Culture crime news 2–8 January 2017


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Anish Kapoor Defies Ban And Buys PINK Pigment Over The Counter
(3 January 2017; Artlyst)
The colour spat continues.

Can you spot the counterfeit painting?
(4 January 2017; WWLP)
Provenance and physical examination.


Thieves get bright idea to steal six priceless Islamic lanterns from Cairo’s Al Refai mosque (Egypt)
(2 January 2017; Albawaba)
“The lamps date to 1910, and are made of glass decorated with a Quranic verse”

House basements used for illegal excavation discovered in Luxor (Egypt)
(4 January 2017; Egypt Independent)
Isna Prosecution in Luxor ordered the seizure of two basements of a house in Darb al-Rawageh area, where illegal excavations were taking place.


Theft of Roger Maris memorabilia from mall remains a mystery (USA)
(3 January 2007; The Daily Journal)
The items stolen from the Roger Maris museum are still missing.

$3,000 painting stolen from apartment building lobby (USA)
(3 January 2017; WOWT)
The piece was stolen from the lobby of the Hotel Flatiron in Omaha.

Heritage Auctions Sues Rival Christie’s for Widespread Theft, Copyright Infringement (USA)
(3 January 2017; The Fashion Law)
Heritage says that Christie’s crawled their site and stole copyrighted item descriptions among other bits of info.

Donald Trump Kisses the Feet of Convicted Art Thief ‘Joey No Socks’ (USA)
(4 January 2017; The Daily Beast)
“There’s nobody like him,” Trump said in a video back in 2009. “He’s a special guy.”

Forged painting backdrop for Stamford gallery opening (USA)
(4 January 2017; Fairfield Citizen)
“At some point in the history of that painting,” Brophy said, ”most likely a dealer changed the attribution and basically misrepresented the painting.”

Jay Evensen: A monument designation won’t stop the looting (USA)
(4 January 2017; Deseret News)
An opinion piece that reasonably asserts that Bear Ears is still at risk for looting.

Notre Dame sued over alleged stolen art (USA)
(5 January 2017; South Bend Tribune)
“We do not believe a true owner of this valuable art would do nothing for 20 years about the theft of art allegedly worth $1/2 million,” university attorneys wrote

Officials grateful for resolution of rare San Angelo art theft (USA)
(5 January 2017; Standard-Times)
‘The painting “Young bronc on a cold day,” which was on loan from the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts’ was taken.

Guerrilla art bench stolen from Hays Street Bridge (USA)
(6 January 2017; My San Antonio)
Carlos the Carpenter placed the been on New Year’s Eve, now it is gone.


Louvre attendance falls as tourists stay away from Paris (France)
(5 January 2017; The Art Newspaper)
A drop of about 2 million visitors is being blamed on the Paris attacks.

Facebook censors Renaissance statue of Neptune for ‘explicit content’ (Italy)
(2 January 2017; Metro)
Another censorship mistake from everyone’s favourite time-sink.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage caused to ancient church (UK)
(2 January 2017; Tamworth Herald)
Windows and a glass door were smashed in this Norman church.

London’s Victoria & Albert Museum Evacuated in Bomb Scare (UK)
(4 January 2017; ArtNet News)
A police search turned up no bomb.

British Library returns book stolen by the Nazis to its rightful owner (UK)
(6 January 2017; Evening Standard)
“A copy of a 1913 German play was originally owned by a Jewish art collector murdered by the Nazis”


ASI brings back three stolen artefacts from Australia (Australia, India)
(6 January 2016; DNA)
“The artefacts, sourced by the National Gallery of Australia from tainted art dealer Subhash Kapoor, landed in Delhi in December”

Mossgreen, Leonard Joel clash over call to ban ivory, rhino horn sales (Australia)
(3 January 2017; The Australian)
“The investigation found 2400 ivory and seven rhino horn items offered by 17 auction houses during the investigation period with little or no provenance information, leaving purchasers at risk of breaking the law.”

Morley artist devastated by theft of canvases (Australia)
(4 January 2017; Community News)
The two paintings were stolen from Galleria Art Studio as they were drying.

South and East Asia

The Couple Who Saved China’s Ancient Architectural Treasures Before They Were Lost Foreve (China)
(1 January 2017; Smithsonian)
An article about the work of Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng

Nobel theft case: CID questions Bihar criminals (India)
(2 January 2017; The Times of India)
The investigative team will also be interviewing antiques dealers.

2016 saw 3 UNESCO listings, return of stolen antiquities (India)
(3 January 2017; Press Trust of India)
A mixed bag, but still some positives this year.

Khajuraho to get back ‘Parrot Lady’ (India, Canada)
(3 January 2017; Deccan Chronicle)
The piece was trafficked to Canada in 2011, returned to India, and is now headed home.

Bust of Marathi playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari vandalized, 4 held (India)
(4 January 2017; The Times of India)
Four men were arrested for the incident.

Facebook sleuths bring home India’s stolen idols (India)
(3 January 2017; The Daily Mail)
On the work of the India Pride Project.

Meet the Indian art enthusiasts who are using Facebook to bring home stolen antiquities (India)
(3 January 2017; The Economic Times)
“The volunteers, who are all passionate about Indian art, go through old catalogues from auction houses, using any blemishes or imperfections to match lots with idols stolen from temples.”

Bringing the gods home (Nepal)
(3 January 2017; The Kathmandu Post)
Documentation is key to the protection of Nepal’s at-risk sacred art.

14 Chandannath idols recovered (Nepal)
(4 January 2017; The Kathmandu Post)
The stolen idols were found dumped near a stream in the forest.

Police looking for Jumla’s stolen idols arrest other criminals (Nepal)
(7 January 2017; My Republica)
Although those responsible for the idol theft have not been caught, related investigations have turned up all sorts of surprising sorts.

West and Central Asia

In focus: Tehran museum puts on show newly recuperated relics (Iran, Italy)
(4 January 2017; Tehran Times)
“The artifacts have been recovered from Italy following years of hard-fought legal battle”

Restitution of Persepolis Collection Expected (Iran, USA)
(4 January 2017; Financial Tribute)
The pieces were loaned to the Oriental Institute of Chicago in 1937

Karak Castle reopens its gates after December attack (Jordan)
(5 January 2017; The Jordan Times)
“Seven security personnel, two civilians and one tourist were killed in the attack. Four attackers were also killed.”

Syria monuments damage ‘akin to looting Welsh castles’ (Syria)
(3 January 2017; BBC News)
Not the first comparison I’d make but why not?