kropmanns, Uwe Fleckner, "Von kontinentaler Bedeutung, Gottlieb Friedrich Reber 

und seine Sammlung", in Die Moderne und ihre Sammler, Französische Kunst in deutschem Privatbesitz vom 

Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik, Berlin 2001, p. 352.

(4) Acquired from the above for CHF 400.000, AStEGB, Entry Book I, 14 July 1948: "Reber, Dr. G. F., Lausanne, 

Oelgem. a. Lw., Original (verpfändet), Cézanne, Paul, Le Garçon au gilet rouge, 79,5 x 64 cm, Hoch"; the 

acquisition price mentioned in AStEGB, Letter from Emil Bührle to Alois Miedl, Zurich, 27 August 1948, 
offering a painting by Cézanne, Portrait of Choquet [R.460] as a commission to Miedl.

ARCA footnote: Alois Miedl purchased part of the assets of Jacques Goudstikker after the Jewish art dealer fled Amsterdam in 1940 (you can read more in Spiegel Online "Nazi-Era Profiteering: Holland Returns Art Stolen from Jewish Collector" and here and here on the ARCA blog.

April 11, 2012

"Chasing Aphrodite" Authors Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino Win 2012 Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship

ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at)

Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Art Crime Scholarship
Past winners:  Norman Palmer (2009), Larry Rothfield (2010), Neil Brodie (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Fabio Isman, Sandy Nairne
2012 joint winners: Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino

Mr. Felch and Mr. Frammolino are award-winning investigative journalists with the Los Angeles Times newspaper, and co-authors of a book based on their columns, entitled Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum (2011).

Jason Felch is an award winning investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times. In 2006 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for exposing the role of the J. Paul Getty Museum and other American museums in the black market for looted antiquities. His work has also been honored by the National Journalism Awards, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the NationalAssociation of Science Writers and others. Prior to joining the LA Times in 2004, Jason was a fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting and a freelance writer on topics such as money laundering, arms trafficking and drilling for natural gas in the Peruvian rainforest.

Ralph Frammolino is a veteran journalist who worked at American newspapers for 30 years. He spent 25 of those at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered a variety of beats but mostly concentrated in investigative projects for the Metro staff. His work has been honored by the Associated Press of Texas, Dartmouth University Business School and the Los Angeles Press Club. He was part of the staff effort that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for the coverage of the Northridge Earthquake, and was a co-finalist for a Pulitzer in 2006 for his coverage of the J. Paul Getty Museum antiquities scandal. Since leaving the LA Times in 2008, Mr. Frammolino has been working in South Asia as a teacher, journalism trainer and media development consultant with USAID, the World Bank and other foreign aid donors. He continues to freelance and his stories have appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, LA Times, Columbia Journalism Review and, most recently, Smithsonian Magazine.

Felch and Frammolino are jointly awarded for their outstanding research and scholarship that informed both their investigative articles for the Los Angeles Times and their book, Chasing Aphrodite.

April 9, 2012

Karl von Habsburg and Dr. Joris Kila Jointly Win 2012 ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security

Joris Kila (right) in Tripoli on 29 September
ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at)

ARCA Award for Art Protection and Security
Past winners: Francesco Rutelli (2009), Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Laurie Rush
2012 joint winners: Karl von Habsburg and Joris Kila

Karl von Habsburg is president of the Association of National Committees of the BlueShield and, jointly with Dr. Joris Kila, he runs the International MilitaryCultural Resources Work Group.

Habsburg is a former member of the European Parliament for Austria, and has specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection. A former air force pilot, he still serves in the reserve of the Austrian armed forces as a key Cultural Property Protection Officer. He is vice president of the Austrian Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and a founder of Blue Shield Austria. In addition to being a frequent lecturer, he is an author of several publications on the subject of Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection and Military Cultural Property Protection and has carried out multiple documentation missions in conflict zones.

Kila is chairman of the International Military Cultural Resources Work Group. He is a researcher at the Institute of Culture and History of the University ofAmsterdam, and a board member for civil-military relations with the WorldAssociation for the Protection of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage inTimes of Armed Conflict (WATCH), based in Rome. Additionally, he serves as a community fellow of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, is a member of the US Commands Cultural Historical Action Group and is Chair of the International Cultural Resources Working Group. Until recently he served as network manager and acting chairman of the cultural affairs dept. at the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group North in the Netherlands.  In that capacity he undertook several cultural rescue missions in Iraq and FYROM (Macedonia).

Habsburg and Kila are jointly awarded for their long-term service to the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.

April 8, 2012

Statistics on European Art Crime

by Dr. Ludo Block, Senior Investigator at Grant Thornton Forensic & Investigation Services Netherlands

When Poland held the European Union (EU) Presidency in the second half of 2011, Art Crime formed one of their priorities in the field of police cooperation. Among other things, this resulted in Council Conclusions on preventing and combating crime against cultural goods, which were adopted by the EU Council on 13 December 2011.

The Polish Presidency coordinated efforts in the Law Enforcement Working Group of the EU Council to collect statistics on Art Crime and the law enforcement responses on Art Crime in different EU member states. The table below shows some of the data collected, i.e. the number of offences between 2007 and 2010 as recorded in 20 of the 27 EU member states. The exact definitions of 'Art Crime offences'  of course differ between the EU member states, but the data does give some insight in the trends. Additionally, these data have not been previously collected and published together.

Number of Art Crime offences 2007-2010 in 20 European Union Member States:

EU Member State




missing data
Czech Republic
missing data
missing data
missing data
(171 items stolen)
(222 items stolen)
(204 items stolen)
(318 items stolen)
missing data

Update:  HT to Dr. Samuel Hardy of Conflict Antiquities who linked to the PDF report in his comments below.   Full report can be found here.