Monday, September 12, 2011

So-called Rembrandt Theft

Alleged theft of alleged Rembrandt may turn out to be a fake theft of a fake drawing. Confusing... but the drawing looks like a fake Rembrandt, and one blogger implies that the so-called "theft" is an inside job.
Yes, this looks very "block-y" for a Rembrandt drawing, the figures are square blocks with straight lines. Rembrandt's lines are usually so subtle, organic, and curvy.

Here's an article on the theft:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/09/12/2011-09-12_stolen_rembrandt_drawing_returned_weeks_after_theft_may_be_a_fake_lapd.html?r=news

Here's an article by someone who also thinks it's a fake (as I do) ~ or, if actually done by Rembrandt, it probably wasn't on a good day:
http://www.artlyst.com/articles/was-stolen-rembrandt-a-fake

Aha! A blogger gives us the scoop on Linearis. A badly spelled scoop, but still...
http://arthostage.blogspot.com/2011/08/stolen-art-watch-linearis-institute.html

As to the last article ~ well, it's actually the only one I found which suggested that Linearis was a corrupt organization, so that may be untrue. If their alleged corruption was well known, seems as if other articles would've turned up (not counting the dozens of carbon-copy articles on the theft of the drawing).

Geek With a Gun (blog) brings up some good points, saying that the police have no right to hold the drawing. As to the original theft, that blogger says the item can only be considered stolen if the theft is reported, and it has only been reported by Linearis, no-one else; and besides (says the blogger), security cameras should show that the drawing was at Linearis and was stolen from there. And (2) says the Geek, it's not the business of the police to decide that the work is a counterfeit. If Linearis owned the drawing, it owns it regardless of whether it's a real Rembrandt. The Geek thinks the police just want to confiscate the art so that they can later sell it and pocket the dough. The LAPD, corrupt?! Nah, surely not. ;-)

Well, I don't know California law, and these are two points that sound logical. However, there are some odd and complex laws regarding art and intellectual property, so... here are other things that could impact this case. (1) Art by Old Masters usually does have documentation. If the work is simply undocumented, then it probably belongs to Linearis. But there are exceptions. If the art has a prior history of being stolen, or confiscated by rogue governments, no matter how long ago, then the art may belong to the original owner. If Linearis bought the work from an unreputable dealer (or fence), and the work is claimed by some other owner, then it may not actually belong to Linearis. I don't know who (by law) gets to keep the art while the investigation takes place. (2) Owning and displaying a counterfeit may not be against the law, but selling it probably is (even in California). If Linearis had the work up for sale, then the police may have every right to hold the work until an investigation is complete. I don't know if a buyer has to allege fraud in order for the police to start an investigation ~ or if the state can press charges in such a case, without a "victim."

Strange case. I wonder how it will play out.

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