Suspected NGA artwork being repatriated

The National Gallery of Australia will remove 14 works from the Asian art collection and return them to the Government of India.

Thirteen objects, worth a total of $ 3 million, were purchased from the Art of the Past between 2002 and 2010. This is the now infamous New York gallery run by the disgraceful antique dealer Subhash Kapoor. And one came from the late New York art dealer William Wolf in 1989.

They consist of six stone or bronze carvings, most of which date back to the 11th or 12th centuries. There is also the standard or “Alam” of the 1851 Hyderabad brass procession. 1835 and 6 photos.

Nick Mitzevich, Director of NGA, confirmed that the gallery, through the Government of India, through the High Commissioner of India, has in principle agreed to welcome and receive the work.

“Physical deliveries will be negotiated over the next few months in India or Canberra, given COVID and travel capabilities,” he told AAP.

This is the fourth time NGA has returned looted or illegally exported works purchased from Kapoor and his associates to India.

In early 2014, it was revealed that one of the 21 works that the gallery obtained from the Art of the Past, Shiva (Nataraja), the main dancer, was looted from a temple in Tamil Nadu, South India. ..

Purchased for $ 5.6 million in 2008, the 11th or 12th century Chola era bronze was returned to India in September 2014 by then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott along with the sculptures Kapoor sold to the NSW art gallery. I did.

Two years later, NGA returned worshipers of the goddess Pratian Gila, a 12th-century stone sculpture in Tamil Nadu, and the Buddha, a third-century limestone sculpture in Andhra Pradesh.

And in 2019, NGA returned the guardian of the 15th-century stone door from Tamilnadu, Dvarapala, and the 6th-8th-century stone sculpture Serpent King or Nagaraja from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh. rice field.

The announcement on Thursday will be made when the gallery adopts a new history assessment that considers both the legal and ethical aspects of the history of the work of art.

If the balance of probabilities could be that the work was stolen, illegally excavated, exported in violation of foreign law, or unethically acquired, NGA will deaccess the work. It states that it will begin the procedure for repatriation.

Mitzevich said the move was a positive step towards resolving difficult and unfortunate times in the gallery’s collection history.

“With these developments, the decision-making of the source is determined by an evidence-based approach that is assessed in a balanced manner of probability, based on solid legal and ethical decision-making principles and considerations,” he said. Said.

Kapoor, a dual citizen of India and the United States, founded the Art of the Past in 1974 and became an influential and respected figure in the global art market, selling his work to many well-known institutions. And donated.

Clients included the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore, NGA, and Art. NSW gallery.

He was handed over from Germany to India by Interpol in July 2012 and has been detained for stealing and illegally exporting relics. If convicted, he can be imprisoned for up to 14 years.

In July 2019, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Kapoor and seven conspirators, charged with 86 cases of theft, possession of stolen goods, and fraudulent plots.

His co-defendants include Hong Kong and Singapore dealers and art restorers in Brooklyn and London.

They are said to have operated a sophisticated network of antiques looted from countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The document was allegedly forged and a history of ownership was invented before it was sold at the Art of the Past.

Kapoor was alleged to have masterminded the global smuggling ring between 1986 and 2016, trafficking more than 2,600 plunders worth US $ 145 million to the United States.

Donors were not involved in the acquisition of the 14 NGA works in question. Their total value is $ 3,034,865, and Mitzevich said the gallery would reduce its asset base by removing them.

“It’s likely that the six sculptures were stolen or illegally exported,” he said.

“The rest have been removed from the collection because we believe our relationship with Kapoor and his dealings were unethical. (But) the reason for believing that other works were stolen or illegally exported. No, “he said.

The gallery has also deleted the last three works of the Asian art collection purchased from the Art of the Past. Once the investigation identifies the place of origin, it will be repatriated.

According to Mitzevich, one piece could be from Afghanistan, the other from India or Timor, and the third from India or Portugal.

“With such antiques, it can be a little difficult to identify the country of origin,” he said.

“Because borders are a modern expression, we need to clarify where the region (work) comes from.”

Mitzevich, who became NGA director in July 2018, said that since 2014, the gallery has strengthened due diligence and history policies, clarifying the process of evaluating works.

“The changes we made mean that we now have zero tolerance for history discrepancies in the acquisition of the entire collection,” he said.

Australia’s High Commissioner for India, Manpreto Vola, welcomed the news of the repatriation.

“The Government of India is grateful for this extraordinary goodwill and friendship from Australia,” he said.

“These are outstanding works. Their return has been very well received by the government and the Indian people.”

Suspected NGA artwork being repatriated

Source link Suspected NGA artwork being repatriated

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