Monday, June 28, 2010

A Recovery (UPDATED)

There were reports today of the recovery of a stolen Caravaggio worth $100 million. But Art Theft Central casts some doubt:

"Unfortunately, it appears as if the media has not performed much research into the painting's history. Although the Telegraph includes the fact that in '1950, a Moscow art expert declared that the painting in Odessa was in fact the work of Caravaggio,' it fails to add that in 1993 the art historian Sergio Benedetti reattributed the painting to be a contemporary copy (Sergio Benedetti "Caravaggio's 'Taking of Christ', a Masterpiece Rediscovered" The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 135, No. 1088 (Nov., 1993), pp. 731-741). ... Perhaps the press needs to confirm and corroborate its information so as to avoid sensationalizing art theft stories needlessly. ... While coverage of stolen art recoveries is valuable to the heightened public awareness of our cultural heritage's vulnerability, the public also needs verification of art provenance."

Related thoughts on inflated values from The Art Market Monitor.

UPDATE: More from Tom Flynn.