Sunday, May 03, 2015

Looting, Repatriation and Disasters Spring 2015

1. CAIRO (AFP).- Egypt said on Sunday it has recovered 123 ancient artefacts that had been smuggled outside the country and were later confiscated in New York. Egypt's major archaeological
sites were targeted for looting after the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of artefacts, most obtained from illicit digs, later surfaced on the international
market, at auction and on websites. The 123 artefacts to be returned were "illegally taken outside Egypt, and have been confiscated by the US customs authority in New York," Antiquities
Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said in a statement.
"Egypt proved its ownership of the artefacts and the United States has decided to return them." More Information:

2. San Diego, California - The 10 News Digital Team for ABC's 10 News reported yesterday "Stolen art recovered in Del Mar among objects being returned to Italian government". Three frescos
and an asks from a private collector (the Allen E. Paulson Trust" were discovered by the U.S.
owner "forfeited the items" to the US government to be returned to the Italian government, Channel 10 reported. The items were likely illegally dug up in Pompeii and then sold to an American
buyer, according to the US government. More Information:

3. In 2014 Homeland Security Special Agent Brenton Easter, part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, contacted the Honolulu Museum of Art having determined that a
2000-year-old terracotta rattle may have been looted and tied to the antiquities looting case against New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor. More Information:

4. Jill Disis reported March 26 for Gannet's Indystar that Indiana resident and electrical engineer Don Miller died at the age of 91, one year after the FBI seized his collection of antiquities and
artifacts: News reports in the aftermath of the government seizure were awash with tales from those who had seen his collection, which reportedly included Aztec figurines, Ming Dynasty jade
and an Egyptian sarcophagus. Miller never faced any charges related to his collection. More Information:

5. KATHMANDU (AFP).- Reduced to piles of rubble and splintered wood, Nepal's rich cultural heritage has suffered a devastating blow from a massive earthquake that tore through the
country, experts said Sunday. In the heart of Kathmandu, many of a cluster of temples and statues built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient kings of Nepal have collapsed, killing
scores and trapping others underneath. The nine-storey Dharahara tower, a major tourist attraction in the city's Durbar square with its spiral staircase of 200 steps, was reduced to just its
base when the 7.8-magnitude quake struck at lunchtime on Saturday.

6. BERN What’s Still Left in the Gurlitt Mess? A Whole Lot
March 30, 2015 by Marion Maneker
File photo of name plate on the house of art collector Cornelius Gurlitt in Salzburg
Nicholas O’Donnell outlines the mess that’s still unresolved in the Gurlitt case. The snippets below don’t contain O’Donnell’s links and it is well worth clicking through to read the whole of
O’Donnell’s post: For starters, ever week that goes by raises more questions about what, exactly the Gurlitt Task Force that was charged one year ago with reviewing the entire collection for Nazi-looting problems, has done.  The Task Force has identified a mere three objects publicly for restitution in that time: Two Riders on the Beach by Max Liebermann, Seated Woman by Henri
Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld, Little Else Resolved.
Matisse, and a drawing by Carl Spitzweg.  […] Last week, somewhat hopefully, it was reported that the German Minister of Culture Monika Grütters had signed off on the immediate restitution of the Matisse and the Liebermann.  Once certainly hopes this is the case.  but what is happening or has happened?  It could be that the Task Force intends to make its conclusions known in one fell swoop.  But they are not saying that, nor is the German government. […]  All of this is made even stranger by the recent prospect of the so-called “Conny Leaks”—a collection of Hildebrand Gurlitt’s sales records and papers apparently recovered from Cornelius’s home(s), now possibly in the possession of his attorneys.  The SZ piece contends that the Task Force has not even seen (or possibly even asked to see) these papers, begging the question of how thorough its investigation could be.

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