Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vermeer Given Back Behind the Scenes !!

President Bush gives Bertie Ahern the Shamrock and asks, "Where's the Vermeer, already"
US cash could underpin devolution

It is hoped American money will underpin any new NI power-sharing administration, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has told the BBC.
His comments came as Northern Ireland's politicians met George Bush at the official St Patrick's Day celebrations at the White House.

Irish PM Bertie Ahern presented a bowl of shamrock to the US President.

The president paid tribute to the leadership of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and said he stood ready to help.

Mr Ahern said the Northern Ireland political process was now at the point of completion.

"Mr President, I believe we are closer, than at any time in our past in Ireland, to a resolution to one of the oldest conflicts in history," said Mr Ahern.

"I hope that our journey can give inspiration and hope to other parts of the world that are in conflict and where people are suffering and in despair."

Mr Ahern briefed President Bush about the prospects for devolution.

Most party leaders have opted to stay at home to concentrate on negotiations around power-sharing.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain warned Democratic Unionists who thought they could "sneak by" the 26 March deadline for establishing power-sharing would find they had made the "biggest political mistake of their lives" if it is not met,

"My concern, having listened to some of the chatter and speculation is that some of those people who are saying they can't make March 26 - but they might be able to make May or October, or next year or the following year - are going to wake up on March 27 and find they have made the most catastrophic mistake of their political lives."

'Mood of optimisim'

The plight of victims and concerns about collusion have taken centre stage in Washington.

Raymond McCord, whose son's murder was the subject of a Police Ombudsman's report into collusion, was present.

He is asking the American administration to press the British government over his son's murder and the protection afforded by some special branch officers to loyalist informants involved in murder and other serious crime.

Mr McCord was part of a cross-community delegation led by Relatives for Justice.

Meanwhile, John Finucane, the son of the murdered solicitor Pat Finucane, has told the BBC that he and his mother were introduced to the US President at the White House.

Mr Finucane, along with his mother Geraldine, was introduced to George Bush by Bertie Ahern.

It is understood the meeting followed diplomatic lobbying behind the scenes.

Mr Finucane said the meeting was brief, but beneficial as it followed Thursday night's Senate resolution demanding an independent inquiry into the Finucane murder.

The McCartney sisters, Pauline and Catherine, were also at the White House seeking justice for their brother Robert.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's only Green Party assembly member, Brian Wilson, turned down an invite to the event.

In a statement the party said a two-way trip across the Atlantic to for the event was "not a compelling reason, morally or practically, for emitting half a tonne of CO2".

Business leaders in Northern Ireland have said they believe an economic package of more than £5bn is needed to kick-start and transform the local economy.

The Northern Ireland Business Alliance said the money must be part of any political settlement because a peace process which does not improve the economic lot of people may not be sustainable.
Art Hostage comments:
Every single piece of the jigsaw has been put in place by Art Hostage over the last year.
General Thomas Slab Murphy has gained control of the Vermeer and has been willing to exchange it for the Sectarian Tax demand of the Murphy family to be withdrawn.
Sinn Fein have fulfilled all their political obligations and now stand ready to assume power alongside the DUP/UDA.
Such is the need for U.S. money as investment in the new peaceful Northern part of Ireland, any request from FBI Agent Robert Wittman for the return of the Vermeer will be met forthwith by the Republican movement.
Publicly the deal can be spun as "Pork on US. investment" in Northern Ireland, giving cover to the withdrawal of the Sectarian Tax demand of the Murphy family.
Never has the window of opportunity for recovering the Vermeer been open as wide.
Anything less than the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum issuing a press release stating the Vermeer has been recovered is a travesty, and the missing of a political opportunity and must be viewed as negligence by all concerned in authority.
Art Hostage has learnt that it has been Irish Authorities who have been stalling the Vermeer deal but inclusion of Irish illegals in America into a guest worker program has smoothed the way.
If the Vermeer has not already been recovered then it is imminent.
With regards other artworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, they will surface in the coming months on American soil where they sit in the Hollywood museum of the missing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

World Breaking, Earth Shattering News, Hollywood Mogul Named as Real Life Dr No !!

2007 A Long Hot Sumner (Redstone) in L.A.

Art Hostage has been told, from an inside source, who works in a middle executive position in Hollywood, and who's boss has seen the Redstone stolen art collection,on condition of anonymity, that the real life Dr No in Hollywood is none other than the incorrigible Hollywood media mogul Sumner Redstone.

Sumner Redstone has a secret room/bunker at his mansion that is crammed full of high value stolen art, including some of the art stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston March 18Th 1990.

At private dinners Sumner Redstone takes his privileged AAA list guests on a tour of some of the worlds most wanted stolen art.

This private tour of the Museum of the Missing is a recognition of being on the AAA list of Hollywood Power Players and has been kept a secret for many years.

Recently a sinister turn of events has befallen Sumner Redstone regarding his dispute with Tom Cruise.

The Tom Cruise people have threatened to expose Sumner Redstone as the real Dr No and drop a dime to the Feds in the process.

How Sumner Redstone will react is open to question, will he make peace with Tom Cruise and take Tom Cruise back under his wing and steer Tom Cruise on the path towards being another Steven Spielberg type Hollywood AAA list Power Player?

Why make this public, well perhaps Sumner Redstone may decide to unload the Gardner art he has and allow these artworks to surface anonymously.

Are the FBI aware of these allegations, yes sir,they do now care of Art Hostage, so, Sumner do the right thing and give back the Gardner art, anonymously will do.

An interesting explanation for why Sumner Redstone has this passion for collecting high value stolen artworks is the fact he is suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, making the stolen art his drug of choice.

Seems this has spread to Steven Spielberg, although I am sure Mr Speiberg Will want to swap the Russian Schoolroom for another Rockwell with his dealer, who will be only to willing, if she wants to keep business contacts with Hollywood.
Once the inevitable lawsuits are sorted out I am sure then Mr Spielberg will step in an re-buy Russian Schoolroom, this time with legal title.

It is not about money it is about possessing unique artworks and obtaining legal title later.

Jean Marie Messier,left, former head at Vivendi, has possession of the stolen Flinck painting, below, from the Gardner Museum, one Sumner Redstone could do without.
Will Art Hostage be vilified or vindicated?

Sometimes real life is stranger then fiction.

Vermeer's "The Concert" still remains under the control of General Thomas Slab Murphy South Armagh Ireland until his tax bill is withdrawn.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

See no Evil, Speak no Evil, and Hear no Evil, Money does'nt Talk, it Sings for these Raiders of the Lost, Stolen Art !!

Russian Schoolroom by Norman Rockwell, a quick google shows this to be stolen !!

Lucas, Spielberg, set fourth 'Indy' film, a case of a few Home Truths !!

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 Producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg have confirmed they will start filming in 2007 on a fourth Indiana Jones movie for release in May 2008. Lucas and Spielberg Monday confirmed details of the production after Lucas mentioned it to reporters as he prepared to serve as grand marshal at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., The Hollywood Reporter said.

The release date follows by 19 years the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third movie starring Harrison Ford as the academic-action hero. The new movie has been in development for at least four years, as Lucas, Spielberg and Ford have tried on several screenplays for size. They finally have one -- by Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds screenwriter David Koepp -- and Spielberg told The Reporter he thinks it ' s a good one. George, Harrison and I are all very excited, Spielberg said. We feel that the script was well worth the wait. We hope it delivers everything you'd expect from our history with Indiana Jones.Spielberg, who has been developing other projects, said the new Indiana Jones picture will be his next directing gig.

Art Hostage comments:

Both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are avid collectors of Norman Rockwell paintings, Mr Spielberg helping to set up the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

So, we can deduce that these two guys are world class authorities on Norman Rockwell.

Taking this into account, Art Hostage firmly believes the title of the latest Indiana Jones movie should be:

"Indiana Jones and the Stolen Spielberg Rockwell"

Has a truthful ring to it, perhaps to close to reality?
Mr Spielberg checking his inventry for purloined works of art

FBI Agent reviewing the pursuit of "Russian Schoolroom" by Norman Rockwell

If George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are the elusive stolen art collectors called Dr No and Dr Yes, which is which??????

Steven Spielberg stung by Stolen Rockwell in his Art Collection !!

ET informs Steven Spielberg that he has a a stolen artwork in his collection, shame its not the Vermeer !!

Stolen painting found in Spielberg's collection

The director, a major collector of works by Rockwell, contacts the FBI. An agent calls the movie mogul an 'unknowing victim.'

By Greg Krikorian and Ashraf Khalil, Times Staff Writers
March 3, 2007

A Norman Rockwell painting stolen from a Missouri gallery 34 years ago was recovered and authenticated Friday in the collection of movie mogul Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg's spokesman, Marvin Levy, said the director's staff contacted the FBI several weeks ago after seeing a bulletin from the agency's Art Crime Team seeking clues about the theft of the "Russian Schoolroom" oil painting.

"The second anybody said, 'I think we have that painting,' [our] office got a hold of the FBI," Levy said.

Special Agent Chris Calarco of the FBI's Art Crime Team and Jessica Todd Smith, curator of American art for the Huntington Library, inspected the painting Friday afternoon at Spielberg's offices on the Universal Studios lot. The filmmaker was not present.

"He's an absolutely unknowing victim in this," Calarco said of Spielberg.

Calarco declined to speculate on the painting's value, but two sources close to the investigation said it is worth between $700,000 and $1 million.

The painting, depicting schoolchildren in a classroom looking at a bust of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, was stolen during an exhibit at a small art gallery in Clayton, Mo., in June 1973.

According to the FBI, its whereabouts were unknown until 1988, when it was sold at an auction in New Orleans for about $70,000.

Spielberg bought the painting from an art dealer in 1989 for an undisclosed sum, Calarco said.

The director is a high-profile Rockwell collector who helped found the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

As of last fall, he was listed as the museum's third vice president and a member of its board of trustees.

"He's certainly one of the collectors of Rockwell," said Levy, who wasn't sure how many Rockwell paintings Spielberg owns or where he kept "Russian Schoolroom." "We have a few in our office on the Universal lot."

The probe into the original theft lay dormant until 2004, when art crime investigators determined that the painting had been advertised for sale at a Norman Rockwell exhibit in New York in 1989.

Agents in the New York and Los Angeles field offices began putting out bulletins in art circles and tracking down known Rockwell collectors.

"We were basically just about to figure it out when the Spielberg people made the connection," Calarco said.

Linda Pero, curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., said: "I think it's really wonderful."

The FBI made the Spielberg link public late Friday, after an earlier notice — published in today's Calendar section — that the painting may have been found.

For now, the painting will remain in Spielberg's possession.

"I just advised them to hold on to it. It's safe there," Calarco said.
Stolen in St. Louis in ‘73. Found today — on Steven Spielberg’s wall
By Kristen Hinman Published: February 28, 2007
Academy Award-winning director and producer Steven Spielberg has turned over to federal authorities Russian Schoolroom, a 1967 oil on canvas by Norman Rockwell that was filched from a Clayton art gallery in 1973, according to the FBI.
No charges have been filed in the case, and federal officials say they have no evidence that Spielberg knew the painting had been stolen when he purchased it in 1989.
“It appears that he is an innocent buyer,” says St. Louis-based FBI agent Frank Brostrom, a member of the agency’s Art Crime Team, who initiated the investigation. Spielberg is an avid Rockwell collector who helped fund the construction in 1993 of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and who joined its board of directors this past September.
According to a December 3 article in the Washington Post, Rockwells from Spielberg’s collection adorn numerous rooms in his office compound at Universal Studios in Hollywood.
The director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, among other celebrated films, did not return a phone call from Riverfront Times requesting comment.
Despite its recovery, many details of Russian Schoolroom’s journey from a St. Louis suburb to Spielberg’s collection remain a mystery.
The painting was stolen on the night of June 25, 1973, from a Rockwell exhibit at the Circle Art Galleries in Clayton, by a thief or thieves who smashed through the gallery window and left every other work untouched.
For the next fifteen years, the artwork went underground. According to the FBI, the painting resurfaced in New Orleans in October 1988 at the Louisiana Purchase Auction at Morton Goldberg Auction and Gallery, which has since closed.
The FBI says the painting appeared on the market again in the summer of 1989, when Judy Goffman Cutler, an art dealer on New York’s Upper East Side, put the piece up for sale. Cutler is also the founder of the National Museum of American Illustration, located in Newport, Rhode Island, which owns many of Rockwell’s works.
At least two people, including Mary Ellen Shortland, the manager of the Circle Art Galleries at the time of the theft, saw Cutler’s advertisements for the painting and attempted to get police to relaunch an investigation, but to no avail.
“For whatever reason,” FBI agent Brostrom says, “authorities at that time were unable to locate the original police report or confirm the painting had ever been stolen.”
What led Brostrom to reopen the cold case fifteen years later, in 2004, the agent says, was a message from “a friendly source in the community” who tipped him off to a 1989 Riverfront Times story about Shortland’s efforts.
That story, by longtime contributor Wm. Stage, recounts a conversation with Goffman Cutler, noting that the art dealer “doubted whether the Rockwell in her possession had likely been stolen.” Stage wrote that Goffman Cutler “had gotten it from someone who’d purchased it at auction,” and that “the stolen Rockwell was a different version of the one she had just sold — to an undisclosed person for an undisclosed sum.”
The FBI art crime team believes that “undisclosed person” to whom Goffman Cutler refers was Spielberg.
Brostrom says his “friendly source” indicated the “undisclosed sum” was $200,000.
Goffman Cutler did not return a phone call requesting comment for this story.
Jack Solomon, the former owner of Circle Art Galleries, was Rockwell’s dealer up until several years before the painter’s death in 1978, and was the owner of Russian Schoolroom when it was stolen. “She should have known better,” says Solomon, who now owns S2 Art Center, a Las Vegas gallery, in reference to Goffman Cutler. “She could have checked that — there’s been a record of this ever since the day it was stolen.”
The case broke open suddenly late last week, when the FBI received a call from a Spielberg representative. Someone in the director’s entourage had recently noticed a year-old alert on the FBI’s Web site describing the stolen painting.
The call from Spielberg’s representative came at about the same time that a New York-based member of the FBI Art Crime Team began querying dealers and galleries there in order to determine the most prominent collectors of Rockwells.
That group, according to Rockwell Museum curator Linda Pero, includes former presidential candidate Ross Perot and film director George Lucas, in addition to Spielberg.
An FBI agent in Los Angeles spent the past week negotiating the painting’s return.
“It’s not a typical Rockwell,” notes Solomon, the artwork’s former owner. “He did it when he traveled to Russia at the end of the Cold War. It’s beautiful. It has a lot of reds in it.”
Authorities expect a legal skirmish to ensue over title to the work. The FBI says Spielberg will retain possession until the matter is resolved.
Solomon hopes he’ll be declared the rightful owner. “I’m sure in two calls I could turn it over for X million dollars before the sun goes down,” he says.
Yes, Mr. Spielberg is a Rockwell collector who never bothered to Google the name of this painting, which would have told him within seconds it was stolen
Art Hostage comments:
OK, lets give Mr Spielberg the benefit of the doubt and regard this as a genuine mistake.
Perhaps then Mr Spielberg may consider joining the search for the stolen Vermeer from Boston, and then perhaps a screenplay and film about stolen art to follow?
All we ask is for a "Hand up, not handout"
Furthermore, I wonder if it may be a good idea for all art collectors in Hollywood to check their art collections in case they too have bought a stolen artwork by mistake.
It is an easy exercise, all one has to do is Google the title of the artwork and, hey presto, it will give an answer in seconds.
The fact this could have been done with the Norman Rockwell painting "Russian Schoolroom"anytime over the last few years should not be taken as complicit behaviour by Mr Spielberg, even though he is a prominent Norman Rockwell collector and connoisseur.
He is a very busy man you know and every second is precious.
Finally, the fact the the FBI were asking questions and in the process of obtaining a list of names of prominent Norman Rockwell collectors has nothing to do with the fact that a Spielberg employee spotted the "Russian Schoolroom" painting was publicly listed as stolen.
I am sure Mr Spielberg, who paid $200,000 for the painting in 1989 was not aware of it being stolen.

Pray God it's the Original !

Russian Schoolroom by Normon Rockwell

Painting Appears to Be Stolen Rockwell
By BETSY TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

Friday, March 2, 2007

The FBI has recovered a painting that appears to be a Norman Rockwell work stolen from suburban St. Louis more than three decades ago.

Law enforcement officials believe the painting could be the original of Rockwell's "Russian Schoolroom," snatched during a late-night burglary at a gallery in Clayton, Mo., on June 25, 1973.

"We think we have located it. It has not been authenticated," said FBI spokesman Pete Krusing. He would not say how or where the painting was discovered, only that it was not in the St. Louis area. No one has been charged in the case, he said.

The oil-on-canvas painting shows children in a classroom with a bust of communist leader Vladimir Lenin.

The painting the FBI was after measured 16 inches-by-37 inches and was presented in a 2-foot by-4 foot frame of dull gold-white molding, according to the FBI's description of the missing work.

The curator of the Rockwell collections at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., Linda Pero, said, "I think it's really wonderful, if it's been found." She did have slightly different dimensions in a catalog of Rockwell's work, 15 1/4 inches-by 37 inches for the missing painting.

The painting was nabbed in a gallery heist and then resurfaced briefly in legitimate art forums before disappearing again.

Mary Ellen Shortland worked at the long-closed Clayton Art Gallery when the painting was stolen 34 years ago. She recalled Friday that the gallery was holding a Rockwell exhibit, mainly of lithographs, at the time. The gallery's parent company, Circle Fine Art in Chicago, arranged for the Rockwell original to be on hand to draw visitors to the show, she said.

Shortland said a Missouri client bought the painting for $25,000, but agreed to let it remain on display, as it had been advertised as part of the show. Just a few nights later, someone smashed the gallery's glass door and escaped with the painting.

"That was all they took. That's what they wanted, that painting," Shortland recalled.

The gallery refunded the client's money, and there was no sign of the work for years. Then in 1988, it was auctioned in New Orleans. "It sold for $70,400 and a 10 percent buyer's premium," Pero said.

Shortland recalled that she saw the painting again in an advertisement for a small New York gallery, since closed, about 15 years ago. She said she contacted Circle, but "Russian Schoolroom" was not recovered. Shortland, now the owner of Creative Art Gallery and Picture Framing, estimated that the painting could be worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars" today, if it is in excellent condition.

In 2004, the FBI's newly formed Art Crime Team initiated an investigation to recover the work.

Rockwell's work often resonates with people because much of it captures moments from everyday life, such as a boy watching his father shave, family members saying grace over a Thanksgiving turkey or a young girl having a dress fitting.

The artist died at age 84 in 1978. While "Russian Schoolroom" appeared in Look magazine, the artist is best known for the covers he did for The Saturday Evening Post. More than 300 Rockwell creations appeared on the cover of the publication.
Art Hostage comments:
Hope springs eternal, Vermeer by the 17th, when can we go public?
If this turns out to be the original Rockwell then praise must be heaped upon the Noble FBI Agent Robert "Billboard Bob"Wittman, Straight as a gun barrel, and the finest FBI Agent Harold Smith ever met.
If this painting is a copy, then Robert Wittman was certainly not involved at all.
And that's a memo !

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Don't Own This Painting. I Didn't Paint This Painting. I Am Just Sleeping With Another Picasso.

Gilles Bensimon
I Don't Own This Painting. I Didn't Paint This Painting. I Am Just Sleeping With Another Picasso.

Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 2, 2007

The two stolen Picassos are practically stealing the Paris fashion week shows. The international creative director of Elle magazine, Gilles Bensimon, was sleeping at the home of his girlfriend, Diana Widmaier-Picasso, who is the artist's granddaughter, when the theft occurred Monday night.
Mr. Bensimon is in town to see the ready-to-wear collections and was staying at the Picasso residence in the 7th arrondissement, according to Women's Wear Daily.
As he entered the Celine show, Mr. Bensimon had to field more than one question about the theft. "Is it true?" a breathless show-goer asked him as he was about to take his front-row seat.
A tan, smiling Frenchman with white curly locks, Mr. Bensimon wasn't shy about answering more questions. "I don't own this painting. I didn't paint this painting. I am just sleeping with another Picasso," he told The New York Sun.
He did not hear anything during the break-in. "Diana woke me up," he said. Mr. Bensimon confirmed Ms. Widmaier-Picasso's lack of physical harm from the incident to WWD, but said he found the episode "frightening." "I'm just glad I was there," he told WWD while attending the Givenchy show.
Mr. Bensimon was previously married to Kelly Bensimon, a former model and a sometime editor at Elle Accessories. Their marriage ended in January 2006, after Mr. Bensimon was reportedly seen with Ms. Widmaier-Picasso, and Ms. Bensimon with various acquaintances. A previous marriage, to the model Elle Macpherson, ended in divorce in 1989.
Ms. Widmaier-Picasso is an art historian and the daughter of Maya Widmaier- Picasso — the daughter of Picasso and his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter — and Pierre Widmaier. The elder Ms. Widmaier-Picasso was also asleep in the apartment during the theft.
WWD also reported that the couple has relocated to a hotel.
The stolen paintings — "Maya With Doll" and "Portrait of the Woman Jacqueline" — were worth an estimated $66 million.