The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

More than a thousand objects from the Met's collections suspected of coming from looting or trafficking


Cornered by the seizures, the New York museum would still house many works with troubled provenance, reveals the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The looted works kept by the Metropolitan Museum of New York (Met) would not number in the tens but in the thousands.

According to a new survey by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published on Monday, the prestigious New York museum retains within its walls a large collection of objects that have been the subject of illicit art trafficking.

According to the count of journalists, who reviewed the entire catalog of works in the museum, it is 1109 properties.

Among these objects,

"more than 150 pieces from the Met's collection of antiquities passed through the hands of a dozen other people or galleries from whom prosecutors seized stolen antique works",

indicates the investigation of the 'ICIJ, produced in collaboration with several NGOs and media.

The collections of certain departments of the museum thus appear particularly under-documented and suspect, like the Kashmiri and Nepalese antiquities.

Of the 250 objects from Kashmir and Nepal, only three objects can boast of precise documentation that retraces their journey.

Doubtful sources

Despite the attention displayed by the management of the Met for the research of provenance,

“less than half”

of the 1109 works with the problematic course would be correctly traced.

However, the absence of a documented context of the departure of objects from their countries raises the question of the legality of their export, recalls the ICIJ.

The consortium further specifies that 309 items on the list would still be on display in the galleries of the Met.

Read alsoThe Center Pompidou signs an agreement for a future museum of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia

The museum

"goes to great lengths to ensure that all works entering the collection adhere to the strict laws and policies in place at the time of acquisition

," the Met said in a statement.

As the ICIJ investigation reminds us, Thomas Hoving - director of the museum between 1967 and 1977 - had not however hidden in his memoirs, published in 1994, having spawned with a number of smugglers.

His method was to play the game of looters, even if it meant returning the pieces thus acquired in the event of substantiated claims.

“It is our strategy”

, had assumed Thomas Hoving after a restitution of Greek works looted from Turkey.

"The Met sets the tone for museums around the world

," said Tess Davis, quoted in the ICIJ survey.

Director of the NGO Antiquities Coalition, devoted to the fight against the trafficking of cultural property, the specialist is worried about the signal sent by the establishment.

If the Met lets all these objects slip through the cracks of its net, what can we expect from the rest of the art market?

Several dozen pieces of the Met have been seized during nine searches ordered since 2017 – including six in 2022. The list of works from the museum in the sights of the authorities, however, continues to grow.

In March, the Indian daily

Indian Express

published a list of 77 items kept by the Met and passed into the hands of art trafficker Subhash Kapoor, who was convicted earlier this year.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-22

You may like

Life/Entertain 2023-03-24T14:17:59.559Z
Life/Entertain 2023-03-09T16:52:34.786Z
Life/Entertain 2022-12-16T16:54:07.613Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-06-05T09:30:44.558Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.