Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Caravaggio Theft, Second Version or on Loan From Ireland ???

The Taking of Christ (Caravaggio)

The Taking of Christ is a painting by the Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (c. 1602). It is housed in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

There are seven figures in the painting, from left to right: St John, Jesus, Judas, two soldiers, a man and a soldier. They are standing, and only the upper three-quarters of their bodies are depicted. The figures are arrayed before a very dark background, in which the setting is disguised. The main light source is not evident in the painting but comes from the upper left. There is a lantern being held by the man at the right. At the far left, a man is fleeing; his arms are raised, his mouth is open in a gasp, his cloak is flying and being snatched back by a soldier. This man has been identified as St John.

Some art historians believe that the man holding the lantern is a self-portrait of Caravaggio himself.

By the late 18th century, the painting was thought to have disappeared, and its whereabouts remained unknown for about 200 years. In 1990, Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece was recognized in the residence of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Dublin, Ireland. The exciting rediscovery was published in 1993.

The painting had been hanging in the Dublin Jesuits’ dining room since the early 1930s but had long been considered a copy of the lost original by Gerard van Honthorst, also known as Gherardo della Notte, one of Caravaggio’s Dutch followers. This erroneous attribution had been made while the painting was in the possession of the Roman Mattei family, whose ancestors had originally commissioned it. In 1802, the Mattei sold it, as a work by Honthorst, to William Hamilton Nisbet, in whose home in Scotland it hung until 1921. Later in that decade, the painting was sold to an Irish pediatrician who eventually donated it to the Jesuit Fathers in Dublin, in gratitude for their support following the death of her husband.

The Taking of Christ remained in the Dublin Jesuits' possession for about 60 years, until it was spotted and recognised, in the early 1990s, by Sergio Benedetti, Senior Conservator of the National Gallery of Ireland, while he was visiting the Jesuit Fathers in order to examine a number of other paintings for the purposes of restoration. As layers of dirt and discoloured varnish were removed, the high technical quality of the painting was revealed, and it was tentatively identified as Caravaggio’s lost painting.

The painting is on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Ireland and was also displayed at the 2006 Rembrandt Caravaggio exhibition in the van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Much of the credit for verifying the authenticity of this painting belongs to Francesca Cappelletti and Laura Testa, two graduate students at the University of Rome. During a long period of research, they found the first recorded mention of The Taking of Christ, in an ancient and decaying account book documenting the original commission and payments to Caravaggio, in the archives of the Mattei family, kept in the cellar of a palazzo in the small town of Recanati.

A nod was made to the finding of the "The taking of the Christ" by Caravaggio in the film "Ordinary Decent Criminal" starring Kevin Spacey

Art Hostage comments:

A wonderful story, but if true, then what was stolen in Odessa, a second version, this version on loan from Ireland??

Sorry, but is this whole thing a hoax, anyone speak Russian ??

Stolen Art Watch, Caravaggio Held Art Hostage Until Semion Released, on Bail That Is !!

The Kiss of Judas by Caravaggio disappeared from Odessa museum

Kiev, July 31, Interfax - Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art missed the painting by Caravaggio The Taking of Christ (or - The Kiss of Judas).

The painting is dated by 1573-1602. It was supposedly stolen in the period from 06.00 p.m. Wednesday to 10.00 a.m. Thursday, the museum source has reported.

The Ambassador of the Russian Empire in France acquired the painting and transferred it to the Odessa Art College early in the 20th century. Then it belonged to the Gallery of the old painting (today's Museum of Western and Eastern Art) However, Caravaggio authorship was under question. In mid 1950s, it was proven that the Italian master in fact painted this work.

Kiev specialists restored the masterpiece in 2006.

Regional administration for internal affairs has informed that police officials and cynologists conducted investigation in the museum.

"The windows had been carefully removed and that is how the criminal got into the museum. The alarm did not go off because the windows had not been broken," Odessa police chief Vladimir Bossenko was quoted by the news agency as saying.

The museum is closed for a cleanup day.
Art Hostage comments:
Semion Mogilevich is the key to solving this case.
If Semion can be released on bail he will facilitate the safe return of the painting in the blink of an eye.
More to follow.............................................
Sorry, the Russian translation is not that clear.
Semion Mogilevich has already got bail and has been released, this art theft is going to be used to secure a better deal.
Semion Mogilevich already has an interest in the stolen Rubens to use as a bargaining chip, so the Caravaggio will complement that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Elitist Anti-Semitism at the Heart of Looted Art Controversy !!

'Change Law So Looted Art Can Be Returned'

Launching a new campaign this week, a Labour politician set his sights on changing the law to enable national museums and galleries whose collections include artworks stolen by the Nazis to return them to their rightful owners.

Hendon MP Andrew Dismore, who several years ago was among those who campaigned successfully for the establishment of the spoliation panel to help resolve disputes over stolen artefacts, is hoping that a drive which began recently with a series of parliamentary questions will conclude with new legislation later this year.

“Whilst the panel has been successful in identifying stolen works of art, and there has been some restitution, it has not worked as satisfactorily as it could,” he said.

“National museums and galleries are not permitted by law to “de-access” works of art held in their collections, even in these circumstances. They can only pay compensation. It seems to me that the owner of an art work identified as stolen by the Nazis ought to have the right to decide whether they wish for the art work to be returned, or to have compensation: it should be their choice, not the choice of the museums.”

In 2005, the government said it would begin work on altering the law to allow all nationally-held collections to return pieces later found to have been looted. The pledge came after the High Court ruled that a collection of Old Master drawings plundered from the home of Czechoslovakian doctor Arthur Feldmann in 1939 – and later purchased by the British Museum - could not be returned without changing the 1963 British Museum Act, which prevents the institution from breaking up any part of the collection. The Museum had long accepted that the Feldmann art case represents a “unique moral claim”.

But now, Dismore is hoping that the forthcoming Heritage Protection Bill - that is mainly seeking a revision of legislation that protects historic environments – will provide an opportunity to include amendments to change the law to a situation more akin to Austria where museums are obligated to return looted items.

The MP’s campaign, which follows earlier efforts by Tory MP Edward Vaizey to help resolve the matter, has been welcomed by the Board of Deputies. President Henry Grunwald said: “We hope that it will result in the resolution of this unhappy and complex matter.” Anne Webber, co-chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, added: “We hope his intervention will speed up the legislation process.”

Art Hostage comments:

Now, don't get me started on this issue.

Ask yourself this question:

"If the looted art from the WWII had been primarily owned by Gentiles would those looted/stolen artworks still grace the walls of Elitist Anti-Semitic institutions, museums and public buildings, not just in the UK, but all over Europe ???"

The answer would be, "Of course not, all looted art would have been returned within ten years from the end of WWII."

It beggars belief that decedents of Holocaust victims can go to museums and see their murdered relatives artworks being openly displayed.

Shame on all of us for allowing this to continue !!
What would happen if a museum that housed looted artworks were to be robbed of those looted artworks ?
Would they be regarded as stolen, and if so, from whom ??

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Pandemic Dane-Geld See's Charles Goldie Theft Take Two !!

Valuable Goldie painting stolen

A Charles Goldie portrait of a Maori woman has been stolen from a home in Mosgiel.

Mosgiel police said the theft was thought to have taken place between February and July this year but was only recently discovered by the owners.

The painting was a head and shoulders portrait of a Maori woman looking back over her shoulder. She has a moko and her hair tied back.

The painting was about 24cm by 18cm in an oval, wooden frame.

It was a gift to a member of the family from the artist more than 60 years ago. "Goldie paintings are quite distinctive and it is hoped that somebody knows something of this painting's whereabouts," said Senior Constable David Leonard.

"As it was a gift to the family they are quite distraught about its disappearance as it has sentimental and historical value to them," he said.
Anyone with any information should contact police.

The painting had never been valued for insurance purposes, nor was there a photograph of it available.

Charles Frederick Goldie, 1870-1947, is one of New Zealand's best known and most controversial painters.

He is famous for his precise, detailed portraits of Maori wearing moko.

Art Hostage comments:

Here we go again, get Chris Comesky on the phone, he will do the same thing as with the medals stolen and we will have this Goldie back home by lights out.

Prophetic words from a war hero's daughter, watch this video below and see how Danegeld works.

Danegeld for previous stolen Goldie painting linked here:

Dangeld for the stolen medals linked here:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Swedish Art Heist, Details Emerge

Works by pop art masters taken from Swedish museum

STOCKHOLM: Thieves broke into a museum near Stockholm overnight and stole five works by American pop artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the manager said on Friday.

The pictures, two lithographs by Warhol and three by Lichtenstein, were together estimated to be worth between 3 million and 4 million Swedish crowns (250,000 and 335,000 pounds), said Carina Aberg of the family-run Aberg Museum.

She said the thieves spent less than 10 minutes in the building.

"They knew exactly what they were doing. They had been here and planned the whole thing," she told Reuters.

She said the Warhol works stolen were entitled "Mickey Mouse" and "Superman", from a series known as "Myths".

The Lichtenstein works taken were "Crak", "Sweet Dreams, Baby!" and "Dagwood".

The Walt Disney poster is called "The New Spirit"

Art Hostage comments:

These will be rolled up and tubed ready for transportation.

Dependent on how many other copies are around of each lithograph or the poster will determine which can be sold into the legitimate market in the future.

If there are not any specific distinctions of these versions then I am afraid who is to tell which versions are copies and which versions are legitimate ??

Stolen Art Watch, Warhol Whipped, Three Lichtenstein's Lifted, Sweden Suffers Latest Art Heist !!


Officials say one or more thieves broke into a Swedish museum and stole work done by American pop icons Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Police say the break-in happened at the Abergs Museum near Stockholm early Friday.

Museum officials say two Warhol and three Lichtenstein paintings were stolen as well as a Disney movie-poster.

The museum estimates the value of the stolen artwork at around $500,000.

Police had no immediate suspects in the case.
Art Hostage comments:
More to follow.............

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Shakespeare Folio, Elaborate Extortion Plan Swings into Action !!!

My innocent role in Shakespeare drama

Published Date:

A collector arrested over the theft of a rare Shakespeare manuscript worth more than £15million today insisted he was innocent.

Raymond Scott, 51, was released on bail at the weekend after being interviewed by detectives over a first folio of a collection of works by The Bard, which disappeared a decade ago from Durham University library.

But the eccentric dealer, who lives in Wigeon Close, Albany, Washington, with his 81-year-old mother Hannah, said the book seized by police was not the one stolen from Durham, but was, in fact, bought in Cuba.

"I have done nothing wrong at all," he said. "There are questions over the rarity of this book.

"In July 2006 a copy was sold at Sotheby's. It is by no means a unique item.

"I have done nothing wrong. I came by the manuscript through contacts in Cuba and took it to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC."

Mr Scott said he had even suggested that the Washington Post newspaper be contacted about the discovery, which he said was "not the act of a person with something to hide."

He said: "I'm afraid the celebrations at the University of Durham were premature. It is not the manuscript that was stolen.

"The police are welcome to ask me anything, including my inside leg measurement, which, for the record, is 31-and-a-half inches, but I have not done anything wrong at all."

Mr Scott said boxes of books were taken from his home by police as part of the investigation, but added most of them were new and could be bought from a high street bookseller.

It is believed police also took the 51-year-old's yellow Ferrari away
The incident has shocked neighbours in the sleepy suburban street.

They describe Mr Scott as an eccentric who could often be seen preening his classic sports cars – including a rare Ferrari Dino – wearing a silk dressing gown, sun glasses and rubber marigold gloves.

"I wear them because I have sensitive skin. I don't see anything wrong in that.

"I have also been described as a Walter Mitty, which I am not. If I'd wanted to spin out a tale I would still be in the police station now.

"I was also described by someone as having a love for Armani suits. I have many fine suits, but I am not fond of Georgio Armani."

* THE first folio edition of a collection of the works of William Shakespeare, published in 1623, was one of a number of manuscripts and books stolen from Durham University library in December 1998.

Police in Durham were alerted by the British Embassy in the United States two weeks ago after a man asked the respected library in Washington DC to verify if the book was genuine.

A police spokesman said: "It is understood he told staff he was an international businessman who had bought the folio in Cuba and agreed to leave it with the library for research to be carried out."

Other items that disappeared in the Palace Green library raid were an early handwritten manuscript bearing an English translation of the New Testament dating from the late 14th or early 15th century and a handwritten manuscript of the same period containing a fragment of a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer. author of the Canterbury Tales.

Books included two works by the 10th Century scholar Aelfric that were printed in 1566, a first edition version of Beowulf printed in 1815 and a 1612 book of maps and poetry.

The stolen items were among more than 50 exhibits charting the progress of English literature from the Middle Ages to the 20th century which had been on public show in two rooms of the library.

When the items were stolen they were described as a "unique and irreplaceable part of the region's heritage" and would be virtually impossible to sell to legitimate buyers.

The full article contains 657 words and appears in Sunderland Echo newspaper.

Art Hostage comments:

Art Hostage has learnt from an inside source close to Raymond Scott that this whole episode is all part of an elaborate extortion plan whereby the Durham University will not be able to positively identify this copy as their stolen Shakespeare Folio.

Raymond Scott and accomplices have scoured the folio and are satisfied there no identifying marks that could distinguish it as the Durham University copy.

So, now there will be a court case and hopefully for Raymond Scott and gang the Durham University will make an offer to settle out of court for several million dollars.

Even if the case were to go to court the outcome is not clear unless the Durham University can prove this indeed their stolen Shakespeare folio.
Raymond Scott's love of Cigar's, Dom Perignon champagne and a young naive poor Cuban girlfriend do not enhance the reputation needed to pull this scam off.
Raymond Scott would have been better to have played the conservative book dealer quietly going about his business.

Nice attempt Raymond Scott, too bad Art Hostage is not only one step ahead of you guys, but a whole zip/post code !!

Seems this Cuban girl is less than enthusiastic about the attentions of Raymond Scott, something lecherous about him pawing this unfortunate girl don't you think ?????

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Shakespeare First Edition Appears Like Magic !!

By Richard Alleyne and Paul Stokes

A £15 million First Folio edition of the complete works of Shakespeare stolen 10 years ago from a British university has been recovered after an English book dealer handed it into an American library.

The anthology, printed in 1623, seven years after the bard's death, is described as "the most important printed book in the English language" and was among a number of manuscripts taken from the Durham University Library in December 1998.

It is believed the book, the definitive collection of Shakespeare plays from which most subsequent editions are based, would have a market value of at least £15 million if it was ever sold.

Yesterday Durham Police confirmed that Raymond Scott, 51, had showed it to staff at a prestigious library in Washington DC, and asked them to verify it was genuine.

Explaining that he was an international businessman who had acquired the volume in Cuba, he left it with librarians, whose research revealed it to have been stolen.

The findings sparked an international manhunt involving the Durham force and America's Federal Bureau of Investigation and to the arrest of Mr Scott at his home in Sunderland which he shared with his 80-year-old mother Hannah.

Only 1,000 of the highly decorated First Folios were ever printed and it is believed that only 228 still exist - more than a third of them in the Folger Shakespeare Library, where it was handed in.

The last time one came up at auction, it went for £2.5 million.

Bill Bryson, Chancellor of Durham University and author of an acclaimed book on Shakespeare, said: "This is not only wonderful news for Durham University but for all Shakespeare's scholars and fans around the world, of which I am most definitely one.

"Like Shakespeare himself, this book is a national treasure giving a rare and beautiful snapshot of Britain's incredible literary heritage.

"I'll certainly be joining the crowds who will be eagerly welcoming it home."

When the First Folio was stolen they were described as a "unique and irreplaceable part of the region's heritage" and would be virtually impossible to sell to legitimate buyers.

Other items that disappeared at the same time in the Palace Green library raid were an early handwritten manuscript bearing an English translation of the New Testament dating from the late 14th or early 15th century and a handwritten manuscript of the same period containing a fragment of a poem written by

Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the Canterbury Tales.

Books included two works by the 10th Century scholar Aelfric that were printed in 1566, a first edition version of Beowulf printed in 1815 and a 1612 book of maps and poetry.

The stolen items were among more than 50 exhibits charting the progress of English literature from the Middle Ages to the 20th century which had been on public show in two rooms of the library.

Glass topped display cabinets had been forced and the two medieval manuscripts and five books had disappeared.

Vice-Chancellor of Durham University Professor Chris Higgins said: "Staff and the community felt a huge sense of loss when the books were stolen, so you can imagine my excitement and delight when I received the call from the police to say the First Folio had been found."

Detective Superintendent Andy Reddick, who is co-ordinating the inquiry, said the Shakespeare remains in the safe care of the Washington library.

He added: "A search of the house at Washington (Sunderland) began yesterday and that will continue today."

According to neighbours Mr Scott is a far cry from the image of international art thieves who were originally blamed for the theft.

Despite living in his mother's modern semi-detached house, he dressed in Armani suits and drove a succession of expensive cars including a balck Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and lately a silver Ferrari with the personalised number plate M1 TZI.

Neighbours recall him washing the car while dressed in a silk dressing gown and slippers and also sitting on a plastic chair in his immaculately kept tiny front garden in a designer suit with a glass of white wine in one hand and a book in the other on fine days. He wore thick rimmed "Michael Cain-style" black spectacles.

Another neighbour, whose father knew him well, said he was "a kind and generous' man who regularly brought gifts back from his travels abroad.

"He was just a perfect gentleman,' she said. 'He would travel abroad regularly to Monte Carlo, Monaco, Cuba, Paris and would bring back cigars and football shirts for his friends.

"On his most recent trip he flew to Cuba for two weeks. On his way back he stopped off in Paris. He was just a wealthy man who was enjoying his money whilst taking care of his mother.

"He always struck me as a nice man who was always friendly. I couldn't believe it yesterday when he was led away from the house in handcuffs."

Art Hostage comments:

Shakespeare found it very difficult to drink beer throughout his life, why ??

Well, every time Shakespeare went into a pub or bar and ordered a drink of beer, the owner replied "Your Bard"
Scott must be suffering from self destruct syndrome !!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Naval Thieves Turn Stomach !!

Valuable jewels and antiques stolen in raid
Valuable jewellery, antiques and a set of four naval paintings have been stolen from a country house in Winchester, police said.

Burglars forced a downstairs window to get inside the house near Kilmeston village.

They were disturbed when the owner returned and drove off with several items of jewellery, antiques including an engagement ring, a set of four naval paintings, a carriage clock and a silver dish.

Hampshire police said at least two suspects were involved and one was described as early to mid-20s, athletic, around 6ft tall and wearing a grey, baggy top.

Police investigator Peter Davies said: ''This is a burglary on a large country house where several items of high sentimental and monetary value have been taken.

''There is a good chance the suspects were in the area of the house some time prior to the incident.

''We would appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the burglary to contact us if they saw anyone acting suspiciously or saw any vehicles acting in a suspicious manner.

''We would advise owners of large country residences to always ensure their properties are secure and to review their security as a matter of course."

Anyone with information should contact Winchester police station on 0845 045 45 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Art Hostage comments:

Art Hostage was once asked if he was a Naval man ?

Art Hostage replied, "No, more of leg man !!"

Well, it did say a set of four Naval paintings were stolen.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Canberra Roberts Stolen in a Cavalier Fashion !!

Painting's theft carefully disguised

Louise Schwartzkoff and Yuko Narushima
July 4, 2008

Thieves who stole a $25,000 painting from the Australian National University in Canberra disguised the theft by unbolting the plaque beneath the artwork and rubbing down the wooden veneer wall behind.

The 1928 oil on canvas by Tom Roberts, Road Near The Goulburn River, might have been missing since late April, but its disappearance was noticed only on June 19 after a routine audit of the collection. The university reported the theft to police on Wednesday.

At 56 centimetres by 45.5 centimetres, the painting was small enough to be hidden under a jacket. The thieves removed its bolts and took it from a function room where it was hanging with several less valuable paintings. The other works were untouched and the wall left looking as new.

"The disappearance of the painting has been carefully disguised," said the university's acting vice-chancellor, Lawrence Cram. "You would need to know it was there beforehand [to tell it was missing]."

The artworks were protected by little more than a locked door, but Professor Cram said it would be impractical to introduce surveillance cameras. "We do have quite a lot of precautions to make it difficult to remove the pieces of art, but we'll have to look at whether it's possible to continue leaving these pieces on display."

ACT police are appealing to the public for information.

But even art experts may not immediately recognise Road Near The Goulburn River as Roberts's work. The head curator of Australian art at the Art Gallery of NSW, Barry Pearce, said: "It doesn't jump out as an obvious, famous Roberts painting and that might make it more difficult for a buyer to trace it back to a collection and realise it is stolen."

Art Hostage comments:

Waiting for more information to filter through, reward offer, how much etc, and from the Underworld who is currently in possession of this fine work of art by Roberts, keep you posted..
Seems the thieves are Laughing at authorities in a Cavalier fashion !!!