Previously Smuggled Indian Antiquities Seized at Christie's:
Federal agents, in conjunction with the Manhattan district attorney's office, seized
two ancient sculptures that were allegedly smuggled. The antiquities were uncovered as part of Operation Hidden Idol, the investigation that also identified Subhash Kapoor, who currently awaits trial in India.
Trial Begins in Timbuktu Cultural Destruction Case in The Hague's International Criminal Court:
The first case of its kind has begun
at The Hague, where former teacher Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is charged with destroying nine mausoleums and the 15th-century Sidi Yahia mosque in Timbuktu in northern Mali. This is the first time the court is dealing with the destruction of cultural heritage as a war crime.
Trial Date Set for Restitution Claim Against Norton Simon Museum:
On March 29, 2016 the trial will commence
to decide the fate of a pair of paintings whose ownership is currently the subject of an ongoing dispute between the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California and the family of its original owner. Marei Von Saher, the heir of Holocaust victim Jacques Goustikker, claims the paintings, Adam and Eve from 1530 by Lucas Cranach the Elder, were never properly restituted to the family after German Nazi Hermann Goering took the paintings in a forced sale of Goudstikker’s collection in 1940. The founder of the museum, Norton Simon, purchased the paintings in 1971. During the period between World War II and Simon's purchase, the paintings had two different owners. Von Saher filed the lawsuit in 2007 for the return of the works as stolen property. The pair of paintings were appraised at $24 million in 2006.
Attorney General of California Files an Amicus Brief in Restitution Case:
Kamala Harris, the AG of California, has weighed in
on a looted art case. She urges the federal appeals court to reverse a lower court decision and reinstate a case brought by the San Diego heirs of a Jewish art collector who was forced to give up a Pissarro currently valued at $20 million in exchange for a visa to escape Nazi Germany shortly before World War II. The painting is currently at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation Museum in Madrid, Spain. In June, a judge ruled that the museum is the rightful owner of the painting, not the heirs of Holocaust survivor Lilly Cassirer, triggering the most recent appeal.
University of Oklahoma Agrees to Restitute Painting:
The University of Oklahoma has agreed
to return a painting that was stolen by the Nazis from a French family during World War II. Camille Pissarro's 1886 "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep" will be transferred to Léone Meyer, a French Holocaust survivor whose father owned the painting when it was stolen. The painting will be be transferred to a museum in France for a period of five years. After that point, it will rotate between museums in Oklahoma and France bearing a label that explains the painting's history, including its seizure by the Nazis and restitution in court.
Flechtheim Heirs Suspend Limbach Commission Proceedings Over Juan Gris Painting in Düsseldorf:
The heirs of persecuted Jewish art dealer Alfred Flechtheim suspended
the state-run non-binding mediation process concerning Violon en encrier
(1913) by Juan Gris in the Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen (Art Collections Foundation of Northern Rhineland/Westphalia) in Düsseldorf due to concerns about the fairness of the proceedings. The painting was sold in 1934 in London, and Flechtheim’s heirs have argued that this sale was the result of his persecution. The museum bought the work on the international market in 1964.
Art Thief Returns Stolen Painting with an Apology Letter:
An oil painting that was stolen from a Kansas City library last October was returned
in the mail with a remorseful note after a local news source released CCTV footage of the theft.
New York City Conducts Survey on Diversity in the Cultural Workforce:
The City released
the results of this survey, which focused on gender and race/ethnicity and provided information on the steps the city is taking to increase diversity in this field.
Federal Prosecutors Investigating Yves Bouvier:
According to an article
published by Bloomberg Business, U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating a series of art transactions between Bouvier and Dmitry Rybolovlev, including the transaction resulting in Rybolovlev's acquisition of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi." Rybolovlev alleges that Bouvier marked up the prices of paintings he helped Rybolovlev acquire and pocketed the difference.