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The Dark Side’s Top Stories of 2019

December 30, 2019

The art world is filled with characters who love to travel on its dark side.  During 2019, we posted so many articles about crime and punishment that I lost count; but I can say that of all our blog posts, those from the dark side get the most click-throughs.  As 2019 comes to an end, here is a recap on our three most popular “Dark Side” stories.

Maine Flowers or Roses from Hispania (1936-37) by Marsden Hartley

Marsden Hartley

March 15, 2019, US Medical Giant Finds Forgeries in their Collection: This post discussed the scandal involving Abbott Laboratories, an Illinois based art conservator and Carol Feinberg of New York.  During the time that Abbott Laboratories sent Maine Flowers (or Roses from Hispania) (1936-37) by Marsden Hartley for conservation, it was swapped out for a forgery before being returned.  The authentic piece later ended up in the collection of Carol Feinberg who was sued by Abbott for the return of the work and then countersued to confirm she purchased the work in “good faith,” and slander.

View of a Dutch square Jan van der Heyden 1637-1712

Jan van der Heyden

March 28, 2019, Heir’s Recover the 7th of 160+ Artworks Looted by the Nazis: This post discusses the Kraus heirs and their long struggle trying to locate more than 160 artworks stolen from Gottlieb and Mathilde Kraus during the Nazi reign.  According to the article, View of a Dutch Square by 17th-century artist, Jan van der Heyden was found in St. Victor’s Cathedral in Xanten and voluntary surrendered in recognition of the Nazi injustice to the heirs of Gottleib and Mathilde.  This is one of seven works returned to the family… unfortunately over 150 still remain unaccounted for.

Detail: Picasso's Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)

Detail: Picasso’s Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)

April 12, 2019, The Bright Side of the Art World’s Dark Side:  This story involves a missing work by Picasso that was finally recovered.  Buste de Femme (Dora Maar) hung in Picasso’s home until his death and was purchased by Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh in 1980.  The painting hung aboard the Sheikh’s yacht and went missing in 1999.  Dutch investigator, Arthur Brand, followed dead-end tips until this year

While I hope that 2020 sees a slowdown in the number of criminals traveling through the art world, I have my doubts.