Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Noortman Revisited ??????

Creditors Seize Dutch Museum’s Art Collection

SPANBROEK, Netherlands—Officials at the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art say that ABN Amro Bank has seized 130 paintings from its collection, reportedly to cover a $48 million loan that the museum’s namesake owner — Dirk Scheringa, president of the DSB Bank — has failed to repay.
The paintings were owned by DSB Beheer, which owns DSB Bank and was declared bankrupt this week. It now appears that Dirk Scheringa pledged the paintings at the museum as collateral for the loan.
Officials at the museum estimated the total value of the works at $60 million.

May 2009:

Armed robbers steal paintings from Dutch museum

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Masked gunmen stole two paintings from a Dutch museum Friday, including a work by surrealist Salvador Dali, officials said.

Police said several robbers threatened a guard at the Scheringa Museum for Realism in Spanbroek with a gun before making off with two paintings. Nobody was injured.

The robbers took “Adolescence,” a 1941 gouache by Dali and “La Musicienne,” an oil painting from 1929 by Polish-born art deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, the museum said in a statement.

The paintings’ value was not released, but the museum says they are among the top works in its collection.

The Dali painting was 18 x 12 inches (45 by 30 centimeters) and the De Lempicka’s was 46 x 29 inches (116 by 73 centimeters).

“We deeply regret the theft and hope the works are traced soon,” according to a statement from the museum, which is 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Amsterdam.

The Dali painting shows a landscape in which a woman’s face can be seen — her lips and nose are formed by the back of a seated woman and her eyes are part of two hills in the background.

The Lempicka shows a woman in a vivid blue dress playing a mandolin-like instrument.

The museum houses the art collection of wealthy Dutch banker Dirk Scheringa and his wife.

Art Hostage Comments;

Timing is everything !!

Noortman anybody ??????

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Weisman Warhols Ready To Come Home !!!

LOS ANGELES — A prominent art collector who reported stolen 11 original silk screen paintings by Andy Warhol has waived the insurance policy he owns to protect the art, authorities said Thursday.

Collector Richard L. Weisman said he couldn't take the thought of insurance investigators poring through his records and questioning family and friends.

"They turn you into a suspect," Weisman told the Seattle Times. "I just finally told them, 'I'm not going to go through it for three to five years. Forget it. ... That's the only reason, and it's a good enough reason."

Police Detective Mark Sommer confirmed Weisman's move to the Los Angeles Times and said Weisman has been difficult to track down.

"It is curious," Sommer said. "We'd like to talk to him about it."

The missing paintings were discovered by the family's longtime nanny at Weisman's Los Angeles home Sept. 3. Weisman was in Seattle at the time.

Police said there was no forced entry, a home alarm system was not on, and other valuable works of art were left untouched. There are no suspects in the case.

"Everything in the house was untouched, there wasn't even an ashtray overturned," Weisman told the Seattle Times.

Ten of the 40-inch-square portraits — believed to be worth at least $1 million apiece — feature famous athletes of the 1970s, including Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Pele and Dorothy Hamill. The other is of Weisman himself, likely a commissioned portrait.

Weisman said he got to know Warhol when he was working as an investment banker in New York in the early 1970s.
Art Hostage Comments;
Now the hard part, how to quietly allow these Warhol's to surface !!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Heist, Polygraph Solves the Case !!!

Pebble Beach Art Heist, Crunch Time !!!

To solve the Pebble Beach stolen art case once and for all, a simple polygraph test taken by both the victims will conclude proceedings.
Failure to do so will result in three and a half words from Police:
"You're Under Arrest"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Stolen Art, Vertigo !!

Multimillion-Dollar Art Heist May Be Hoax

Art Collection Owners Not Being Ruled Out As Suspects

BOSTON -- A former Harvard doctor and his business partner are not being ruled out as a suspects in an alleged art heist at their California home in which millions of dollars of artwork was stolen, officials said Tuesday.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Department said they are not ruling out that the heist, which could be worth as much as $80 million, is a hoax.

During the news conference, Cmdr. Mike Richards repeatedly said that his department has asked the collection's owners, A. Benjamin Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, who worked at Harvard, to come forward and cooperate.

"It's hard to conduct an investigation when the victims aren't being cooperative," Richards said.

Richards also said they arrested Danny Griffith, who Amadio and Kennaugh said was a suspect, and he was released after giving an "airtight alibi," and that both Amadio and Kennaugh are suspects.

"Our office has been taking this case seriously since it came to us. We are doing the best we can with what we have," Richards said.

Amadio and Kennaugh unveiled the identity of a local insurance broker who they said was one of two agents working to make sure the art was insured prior to the theft.

In the release issued by lawyers for Amadio and Kennaugh, they said David R. St. John, an insurance broker with Insurance Consultants, had visited the Pebble Beach home several times prior to the theft, and personally saw the art collection, which was stolen on Sept. 25.

Richards said that Amadio and Kennaugh haven't told the sheriff's office anything about an insurance broker.

Last week, Monterey County called in crime experts from southern California to help out with the case. The owners of the collection, meanwhile, have called in their own private investigator and have contacted the FBI.

Adding another twist to the case was a ransom note that was found in the home several days after the heist. Amadio and Kennaugh said the note read, "Pay up or die."

The owners have said from the beginning that they think the heist was an inside job and that the chances of getting their art back are slim.

Art Hostage Comments:
Please, no self harm, drug overdoses or other symantics.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Art Heist, You're No Gardner Art Heist !!

Pebble Beach theft could rank 2nd in U.S. art heists

Herald Staff Writers
Updated: 10/04/2009 01:29:41 AM PDT

If the owners' estimates are anywhere near correct, the value of the art reported stolen from a Pebble Beach home nine days ago makes it one of the biggest art heists in U.S. history.

Collector Angelo Benjamin Amadio says art experts have told him the take may be second in the country to the world's biggest unsolved art theft: the 1990 haul from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas and has been valued at $300 million.

The estimated value of the Pebble Beach theft has increased by millions since it was announced in a press release a week ago. The first estimates, which Amadio says were made before an inventory of the loss was completed, placed the value of the missing art at $27 million — a total based on a 2002 inventory of the collection.

By Friday, the Boston Globe reported that Vicki St. John, an attorney representing Amadio and his friend and business partner Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, said that about 30 pieces had been stolen — and the total value could now be as much as $100 million.

But Amadio said experts have told him the pieces' current value would more likely range from $60 million to $80 million.

"Put it this way: If someone had given us $80 million, we would have taken it."

Among the works listed as stolen were paintings and drawings by Rembrandt, Matisse, Miro, Renoir and Van Gogh. There might also be a Degas in the lot, he said.

The purported crown jewel of the heist is a 7-foot-long painting by Jackson Pollock that Amadio said has never been publicly displayed and may not have been included in any "catalogue raisonne," the art world's term for a listing of an artist's body of work. But private collectors "know about the piece," Amadio said.

Nancy Netzer, director of the McMullen Museum at Boston College and a professor of art history, said, "I do think it's possible that there are Pollack paintings not in the catalogue raisonne. How likely in any specific case would depend on what is known of the picture's provenance."

Amadio showed reporters several pages of paperwork that he said described the provenance and authenticity of the missing painting. The Pollock piece alone may be worth anywhere from $20 million to $60 million, he said.7

As with any large-scale art theft, there has been speculation as to how insurance figures into the loss.

One the men's two insurance agents, Jerry Seagraves of Capitola, said Thursday the men had policies covering a fair amount of art and personal articles, but he didn't know yet if the missing art was among them.

"It's a terrible catastrophe to have to go through," Seagraves said.

Arthur Dion, who for 20 years was president of the Boston Art Dealers' Association, said that while not insuring valuable works of art isn't recommended, it's not unheard of.

"It's crazy," he said, "but plausible.

Art Hostage Comments:

News is breaking about a possible big break in the Pebble Beach art heist case and it could all be over by the end of the week.

Upon a more sobering note, anyone remember Lloyd Bentsen when he said to Dan Quayle in the 1984 Vice-presidential debate:

"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" ???

Well, Art Hostage says about the Pebble Beach art heist:

"You're no Gardner Art Heist"

More to follow...............................

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stolen Art Watch, Pebble Beach Stolen Art Mystery, Time For the Big Guns, Robert Wittman and the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team !!!

Website for Retired FBI Icon Robert Wittman:
Owners of Stolen Art Question Law Enforcements Actions
PEBBLE BEACH -- The victims in last week's big Pebble Beach art heist and the Monterey County Sheriff's Office both said Thursday they were done talking about the case -- for the time being.

But they didn't fall silent before taking pokes at each other.

In a statement, Angelo Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh, who claim they lost up to $80 million worth of artwork in a Sept. 25 burglary at their rented Sunridge Road home, said they wouldn't do further press interviews or make statements about the case because of "concern that the investigation process could be adversely affected."

The Sheriff's Office said in a press release that it would not comment on the reported art theft until a press conference early next week.

Amadio and Kennaugh, business partners in a number of ventures, put out the first press release outlining the alleged burglary Sunday. They said they had lost 13 valuable pieces of art, including works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, in an afternoon burglary at the Pebble Beach residence.

They initially put the value of the missing artwork at $27 million. By mid-week, after they said they were able to inventory their collection, the number of missing pieces grew to about 30, with a total value of $60 million to $80 million.

In their statement Thursday, the men said questions had arisen about "the delayed response of local law enforcement in Monterey County." They said the Sheriff's Office took the burglary report about 7 p.m. the day it happened, but did not send fingerprint technicians and detectives to the home until Tuesday.

Their statement said an extortion note that contained a demand for money and threats to kill them was found at the scene "by the officers present."

That contradicts information previously released by the Sheriff's Office, which said the purported extortion note was turned over to investigators after Amadio told the press about it.

"The Sheriff's Office is concerned about statements and information released by others compromising the integrity of the investigation," its press release said.

Sheriff's spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said he couldn't comment on the investigation.

In their statement, Amadio and Kennaugh said they appreciated media coverage of the burglary and said "some valuable tips have been provided to law enforcement officials."

The men said their collection of some 300 pieces of art had been shipped to the Pebble Beach home from Boston where they had operated a wholesale art business for about 10 years. They said most of the pieces were uninsured.

They said the most valuable piece, a Jackson Pollock painting they obtained in 2001, had never been publicly shown and could be worth more than $20 million.
Art theft victims aim to set record straight
Extortion note discovered by associate, not police, collector says
The men who say they lost tens of millions of dollars worth of fine art in a Pebble Beach home burglary sought Friday to patch a rift with the county Sheriff's Office.
Meanwhile, a Sheriff's Office spokesman said the investigation into the large-scale art heist could lead to unrelated criminal charges.

An attorney for Angelo Amadio and Dr. Ralph Kennaugh clarified a dispute over who discovered a purported extortion note that was found at the Sunridge Road house earlier this week.

On Thursday, the men claimed that deputies "at the scene" found the note, which reportedly included a demand for money and death threats, while they were processing the scene Tuesday.

In a "correction" released Friday, they say the note "was discovered by one of Mr. Amadio's associates who was present."

The Sheriff's Office maintains the note was turned over to investigators after it was found in the house.

Amadio and Kennaugh say their rented house was burglarized Sept. 25 and that up to $80million worth of artwork from an extensive collection was taken, including works by Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt, Miro and Renoir.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Cmdr. Mike Richards said, "Basically my only comment is that we're glad Mr. Amadio has corrected one of the errors."

The two men, who say their art collection was shipped to the Pebble Beach home over the past two months, earlier criticized the Sheriff's Office for not sending investigators and evidence technicians to the home until four days after the reported break-in.
Richards said deputies continue to investigate the reported burglary, in which the men say they not only lost up to $100million worth of art, but a computer and $3,100 in cash.

"We are also exploring other possibilities and motivations which may or may not culminate in unrelated or related criminal charges," he said.

Richards declined to elaborate, citing the Sheriff's Office's decision to "maintain silence" about the ongoing investigation.

He said a news conference about the case will be held early next week.
Art Hostage Comments:

Those who read this blog and the Art Hostage blog will know Art Hostage has some informed opinions on global art theft, based upon a unblemished 15 year career in trafficking stolen art around the world and eight years M.A. and B.A. (Hons) University education.

So, the advice to the victims and local Law Enforcement from Art Hostage is take a deep breath and a step back.

Art Hostage does not apportion blame to either local Law Enforcement or to the victims.

Neither side were prepared for this huge art heist and neither side should be expected to take the heavy burden of investigating this tragic, specialised crime.

The investigation should now be co-ordinated between the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team and from the private sector Robert Wittman, who has retired from being the FBI Art Crime Team Guru.

Robert Wittman can be contacted here:

Robert Wittman brings to the table 30 years experience as an FBI Agent of distinction and was the Founding Father of the FBI Art Crime Team.

Robert Wittman also has the distinction of being a genuine art lover and his first concern, especially as he is now in the private sector, is the recovery of the stolen art.

However, since retiring FBI Icon Robert Wittman now brings to the table a pragmatism that means he is fully able to negotiate as well as investigate art crimes.

The whole process of recovering stolen art is a minefield littered with those who think they can act alone, be that from Law Enforcement or the private sector.

There are mechanisms which can see stolen art recovered and payments made without breaking the law and to the satisfaction of the victims, insurers and Law Enforcement.

The problem has always been to get agreement and getting all sides on board.

Until Robert Wittman retired most attempts to broker an acceptable deal had been a "Bridge to Nowhere" in recent times.

The Pebble Beach art theft is a Golden opportunity to demonstrate this new found pragmatism and show that with a little ingenuity the retention of Robert Wittman can be the key to a quick resolution to this and many other historic art theft cases.

All the while local Law Enforcement and the victims are competing for the headlines and playing a game of one-upmanship,*** ******* will not release findings that will speed up the investigation.

Art Hostage, whilst his attention is firmly fixed on California, he also has an eye cast on the past and East from Pebble Beach towards the East Coast.

Revelations could give juicy headlines, but do not serve to recover the art.

When the L.A. FBI Art Crime Team take over the criminal investigation and Robert Wittman takes over the private investigation, that is the time when the art will be recovered, unless someone breaks cover beforehand.
Cracks are starting to appear, how long can the Dam hold ???