join the mailinglist


December 2, 1997

- Pompeii in peril again after years of official neglect (in 15 years 600 items were stolen)

- Steve Keller Change of Address, and 1998 Museum Association Security Committee membership dues

- New to the list and a request

- museum security requirements for loaning objects

- A small message of appreciation for the Boston Globe

- Art stolen by Nazi troops

- Stolen Serape

- Sotheby's takes work tied to Nazis off block


- Wife of artwork tipster found dead

- Disaster Preparedness BIBLIOGRAPHY

- What's the real dirt on the `Sunflowers' paintings by van Gogh?

- Family says art will be returned if it was stolen

- Stricken basilica in Assisi to reopen

- Thieves escape with Picasso from Swiss home

- Fire Safe Heritage Listserv

- REPOST: Help with Thesis research

Pompeii in peril again after years of official neglect

(in 15 years 600 items were stolen)
By Bruce Johnston in Rome
POMPEII, partially preserved by the ash from Vesuvius that covered it during the disastrous eruption in AD 79, is in danger of being destroyed through neglect and mismanagement, the city's chief archaeologist said yesterday. Understaffed and badly run-down, with weeds dislodging precious mosaics, only 14 per cent of the area's 145 acres is now on public show, a tiny fraction of what could be visited 40 years ago. Ever-greater numbers of visitors, now standing at two million every year, threaten what little there is to see. Antique floors are damaged by boots and the walls by dirty hands and heavy rucksacks. Once-superb frescoes are fading due to exposure to the elements. "Pompeii's death was not delivered with one blow. It is slow, but sure," said Piero Guzzo, the archaeological superintendent of the site. Many of Pompeii's frescoes, its colonnaded villas, statues and mosaics are now off-limits. Only 20 acres are open; another 50 have still to be excavated 240 years after excavations first began. For reasons of security, many of the treasures of the ancient trading town and port which were preserved by the volcanic ash are housed in the Archaeological Museum in nearby Naples. Pompeii's own museum was closed in 1975 after it was looted of coins and jewellery, while in 1977 thieves hacked 14 frescoes out of the House of the Gladiators. Over the following 15 years, another 600 items were stolen. Mr Guzzo said the site, which is also prey to local organised crime, had deteriorated significantly. He said he had been waiting for 18 months for the authorities in Rome to send a new chief to head the 150-strong corps of guards. Many of the wall paintings were now invisible, while others were covered with dust and dirt. But he said suggestions that the best remedy for the site was to cover it up again were "provocative". Ten years' work and 150 million were needed if the site was to be passed on to "our grandchildren". The extra money would pay only for essentials, such as new roofing, he said. But although the site is being well managed for the first time in years and a master plan for its preservation, which is now being prepared, have provided some hope, Pompeii's vastness and complexity, with 1,500 buildings and miles of roads and walls, make its rescue a daunting task after so much neglect. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, an archaeologist and director of the British School at Rome, spends much of his time at the site. He and other experts have praised Mr Guzzo for his efforts, especially for his emphasis on conserving what has already been uncovered, rather than spending time and money uncovering more, as his predecessors had done. One former superintendent is facing charges of embezzling funds by means of bogus building contracts. Mr Guzzo has also tried to ease Pompeii from the clutches of the Neapolitan Mafia, despite a "warning" which he received over building contracts when the heads of several irreplaceable plaster casts of the Pompeiian dead were crushed. Although there is little hope of Pompeii receiving even the bare 150 million it needs, new legislation allowing it to keep its ticket revenues is expected at least to triple its annual budget of 2 million. The law also created a mechanism that will permit private money to be channelled directly into running the site for the first time. Hopes are high of gaining corporate sponsors. But these and other promising ideas are likely to require time. "We can't wait another 10 years," said Andrea Carandini, one of Italy's foremost archaeologists. "In another 10 years there may be nothing left."
Copyright Telegraph Group Limited 1997.

Steve Keller Change of Address, and 1998 Museum Association Security Committee membership dues


Ton: I'd appreciate it very much if you would post this address change for me and also make the appropriate correction on your website. I have moved both my home and my firm to a neighboring city in Florida to be closer to the airport (and of course, the beach!). Both my consultancy and my wife's training firm have located to the same address: Steven R. Keller and Associates, Inc. Museum Security Consultants 22 Foxfords Chase Ormond Beach, Florida 32174 (904) 673-9973 (904) 673-9974 FAX Horizon Institute, Inc. 22 Foxfords Chase Ormond Beach, Florida 32174 (904) 672-1118 (904) 673-9974 (FAX) Also, anyone who is still holding their 1998 Museum Association Security Committee membership dues payment can save time and confusion by sending it to me care of the above address. Items from the former post office box will still get here but are being forwarded. Thanks very much, Steve Keller, CPP

New to the list and a request

Dorothy Shin

As the journalist in Akron, Ohio, who broke the Anthony Melnikas case, I would be especially interested in anything having to do with Melnikas or the Vatican or stolen medieval mss. or mss.

From: Ann Tenold
To: "''"

museum security requirements for loaning objects

What is the best way to learn museum security requirements for loaning art works? I am working on a capital campaign for a new art museum and the security system is being designed. I want to make sure that it is first rate and acceptable for borrowing works of art from other institutions. Thank you!

A small message of appreciation to the Boston Globe

Several times Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, has been sending his reports to the Museum Security Mailinglist. I feel a stronge need to express my gratitude for this very welcome support of the Museum Security Mailinglist endeavor. Without the help of journalists like Walter I would not be able to send the kind of information so many of you appear to appreciate and I really would appreciate if those of you that share my feelings send your feedback to Walter at:
Ton Cremers
To: "Museum Security Mailinglist"
From: "dr. Tomaso Vialardi di Sandigliano"

Art stolen by Nazi troops

As the journalists E.J. Gong Jr., Maureen Goggin and Walter V. Robinson, I am interested in anything having to do with art stolen by Nazi troops. In november 1943, the gotic oak carved ceiling and wall panels of Torrione Castle's Great Chamber were stolen by a S.D. (Sicherheitsdienst) company commanded by an unknown major and carried in Germany. Thank you_
From: Jon Freshour

Stolen Serape

Steve......(See our message about Steve Keller of November 25, 1997)
I saw your change of address notice on the MSN and remembered that I have not properly thanked you for placing our notice for the Navajo serape stolen form the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of New mexico on your webb site. The piece has never been located, but may turn up someday, anyway I appreciate your assistance with this matter. (Aside:) I was in Houston last week for a seminar on Intellectual Property. The last session ended at noon giving me two hours before I had to get to the airport. I grabbed a cab and went out to see the Byzantine Chapel. You may remember the story about the frescos, dome and apse, looted from a small, private, 13th century chapel on the island of Cyprus. The pieces were rescued, restored and remains on exhibit in Houston by consent of the Cyprus government. The restoration of the piece is superb and the piece itself is well worth seeing if you get to Houston. Jon D. Freshour Chief registrar Museum of New Mexico

Sotheby's takes work tied to Nazis off block

By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 11/25/97


Sotheby's takes work tied to Nazis off block
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 11/25/97
Southby's auction house withdrew this Jacob van Ruisdael painting, "A Dune Landscape with Two Figures by a Fence," from an upcoming auction in London after learning that it may have been looted by the Nazis. Sotheby's, the venerable auction house, took the extraordinary step yesterday of removing from a London art auction next week a valuable painting by a 17th-century Dutch master, after acknowledging that the Nazis may have plundered it in 1941. The action was taken after The Boston Globe made inquiries last week into the past ownership of the painting, which appears to have been acquired in 1941 by Nazis for Hitler's proposed museum in Linz, Austria. This museum, which was not built, was to have showcased art plundered from European Jews or bought in occupied countries. Sotheby's had included the painting in its Dec. 3 and 4 London auction, even though it noted in its catalog that the work, painted by Jacob van Ruisdael in 1647, had been ''acquired in 1941 for the Gallery in Linz.'' That is a reference - though not one widely known - to Hitler's planned building there. In the last week, with help from art historians and the National Jewish Museum - and cooperation and research by Sotheby's - the Globe compiled further evidence that the painting, ''A Dune Landscape with Two Figures by a Fence,'' may be among the thousands of artworks still unaccounted for 52 years after the war's end. The dealer who sold it and the art adviser to the German collector who bought it both were major figures among Nazi art looters in the Netherlands. Citing ''serious questions that remain'' about the painting, Diana Phillips, the senior vice president for corporate affairs at Sotheby's New York headquarters, said the painting will be withdrawn from the Dec. 3 auction. ''For Sotheby's, this is an obvious matter of corporate and personal morality, and these issues matter enormously to this firm,'' she said. The van Ruisdael work, the latest in a growing number of possibly stolen wartime works to have surfaced publicly, appeared on the market just as the National Jewish Museum and the World Jewish Congress were launching separate efforts to compile databases of missing wartime paintings, many of them looted from Jews. Their goal is to enhance such restitution efforts in the future. The Sotheby's case also underscores the substantial disparity in knowledge about wartime looting between those who buy and sell art - museums, collectors, and auction houses - and the growing number of historians who specialize in plundered art. For example, Sotheby's officials said they were unaware that the US National Archives contains extensive files on wartime looting, including inventories of stolen paintings. But the unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, questions about the van Ruisdael painting suggest that intensified efforts to track down looted art may create a new class of European art - pariah paintings framed by suspicion. Such artworks have no evident victims, and offer little chance that present owners can find someone to buy them. The painting, by the preeminent Dutch landscape artist of the 17th century, is one of 48 works from the estate of German industrialist and collector Guenter Henle that are the marquee items in Sotheby's Old Masters auction. Henle, who died in 1979, was a wealthy German industrialist who was imprisoned by the Allies for 10 months after the war for his role in running critical wartime coal and steel industries in the Ruhr Valley. Phillips, the Sotheby's official, said Henle's family was consulted about the new evidence and concurred in the decision to remove the van Ruisdael from the sale. Ori Z. Soltes, the director of the National Jewish Museum and the chairman of its Holocaust Art Restitution Project, praised Sotheby's for its decision, saying the auction house ''has set a new standard for behavior, rather than succumbing to greed.'' ''This is a linchpin moment,'' Soltes said, ''because it will be impossible from now on for any auction house to not take a thorough second look at artworks that arouse the vaguest suspicion. The old argument, `Gosh, it never occurred to me that this might be looted,' will no longer be feasible.'' Yet Soltes and others who have reviewed the incomplete information in Sotheby's catalog say even that should have triggered a fuller investigation by Sotheby's before it accepted the painting for auction. Indeed, the ownership list, or provenance, in the Sotheby's catalog shows that the painting passed from Nazi control into the New York art market. If that occurred, art specialists say, it raises the possibility it might have been looted twice - once by the Nazis in 1941 and later by someone who smuggled it into the United States. In the last week, Seymour Slive, a retired Harvard fine arts professor and former director of the Fogg Art Museum who now specializes in van Ruisdael's work, and Jonathan Petropoulos, a historian at Loyola College in Baltimore and an expert in wartime looting, provided more evidence about the painting that prompted Sotheby's to reconsider its decision to sell it. ''The provenance of a work of art offered on the market should have Caesar's wife immunity. It should be above suspicion,'' Slive said last night. ''On this one, there is a suspicion.'' Petropoulos, as well as the National Jewish Museum, has archival documents showing that Edouard Plietzsch, a friend and art adviser to Henle, was the wartime deputy director of the Dienststelle Muehlmann, the Nazi art looting unit in the Netherlands. They show, too, that Pieter de Boer, the Dutch dealer who sold the painting to Henle, also sold hundreds of paintings to the Nazis during the war. Nazi Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering once spent the night at de Boer's home, and bought several paintings from him. Slive, who is writing a catalog on the 900-plus paintings, drawings, and etchings attributed to van Ruisdael, discovered evidence in a 1964 catalog that the painting had an intermediate, but unidentified, owner between the time Berlin collector Dr. C. Benedict bought the work in 1926 and the Nazis ''acquired'' it in 1941. Then Slive and George Gordon, a Sotheby's senior director in London, found further documents showing that the unidentified prewar owner lived in Amsterdam - a city targeted by Nazi art looters, including Plietzsch, who in the mid-1950s helped Henle locate paintings for his Old Master collection. Late yesterday, Walter Feilchenfeldt, a Swiss art historian and dealer, confirmed that his father sold the painting in 1934 to a German Jew, Robert Maas, who turned his reichsmarks into paintings after fleeing Germany. But Feilchenfeldt said his father's firm resold it in 1938 to another, unidentified collector. In the past, Sotheby's has been stung by charges that it has sold stolen artworks without closely scrutinizing their ownership history, and criticized for sometimes resisting efforts to resolve ownership disputes. But Gordon, while acknowledging that Sotheby's was unaware of archival records of wartime looting, said the firm ''has been on a rapid upward slope for some time'' in the amount of detailed research it now does before putting a work of art up for auction. ''People in the art world are now becoming sensitized to this issue,'' historian Petropoulos said. ''They realize it's very bad for business to be involved in passing along looted art. At least for practical reasons, they're more responsive now.'' In an initial interview last week, Sotheby's Gordon said he was aware that the Linz reference was to the Hitler museum. But since the Art Loss Register contains no record that the painting was looted, he said he assumed the Nazis purchased it legally from Benedict, the Berlin owner/dealer. He also noted that there had been no claim made, even after the Henle collection was exhibited and published in 1964 by German art historian Horst Vey. But the Art Loss Register keeps scant information about World War II losses. It is now clear that Benedict was not the owner when the Nazis apparently acquired the work. And Gordon said he was unaware that when the Nazis purchased paintings - sometimes under threat and most often at inflated exchange rates - such sales were officially considered looting by the Allied powers. Hitler's art agents, including Plietzsch, scoured occupied Europe to obtain artworks for the Linz Museum, eventually acquiring more than 5,300 works, according to Petropoulos, who has written one book about Nazi treatment of art and is working on a second about looting. Of those 5,300 pieces, he said, about a quarter were plundered, most of those from European Jews whose art collections were targeted for confiscation as part of a coordinated German effort to strip Jews of their property and obliterate their culture before sending many of them to death camps. The rest, he said, were purchased, but often in transactions that could hardly be called ''arm's length'' in nature. Gerard Aalders, a Dutch historian, said those sales amounted to ''technical looting,'' since the Netherlands and other occupied countries were forced to accept German reichsmarks that ultimately proved worthless. A 1943 Allied declaration said occupied countries had the right to declare any purchase by the Nazis invalid. ''If Hitler's or Goering's art agent stood on your doorstep and offered $10,000 for the painting instead of the $100,000 it was really worth, it was pretty hard to refuse,'' said Aalders, who noted that often, Nazis who encountered reluctant sellers threatened to confiscate the art or arrest the owner. Lynn H. Nicholas, in her groundbreaking 1994 book, ''The Rape of Europa,'' plumbed records in the National Archives to give a detailed account of Nazi looting and how the Linz collection was assembled. A more recent book, ''The Lost Museum,'' by Hector Feliciano of France, covers some of the same ground. Most intriguing about the van Ruisdael is the one line, fully disclosed in the Sotheby's catalog, about the Nazi acquisition. This evidence that the Nazis held it during the war came from the 1964 catalog by Vey, who said yesterday he used detailed records from the Henle family to prepare the catalog. Both Feilchenfeldt, speaking from Zurich, and Slive, the van Ruisdael specialist, said they would like to see further evidence that the Nazis indeed obtained the painting. Petropoulos and Marc Masurovsky, an official of the National Jewish Museum's art restitution project, both found evidence in National Archives records that a dozen or more paintings by van Ruisdael found their way into the Linz collection. But for some of the paintings, Masurovsky said, the Nazi inventory records are missing both title and measurements. Looming in the background is Plietzsch, the Henle art advisor who oversaw Nazi art looting in the Netherlands. Historian Vey, who knew both Henle and Plietzsch, said Henle would never have knowingly bought a questionable painting. But Plietzsch, Vey said, though an eminent art historian, ''had a character streak common to many people in those years. He was fascinated by the opportunities for profit, he couldn't resist the opportunities in the Netherlands, he wanted to show his worth and be of help'' to the Third Reich. Plietzsch, Vey added, ''put Henle into quite a few paintings'' starting in the mid-1950s. ''Some of them could have been paintings he handled 10 or 15 years earlier under different circumstances.''

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 11/25/97. c Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 25, 1997
CONTACTS: National: Kathy Westra, (202) 223-6722, ext. 127 Zion: Mark Peterson, (970) 493-2545 Grand Canyon: Dave Simon, (505) 247-1221 Yosemite: Brian Huse, (510) 839-9922


Washington, D.C. -- The national park transportation partnership announced today by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater is an "important first step" in solving the growing problems of visitor crowding at America's national parks, according to the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA). The plan announced today calls for major changes in the way visitors are transported to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks. "This pilot program begins to address the serious problems caused when too many visitors and too many private automobiles descend on our most popular national parks," said Carol F. Aten, Executive Vice President of NPCA. Aten called today's plan an "important first step," noting that "automobile congestion is only one of the difficult crowding issues facing parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion." Another aspect of the problem, she said, is that of crowding by people. "Just being able to put more people in these places more efficiently and without their cars doesn't address the impacts of funneling millions of visitors into the parks." NPCA has long advocated limiting the number of automobiles in popular national parks, a position that is supported by an overwhelming majority of the American public. In a national public opinion survey conducted for NPCA by Colorado State University in 1996, 90% of respondents said they would be willing to use shuttle buses to reduce traffic congestion and help protect park resources. In addition, when asked: "Would you be willing to make a reservation to enter popular parks during the peak season if reservations would reduce crowding and help protect park resources?," 91% of Americans were willing to sacrifice personal convenience in order to protect the parks. Under the plan announced today, a light rail system will be constructed in the community of Tusayan six miles outside Grand Canyon National Park to take all visitors to Mather Point on the South Rim of the canyon. Alternative fuel buses will carry visitors from the light rail --more-- terminal to other points within the park. "It's critical to reduce auto traffic at the South Rim," said David J. Simon, Southwest Regional Director for NPCA. "It is hard to experience the majesty of this park with 6,100 cars competing for 2,100 parking spaces. We believe that light rail offers the best combination of transportation features to meet visitor needs while getting the cars out of the park." The Yosemite plan calls for removing some roads and 2,300 parking spaces from the park. Beginning in 2001, visitors would leave their cars in communities outside Yosemite, travel by bus into the park, and then use alternative fuel shuttles to reach various trailheads and other destinations. "We're gratified that the Interior and Transportation departments have recognized the impact that private automobiles have on our favorite parks," said Brian Huse, NPCA's Pacific Regional Director. "We look forward to their efforts to resolve the long-standing congestion problems at Yosemite through development of a regional transportation system." At Zion, alternative fuel shuttles will begin operating in Zion Canyon from the gateway town of Springdale, Utah, beginning in September 2000. "This is welcome news in a place where there are three to four times as many cars as there are parking spaces during the summer season," said Mark Peterson, NPCA's Rocky Mountain Regional Director. "A mass transit system will give visitors a chance to see the park, not just the parking lot." The National Parks and Conservation Association is America's only private nonprofit citizen organization dedicated solely to preserving, protecting, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System. An association of "Citizens Protecting America's Parks," NPCA was founded in 1919 and today has nearly 500,000 members.

Wife of artwork tipster found dead

By Judy Rakowsky, Globe Staff, 11/25/97
The wife of embattled antiques dealer William P. Youngworth III - the man who says he can arrange the return of art stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 1990 - was found dead in her Randolph apartment yesterday morning. The body of Judith Youngworth, 45, was discovered by her 6-year-old son just before 8 a.m., police said. The death is being treated as accidental, said a spokeswoman for Norfolk District Attorney Jeffrey Locke. William Youngworth recently began serving a two- to three-year prison sentence for possession of a stolen automobile in the garage of their home and antiques dealership on South Main Street. His wife, whose maiden name was Sacarob, had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, but authorities said the precise cause of death cannot be determined until after toxicology reports have been completed. Randolph Police Lieutenant Robert Churchill said Youngworth was apparently under a doctor's care, given the number of prescription drugs officers found in her home. Her son spent the day with a Randolph police detective, who took him to visit his father at MCI-Concord. The boy was expected to stay with an aunt last night. Judith Youngworth, the former proprietor of an antiques store in Brighton, testified on behalf of her husband at his recent trial in Norfolk Superior Court on charges of possession of a stolen van. William Youngworth was sentenced on Nov. 13. His lawyer, Martin K. Leppo, said recently that Judith Youngworth seemed to have been coping with her husband's absence. Leppo said she had welcomed a court decision to drop a habitual-offender charge that could have kept him in prison for up to 15 years. Norfolk County prosecutors have appealed that decision. William Youngworth, who has an extensive criminal record, has repeatedly asserted he can help return 13 rare paintings, sketches, and other art stolen from the Gardner Museum. In exchange, Youngworth sought leniency on pending criminal charges, freedom for an associate, Myles J. Connor Jr., and the Gardner's $5 million reward. But negotiations between authorities, Youngworth, and the museum stalled. Leppo said that Judith Youngworth had not been involved in talks over the return of the artwork. Recently, William Youngworth had sold the contents of the antiques business and filed for bankruptcy protection. In court papers, he stated he has a ''contingent claim'' on the $5 million reward the Gardner Museum has offered for the return of the artwork.
This story ran on page B05 of the Boston Globe on 11/25/97. c Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company.

New at Museum Security website:

Disaster Preparedness BIBLIOGRAPHY (prepared for in-house use at the museum sites of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Frequently updated as new materials and publications become available.) You can reach this bibliography via the Latest Additions page:

What's the real dirt on the `Sunflowers' paintings by van Gogh?

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Created only to decorate his room, the bright sunflowers painted by Vincent van Gogh caused an international stir 10 years ago when one of the famous works drew a record $39.5 million bid. The same painting is at the center of attention again. This time, the art world wants to know whether the Japanese insurance company that bought the still life in fact paid for a masterful fake. Van Gogh's first Sunflowers painting was created in August 1888 while he was living in Arles, France. Most art experts agree this original masterpiece -- 14 flowers set against a pale yellow background -- now hangs in London's National Gallery. A near replica that van Gogh created later is said to be in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance Co. believes it holds a third Sunflowers, the work it bought at Christie's auction house in 1987. At the time, the bid was the most ever paid for a painting. Now, the authenticity of the third Sunflowers is in doubt. The Van Gogh Museum, which owns the world's largest collection of van Gogh paintings, has opened a joint investigation with Yasuda and the National Gallery to try to determine, once and for all, the authenticity of the work. Benoit Landais, a French writer who says he spent five years investigating works by the Dutch post-impressionist, contends that Yasuda's Sunflowers was actually painted by French artist Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, who also was a van Gogh collector. London art writer Geraldine Norman reported the same finding last month. The claims trail other allegations about fake van Goghs. In July, a leading London art journal, the Art Newspaper, reported that scholarly studies found that more than 100 paintings and drawings attributed to van Gogh, including Yasuda's copy, may be fakes. And a catalog on van Gogh's works published by Dutch scholar Jan Hulsker lists 45 paintings as possible fabrications. The controversy has caused the usually staid Van Gogh Museum to go on the offensive -- and officials there insist that the Yasuda Sunflowers is the real thing. "This game has become worse every day," museum spokeswoman Rianne Norbart said Monday, adding that the challenges that have not been backed up "on a scholarly level." Landais argues that the painting now in Yasuda's hands was never mentioned in van Gogh's letters and that it reveals an outlining technique the painter had abandoned years earlier. "There is a big difference between Yasuda's copy and the others. Everyone can see that," Landais, who lives in the Netherlands, said in an interview Monday. But Louis van Tilborgh, chief curator of the Van Gogh Museum, has examined Yasuda's painting and deemed it an original. "There are certain things we can still investigate . . . but in our opinion," he said, "there's no reason to doubt its authenticity." Critics, however, have questioned the museum's impartiality in the controversy, noting that it received a $19 million gift from Yasuda in 1990 to build a new wing. Norbart dismissed those charges as "nonsense." Landais, however, remains skeptical that the investigation will be open-minded enough to settle the controversy. "Their intention is to prove that they are right," he said. "The reputations of three important groups are on the line."
1997 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.

Family says art will be returned if it was stolen

By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 11/27/97
The German family who asked Sotheby's to withdraw a 17th century Dutch master painting from auction next week over concerns the Nazis plundered it during World War II pledged yesterday to conduct an exhaustive search for the potential victim and return the work if it proves to have been stolen. If the work turns out to have been looted by the Nazis, who apparently acquired it in 1941, the family said it would be donated to a national museum or gallery if the victim's descendants cannot be found. If the victim was Jewish and there are no descendants, the painting by Jacob van Ruisdael would be donated ''to an appropriate museum or gallery in Israel,'' Peter Henle, the son of German collector Guenther Henle, said in a letter to Sotheby's London branch, where the painting was scheduled for auction next Wednesday. Sotheby's released the letter to the Globe, which first raised questions about the painting's possibly tainted background a week ago. Research over the last week raised other puzzling questions about the painting's ownership history, or provenance, and about the Nazi looting associations of some who came in contact with it. On Monday, at the family's request, Sotheby's removed the painting by the foremost 17th century Dutch landscape painter from a London auction of 48 paintings owned by Henle. Henle was a German wartime industrialist who in the 1950s and 1960s became a major art collector and political architect of the Christian Democratic government that led Germany's postwar resurgence. Peter Henle, in a letter stating the views of Guenther Henle's three children, said that if the inquiry does not produce evidence of looting or forced sale to the Nazis, and if a victim cannot be identified, the family would ''meet again to settle the disposition of the picture.'' Ori Z. Soltes, the director of the National Jewish Museum in Washington, which has started a project to locate and restitute art looted by the Nazis and still unaccounted for, said the family's response ''is as correct as one could hope for, and reflects a sensitivity for rapprochement'' over events that occurred more than a half century ago. Soltes promised that the museum would use its resources to help the Henle family and Sotheby's determine who owned the painting in 1941 when, according to the Henle family records, the Nazis acquired it, and whether it subsequently ended up on the New York art market. The Globe reported Tuesday that Sotheby's listed the painting for sale and had a catalog notation that it was acquired for the Linz Gallery - Hitler's planned, but never built, master museum in Linz, Austria. Sotheby's officials said they had found no record that the artwork was stolen. But they said they were unaware that of the 5,300 artworks acquired for the Linz facility, about a quarter were confiscated from Jews, and most of the rest were purchased by Nazi agents in occupied countries. Some of those were sold under duress, and most have long been considered looted because Nazi Germany set currency exchange rates that overvalued the German mark. With help from Sotheby's, art historians, and archivists, including some in Holland and Switzerland, the Globe report filled in some blanks in the ownership record of the painting, ''A Dune Landscape with Two Figures by a Fence.'' It was sold in 1934 to a German Jew who fled to the Netherlands, and then resold in Amsterdam in 1938 to an unidentified buyer. In 1961, Henle bought it from Pieter de Boer, an Amsterdam dealer who was among the principal wartime collaborators who helped the Nazis buy more than 300 paintings. During the 1950s, Henle received art advice from Edouard Plietzsch, who during the war oversaw Nazi art looting in the Netherlands. Though the painting's provenance suggests the likelihood it was obtained unlawfully in 1941, no record has been found identifying its owner at the time, or the circumstances under which the Nazis acquired it. To some art specialists, that means the painting is in limbo, with the Henles, at least for now, unable to know if there is a claimant. Soltes, the Jewish Museum director, said that if no innocent explanation emerges or the inquiry does not turn up an identifiable victim, it would be difficult for the family to sell it in good conscience. Diana Phillips, a Sotheby's senior vice president, said she was heartened by the Henle family's response to the Globe's inquiries, saying it shows ''a very clear understanding of the moral issues involved.''
This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 11/27/97. Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company.

Stricken basilica in Assisi to reopen

NINE weeks after the earthquake that destroyed irreplaceable works of art in Assisi, part of the great Basilica of St Francis is to reopen this weekend. Father Nicola Giandomenico, the bursar and the friars' spokesman, said the badly damaged Upper Church would stay closed for repairs, but the Lower Church would open its doors to the public. He also announced that state television would broadcast a Christmas Eve concert from Assisi, conducted by Claudio Abbado, as an "act of faith in the basilica's future", followed by Midnight Mass celebrated by the Pope in St Peter's, Rome. The reopening comes amid an increasingly heated debate over the fate of badly damaged medieval and Renaissance frescoes. Antonio Paolucci, the former Culture Minister in overall charge of the restoration, caused a furore by suggesting that the frescoes should be recreated or reconstructed by restorers using modern materials to "fill in the gaps" between recovered fragments. Signor Paolucci said the frescoes by Cimabue, Giotto and other 13th-century masters in the Lower Church were "relatively intact, though dusty", and the building had been reinforced to make it structurally sound and safe for visitors. In the Upper Church, jagged holes still gape in the great vaulted ceiling where the majestic figures of Cimabue's The Acts of the Apostles and Giotto's The Doctors of the Church once gazed down at visitors. Eighty square yards of damaged frescoes have been swept up, forming what La Repubblica called "the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history". Some faces are beginning to emerge from the rubble at the hands of Paola Passalacqua, the chief technical restorer, starting with St Rufino, the 3rd-century bishop of Assisi. He is one of 16 figures - including St Francis and St Clare - that before the collapse decorated the soaring painted arch which adjoined and supported the Doctors of the Church frescoes. Like the Doctors, the figures on the arch are attributed to the young Giotto. However, veteran experts such as Leonetto Tintori, who restored frescoes damaged by Allied bombs in Pisa and Prato after the Second World War, argue passionately that it is a tragic mistake to paint in missing sections since "respect for the work of the original artist" must be the guiding principle. Signor Paolucci insists that the frescoes at Assisi were designed as "a harmonious artistic whole", and to leave "lots of white gaps" would "offend the eye. They would stick out like a sore thumb."
Copyright 1997 The Times Newspapers Limited.

Thieves escape with Picasso from Swiss home

GENEVA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Thieves escaped with millions of francs (dollars) worth of jewels and four paintings, including one by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, from a home in a village near Geneva, Swiss police said on Sunday. The unnamed owner of the property in Celigny, some 15 km (10 miles) from Geneva, was abroad at the time of the burglary on Friday night, they added. The thieves found the key to a safe, from which they removed the jewels and also made off with cash and several bottles of vintage wine.
Copyright 1997 Reuters Limited.
From: Jack


The purpose of this list is to promote an international exchange of ideas on how our knowledge of fire safety science and engineering can be adapted for heritage buildings. It is expected to be of interest to fire safety engineers, curators, preservation architects, and others concerned with the protection of our heritage from fire.
TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LIST send a message to with the subject blank and the body of the message Once one is on the list s/he posts to the list by sending a normal message to That should do it.
John M. Watts, Jr., Ph.D., Director
Fire Safety Institute, P.O. Box 674, Middlebury, VT 05753 USA
voice/fax: (802) 462-2663

REPOST: Help with Thesis research

From: "Gregg D. Struve"
Ton I hope that your readers might be willing to help with a little research. I have attached a questionnaire. Since I have not used this service before would you let me know if problems arise? Thanks in advance to all for any input provided. A few problems did happen.
Resending following information
I will send this again as it seems that a better way to send the text is as part of the body of the E Mail. I too, received un-convertable text from some of the repondents to date. I will E Mail them directly. Thanks again and may I have luck with this copy. Gregg Struve
Questionnaire The following questionnaire is designed to assist me in the completion of my thesis. I am conducting my research into the effective "mix" of security staff and security electronics. I have proposed that there is a point at which electronics can be used in order to reduce staff. I suggest that point would not be reached at the cost of compromising the overall protection of the collection. The reductions result from the introduction of an available electronic security system. In order to establish such a premise, a base line of current protection practice and beliefs should be collected. This questionnaire is one of the means by which I proposed to collect that data. I respect that the requested information is sensitive. I would assure you that the source of this data is not directly relevant to the study and would not be disclosed. The information is being sought over the internet and thus exposed to additional risk. If you are interested in assisting me with my research, and are concerned about sending this data over E Mail, than perhaps you would mail a copy with out your facilities name. I would only know the city of origin not the actual institution. That should add greatly to most privacy concerns. I appreciate the time taken to consider this questionnaire and greatly appreciate those who will take the time to complete it. Please send your responses as indicated on the next page. If you are interested in being included in the research I would need the responces back by December 4, 1997.
Regular postal delivery
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago IL. 60603
Attn. Gregg Struve
Department of Protection Services
E Mail address

Please mark the box which most closely describes your facility and or security program.
Demographic Information Metric is also OK. What is the approxim ate square footage of your public gallery space?
< 50,000 / 50,000 - 100,000 / 100,000 - 150,000 / 150,000 - 200,000 / >200,000,

What is the approximate square footage of your entire museum campus?
< 50,000 / 50,000 - 100,000 / 100,000 - 150,000 / 150,000 - 200,000 / >200,000

How many galleries make up your public space?
1 -25 / 26 - 50 / 51 - 75 / 75 - 100 / 101 - 125 / >125

Electronic Security Effort
Do you use an on site central alarm control room or area to monitor alarms from the galleries?

If no please explain.
__________________________________________________ Do you use CCTV in the public galleries?
If no please explain.
Do you use CCTV in Non-public areas?
If no please explain.
Do you use any alarms on objects that enunciate to alert local guards to problems?
If no please explain.
In your opinion, should electronic security measures be the only means to protect public galleries, during public hours,?
If no please explain.
Manpower Effort
In your opinion, should gallery attendants or guards be the only means to protect public galleries during public hours?
If no please explain.
Do you use security staff to protect public galleries, during public hours?
If no please explain.
Have you, in the last 2 years, effectively reduced security staff with the use of electronic security?
If no please explain.
In your opinion, do you see the ability to reduce staff at your facility, without compromising your protection, if you implemented an available electronic security system?