April 22, 2014

Knoedler Gallery and Julian Weissman Fine Art: Spanish Art Fraud Suspects to fight US Extradition Request in Spain as US Federal Indictment is Unsealed

By Lynda Albertson, ARCA's CEO

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preetinder Singh "Preet" Bharara; George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Shantelle P. Kitchen, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation division, have unsealed a 12 count indictment charging Jose Carlos Bergantiños Diaz, Jesus Angel Bergantiños Diaz, and Pei-Shen Qian with orchestrating a $33 million scheme to create and sell fake masterpieces by artists including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn and Robert Motherwell.  The indictment outlines that these works were instead created by Pei-Shen Qian.

 A copy of the indictment outlining the charges against all three defendants is listed here.

Jose Carlos Bergantiños Diaz was arrested in Seville on Friday, April 18, 2014 at hotel NH Viapol in the Andalusian capital after his name registered with an outstanding detainment request from US authorities.  Jose Carlos'  brother was arrested in Lugo.  Testifying remotely from Seville and directly in Madrid before Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain’s National Court, both brothers refused to give consent to be extradited voluntarily to face charges in the United States.

The Spanish court is expected to rule on the brothers' extradition which must be ratified by Spain's cabinet. In the interim, the judge hearing the case elected to remove their passports and forbade them from leaving Spain.  A copy of the treaty on extradition between the United States of America and Spain can be found here.

Last September,  Mexican-US art dealer Glafira Rosales, entered a guilty plea to nine counts including wire fraud, tax evasion, and knowingly selling fake art before a US federal judge in connection to this case.

You can read more about the background of this case here.

James Moore will be presenting on this case at ARCA's International Art Crime Conference in June.

April 21, 2014

Looted Artifacts from Peru: A story of grave robbing from the 1970s

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

The story of how a woman in the 70s supported her traveling in South America by smuggling pre-Columbian artifacts is presented in True Crime: Real-Life Stories of Abduction, Addiction, Obsession, Murder, Grave-Robbing and More (InFACT Books, 2013) edited by Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine.

Joyce Marcel describes herself in "Grave Robber: A Love Story" as a woman in her early 30s in the 1970s on an adventure in Ecuador that involved "a bit of grave robbing":
I'm not too proud of that now, but in 1976, I didn't believe in ghosts or national treasure. I just wanted to keep traveling. I bought pre-Columbian ceramics, textiles, jewelry and artifacts from a secret village tucked away in the Atacama Desert, far outside of Lima, Peru; I wrapped the stuff in newspaper and bought it to the United States. I kept everything but the ceramics, which I dropped off at Sotheby's Parke-Bernet in New York. Back then, they didn't care about ghosts or national treasures, either. They auctioned off everything I gave them and sent the checks to me in Lima, and I'd be back on the road again.
Ms. Marcel tells of meeting someone who "knew his way around South America because he'd been thrown out of the Peace Corps for smuggling" who had a "perfect scam" that involved a town in the Peruvian desert, mummies from the Chancay civilization, and selling artifacts to an art dealer he'd met in a bar in San Francisco, and how she dealt with her paranoia about smuggling:
At that point, I formulated "Joyce's Law": After you've decided to do something illegal or weird, give up on the worrying. No matter what nightmares you imagine, reality will be different. And anyway, it's out of your control. At the border, nothing happened -- except that the immigration man said, "I won't let you through; you're too pretty. I want you to stay with me."
According to Ms. Marcel, for five years she followed a routine of trading American goods to locals in this Peruvian village until "the United States suddenly recognized Peru's national treasures act" [and] "in 1980, instead of being passed through U.S. customs by bored inspectors, I was stopped." She writes:
My baggage was searched, and I was taken into a small room and given a harsh lesson about the harm I was doing by robbing a country of its archaeological treasures. I was such a small-time operator that they let me go with my last shipment intact. Later, when the big exporters came through, they were busted and their shipments confiscated. And when the really big operators arrived, customs not only confiscated their shipments but went to their homes and took their personal collections.
For a broader view on looting in South America, you may read Karl E. Meyer's The Plundered Past : The Story of the Illegal International Traffic in Works of Art (Antheneum 1977) recommended by Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis for his ARCA 2014 course on "Unravelling The Hidden Market of Illicit Antiquities: Lessons from Greece and Italy".

April 20, 2014

CNN's Amanpour interviews Schama about Neue Galerie's exhibit on the "Degenerate Art" in Nazi Germany in 1937; WSJ's Lance Esplund Reviews

Here's a seven minute video on CNN with Christiane Amanpour interviewing historian Simon Schama  (professor at Columbia University) about the exhibit "Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937" at the Neue Galerie now on display through June 30 in New York City. Schama explains that "modern art was a response to that city" and proposes that what Hitler hated "was the literal deforming of art by modernist traits."

Here on the gallery's website, the exhibit is identified as:
the first major U.S. museum exhibition devoted to the infamous display of modern art by the Nazis since the 1991 presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art....Highlights of the show include a number of works shown in Munich in the summer of 1937, such as Max Beckmann's Cattle in a Barn (1933); George Grosz's Portrait of Max Hermann-Neisse (1925); Erich Heckel's Barbershop (1913); Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Winter Landscape in Moonlight (1919), The Brücke-Artists (1926/27); Paul Klee's The Angler (1921), The Twittering Machine (1922), and Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (1925); Oskar Kokoschka's The Duchess of Montesquiou-Fezensac (1910); Ewald Mataré's Lurking Cat (1928); Karel Niestrath's Hungry Girl (1925); Emil Nolde's Still-Life with Wooden Figure (1911), Red-Haired Girl (1919), and Milk Cows (1913); Christian Rohlf's The Towers of Soest (ca. 1916) and Acrobats (ca. 1916); Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's Pharisees (1912); and Lasar Segall's The Eternal Wanderers (1919), among others.
Lance Esplund of The Wall Street Journal calls the show "informative and affecting" ("A War of Aesthetics—and Life and Death", March 19, 2014). The Neue Gallerie lists other reviews and highlights here.

April 16, 2014

Cyprus: Antiquities bust in Aphrodite’s city

Hoard found in Mr. X's house (Photo from Alithia Online)
by Christiana O'Connell-Schizas

On Thursday, February 27th, a 58-year old Cypriot man (Mr X) was arrested in Cyprus for illegal possession of ancient artefacts. The Paphos CID detectives, acting on a tip, raided Mr X’s house in Peyia where they found [1]: 58 amphorae, 20 golden artefacts and six bayonets from the Hellenistic period (323-31BC).  These items were confiscated, along with five firearms dating to the early 20th century, a Russian AK-47, a metal detector, coins, jewellery, gold chalices and €9.411 in cash. Mr. X could not provide convincing explanations as to the provenance of any of the objects.[2] The Department of Antiquities is inspecting the artefacts collected as evidence from Mr X's house in anticipation of his trial before the Paphos District Court.

Another view of Mr. X's stash
According to Cypriot Antiquity Law, any antiquity that remains undiscovered as of 1935 is the property of the Government. Antiquities accidentally discovered by unlicensed persons (whether found on their land or not) must be delivered to the mukhtar or other authorised persons, such as the police or a museum. To be in compliance for the law, Mr. X would have had to acquire the item before 1935 and have registered it with the Director of Antiquities by 1 January 1974.[3] In practice today, chance finders are often granted a license to possess (and sell) antiquities so long as the Department of Antiquities does not want them. Following Mr X's arrest on suspicion of illegal possession of antiquities, it is not clear whether or not he approached such authorities, whether he knew or reasonably believed the antiquities to be illicitly excavated, or whether he may have dug them up himself. If this is the case, the court will most likely confiscate the artefacts and deliver them to the Director of Antiquities. Mr X could face imprisonment up to three years and/or a fine.

Blank form to operate metal detector
Any person in possession of a metal detector must complete and submit a form to the Director of Antiquities (a blank copy of the said form can be found to the right.) If an individual is successful in obtaining this license, they can only metal-detect in areas specified by the Minister by a notice in the Republic’s Official Gazette. There have been no recent notices designating metal-detecting areas. If Mr X is found to not possess the requisite metal-detector license he could be found liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years and/or to a fine not exceeding €30.000.

In my discussion with an individual from Department of Antiquities, finding looted antiquities in Cypriot houses, particularly in more remote areas of the island, is very common. The day Mr. X was arrested, gun shots were heard in Peristerona.[4] Two days later, four men -- two with gunshots wounds -- were arrested and the incident was attributed to an attempt to settle a score between rival gangs. According to a person working in the Department of Antiquities, upon inspection of one of the men's houses, illicitly excavated antiquities were found. No newspaper published this event and I only came to know about it from a discussion with the unnamed individual working in the Department of Antiquities.[5]

Are all these busts related to one another? Is each individual smuggling their contraband abroad and selling it themselves on the grey market[6] or is there a 'Medici/Becchina' figure who is facilitating the sale of antiquities? In 2010, police caught a cartel of ten smugglers that were attempting to sell 4,000-year old urns, silver coins and figurines, worth an estimate of €11 million (approximately $15 million)[7]. Could their associates still be in 'business'? How large and how far does this ring of organised crime[8] extend in Cyprus?

[1] "Stolen Relics Arrest." InCyprus.com. Philenews. 28 Feb. 2014.
[3] There is a lot of criticism of this 1973 amendment to the Antiquities Law. The illicit trade in antiquities flourished in Cyprus in the 1960s. The Department of Antiquities tried to control it by imposing the six-month registration period (the amendment in June 1973 allowed collectors until 31 December 1973 to register their collections). This however had the adverse effect of intensifying looting and illicit trade - private collectors became greedy and wanted to acquire as many artefacts as possible so as they could register them by the deadline. More than 1250 new private collections appeared during this period, many of which purchased artefacts directly from looters. (See Hardy, Sam A. "Cypriot Antiquities Law on Looted Artefacts and Private Collections." Web log post. Human Rights Archaeology: Cultural Heritage in Conflict., 11 Jan. 2011.) 
[4] Psillides, Constantinos. "New Arrest in Case of Peristerona Shoot-out." 
[5] The Director of Antiquities (who is responsible for press releases) failed to respond to my telephone calls or e-mails in regards to this article. 
[6] Illicit antiquities are frequently sold on the open market. McKenzie argues that, because the trade in antiquities is legal, it turns the issue from black and white to an ambiguous shade of grey. See Mackenzie, Simon, 'The Market as Criminal and Criminals in the Market: Reducing Opportunities for Organised Crime in the International Antiquities Market'. 
[8] Vulnerabilities in the antiquities trade have presented the opportunity to make a profit through organised crime. Art. 2(a) of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime 2000 defines organised crime as being: “[a] structured group of three or more persons... acting in concert with the aim of committing one or more serious crimes or offences... to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit.” The following subsections go on to define 'serious crimes' and 'structured group', but it is evident that the group arrested in 2010 fits the UN definition. Although there are various definitions for organised crime, the UN's definition is broader than say that of the FBI's to include crimes such as antiquities, which are not necessarily motivated by money; they also do not need to be in a formal organisation but must have committed criminal not civil offences.

References:


Cyprus Antiquities Law.

"Cyprus Antiquities Smuggling Ring Broken up." BBC News. BBC, 25 Jan. 2010.

Brief Telephone Discussion with an unnamed individual working in the Department of Antiquities. 

Hardy, Sam A. "Cypriot Antiquities Law on Looted Artefacts and Private Collections." Web log post. Human Rights Archaeology: Cultural Heritage in Conflict., 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 

Mackenzie, Simon. 2011: 'The Market as Criminal and Criminals in the Market: Reducing Opportunities for Organised Crime in the International Antiquities Market'. in: S. Manacorda and D. Chappell, (eds) Crime in the Art and Antiquities World: Illegal Trafficking in Cultural Property. New York: Springer, New York; 69 - 86.

Psillides, Constantinos. "New Arrest in Case of Peristerona Shoot-out." Cyprus Mail. N.p., 15 Mar. 2014.

"Stolen Relics Arrest." InCyprus.com. Philenews. 28 Feb. 2014.

"Αυτό δεν ήταν σπίτι αλλά…μουσείο." Alithia Online. Aλήθεια, 28 Feb. 2014. Web.

April 14, 2014

Gurlitt Art Collection: Editorial Board of The New York Times Says German officials mishandled case

The Editorial Board of The New York Times published an opinion piece, "Modern Art as Nazi Plunder", online April 14 describing the German government as "mishandling" the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt (seized two years ago from his home and outed as "Nazi plunder" by FOCUS Magazine last November) and claim that more than a year, if needed, should be allowed to research the provenance of these paintings (here's the post linking to the press release announcing that Cornelius Gurlitt's art collection would be returned to him while provenance research continues).
German officials are scrambling to recover from their mishandling of a trove of artistic masterworks, including pieces reputedly looted from Jewish collectors, that had been hidden away since the Nazi era. ...  The controversy is not likely to diminish under an agreement announced last week that provides for the art to be returned to Mr. Gurlitt’s technical ownership while a panel of art specialists is given a year to settle the provenance of questionable pieces. This may be no easy task. ...  More claims are certain to be made as the full content of the trove is finally made public. The discovery of the trove has caused the German government to relax its 30-year statute of limitations on making claims to stolen property. ... If more than a year is needed for a full and fair study of the Munich trove, the German authorities should make that happen.

April 13, 2014

Presenters Lined up for ARCA's Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference in Amelia June 27-29, 2014

Here is a list of the scheduled presenters for ARCA's 6th annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference on June 28 and 29, 2014. The two-day conference aims to facilitate a critical appraisal of the protection of art and cultural heritage by bringing together academics, police, members of the art world, as well as the students attending ARCA’s Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection. The conference is free of charge aside from related meals and will be held in Amelia, Italy in the heart of Umbria.  Each year at this event,  ARCA presents its annual Awards—chosen by ARCA’s Trustees and past award winners—to honor outstanding scholars and professionals dedicated to the protection and recovery of art and cultural heritage.

Highlights from Recent US and EU Investigations
The Fall of the House of Knoedler: Fakes, Deception and Naiveté 
James C Moore, Esq,
Arbitrator and mediator of commercial disputes
Formerly, partner and trial lawyer with large New York law firm and president of New York State Bar Association

Hello Dalí: Anatomy of a Modern Day Art Theft Investigation
Jordan Arnold Esq.
K2 Intelligence
Former Assistant District Attorney and Head, Financial Intelligence Unit, New York County District Attorney's Office

The Gurlitt Case: German and international responses to the legal and ethical questions to ownership rights in looting cases
Duncan Chappell, PhD Lawyer and Criminologist, Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney
 and
Saskia Hufnagel, PhD Lecturer in Criminal Law, Queen Mary University of London
Rechtsanwalt - Fachanwalt Strafrecht, Hufnagel und Partner

The many faces of the Illegal Heritage Trade

Papyri, collectors and the antiquities market: a survey and some questions
Roberta Mazza, PhD University of Bologna
Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Classics and Ancient History, University of Manchester
Research Fellow, John Rylands Research Institute - John Rylands Library

Using open-source data to identify participation in the illicit antiquities trade: A case study on the intercommunal conflict in Cyprus, 1963-1974
Sam Hardy, DPhil University of Sussex
Illicit antiquities trade researcher
Research Associate, Centre for Applied Archaeology, University College London

 •The Dikmen Conspiracy: The Illicit Removal, Journey and Trade of Looted Ecclesiastical Antiquities from Occupied Cyprus
Christiana O'Connell-Schizas, LLB University of Kent, LPC University of Law
Baker & McKenzie, Riyadh

Stolen Art Restitution Claims and the Exhaustion of Local Remedies: How Foreign-Based Plaintiffs are Able to Succeed Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act
Chris Michaels, JD, Albany Law School
Attorney, Cruser & Mitchell, LLP

 The Vulnerabilities of Sacred Art in situ: Yesterday and Still Today
• The theft and ransom of Caravaggio’s “St. Jerome writing” from the Co-Cathedral of St. John
Rev. Dr. Marius Zerafa, O.P. S.T.L., Lect. Th., A.R. Hist. S., Dr. Sc.Soc
Founder of the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, Malta
Former Curator and Director of the Malta     Museums

 • Fighting the Thieves in Italian Churches 
 Judith Harris, Journalist (ARTnews; www.i-italy.org
 Author, Pompeii Awakened, The Monster in the Closet

Forgery, Fraud, and Bibliomania 
Would the real Mr. Goldie please stand up?
Penelope Jackson M. Phil, University of Queensland, MA University of Auckland
Director, Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, New Zealand

‘It’s beyond my control’ An historic and psychiatric investigation into the claim of bibliomania
Anna Knutsson MA (Hon) University of St. Andrews
Research Editor Smith Library

Smart Collecting and Connoisseurship
 • What’s wrong with this picture? Standards and issues of connoisseurship
Tanya Pia Starrett, MA HONS LLB, University of Glasgow
Solicitor

The Art Collecting Legal Handbook: a comparative look at Art Law in 30 countries in the world Massimo Sterpi, Avvocato
Partner, Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati

In the Red Corner: “Connoisseurship and Art History”, and the Blue Corner: “Scientific Testing and Analysis” – Who’s right in determining Authenticity?
Toby Bull, Senior Inspector of Police, Hong Kong Police Force
Founder, TrackArt (Art Risk Consultancy), Hong Kong

Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict, Reflections from Past and Present
File Zadar: New insights on art works taken from Zadar to Italy during World War II
Antonija Mlikota, PhD University of Rijeka
Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Zadar

IMCuRWG Blue Shield cultural assessment mission to Timbuktu
Joris Kila, PhD University of Amsterdam Chairman of the ‘International Military Cultural Resources Work Group’ (IMCuRWG).
Universität Wien,Kompetenzzentrum Kulturelles Erbe und Kulturgüterschutz, Universität Wien,
Alois-Musil-Center für Orientalische Archäologie, U.S.AFRICOM

A modern look at an Eternal Problem: Sixty years after the creation of the 1954 Hague Convention
Cinnamon Stephens, JD
Esquire

Perspectives from Holland

 • To be Announced

 Key Note Closing – A look to the future
Is International Law for the Protection of Artistic Freedom Adequate?”
Eleni Moschouri, PhD University of Manchester, MA, MJur University of Birmingham
Attorney at Law at the Supreme Court of Greece

This event opens with a icebreaker cocktail on June 27th at the Palazzo Farrattini. The conference will be held June 28 and 29, 2014 at the Sala Boccarini, inside the cloister of the Biblioteca Comunale L.Lama adjacent to the Museo Civico Archeologico e Pinacoteca “Edilberto Rosa” in Amelia, Italy. Sessions begin at 9:00 am, with a break for coffee mid morning and mid afternoon as well as an optional Saturday lunch and optional Italian slow food dinner saturday evening..

This 2-day conference is open to the public and all are welcome. Registration is required, but the conference is free of charge subject to space availability. To reserve a placement for one or both days sessions, please write to italy.conference (at) artcrimeresearch.org and provide your full name and names of those attending with you, your email address, and your preference for either or both day's sessions.

April 12, 2014

Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini Win ARCA's 2014 Art Protection & Recovery Award

Dr. Daniela Rizzo and Mr Maurizio Pellegrini, Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Etruria Meridionale at the Villa Giulia, have won ARCA's 2014 Art Protection & Recovery Award. Past winners have included: Vernon Rapley and Francesco Rutelli (2009), Charlie Hill and Dick Drent (2010), Lord Colin Renfrew and Paolo Giorgio Ferri (2011), Karl von Habsburg, Dr. Joris Kila Ernst Schöller (2012), Sharon Cohen Levin and Christos Tsirogiannis (2013).

Dott.ssa Daniela Rizzo and Maurizio Pellegrini are employees of Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) who work directly for the Soprintendenza for Southern Etruria's Archeological Heritage which covers the archaeological territories of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci, Veio, Lucas Feroniae, Civitavecchia, Sutri , Tuscania, Pyrgi, Volsinii and San Lorenzo Nuovo. Dr. Rizzo oversees the department of Goods Control and Circulation with the assistance of Massimo Pellegrini. Their offices are located at the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. One of the main commitments of their department and the Soprintendenza overall is the fighting of criminal activities and illegal traffic of archaeological objects from the southern territories.

In 1985 the Soprintendenza set up a special service, "The Office of confiscation and illicit excavations" (ufficio sequestri e scavi clandestini), which constantly monitors the phenomenon of illegal excavations and the finds of illegal trafficking. To achieve this goal, their office began working closely with Italy’s National Judicial Authority and the security forces (Carabinieri TPC and Guardia di Finanza), which work together in this sector. This collaboration aims to recover Italian archaeological materials that have been taken away illegally from the national territory and often have ended up in important foreign collections. Since 1995, their work has achieved very positive results and has resulted in the identification of numerous archaeological objects taken illegally and found in a number of American and European museums or in private collections abroad. Based on the inspection of and matching between confiscated photographs and documents, their investigations have facilitated negotiations between American and European museums which have often concluded in important cultural agreements rather than lengthy judicial prosecutions. Thanks to these agreements, archaeological finds are regularly being returned to Italy from places like New York and Boston. Through their in-depth work, the famous Euphronios crater, now on display in the new rooms of Villa Giulia, has been recognized as property of the Italian state and was returned to Rome in 2008 from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Similar agreements have been concluded with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the J.P. Getty Museum of Malibu. In cases where traffickers have been identified their work with the "Procura della Repubblica" (Italian prosecutor's office) and the Court of Rome has made it possible, in some circumstances, to try specific cases associated with illegal trafficking of antiquities within Italy. Cases of note include the exemplary punishment imposed by the Court of Rome on an Italian trafficker, who operated in Switzerland and the 2005 criminal proceedings that were initiated against Marion True, the former curator who purchased trafficked archaeological objects for The Paul Getty Museum, and cases involving Robert Hecht. As a result of their work and the recovery of objects, a room in the Villa Giulia has housed a temporary traveling exhibition to increase the public’s awareness to the impact of trafficking, the significance of the problem and what is being done to combat it. The carefully curated exhibition included numerous objects which have been repatriated from Southern Etruria as well as examples of documents used in their ongoing investigations and prosecutions by the Italian authorities.

April 11, 2014

FBI Announces Return of 75 paintings by Hanna “Kali” Weynerowska to Poland

"Boy on Donkey" (Courtesy of FBI)
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

The FBI office in San Francisco located paintings by a Polish painter in a storage facility and have been turned over to a Polish museum in Switzerland, the FBI announced in a press release.
Seventy-Five Paintings by Hanna “Kali” Weynerowska Considered Polish Cultural Artifacts, National Treasures ... Hanna Weynerowska, also known as “Kali” in her association with the Polish Underground Resistance during World War II, was a career artist. Following the war, she returned to painting and traveled the world until she immigrated to San Francisco. In 1998, Weynerowska died, but her paintings were being pursued by a museum custodian, but the transfer never occurred. Recently, the paintings were located in a storage facility under safe keeping by a member of Weynerowska’s family. The paintings will be housed and displayed at The Polish Museum in Rapperswil, Switzerland. Notably, “Boy on Donkey,” “Boy with Rooster,” “Pacheco Pass,” “Rafaelito,” “The Cobbler,” and “Walking a Bird” were among the 75 paintings returned.... This investigation was conducted by the FBI San Francisco Field Office and FBI Legal Attaché Office in Warsaw.
Here's the report by Jose Rosato Jr. for NBC Bay Area; he begins with:
By all accounts, Hanna “Kali” Weynerowska led a colorful life – the sort of colorful life she might depict in one of her many paintings. As an up-and-coming painter in her native Poland, she was building something of a name for herself before World War II broke out. Then she was captured by Nazis, escaped from a concentration camp, became a freedom fighter, and eventually made her way to San Francisco, where she continued to paint.

ARCA Lecturer Judge Arthur Tompkins Discusses The Ghent Altarpiece, a stolen masterpiece, on National Radio's show with Kim Hill in NZ

ARCA Lecturer Judge Arthur Tompkins is scheduled as a guest with National Radio's Kim Hill (New Zealand's version of National Public Radio) in the first of a series about stolen masterpieces. On Saturday in New Zealand at 9.40 a.m., Judge Tompkins spoke about The Ghent Altarpiece.  You may listen to the recording on the ARCA website here

Simon Mackenzie Awarded ARCA's 2014 Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Excellence in Art Crime Scholarship

Simon Mackenzie, Trafficking Culture project at the University of Glasgow, is the winner of ARCA's 2014 Eleanor and Anthony Vallombroso Award for Excellence in Art Crime Scholarship. Past winners: Norman Palmer (2009); Larry Rothfield (2010); Neil Brodie (2011); Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino (Jointly - 2012); and Duncan Chappell (2013).

Simon Mackenzie is Professor of Criminology, Law & Society in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow, where he is also a member of the criminological research staff at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, a cross-institutional organization conducting national and international criminological research projects.

Prof Mackenzie co-ordinates the Trafficking Culture research group, which is a pioneering interdisciplinary collaboration producing research evidence on the scale and nature of the international market in looted cultural objects, including regional case studies of trafficking networks and evaluative measures of the effects of regulatory interventions which aim to control this form of trafficking. Trafficking Culture is funded with a €1m research grant from the European Research Council. The group employs a core group of researchers plus an affiliate Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, and four PhD research students, making it a world-leading center for study in this field. As well as producing research evidence, the team are developing educational resources for the next generation of scholars via a new course, run for the first time in 2014, on International Trafficking in Cultural Objects, offered as part of the three Criminology Masters pathways which Prof Mackenzie convenes at Glasgow: the MRes Criminology; the MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice; and the MSc Transnational Crime, Justice & Security.

Simon’s research on the international market in illicit cultural objects began with his PhD, leading to the publication in 2005 of Going, Going, Gone: Regulating the Market in Illicit Antiquities, which won the British Society of Criminology Book Prize that year. The book was mainly an empirical study of attitudes and practices of high-end dealers in relation to their engagement with looted artefacts, and an analysis of the implications for regulation and control of the various neutralizing and justificatory narratives surrounding handling illicit objects at the top end of the market.

From 2005-07, in a study with Prof Penny Green funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, Simon extended this analysis by looking at the market’s reaction to the onset of explicit criminalization in a case study of the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003. This research was published in Mackenzie and Green (eds) Criminology and Archaeology: Studies in Looted Antiquities (2009), part of the Onati International Series on Law and Society and based around the proceedings of a workshop at the Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law exploring the interdisciplinary possibilities of a field of study based both in archaeology and criminology.

Simon has worked with a number of international organisations, providing research-based input to support initiatives to reduce the international trade in looted cultural objects: eg. he has worked with UNODC in producing briefing documents for UN member states in their 2009 enquiry into Trafficking Cultural Property, leading to policy recommendations made at the UN Commissions and Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; and he is currently on the editorial committee of ICOM’s International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods.

Prof Mackenzie is a member of the Peer Review Committee of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Associate Editor of the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, and a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology. His criminological research has been supported by grants and contracts from funders including the EU, ESRC, AHRC, both the UK and Scottish Governments, and the UN.