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It's Deja Vu! (including 2 updates)

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Do you remember the scene in "How to Steal a Masterpiece" (Season 7) when McGarrett speaks with art expert Evvy Bernstein (Danielle) about determining the provenance (history) of a work of art? In that episode, it all came down to looting; that is, so-called art appraisers Durkin (George Voskovec) and his assistant Sills Anderson (George Herman) were stealing originals and replacing them with forgeries.

Well, in a real-life case, looting isn't the problem, but documents are missing that would authenticate the provenance of certain ancient works of Greek art, which are touring museums around the country. The omissions were discovered by the Denver Art Museum, which was quick to take notice after receiving bad press following a similar incident in a previous exhibition. It seems that global owners of such works are taking the legal high road where provenance is concerned -- as well they should.

Read about it:

Bowley, Graham, "Staff Questions Provenance of Artifacts in Exhibit". The New York Times. Reprinted in The Denver Post, September 19, 2023, pp. A1, A7.

UPDATE 1: The Denver Art Museum has returned five of the art works to the source where they acquired them. The works will be returned to the countries where they originated, Burma, Cambodia, and Tibet.

Read about it:

Tabachnik, Sam. "Denver Art Museum Returns Asian Relics". The Denver Post. September 20, 2023, pp. A2, A4.

The plot thickens. In "Ring of Life" (Season 7), a soldier of fortune commits murder as he tries to locate a missing Hindu figurine that was stolen from India. The complete set of seven would bring him a $1 million reward from the Indian government. It seems that stolen artifacts are not new business.

UPDATE 2: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is transferring ownership of two sculptures to Yemen nearly 40 years after they were removed from an archaeological site there. The sculptures date back to the third century BC. The sculptures will be held at the Met by mutual consent with Yemen until after a civil war in Yemen comes to an end.

Read about it:

Small, Zachary. "Yemen Has Ownership, but Met Will Display Them". The New York Times. Reprinted in The Denver Post, September 21, 2023, p. A13.

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