When Fine Art is Stolen, Held Hostage or Destroyed

When Fine Art is Stolen, Held Hostage or Destroyed

While we hesitate to bring up politics or the world situation, art is suffering as it never has before. Today I posted on The Appraisal Group Facebook page (http://bit.ly/25w6acS.) a drone video of the destruction of ruins in Palmyra. Unfortunately, this is not a new subject. Terrorist groups have systematically destroyed ancient art that is the foundation of civilization.

i don’t wish disaster on anyone  and my heart is heavy writing about this subject.  It does, however, make more sense than ever to know the value of what you own or want to pass on to family.  Here is another example of how times of crises can impact fine art collections.

In the mid-2000’s a Russian named Peter Konowaloff wrote to Yale University saying a work in their collection,  Van Gogh’s “Night Cafe”, was stolen from his family during the Russian Revolution. The same man had previously contested a work of art in the Met Museum, stating that it had been appropriated from his family.

The Yale case went on for several years. The Supreme Court recently upheld the United States “Act of State” doctrine that prevents US courts from second-guessing the policies of foreign governments. This refers to the Konowaloff claim. Yale keeps the painting. Its value is $200M.

A few years ago Hollywood put out the movie “Monuments Men”. It was an loose account of the efforts  of our government to locate and  catalog art the Nazis had stolen from homes. It is definitely worth seeing.

As I write this blog today, I weep for the people and the art being broken by wars. Pray it never happens here or to you.

Editor’s Note: Today’s featured image is Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Night Cafe”.



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