New York Met returns stolen idols to Nepal

A 700-year-old standing statue of the Buddha, that was returned to Nepal from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, is pictured in its delivery crate at the Department of Archaeology in Kathmandu April 4, 2018. — AFP

KATHMANDU, April 5  —  A pair of rare idols stolen from Nepal three decades ago were returned to the country yesterday by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The two statues — one of Buddha and the other of the Hindu god Shiva and his wife Parvati — were stolen in the 1980s when rampant looting saw many important artifacts whisked out of Nepal and into the hands of private collectors.

 “The government was unaware of the whereabouts of the statues until historian Lain Singh Bangdel mentioned (in a book) that the statues were on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,” Shyam Sundar Rajbanshi of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology told AFP.

The 11th-century Shiva statue, known as the Uma Maheshwor idol, was given to the Met in 1983 while the Buddha — estimated to be around 700 years old — was donated by a private collector in 2015.

The two statues were removed from display after the Met learned they were stolen, local media reported.

The statues will now be showcased at the National Museum of Nepal in the capital Kathmandu, Rajbanshi confirmed.

Nepal’s rich cultural heritage was ravaged by decades of theft from the 1960s to 1980s. Natural disasters and unchecked development also encroached on ancient sites.

A devastating earthquake in April 2015 caused extensive damage in the Kathmandu Valley, home to hundreds of sacred Buddhist and Hindu sites.

The UN’s cultural agency Unesco warned if not properly conserved those sites could lose their coveted world heritage status.  —  AFP

Former Sedalian confesses to museum theft of Civil War antiques

Former Sedalian confesses to museum theft of Civil War antiques

Nuria Martinez-Keel – Apr 4, 2018

Terry J. Cockrell

On March 24, museum co-curator Charles Wise reported several Civil War era items were missing, including a cap and ball musket rifle, a sword, a surgical kit, and a brass-barrel Blunderbuss firearm. The items have a value of several thousand dollars, meaning Cockrell’s charge could reach felony status.

After an internet search, Wise found a Tennessee Civil War collector, Rafael Eledge, had the missing items displayed on his website. Eledge provided documents from his purchase of the antiques that tied Cockrell to the theft, according to the press release.

Cockrell reportedly told Green he stole the items and sold them to the collector. Eledge, who had no knowledge the items were stolen, purchased the antiques in June and has since resold them to buyers across the country.

Clumsy Churchgoer Destroys Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball” by Touching It


Clumsy Churchgoer Destroys Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball” by Touching It

The glass work, on display in a temporary exhibition, was reduced to a pile of fragments on the last day the show was open.



On Sunday, one of Jeff Koons’s reflective “Gazing Balls” shattered into dozens of pieces, after a curious individual touched it in an Amsterdam church. The glass work, on display in a temporary exhibition, was reduced to a pile of fragments on April 8, the last day the show was open.

“Gazing Ball (Perugino Madonna and Child with Four Saints)” was installed at the Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church known for its high-profile art exhibitions. It included a blue glass orb, reminiscent of a giant Christmas ornament, that sat on an aluminum shelf attached to an altarpiece painting by Pietro Perugino, which Koons replicated. Koons has been producing these paintings since 2014, as a follow-up to his 2013 series that balanced gazing balls on plaster sculptures.

Foto-Janiek-Dam-114-360x571Jeff Koons, “Gazing Ball (Perugino Madonna and Child with Four Saints)” (2018) (photo by Janiek Dam)

Displayed in the church’s apse, the gazing ball was the centerpiece of the three-month exhibition, which also featured a video work. Martijn van Schieveen, a spokesperson for Nieuwe Kerk, confirmed that a visitor had touched the glass ball, which immediately broke, leaving behind shards that were silver on the inside. The painting itself remains undamaged, and no one was hurt.

As its name implies, the mirrored sphere is intended for viewers to gaze into, creating a special, intimate relationship with the reflected image. At Nieuwe Kerk, visitors could get pretty close to the blue ball; only an area marked by a line of tape indicated how far of a distance people should keep between their bodies and the ball.

At a press preview in 2015, Koons said that each hand-blown gazing ball is secured to the shelf by a metal rod that sticks up through the center of each one. A person would have to lift it up to remove it, he said.

Speaking with Dutch daily de Volkskrantvan Schieveen said the ball “jumped” after the visitor, who remains unidentified, touched it. The church is now working with Koons’s studio to investigate the situation and assess the damage, as well as the possibility of repair. It has not disclosed the value of the gazing ball and its accompanying painting.

Foto-Janiek-Dam-81-720x479Jeff Koons, “Gazing Ball (Perugino Madonna and Child with Four Saints)” (2018) (photo by Janiek Dam)

4 Paintings Went Missing From French Parliament. 3 Returned Mysteriously

Agence France-Presse – April 11, 2018 19:27 IST

4 Paintings Went Missing From French Parliament. 3 Returned Mysteriously

PARIS, FRANCE:  Three works of art have been found after their mysterious removal from the French parliament prompted a police investigation, officials said Wednesday.

The speaker’s office said two of the artworks had reappeared leaning against the wall of a committee meeting room, confirming a report in the Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper.

A third was handed back anonymously to the parliament, while a fourth — reportedly a work by French modern artist Herve Telemaque — remains unaccounted for.

“A legal complaint remains in place for the painting still missing,” the speaker’s office said.

The ones that have spontaneously reappeared are a piece by the Greek artist Takis, a painting by Richard Texier and an engraving by an unknown artist.

All four were discovered missing after an annual inventory at the end of last year. The speaker’s office said they were valued at 49 to 3,500 euros ($60-4,333).


Investigators from the Banditry Repression Brigade in Paris, which handles art theft, were assigned to the case.

Artwork in Baylor’s Old Main removed after thefts

Artwork in Baylor’s Old Main removed after thefts



Adrienne Harris, a Baylor University associate professor of Russian, holds “Bogatyrs,” an art print that was stolen from Old Main, then returned.

Three incidents of artwork theft from a Baylor University academic building prompted the department of modern languages and cultures to remove more than 90 replica paintings from its walls.

Although two of the three pieces were anonymously returned this weekend, Baylor officials are unlikely to reset the aesthetic in the historic Old Main without heightened security.

The first painting was reported missing in January 2017, and another went missing in December, university spokeswoman Tonya Hudson said. A third was reported missing March 28.

Hudson said the second and third stolen paintings were left propped up against an exterior door to Old Main on Sunday, but Baylor police do not know who took or returned them. The stolen property is worth less than $1,000, and police are still searching for the first piece.

The crimes would likely be Class B misdemeanor theft of property.

A sign in Old Main at Baylor University notifies students the artwork has been taken down because of a third theft in the last 14 months. Two of the stolen pieces have been returned, and officials are considering new security measures before returning the art to the walls.

The department’s interim chair, Michael Long, said each piece in the building corresponded with faculty members’ areas of study. The artwork is now stored in an undisclosed location.

“It’s very dramatic to walk in and suddenly see bare wall when there was always something that would catch your eye,” Long said. “It’s a very striking contrast.”

Long said he has discussed security enhancements with Baylor police. By the fall semester, the school may install cameras and anchor the prints to the wall, he said.

Officials also said news reports about the thefts, including a Baylor Lariat article published on Thursday, may have motivated someone to return the prints.

A replica of the 1898 painting, “Bogatyrs,” by Viktor Vasnetsov, was taken from Old Main at Baylor University but returned on Sunday.

One of the stolen pictures returned Sunday was a print of “Bogatyrs,” a depiction of three knights by the Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov created in 1898. Adrienne Harris, an associate professor of Russian, said her students were upset to learn the piece had been taken. The thief or thieves were probably unaware of its cultural significance, she said.

“The painting itself is part of the national revival of the 19th century when Russian artists and authors were very much interested in folklore,” Harris said.