Monday, August 14, 2006

Smurfing Treasures

Updates on the Russian art thievery reported here earlier:

Via, the NY TimesSteven Lee Myers reports today of a fourth arrest in the Hermitage art theft ring. A curator there, Larisa Zavadskaya, was at the center of the operation, and died of a heart attack around the time the massive secretive thefts were being uncovered. Her husband Nikolai Zavadsky, and son, Nikolai Jr., were also involved. The fourth suspect is Ivan Sobolev, a college teacher. He was a colleague of the father.

In response to this incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a nationwide audit of art objects. A commission is to be set up by September 1st in order to inventory the nation’s treasures. This AP story by Henry Meyer is also via Artforum. So far only 13 of the 221 smurfed artworks have been recovered.

Oh, and also millions of dollars in drawings by Russian Constructivist artchitect Yakov Chernikhov were also recently stolen from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art. Rosokhrankultura is not sure how many drawings have been stolen but that 274 of them, worth $1.3M, have been recovered, beat that Hermitage! This is embarrassing no doubt. The assumption then is of course, if there still are cultural artifacts for the commission to inventory, that they will then have a list on hand so everyone will have a better idea of what is missing when things are stolen in the future. This last bit was from the LA Times, Henry Meyer reporting again, and brought to you yet again by Artforum. Yaaaay Arforum, a long list of links to other sites that have news about art.

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