Tag Archives: stolen antiquities

It’s the end-of-the-week scatter

By the numbers now:

1. Sister city Oregon has its tweakers, we know this because they steal our sculpture and sell it for scrap. (Well, we know it for all kinds of worse reasons, too.) Is it any consolation that we aren’t alone? The city of Brea, California, which has an active public art program, has had three bronze sculptures stolen in the past 18 months. The Wall Street Journal explains the problem as only the WSJ can (at least until Rupert Murdoch makes mincemeat of it): The main component of bronze is copper; three years ago, the price of copper was $1.50 a pound; today, it goes for $4. Walk off with a 250 pound sculpture as thieves did in Brea, and that’s a pretty nice haul.

A good source for local art theft news? Portland Public Art, a blog that’s a little more various than its title suggests (it takes time out for other sorts of cultural history and is devoted to local indie music), has tracked the theft of Sacagawea in Astoria, for example, and the theft of sculptures by Tom Hardy and Frederic Littman from the Vollum estate. The site also has a rockin’ blogroll, though it’s a little out of date: Art Scatter isn’t on there!

2. Walk in the garden I am still mesmerized by the notion that Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler spent four hours chatting together in the Dutch town of Leyden for the express purpose of improving Gustav’s marital, um, relations with Alma. And that Freud decided that Gustav had a mother fixation. Gustav later said that he didn’t agree with Sigmund, but there had been therapeutic benefits in any case. The story pops up in the entry below. They may have even walked through the botanical gardens, at left!

3. Save the past The Guardian newspaper has championed the preservation of artifacts in Iraq. In the latest development Iraqi officials are calling for a world-wide ban on the sale and purchase of Iraqi antiquities, hoping to remove their commercial value to looters, who have stripped 15 percent of the archaeological sites in the country, according to experts. We’ve talked about this before: Whatever your position on antiquities (should they always be returned their country of origin or not), this sounds like a good idea.

In other artifact news: German police uncovered 1,100 pre-Colombian antiquities — Mayan, Incan and Aztec — in a Munich warehouse. Several South American countries are claiming ownership, though a Costa Rican doctor insists that he obtained them all legally. Masks, gems and sculptures were part of the treasure trove. Der Spiegel has the report.

Note on sources: We visit the ArtJournal site every day, as we’ve said before. These stories were aggregated on the AJ site (which contains an impressive list of blogger/columnists as well).