Culture crime news 26 March– 8 April 2018


Hot this week: [Very obviously] stolen antiquities in the MET [finally] returned to Nepal.

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In the Thorny Questions of Authenticity, Who Decides?
(27 March 2018; Blouin Artinfo)

How to Tell if your Artwork is Fake
(4 April 2018; Mutual Art)

The insurance reality of a disappearing Picasso
(6 April 2018; Insurance Business Magazine)


Egypt retrieves mummy parts smuggled to U.S. over 90 years ago (Egypt, USA)
(27 March 2018; New China)

72 officials charged with theft after turning ancient archaeological site into parking lot (Egypt)
(5 April 2018; Egypt Independent)

Looted Ethiopian treasures in UK could be returned on loan (Ethiopia, UK)
(3 April 2018; The Guardian)

British museums and looted treasures (Ethiopia, UK)
(5 April 2018; The Guardian)

Looted is a loaded word — but shouldn’t the cultural wonders of the ancient world be admired in their country of origin? (Ethiopia, UK)
(5 April 2018; The National)

Ethiopia Rejects Claims Of Agreeing To Take Treasures On Loan Basis (Ethiopia, UK)
(7 April 2018; Ethiosports)

Sabha’s historic castle hit with rockets as tribal tension continues (Libya)
(2 April 2018; The Libya Observer)

U.S. Embassy holds training to safeguard Libya’s rich cultural heritage (Libya, USA)
(7 April 2018; The Libya Observer)

World heritage in Syria and Libya agonising under the world’s idle eyes (Libya, Syria)
(8 April 2018; The Arab Weekly)

Stolen artefacts: Oba of Benin, Obaseki to build world-class Museum (Nigeria)
(5 April 2018; The Nation)

No breakthrough in Thulamela artefact theft (South Africa)
(7 April 2018; Lowvelder)


Toronto police investigating after rock valued at more than $17,000 stolen from Toronto’s Gardiner Museum (Canada)
(7 April 2018; The Star)

Federal agents take Baby Jesus (Mexico, USA)
(25 March 2017; Mad River Union)

Recuperan una talla del siglo XVIII robada en una iglesia de Santa Fe (Mexico)
(28 March 2018; Ideal)

Protegen el patrimonio cultural (Mexico)
(29 March 2018; Excelsior)

Here’s What Protects Shipwrecks From Looters and Hacks (USA)
(27 March 2018; Gizmodo)

Fort Smith Museum To Increase Security After Artifact Was Stolen (USA)
(28 March 2018; 5 News)

Bellstone believed missing is at Kauai Museum (USA)
(28 March 2018; The Garden Island)

Native American artifacts recovered, police say (USA)
(2 April 2018; Record Searchlight)

Art of the theft: Book illustrates Boston museum heist (USA)
(2 April 2018; WTOP)

Lawyer: Guantanamo Bay detainee has right to make, show art (USA)
(4 April 2018; Fox News)

Carnegie Library warned in 1991 to move rare books to libraries with tighter security, better climate control — but never did (USA)
(4 April 2018; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Art Stolen by Nazis must be Returned to Holocaust Victim’s Heirs 80 Years Later, Court Rules (USA)
(4 April 2018; Newsweek)

Art Dealers Strike Back at Artist Cady Noland in an Increasingly Philosophical Legal Dispute About a Restored Sculpture (USA)
(5 April 2018; ArtNet News)

SJC ruling clears Berkshire Museum to sell artworks (USA)
(5 April 2018; The Berkshire Eagle)

Man confesses to museum theft of Civil War antiques (USA)
(5 April 2018; Fox)

Police search for missing paintings in Old Main art heist (USA)
(5 April 2018; Baylor Lariat)

‘There Are Black People in the Future’ – tale of a billboard (USA)
(6 April 2018; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Dismissing Suit Against Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné Committee, Judge Bolsters Embattled Art-Authentication Field (USA)
(6 April 2018; Art News)

Antique store sees $50,000 in Alaska Native art and carvings stolen (USA)
(7 April 2018; KTUU)

In Utah canyons where an ancient civilization once flourished, the feds are now inviting oil and gas drilling (USA)
(7 April 2018; The Salt Lake Tribune)

DNA evidence connects Cold Lake prolific offender with theft of art (USA)
(1 April 2018; Cold Lake Sun)

A man accused of stealing a gold bar from Keys museum has a dark past, feds say (USA)
(2 April 2018; Miami Herald)


How Gustav Klimt’s Unfinished `Ria Munk III’ Finally Escaped the Nazis (Austria)
(7 April 2018; The Daily Beast)

Louvre says ‘non’ to minister’s Mona Lisa grand tour (France)
(27 March 2018; The Art Newspaper)

UNESCO, EU and art market together ramp up fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects (France)
(28 March 2018; UNESCO)

Report lashes France’s ‘lack of ambition’ to return looted Jewish art (France)
(3 April 2018; The Times of Israel)

Four artworks vanish from walls of French parliament (France)
(4 April 2018; The Guardian)

Christian Jankowski fills Berlin auction house with ‘fakes’ (Germany)
(27 March 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Hildebrand Gurlitt’s Disputed Henry Moore Will Have a Starring Role in the BBC’s Hit Art Detective Series (Germany)
(29 March 2018; ArtNet News)

German couple nabbed with antiquities, replica workshop (Greece)
(3 April 2018; eKathimerini)

Greek police recovers Hellenistic-era statue from antiquities smugglers (Greece)
(27 March 2018; Xinhua)

Three smugglers of precious Hellenic and Roman antiquities arrested (Greece)
(29 March 2018; Neos Kosmos)

Dutch probe of stolen artefacts delves into colonial history (Netherlands)
(27 March 2018; Al Jazeera)

Unknown or Unreal? The Shadow on Some Russian Avant-Garde Art (Russia, Germany)
(6 April 2018; The New York Times)

‘I’ve Regained a Part of My Family’: Unusual Swiss Restitution Case Brings John Constable Painting Home to Heirs in France (Switzerland)
(3 April 2018; Art News)

High costs and terror fears keep Britons from museums (UK)
(24 March 2018; The Guardian)

‘Priceless’ paintings slashed inside town hall after gang ‘failed to find any cash’ (UK)
(3 April 2018; Metro)

Thieves scale scaffolding to steal lead at Allerton Park (UK)
(4 April 2018; The Press)

Bookseller who stole signed Harry Potter book worth £1,675 avoids jail sentence (UK)
(4 April 2018; Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter)

London Dealer Richard Nagy Ordered To Return Stolen Egon Schiele Drawings (UK)
(6 April 2018; Artlyst)

Police detain 2 residents of Kyiv on suspicion of stealing bust of Lesya Ukrainka (Ukraine)
(25 March 2018; Kyiv Post)


‘Cultural genocide’: Flood of fake art threatens Indigenous artists and communities (Australia)
(5 April 2018; NITV)

Security stepped up ahead of Dame Kiri art auction (New Zealand)
(3 April 2018; Radio New Zealand)

Re-united with the bones of their ancestors (New Zealand)
(8 April 2018; Maori Television)

South and East Asia

Philadelphia apologizes to China for damaged terracotta warrior (China, USA)
(8 April 2018; ECNS)

Chinese netizens call for return of stolen ancient bronze vessel set for auction in UK (China, UK)
(28 March 2018; Global Times)

China probes if ancient bronze vessel to be auctioned in UK was looted (China, UK)
(29 March 2018; South China Morning Post)

Cleaners accidentally throw away Swiss artist’s ‘Unhappy Meal’ sculpture (Hong Kong)
(4 April 2018; The Local)

1,000-year-old Apsara to Return Home from US (India)
(3 April 2018; The Pioneer)

Kundapur: Theft at Uppunda Venkataramana temple, ornaments worth lacs stolen (India)
(7 April 2018; Daiji World)

TN police begin Palani idol ‘theft’ case investigation (India)
(29 March 2018; News Today)

Inquiry into ‘irregularities’ in manufacture of temple idols begins (India)
(29 March 2018; Business Standard)

Palani Temple Case Transferred Out Of Idol Wing (India)
(3 April 2018; Swarajya Magazine)

An Instagram-Baiting Museum in Indonesia Is Ripping Off Chris Burden and Yayoi Kusama (Indonesia)
(26 March 2018; ArtNet News)

Stolen idols returned to Nepal (Nepal, USA)
(4 April 2018; The Himalayan Times)

The Met Will Return Looted Statues of Sages and Goddesses to Both India and Nepal (Nepal, India, USA)
(5 April 2018; ArtNet News)

New York Met returns stolen idols to Nepal (Nepal, USA)
(5 April 2018; The Nation)

Bringing our Gods home (Nepal, USA)
(6 April 2018; Nepali Times)

The Decades-Long Dispute Over Artwork Owned by Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Is Going to Trial (Philippines)
(3 April 2018; ArtNet News)

West and Central Asia

`Jordan Codices’ proven fake — DoA (Jordan)
(7 April 2018; The Jordan Times)

Missing artefacts back on display in Beirut after decades (Lebanon)
(4 April 2018; TRT World)

Syria: `We received money for documentation but not restoration’ (Syria)
(5 April 2018; The Irish Times)

In Other News

Australian ivory trade’s role in encouraging poaching to come under scrutiny (Australia)
(8 April 2018; ABC Australia)

The Ghost of Iraq’s Lost Heritage Comes to Trafalgar Square as Michael Rakowitz Unveils His Fourth Plinth Sculpture (Iraq)
(27 March 2018; ArtNet News)

Nelson Mandela’s golden hand casts sell for $10m in bitcoin (South Africa)
(27 March 2018; BBC News)

The world’s most expensive painting cost $450 MILLION because two Arab princes bid against each other by mistake and wouldn’t back down (but settled by swapping it for a yacht) (UAE)
(29 March 2018; The Daily Mail)

Oxford will not reconsider Sackler donations despite opioid link (UK)
(2 April 2018; Cherwell)

People Want To Know Why Brooklyn Museum’s New African Art Curator Is White (USA)
(28 March 2018; Huffington Post)

US Government Can No Longer Fund Official Portrait Paintings (USA)
(28 March 2018; Hyperallergic)

A Lost Painting Is Rediscovered. Have You Checked Your Closets Lately? (USA)
(5 April 2018; The New York Times)