Saturday, January 10, 2009

Attacks on Owners of Stolen Art

In the Guardian here, Jonathan Jones picks up on a call for a statute of limitations by Sir Norman Rosenthal from the last issue of the Art Newspaper reprinted here, in a post called "Should All Looted Art Be Returned".
The Art Newspaper queries whether Italy really needs another krater like the one pictured.
I suppose the question to be answered if someone steals my second car is whether or not I really needed a second one. If I could do with one, Rosenthal's bonehead argument is that the thief should keep my second one.

The comments to the debate have a healthy edge of antisemitism: the subtext is that people who want to recover their stolen property are greedy Jews, just trying to cash in. And how many museum directors and trustees are private collectors with similar stashes of stolen loot?

I reprint my comment below in italics:

Museums make claimants spent hundreds of thousands, if not millions in fees to researchers, lawyers, and by their refusal to return stolen property force claimants to enter into contingent fee arrangements with lawyers and researchers who, in turn, must force successful claimants to sell off their family heirlooms to cover their own costs.

Jones blames this vicious cycle on the victims. The public has no interest in showing their children warehouses of stolen property.

Change the laws to award attorneys fees and expenses to successful claimants and you will see Jewish families be able to afford to keep the property that is rightfully theirs. You will also see museums start to be a little more truthful about where they obtained their loot.
What Jonathan Jones and Norman Rosenthal advocate is looting the victims once again and proudly displaying the result. Shame.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finding an "anti-semitic subtext" in that article was a stretch of Herculean proportions. Shame.