The louvre

Former Louvre boss indicted for fraud

Jean-Luc Martinez, the former president of the Louvre, was charged on Wednesday with money laundering and complicity in organized fraud. Also interviewed earlier in the week, as first reported The chained Duck, were the head of the Egyptian department of the Louvre, Vincent Rondot, and the Egyptologist Olivier Perdu. Both were released without charge on Tuesday evening, while Martinez was charged and released subject to a control order. At the center of the investigation by the Central Office for the Fight against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property (OCBC) is a pink granite stele representing Tutankhamun. It was sold to the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2016, along with four other ancient Egyptian objects, by Parisian dealer Christophe Kunicki of Bergé & Associés and Roben Dib, a Hamburg dealer, for eight million euros. After the launch of the Louvre Abu Dhabi project in 2007, Martinez (president of the Louvre in Paris from 2013 to 2021) co-chaired the museum’s acquisitions commission. It is alleged that he overlooked fake certificates of origin for the five objects, which were smuggled out of Egypt during the Arab Spring.

The former art dealer Inigo Philbrick was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to an $86 million wire fraud last November. Dealer knowingly sold artwork to more than one owner – and sold or used artwork as collateral for loans without their owners’ knowledge (or revealing their true ownership to lenders). Works that Philbrick has used in this way include Humidity (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat, an untitled 2010 painting by Christopher Wool and an untitled 2012 painting by Rudolf Stingel. During sentencing, Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Court for the Southern District of New York pointed out that Philbrick’s sentence of seven years in prison plus two years of supervised release was intended as ‘general deterrence’ , to be a warning to potential offenders.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) named Randall Griffey as the new Chief Curator. Currently Curator in the Modern and Contemporary Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Griffey will oversee a re-exhibition of SAAM’s permanent collection along with all of its curatorial staff. Griffey, who with Kelly Baum curated ‘Alice Neel: People Come First’ (Apollo’s 2021 show of the year), will take up the role in September. During this time, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MOCA) appointed Clara Kim Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. Kim joins LA MOCA from the Tate Modern, where she has been Senior Curator of International Art since 2006.

New members of the French government were announced last Friday following Emmanuel Macron’s re-election as president last month. Rima Abdul Malak, adviser to Macron since 2019, is the new Minister of Culture, replacing Roselyne Bachelot. His previous jobs, reports the arts journal, notably working at the town hall of Paris and being a program director for Clowns sans frontières. And the historian Pap Ndiaye, director of the National Museum of the History of Immigration, is the new Minister of National Education.

A painting of Titian was recovered by the Italian policereports Forbes, after being missing for nearly 20 years. Portrait of a man with a beret (1512) has not been found since 2004, when it was thought that he may have been transferred to Switzerland. It was discovered by the Turin branch of the Italian police’s cultural heritage protection unit, after a denunciation, in a workshop in the region of Asti, in Piedmont. He returned to the Italian state in a ceremony on May 19. Two Swiss citizens are currently under investigation.