Culture crime news 7-21 January 2018


Hot this week: Stalls and starts for repatriation of objects from Europe to Africa

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Paris’s Dapper Foundation stalls talks over Cameroonian sculpture (Cameroon, France)
(12 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

After More Than 90 Years, Looted Mummy Parts Repatriated to Egypt (Egypt, USA)
(9 January 2018; Smithsonian)

Historical door at Giza Pyramids stolen (Egypt)
(15 January 2018; Egypt Independent)

Police seize ancient Egyptian, Greek artifacts in Upper Egypt (Egypt, Greece)
(18 January 2018; Egypt Today)

Musée Du Quai Branly As Ally In Quest For Restitution Of African Artefacts? (Nigeria, France)
(15 January 2018; Modern Ghana)


$30,000 in paintings stolen from St-Denis gallery (Canada)
(9 January 2018; CTV)

Madrid To Chicago, Tracking Down Ancient Colombian Treasures (Colombia)
(18 January 2018; El Espectador)

Costa Rica Shows Pre-Columbian Artifacts Returned by Venezuela (Costa Rica, Venezuela)
(18 January 2018; Telesur)

Why were these treasures returned to the sea? (Trinidad)
(16 January 2018; Daily Express)

Sotheby’s dragged into £730million legal battle over claim it pumped up price of artworks bought by Russian oligarch (UK)
(14 January 2018; The Daily Mail)

A Nose for Loot? Dogs Training to Sniff Out Stolen Artifacts (USA)
(9 January 2018; Live Science)

Historian Pleads Guilty To Stealing From National Archives, Selling Items On EBay (USA)
(11 January 2018; CBS)

Art stolen from Niagara home includes glow-in-the-dark image of Jack Nicholson (USA)
(11 January 2018; CBC)

Man Nabbed At Stewart Airport Following Forged Artwork Investigation (USA)
(11 January 2018; Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice)

The world’s antiquities are in danger. Citadel students hope to save them with a scanner (USA)
(12 January 2018; The Post and Courier)

Half-Measures Won’t Erase the Painful Past of Our Monuments (USA)
(12 January 2018; The New York Times)

Man charged for theft of artifacts (USA)
(14 January 2018; Herald and News)

Simon de Pury Wins Legal Battle Over the Commission of a $210 Million Gauguin Painting (USA)
(16 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Tiny French Town Demands the Restitution of a Religious Reliquary From the Met (USA, France)
(16 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Will Boston’s $500m art heist ever be solved? (USA)
(19 January 2018; The Guardian)

New York Antiques Dealer Phoenix Fine Art Raided on Suspicion of Selling Looted Artifacts (USA)
(11 January 2018; ArtNet News)

New York DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit starts the new year with double seizures (USA)
(15 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Greece Asks for Repatriation of Looted Antiquities Seized by New York Authorities (USA, Greece)
(18 January 2018; Greek Reporter)

US university museum announces controversial sell-off (USA)
(4 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Legal Bills: Who’s paying the freight for the Berkshire Museum? (USA)
(17 January 2018; The Berkshire Eagle)

‘We’re glad to have it back’: Stolen Battle of New Orleans rifle returned to local museum (USA)
(8 January 2018; The New Orleans Advocate)

Collector Gets Shock of a Lifetime After FBI Shows Up Looking for a Rifle He’s Had Since 1982 (USA)
(10 January 2018; The Western Journal)


Should museums display human remains from other cultures? (Austria)
(8 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Fake Kandinskys, Malevichs, Jawlenskys? Top curators and dealers accuse Ghent museum of showing dud Russian avant-garde works (Belgium, Russia)
(15 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Is a Drawing in the Gurlitt Hoard an Unknown Early Work by Henry Moore? (Germany, Switzerland)
(9 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Art Thieves Target Markus Lüpertz—Again—in a Brazen Robbery (Germany)
(15 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Return of stolen antiquities puts a WWII hero in the spotlight (Greece)
(12 January 2018; eKathimerini)

Modigliani paintings once thought to be worth tens of millions now denounced as fakes (Italy)
(10 January 2018; The Telegraph)

Twenty Modiglianis seized by police in Genoa are fake, expert confirms (Italy)
(11 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

Italian police investigate organisers of fake Modigliani show (Italy)
(11 January 2018; BBC News)

Visitors to Major Modigliani Exhibition Demand a Refund After an Expert Concludes the Majority of Works Were Fake (Italy)
(12 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Truth behind two stolen Van Gogh paintings finally revealed after 15 years (Netherlands)
(21 January 2018; Sunday Express)

Organizers of stunt at Auschwitz sent to jail (Poland)
(18 January 2018; Arutz Sheva)

Swiss museum revisits demand for Nazi- era art return after 2008 denial (Switzerland)
(15 January 2018; Reuters)

Nazi-Looted Art May Still Reach Heirs of Original Jewish Owner (Switzerland)
(15 January 2018; The Jerusalem Post)

Charles Bronson art removed from Oxford homeless auction (UK)
(8 January 2018; BBC News)

Have you seen these two stolen sculptures taken from a gallery in Bristol? (UK)
(9 January 2018; Avon and Somerset Constabulary)

Stone cairns are a modern scourge on ancient sites, says archaeologist (UK)
(10 January 2018; The Northern Echo)

Artist Accuses Katy Perry of Stealing Artwork for “Chained to the Rhythm” (UK)
(19 January 2018; Teen Vogue)

A ‘Harry Potter’ First Edition Worth Over $55,000 Was Stolen In A Rare Book Heist (UK)
(19 January 2018; Bustle)

Banksy Busts His Hometown Museum for Scamming His Fans With Hundreds of Unauthorized Prints (UK)
(18 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Banksy painting saved from derelict container on Dungeness beach (UK)
(19 January 2018; The Guardian)

Kate Moss painting to sell under Proceeds of Crime Act (UK)
(18 January 2018; BBC News)

Art dealer jailed for £500,000 thefts has assets worth just £15,000, court told (UK)
(18 January 2018; Belfast Telegraph)


ASI to write to Australian museum over stolen idols (Australia, India)
(17 January 2018; The Times of India)

South and East Asia

Chinese antique dealer ‘hired gang of tomb raiders and used stolen artefact as a coffee table’ (China)
(10 January 2018; South China Morning Post)

Dennis Oppenheim Sculpture Is Destroyed After City Officials Claim It Has “No Artistic Value” (China)
(18 January 2018; Hyperallergic)

Durga Temple broken in, valuables stolen (India)
(6 January 2018; The Hitavada)

मन्दिर से अष्टधातु की 3 मूर्तियाँ चोरी, मूर्तियों की कीमत लाखों रुपये (Three Ashtadhutra statues stolen from temple; India)
(8 January 2018; Akhand Bharat News)

India retrieves 12th-century Brahma-Brahmani idol from London, others to follow soon (India)
(9 January 2018; Hindustan Times)

शिव मंदिर से पार्वती-गणेश की मूर्ति चोरी (Parvatiganesh Idol Stolen From Shiv Temple; India)
(9 January 2018; Jagran)

Thieves strike at temple in Sec 24 (India)
(9 January 2018; The Tribune)

Telangana, Andhra Pradesh urged to bring back sculptures (India)
(10 January 2018; Deccan Chronicle)

‘Bring back stolen Buddhist statue to Amaravati’ (India, Australia)
(10 January 2018; The Times of India)

Teen foils ‘theft attempt’ at Curca church (India)
(14 January 2018; The Times of India)

Udupi: Thieves return part of silver items stolen from Daivasthana (India)
(15 January 2018; Daiji World)

Fire rips through maritime museum in Indonesian capital (Indonesia)
(16 January 2018; The Washington Times)

West and Central Asia

Scientists inform UN about illegal excavations in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories (Azerbaijan)
(19 January 2018; Azernews)

Hobby Lobby Turns Over 245 More Artifacts Smuggled Out of Iraq (Iraq, USA)
(19 January 2018; Hyperallergic)

Ancient statues looted in Lebanese war returned decades later (Lebanon, USA)
(12 January 2018; Reuters)

American authorities return stolen Phoenician statues to Lebanon (Lebanon, USA)
(15 January 2018; Lebanese Examiner)

Man trying to smuggle over 200 Byzantine-era artifacts detained in southern Turkey (Turkey)
(8 January 2018; Daily Sabah)

Visitor count to world’s biggest mosaic museum reaches almost 200,000 in Turkey’s Gaziantep (Turkey, USA)
(19 January 2018; Daily Sabah)

Dubai Frame: Emirate’s controversial mega structure opens (UAE)
(16 January 2018; CNN)

In Other News

Christie’s Employee and Former CIA Officer Is Accused of Betraying Informants in China (China, USA)
(17 January 2018; Hyperallergic)

A Christie’s Security Staffer Has Been Accused of Being a Deadly Chinese Spy (China, USA)
(17 January 2018; ArtNet News)

Emmanuel Macron’s decision to let Britain borrow Bayeux Tapestry prompts calls for UK to loan Rosetta Stone to France (France, UK)
(17 January 2018; The Telegraph)

Why These 6 Artists Destroyed Their Own Art (General)
(9 January 2018; Artsy)

‘Institutional’ male bias in government’s art collection, says Labour (UK)
(5 January 2018; The Guardian)

Tate cuts ties with Anthony d’Offay amid sexual harassment claims (UK)
(15 January 2018; The Art Newspaper)

The Trouble That Caused The Met’s Ticket Hike (USA)
(8 January 2018; Frieze)

How a Fake Monster Crept Into our Museums (USA)
(15 January 2018; Hyperallergic)

Morocco Opens Investigation into Auction of Dinosaur Tail Fossils in Mexico (Morocco, Mexico)
(19 January 2018; Morocco World News)