Cowans Shawnee 18th century pipe Just Sold 132,00

Southern Great Lakes/Central Ohio Valley
maple wood, lead, glass imitation wampum beads, plant fiber, sinew
height 5.5 in. x length 8.25 in. x width 2 in.
fourth quarter 18th century

In most regions of North America the smoking of tobacco was practiced by Native Americans primarily as an offering to supernatural beings to pray for their blessing. Pipes served as the major instrument used for this purpose and were the subject of intricate symbolism. In the Eastern Woodlands, one-piece pipes made of clay, stone, or wood were mainly used in personal rituals, whereas composite pipes consisting of a long and often decorated wooden stem and a separate bowl of stone or wood were also employed in collective rituals. Stems and Bowls, the latter sometimes carved to represent human faces or figures, animals, or artifacts were not necessarily made by the same person, and both played an important role in gift exchanges and trade with other indigenous groups as well as with Euro-Americans.

Cowans Shawnee pipe.jpg

This exquisitely carved and decorated pipe bowl depicts a nearly naked man sitting, his torso reclining, his hands resting on his hips, and his legs extended with slightly flexed knees. His slightly opened mouth shows the tip of his tongue and may indicate the act of speaking or singing. The pupils of the eyes are inset and filled with black pigment. Face painting is marked by engraved parallel lines filled with pigment (two red horizontal lines on the left cheek, two red lines enclosing a black one running diagonally from below the eye across the cheek on the right). His ears are pierced and held a globular ornament suspended on wire (the right ear was broken off in the distant past). The left arm features a broad arm band of lead; the former presence of such a band on the right arms is indicated by a discoloration of the wood above the elbow.  Part of the head is covered with slightly corrugated lead inlay extending outward from the interior lining of the bowl, which opens at the top of the skull. Since the man’s hair is represented by burn marks on the back of the head (as are the eyebrows), the lead inlay probably indicates a headdress. A sash of two rows of glass imitation wampum strung on sinew and woven on a warp of three plant fiber strings (probably Apocynum sp.) is worn over the left shoulder, runs across the chest and passes under the right elbow to the back, where the ends of the sash are tied together. The man’s genitals are covered with a rectangular lead inlay, probably representing a breechcloth or apron, but no belt is indicated, and the buttocks are bare. The end of the shaft, where the pipestem was inserted, is covered with a simple band of lead inlay. 

The unsustainable backward inclination of the torso and the open mouth convey a sense of action that is absent from nearly all other examples of effigy pipe bowls from the Eastern Woodlands of the historic period.

The pipe bowl has no documented history beyond the approximately fifty years during which it had been in the possession of its previous owner, Clemens Caldwell (1918–2007), but it can safely be dated to the last quarter of the eighteenth century, when glass imitation wampum was especially popular for the manufacture of belts, pouches, and pouch straps. The designation of the object as “Tecumseh’s pipe” may be fanciful, but it may have been associated with the pipe before it came into the possession of Clemens Caldwell. It suggests a more or less local origin south of the Great Lakes and may at least contain a hidden grain of truth.

In eastern North America, wooden pipe bowls were made from southern New England throughout the Great Lakes region to Minnesota, but only relatively few specimens (less than one percent of the number of those made of stone), collected between the seventeenth and twentieth century, have survived. Most of them are without documented date and place of origin. Exceptions include specimens collected on the mid-Atlantic coast or its hinterland in the seventeenth century, the Delaware of Pennsylvania and the Mississauga of southeastern Ontario of the eighteenth century, and the Ottawa of Michigan and the southwestern Ojibwa of Wisconsin and Minnesota of the nineteenth century. Other have been attributed, with varying degrees of likelihood, to the Iroquois, Wyandot, Anishnaabe, Santee, Creek, and Cherokee. Despite this unsatisfactory documentary situation, it is useful to compare the Caldwell pipe to other wooden and stone pipe bowls in search of clues for its origin.

The closest affinity among wooden pipes is shown by an undocumented bowl featuring a man’s head from the Steven Michaan collection, attributed to the “Great Lakes, ca. 1760.”[1] In addition to similarities in the rendering of the nose, eyes, and ears, the Michaan pipe shows a strikingly similar treatment of the lead inlays above the face, including a similar state of corrosion of the lead. The similarities are close enough to suggest the two pieces were made by same maker. There are only three other known examples of somewhat simpler lead inlays above the face extending to the back of the head: two of them are found on a pair of closely related wooden pipes in an otherwise different style, dating to around 1800 and attributed to the “Anishnaabe,”[2] and a catlinite pipe collected in 1836 from the southwestern Chippewa of La Pointe, Wisconsin.[3] The two “Anishnaabe” pipes are also among the few to feature ear ornaments (wire-wrapped slit ear lobes), otherwise found only on a catlinite pipe attributed to the Santee, in this case resembling those of the Caldwell pipe.[4]

A nearly identical, although much smaller version of the Caldwell pipe in black stone, is preserved in the British Museum, which acquired it in 1949 from the prominent dealer William Oldman, and which has since been attributed to the “Wyandot, 19th century.”[5] The Wyandot attribution may have been due to the fact that in this version the reclining figure is holding a barrel and a glass on his lap and that other depictions related to the use of alcohol had been assigned to the Wyandot (although they clearly are found all over eastern North America). Except for this additional feature, the British Museum pipe is strikingly similar to the Caldwell pipe: rectangular shaft, reclining trunk, flexed knees, open mouth, incised representation of a sash running across the chest, horizontal incisions on the face to indicate painting. The British museum pipe also features a belt and leggings, missing on the Caldwell pipe, the ears of differently shaped, and the elaborate decorative features above the head are absent. The similarities and differences suggest that the two pipes were made by different makers, but that they referred to a shared underlying narrative.

Depictions of alcohol use on effigy pipes and wooden ladles has often been interpreted as social commentary on pervasive feature of culture contact that had become part of the set of stereotypes associated with Native Americans. There is, however, ample evidence, especially also from northeastern North America, that inebriation was often considered as a method to reach an altered state of consciousness analogous to the one sought in the vision quest. The Caldwell pipe and the British Museum pipe may thus be interpreted as images of a man engaged in a spiritual encounter—with or without the use of liquor.

Two other features of the iconography of the Caldwell pipe merit further consideration. Single bands of wampum or imitation wampum were generally not worn as sashes in the manner shown here, but served as straps of rectangular pouches. It is at least possible that a pouch was originally here attached as well, especially since black commercial thread has later been used to hold the ends of the imitation wampum band together, which would have become loose after the less of the pouch.

More puzzling are the lead inlays on the head. They are probably not representations of hair, which is indicated by burn marks, but of a headdress, whose appendages were hanging over the cheeks and the back of the head. Of the headdresses known to have been worn in the Central Ohio Valley region around 1800, the one that is the most likely candidate is the cloth turban, adopted primarily by the Shawnee during their prolonged sojourn among the Creek.[6] The most extensive source of information on dress and ornament of both the Shawnee and Creek in the early nineteenth century is provided by the lithographs after paintings by Charles Bird in Thomas McKenney and James Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America (1838–1844). They illustrate, especially for the Creeks, turbans with appendages hanging over the ears, and both for the Creeks and Shawnees face paintings consisting of horizontal and/or diagonal red and black or blue lines. While offering no proof for a Shawnee origin of the Caldwell pipe, they at least suggest the possibility to explain the assumed association of the pipe with the Shawnee leader of the early nineteenth century in the absence of any extant examples of Shawnee wood or stone carving.

Christian Feest
August 2017



[1]     Steven S. Powers, The Art of the Spirit World: The Steven Michaan Collection of North American Tribal Arts, vol. 3: Woodlands (Pound Ridge, NY: Ohio Antiques, 2014), 26–29.

[2]     McCord Museum, Montreal, no. M11030 (Natural History Society of Montreal col.); see Norman Feder, Two Hundred Years of North American Indian Art (New York, NY: Praeger, 1971), 98, no. 124. British private collection (

[3]     Slovenské Etnografické Museum, Ljubljana, no. E 2837 (Frirderik Baraga coll.); see France Golob, Misijonarji, darovalci indijanskih predmetov. Zbirka Slovenskega etnografeskega muzeja. Knjižnica Slovenskega etnografeskega muzeja 5. Ljubljana, 1997.

[4]     Cranbrook Institute of Science, Detroit; see Norman Feder, Two Hundred Years of North American Indian Art (New York, NY: Praeger, 1971), 78, no. 89.

[5]     British Museum, London, no. Am1949,22.74; see J. C. H. King, Smoking Pipes of the North America Indian. (London: British Museum Publications, 1977), 36, 50, no. 37.

[6]     Charles Bird King in Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs (3 vols., Philadelphia, PA: 1838–1844).


Provenance: From the Estate of Clem Caldwell, Kentucky

Credit Card/Online Safety Tips

Email/Credit Card/Online Safety Tips The Internet has drastically changed the way individuals interact with the world. We can go anywhere and see almost anything with a few clicks of the keyboard or a few pecks on the phone. If we don’t pay attention to what we are doing online, we can end up in uncharted waters. We can expose ourselves to a several different breeds of online predators. The following email/internet safety tips are meant to prevent you from becoming a victim of a crime.


Credit Card Safety.jpg

1) AIRLINE TICKETS If you're not flying anywhere, be on the lookout for any ticket messages from airlines, including major ones like JetBlue, Frontier Airlines, and U.S. Airways. Recently, a series of emails are going out saying that your credit card has been used to purchase a ticket contained in an attached file. If you open the file, it downloads malware that can be used to steal your personal information. Should you receive an email like this, delete it immediately.


2) DANGEROUS EMAILS- WALL STREET WOES While there haven't been any confirmed cases yet, the creators of Certified Mail issued a warning that spammers will most likely try to use the current economic crisis for phishing (online scamming) purposes. Just as with the hurricanes, the security experts at Certified Mail believe criminals will capitalize on fear and the high profile nature of the story, so be warned. Do not send money to organizations that you have not heard of or do not know.


3) GAS SCAMS Scammers are going for what's in the news and people's innate desire to save some bucks by highlighting gas prices in spam emails. Either they're offering gas cards with locked in rates around $2.50 a gallon or they're hawking gizmos that increase your mileage. If you pay at the pump, be sure to look at the device before inserting your credit card. Scammers have been known to place “mold” credit card devices on top of real devices to steal your financial information.


4)DON'T TRUST PEOPLE YOU'VE NEVER MET IN PERSON Be mindful of exchanging emails with people you do not know. If you're buying something from Craigslist or Offer Up, meet the other party in a public place that is well lit and occupied. Insist on paying with cash, since credit cards can easily be hacked. For eBay, check other seller's info and ratings.


5) CREATE COMPLEX PASSWORDS We know you’ve heard it before, but creating strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts really is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts.


6) BE MINDFUL OF FREE/PUBLIC WIFI When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. Consider turning your wifi setting off and using your internet plan or investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.


7) BE A SELECTIVE SHARER These days, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins.


8) PROTECT YOUR MOBILE LIFE Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.


9) PRACTICE SAFE SURFING & SHOPPING When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. They could be copycats of legitimate websites.


10) CREDIT CARD FRAUD When purchasing merchandise, ensure it is from a reputable source. Do research to ensure legitimacy of the individual or company. Beware of providing credit card information through unsolicited emails. Promptly reconcile credit card statements to avoid unauthorized charges.


11) DEBT ELIMINATION Know who you are dealing with - do your research. Contact the Attorney General’s Office or the State Corporation Commission to see if there are any registered complaints. Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside your country. Ensure that you understand all terms and conditions of any agreement. Be wary of businesses that operate from P.O. boxes or mail drops.


Home » ArtNews » STOP Act Introduced to Penalize...

STOP Act Introduced to Penalize Exporting Indian Artifacts


A bill has been introduced in the Senate that would prohibit the export of Native American and Hawaiian objects deemed tribal patrimony. Senate Bill 3127, the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2016 (the “STOP Act”), makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly export from the United States any Native American “cultural object” obtained in violation of four existing U.S. statutes: NAGPRA, 18 USC § 1170, ARPA, and18 USC § 1866(b).

The bill also raises the penalty for a violation of any of the above existing laws from 5 years to 10 years. And finally, the bill adds a provision granting immunity from prosecution to anyone who “repatriates” an unlawfully obtained cultural object to the “appropriate” Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization within two years of the STOP Act’s implementation.

The highly publicized French auctions of Hopi, Acoma, and Navajo ceremonial items triggered the drafting of the proposed bill. An “in rem” forfeiture was filed July 20, 2016 against the shield (see below) in New Mexico federal district court.

The STOP Act’s congressional sponsors have stated that it will address tribal concerns without impeding the rights of collectors to own, buy, and sell lawfully acquired Native American art and artifacts.

It is not clear that by making export of an object obtained in violation of ARPA or NAGPRA a crime, the bill adds much, if any, additional legal protection to Native American tribal artifacts or even to sacred objects. Trafficking of an object obtained in violation of ARPA or NAGPRA is already a crime. The best way to achieve a proper balance between retaining objects important to tribes and allowing free trade in others may be through direct consultation with the tribes to refine the terms of the STOP Act.

As it is now written, the STOP Act will make it a separate crime to export not only sacred or ritually significant objects, but also any type of Native American artifact if the artifact is over 100 years old and came out of federal or Indian lands after 1906. It is unavoidable uncertainty about the origins of artifacts, not knowledge of unlawful origins, that will most worry collectors and the art trade.

Hundreds of thousands of Native American objects entered the stream of commerce since the 1880s, and many have been passed through multiple owners over decades. How is a current owner to know if an object might be claimed as sacred by a tribe or claimed as coming from federal or Indian lands by the federal government?

At an art law seminar in Santa Fe, NM on July 29, 2016, attorneys who have represented the Acoma Pueblo suggested that if in doubt, owners could ask the tribe. At the same time, they acknowledged that although some types of objects, such as ceramics, are generally accepted as non-ritual, some of these might turn out to be ritually significant if they were used in a particular ceremony.

The question remains: even if it was feasible for a private owner to contact the presumed originating tribe before selling or exporting an object – and even if the tribes were willing to provide a firm answer – how would tribal governments cope with the enormous volume of objects currently encompassed by the STOP Act?

Tribes and the collecting community should work together to make clear the objects covered in the STOP Act.

It is in the interest of Indian art collectors and dealers to work with tribal communities to obtain clarification on what items tribes are claiming, and on what basis the claims are made. It is in the interest of the Native American and Hawaiian communities to assist in making good laws by identifying exactly what is their cultural patrimony and what is not. A forthright declaration of exactly the types of objects for which repatriation is sought would likely ease concerns about the apparent breadth of the proposed legislation, and do much to ensure compliance with its terms. It would also encourage repatriation of the artifacts most sought by the tribes.

Existing laws already enable a variety of tribal claims and protect sacred objects.

ARPA is based primarily on where the object came from. It is already a crime under ARPA to buy or sell an object that is taken without a permit from federal or Indian lands after 1906, the date of passage of the American Antiquities Act. (ARPA was not passed until 1979, but it is an “umbrella statute” that makes it a crime punishable under ARPA to traffic in an object obtained in violation of any federal, state, or local law. Despite the acknowledged fact that the Antiquities Act was almost never enforced until passage of ARPA in 1979, no amount of time will make that object lawful, whereas an identical object that was found on private land is lawful to buy and sell.)

ARPA covers a very broad range of objects – basically anything made by human hands that is over 100 years old, based on a rolling date. When ARPA was first passed, it covered items older than 1879. Today, it covers items older than 1916.

Ritual and sacred objects are another matter. Such items may already be claimed under NAGPRA, if taken from federal or Indian lands after 1990, or a civil suit for replevin may be filed by a tribe for a communally owned object. Essentially, the tribes can claim superior title to objects that are meaningful to current religious practices, even against private owners and downstream good faith purchasers, and regardless of where they were “found.” Tribes have had the ability for many years to seek the return of privately owned objects that the tribes claim as “cultural patrimony,” that is, objects that are communally owned by the tribe, and cannot lawfully be sold by an individual tribal member, even if that tribal member lawfully possesses them.

There are no measurable standards or criteria to identify objects covered by the STOP Act.

The STOP Act appears to encompass a very wide range of objects (see below), far greater than the types of “sacred” or “inalienable” objects of cultural patrimony whose recent export has angered and upset the people of Acoma Pueblo, the Hopi and the Navajo.

No tribes have made public lists of missing items, or identified which types of items they consider religious or non-religious or cultural patrimony or not. Since passage of NAGPRA in 1990, US museums and institutions that receive federal financial support have been required under federal law to catalog all Native American human remains and ritually significant items and submit these lists to tribes to allow the tribes to request repatriation. Even with federal guidance and institutional academic expertise, this process has taken decades. In the end, different museums have returned different ranges of objects. This variety of standards poses additional questions and ambiguities for Indian art collectors and the trade.

There is no evidentiary standard for proof of superior title by a tribe.

Like other legislation pertaining to tribal artifacts, the STOP Act once again fails to set forth criteria for determining whether an item is the property of an individual and therefore something that can be lawfully sold, or if it belongs to the larger community, and cannot be sold or abandoned without permission of the group. It does not address the legal status of the many important cultural objects that tribal communities sold when they adopted Christianity or because of early 20th century pressure by the US government to abandon traditional ways.

(In 1883, Secretary of the Interior Henry Teller issued rules establishing Courts of Indian Offenses to prohibit Native American ceremonial activity under pain of imprisonment. Teller ordered Indian agents to discontinue dances and feasts and to compel medicine men to halt their practices. Teller’s rules prohibited anyone less than 50 years old from being present at feasts and dances. Missionaries encouraged the destruction of paraphernalia used in tribal religious celebrations. At various times in the early part of the 20th C, Native Christian groups also encouraged people to destroy relics. It was only in 1978 that the American Indian Religious Freedom Act gave Native American religions the same rights given to others.)

What makes an object “cultural patrimony”?

There is also debate about whether objects are truly traditional cultural patrimony or authentic religious objects. Several of the Hopi katsina sold in Europe in recent years have been identified as fakes or pastiches by knowledgeable observers, yet some of these also were claimed by the Hopi to be inalienable cultural patrimony.

In past cases involving tribal claims to “cultural patrimony,” US courts have given great deference to the testimony of tribal elders, holding that items were cultural patrimony owned by Native American communities rather than individuals. This has been the case even when other tribal elders have disagreed.

Essentially, the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act appears to reinforce the idea that if a Native American community says now that an item is sacred, it is sacred, regardless how long ago it was sold, or under what circumstances.

A cooperative partnership and equal application of the laws can enhance compliance.

One can understand that Native communities are reluctant to share information about items they consider sacred. Nonetheless, the severity of the ten-year sentence for unlawful export proposed by the STOP Act would argue for some evidentiary standard for conviction.

The Acoma shield withdrawn from the most recent Paris auction was a very unusual case. It was voluntarily withdrawn by the auction house because it was specifically identified as having disappeared from the home of a particular family, on the basis of an affidavit executed by a family member who had been a child at the time. This is more evidence than has been presented for other objects sold in recent years at a foreign auction.

Native American communities that wish to take advantage of stricter laws should also be responsible partners in ensuring that laws are respected within the tribes. In the past, most tribes have been unwilling to report unlawful sales or theft of cultural property by tribal members or to identify the circumstances in which unlawful sales occurred. While Acoma Pueblo has made sincere efforts to enforce its own laws regarding community-owned objects, not all tribes have been diligent in policing their own members.

Complaint for In Rem Forfeiture Filed Against Acoma Shield in Paris Auction

On July 20, 2016, a civil action was filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico to seize the shield voluntarily removed from the Paris auction in May 2016 inUnited States of America v. Acoma Ceremonial Shield described by EVE Auction House as Lot #68 “Bouclier de Guerre Pueblo probablement Acoma ou Jemez XIX siecle ou plus ancien cuir.” The case is 1:16-cv-00832-MV-KBM. An “in rem” forfeiture is a civil judicial forfeiture action filed against the property itself, rather than against an individual or entity.

Terms of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act

What items does the Act cover? More meaningful definitions might resolve much of the controversy surrounding the proposed law.

The STOP Act penalizes export of any Native American cultural object obtained in violation of NAGPRA, 18 USC 1170, ARPA, or 18 USC 1866(b).

The STOP Act defines a cultural object as fitting one of three categories (descriptions from the source statutes in italics):

  1. “cultural items as described in NAGPRA, 25 USC 3001”:

25 USC 3001(3)((3) “cultural items” means human remains and—


“associated funerary objects” which shall mean objects that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, and both the human remains and associated funerary objects are presently in the possession or control of a Federal agency or museum, except that other items exclusively made for burial purposes or to contain human remains shall be considered as associated funerary objects.[1]


“unassociated funerary objects” which shall mean objects that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, where the remains are not in the possession or control of the Federal agency or museum and the objects can be identified by a preponderance of the evidence as related to specific individuals or families or to known human remains or, by a preponderance of the evidence, as having been removed from a specific burial site of an individual culturally affiliated with a particular Indian tribe,


“sacred objects” which shall mean specific ceremonial objects which are needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present day adherents, and


“cultural patrimony” which shall mean an object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual Native American, and which, therefore, cannot be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and such object shall have been considered inalienable by such Native American group at the time the object was separated from such group.

  1. An “archeological resource as defined under section 3 of ARPA, 470bb(1)”:

(1) The term “archaeological resource” means any material remains of past human life or activities which are of archaeological interest, as determined under uniform regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter. Such regulations containing such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any portion or piece of any of the foregoing items. Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, or any portion or piece thereof, shall not be considered archaeological resources, under the regulations under this paragraph, unless found in archaeological context. No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph unless such item is at least 100 years of age.

  1. Or “object of antiquity protected under section 1866(b).”

“(b) …any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument or any other object of antiquity that is situated on land owned or controlled by the Federal Government without the permission of the head of the Federal agency having jurisdiction over the land on which the object is situated…”

Image: Senator Martin Heinrich, speaking on the STOP Act.

Fitz Gibbon Law Source for Ivory Update

Understanding Ivory Law

Applique depicting the head of pan, East Greek, about 100 B.C.E., Ivory, courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum

On June 6, 2016, the Department of the Interior published a final rule on the possession, sale, transportation, import and export of African elephant ivory, revising the Code of Federal Regulations to create a virtual ban on the commercial trade in ivory in the US. Certain states followed suit. Ivory laws are complex, overlapping, and subject to discretionary enforcement. Jonathan Riedel, a Fitz Gibbon Law intern and University of New Mexico Law School student, has prepared a guide to both federal and state ivory laws which we are pleased to include in our Resource materials.

Like other Resource materials, the guide is not legal advice.


On June 6, 2016 the Department of the Interior, through the Fish and Wildlife Service, published a final rule which revised the Code of Federal Regulations, Vol. 50, Section 17.40(e). This rule was promulgated under the authority of 16 U.S.C. Section 1533(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for African elephants. This new rule went into effect on July 6, 2016 and provides important regulations that antique art dealers and art collectors need to be aware of and understand.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s final rule builds on and expands restrictions already in place under the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1989 (AfECA). The AfECA imposed a moratorium on importing most African elephant ivory into the United States or exporting African elephant ivory out of the United States.

The final rule now in effect, in conjunction with AfECA and ESA, provide very limited exceptions for importing or exporting ivory to or from the United States. There is a ban on all interstate commercial trade in elephant ivory, again with narrow exceptions. These laws can be daunting for anyone selling, buying, working with, or owning ivory.

In addition to the complicated federal laws. New York, New Jersey, California, and Washington State have even more restrictive laws in place that further complicate lawful trade in antique ivory. Hawaii has also passed an ivory trade law that will go into effect in January 2017.

This article attempts to make sense of the current state of ivory laws in the United States in order to help those who sell, buy, work with, or own ivory understand their rights and responsibilities. Readers should be mindful that although the final federal rule on ivory has been published, there are numerous states with proposed legislation that will continue to impact the ivory trade.....

For more information go to:


Tribal Art Museums and Exhibitions Spring/Summer 2017

1.  NEW YORK, NY.- The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today the promised gift from Charles and Valerie Diker of 91 works of Native American art—a selection of recognized masterworks from the collection they assembled over more than four decades. Joining another 20 works already given by the Dikers during the past two decades, these examples range in date from the 2nd to the early 20th century, and represent—through a wide variety of aesthetic forms and media—the achievements of artists from many culturally distinct traditions across the North American continent.
"These superb works will be an extraordinary addition to The Met collection," said Carrie Rebora Barratt, Deputy Director for Collections and Administration, in making the announcement. "They have been selected from the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind in private hands today and are of the highest aesthetic quality. This generous gift will considerably strengthen our holdings of the artistic production of native communities, and we are immensely grateful to our longtime friends and donors Chuck and Valerie Diker for their vision and generosity."
"Valerie and I are honored to share the remarkable work of these Native American artists with the public, especially as an integral part of the broader story of American creativity," noted Mr. Diker. "Over the past 45 years, our vision and advocacy has been to build appreciation of these great works of art from cultures across the United States and, through The Met's stewardship, we are confident that both public recognition of the power and beauty of these works and scholarship on them will be greatly advanced. We'd like to thank the leadership of The Met, especially Carrie Rebora Barratt and Thomas P. Campbell, Director, for enabling us to present the work of these important artists within the context of their peers in the U.S. and around the world."
This collection will be displayed in The Met's American Wing starting with a major exhibition in fall 2018, marking The Met's curatorial decision to display art from the first Americans within its appropriate geographic context. Sylvia Yount, the Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge of the American Wing, will oversee the integration of this material into the galleries.
"This transformative gift marks a turning point in the narratives presented within the American Wing," said Ms. Barratt. "With the addition of these works, The Met will be able to offer a much richer history of the art of North America, one that will include critical perspectives on our past and represent diverse and enduring native artistic traditions."
The receipt of this gift reflects The Met's historic commitment to building the world's greatest encyclopedic collection and is one of the first major gifts looking forward to celebrating the Museum's 150th anniversary in 2020. In recent years, Native American art, along with Latin American and modern and contemporary art, have been identified as top acquisition priorities. Said Ms. Barratt: "Many years from now, future scholars and visitors will appreciate the significance of the Dikers' enormous generosity."
The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of Native American art is the finest and most comprehensive private collection of its kind. Over the past 45 years, the Dikers have built an all-encompassing collection embracing the artistic achievements of Native Americans across North America, dating from the pre-Contact era to the 20th century. Unmatched in its breadth, quality, and diversity, the Diker Collection is further distinguished in its holdings of works that represent the height of aesthetic and technical achievement by individual artists working in their cultural traditions.
Highlights of the collection gift include: an elaborate dance mask (ca. 1900) with representations of a spirit, seal, fish, and bird held in a human hand, made by a Yup'ik artist from Alaska; a powerful ceramic jar (ca. 1895) with a portrayal of the Butterfly Maiden spirit being (Palhik Mana), created by renowned Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo, from Arizona; a magnificent basket (1907) superbly integrating form and design, by Washoe artist Louisa Keyser (also known as Datsolalee), from Nevada; and a delicate, black-dyed, porcupine quill embroidered shoulder bag (c. 1820) fashioned by an Ojibwa artist from Ontario, Canada.
Selected works from the collection were on view at the Museum in the recent exhibition Native American Masterpieces from the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection (October 28, 2016-March 31, 2017). This showing immediately followed a national tour of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection, a larger exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts.
Charles and Valerie Diker have been involved at The Met as donors and lenders of Native American works of art since the 1990s. Three works given by the Dikers in 2016—a Haudenosaunee pouch and a Pomo basket by unrecorded artists, and a jar by Maria and Julián Martínez of the San Ildefonso Pueblo—are currently on display in The Met's American Wing, where they are presented in dialogue with contemporaneous paintings and sculpture addressing relevant themes.
The Dikers donated additional examples of Native American art between 1999 and 2008, and an earlier exhibition of selected works—Native Paths: American Indian Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker—was shown at the Museum in 1998–2000 and curated by David W. Penney, Associate Director of Museum Scholarship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
In addition to their long-term relationship with The Met, the Dikers have been ardent and generous supporters of a broad range of cultural institutions across the visual and performing arts. Mr. and Mrs. Diker served as the Founding Chairman and Chairwoman of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, in New York. Mr. Diker is a member of the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and New York Public Radio. He has previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Santa Fe Opera Foundation, as President of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and as a member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard University Art Museums. Mrs. Diker is Founding Chair of the National Dance Institute New Mexico and a member of its national board, and has served as Chairman of Twyla Tharp Dance. In addition to their collection of Native American art, the Dikers collect modern and contemporary art. Mr. Diker is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Cantel Medical Corp.
The title and dates of the fall 2018 exhibition celebrating the gift of the Diker Collection to The Met will be announced later. The exhibition will comprise more than 100 works, including outright and promised gifts.
For the exhibition and accompanying publication, the Museum has engaged Gaylord Torrence, Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as guest curator. A world-renowned expert in Native American art, he previously curated the acclaimed exhibition The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, which was organized by Museé du Quai Branly in Paris in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and shown at The Met in 2015.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly publication written by Gaylord Torrence and others. The book will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
Education programs will be organized in conjunction with the exhibition and the subsequent and ongoing display of works from the collection.

Committee for Cultural Policy Update

Pause Before STOP 2: Proposed Art Law Would Harm Museums, Collectors, and Tribes


A new and revised version of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony or STOP Act (S. 1400) was introduced by Senator Martin Heinrich on June 21, 2017. ATADA, a professional organization representing many of America’s top tribal and ethnographic art dealers and auctioneers, says that although the new STOP Act (STOP II) is an improvement on the 2016 bill in some ways, it remains seriously flawed.

ATADA president John Molloy says, “ATADA supports returning important objects needed for tribal spiritual activities. That’s our policy, and we’ll continue it whatever happens to this bill.” But he continues, “This bill wasn’t thought through. It won’t achieve the tribes’ goals of bringing back important sacred objects from overseas, it will discourage the legitimate market, and it sends totally the wrong message to museums and collectors.”

ATADA representatives have been meeting directly with tribal leaders for months to discuss both legislation and voluntary returns. Molloy stressed ATADA’s continuing desire to work closely with lawmakers to improve the bill. However, he noted that like the 2016 bill, STOP II would create dangerous legal uncertainties for private owners of a wide range of American Indian art and artifacts: by failing to provide adequate notice of what items would be illegal to export, STOP II would violate the due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The new STOP Act includes a federalized returns program that ATADA Voluntary Returns Program manager Bob Gallegos finds alarming. Gallegos told CCP, “It’s absurd to make a federal policy that says everything Native American should go back to tribes.” Gallegos said that ATADA is very supportive of voluntary returns of sacred objects essential to tribal community well-being. “We have already returned dozens of important objects to tribes. We ask the help of tribal members on protocol for returns, and no matter how many years of expertise we bring to this, we can’t know what’s truly sacred. Creating a giant federal bureaucracy will make things worse, not better.”  more....


Art Professionals Oppose Draconian EU Proposal


A European Union proposal to “regulate” the ancient art market is on a fast track to destroy it. Arts organizations such as the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA) say that the European Commission’s regulation is based upon its unquestioning acceptance of fake news and phony numbers. They say that the EU Commission failed to consult market experts, and that the Commission’s lack of the most basic understanding of how the art trade works will result in destroying the legitimate trade. The proposal for an EU Regulation is presently being submitted to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

On July 13, the European Commission announced new rules, “Cracking down on the illegal import of cultural goods used to finance terrorism.” As justification for new regulation – “cracking down on financing terrorism” is no justification whatsoever.

Vincent Geerling, President of IADAA, states in a letter to the Antiques Gazette, “The reason given for these measures, is to cut off the financing of terror with the revenues of cultural goods (coming from conflict zones), however the EU Commission does not present ANY proof or reliable figure for this, neither do they for the size of the “problem”.

The EU Q&A release states that, “the total financial value of the illegal antiquities and art trade is larger than any other area of international crime except arms trafficking and narcotics and has been estimated at €2.5 – €5 billion yearly.”

IADAA has documented that here is no basis for such a claim – simply none. Vincent Geerling confirmed in an email: “I personally handed in Brussels to high officials working on the subject, three independent reports denying any (substantial) terrorism financing with cultural property is taking place.” More

The Committe for Cultural Policy is doing important work with their Newsletter and think tank. I strongly endorse their workand recommend you subscribe:


My Word Spring/Summer 2017


We were forced to compress our Spring and Summer newsletter into one issue. With the ongoing renovation to the website, Roadshow stops in Harrisburg, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Green Bay, and the beginning stages of cataloging another major African collection for a Spring auction, it has been busy.  We still have scheduled Roadshows in Portland this weekend and Newport Rhode Island in September; however, we are looking forward to the fall.

As you will note the auctions have been strong in 2017. Sothebys has scheduled in the fall the Silver collection of tribal art valued at more than 10 million. This will be a sale that we shall follow carefully.

While we are seeing some optimism with good business numbers, significant business death tax relief could send the market higher and drive more money into art. At least we hope.

We are all very excited about the new website. The galleries work better enabling us to reach more people in the US and Europe. There will be a number of new additions as we get into the fall. Again we encourage you to give us feedback.. good or bad so that we can make the site better.

You can subscribe to the free newsletter or follow us on our social media platforms all from the new website. JB


New ArtTrak Website Launched

For a number of months Hartford Connecticut, Stillwater Minnesota, and Dallas Texas have been collaborating to completely restructure the ArtTrak website to better meet the the preferences expressed by you over the years. The changing markets, internet advances, and quite frankly the new demographics have inspired us to make these changes. Our new platform is Squarespace which is far more responsive to rapid changes and updates. We have integratedthe blog/newsletter into the website, so that all the segments we have published are accessible for you. We have addedthe free online American Indian Historic Pottery Project where you can search 1800 objects from the pueblos for style, attribution, and collection history. We are very excited about this resource which is organic in the sense that users will be invited to add appropriate objects to enhance the database. Over the years we have invested a significant amount of money in both our online auction database and the Historic Pottery Project. We must continue to charge for the former but the latter will remain free.

We invite you to explore the new site and give is your feedback either online or on our social media platforms.

Julia Goldberg -

Mike Selner -


Appraisals and Auction Houses Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW YORK - Wall Street Journal - Works Produced After Artists’ Deaths Pose Challenges for Collectors
Molds and plates can still be used for years, hurting values of sculptures and prints
Estate casts of Remington sculptures run $100,000 to $1 million, says Sotheby’s Liz Sterling. A lifetime cast of ‘Wounded Bunkie’ reached $5.6 million in 2008.
Estate casts of Remington sculptures run $100,000 to $1 million, says Sotheby’s Liz Sterling. A lifetime cast of ‘Wounded Bunkie’ reached $5.6 million in 2008. Photo: Sotheby?s New York
By Daniel Grant
Updated Feb. 13, 2017 8:35 a.m. ET

Life after death can be common in the workshops of famous sculptors and printers. Sometimes, way too common.

For years after an artist’s demise, the same molds and plates the artist used to produce original works can be reused by their heirs or appointed licensees to continue in the artists’ footsteps, making copies indefinitely.

Indeed, the posthumous output of some artists can greatly exceed the number of works they produced while living. What’s more, the quality of the posthumous work tends to vary—as do the differences in value.

So, for collectors of sculpture and fine prints, it is essential not only to know whether a work was created during the artist’s lifetime, but when and where it was cast or printed, and, if it is a posthumous piece, by whose hand.
Pinning down details about 20th-century and more recent works typically is not difficult because modern printmakers and sculptors have kept better records than their forebears, and tend to produce more limited editions. But for artists from the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s a completely different story. In many cases, numerous editions have been produced over decades, if not centuries, without much of a paper trail of what was done and when.

Take Francisco de Goya, one of Spain’s most treasured artists. Goya died in 1828 at the age of 82. In 1799, he oversaw the printing of a set of 80 etchings and aquatints known as “Los Caprichos,” or “Whims,” scenes mocking the ignorance and superstition in Spanish society. Only one edition of “Los Caprichos” was printed during Goya’s lifetime. But the artist willed the plates to the Prado Museum in Madrid, which has periodically leased them since that time to different publishers as a fundraiser. By 1937 there were 12 known editions. There is no record of how many editions have been printed since.

For most fine prints in general, earlier editions are the most sought-after, because they more closely reflect the artist’s intentions. Printing plates tend to wear out, producing less-distinct images over time; the lines cut into the plates get clogged with dried ink and need to be re-incised by someone else. Later, posthumous-edition prints no longer clearly reflect the hand of the artist, have less prestige and usually bring lower prices.
Prices range

An undamaged print from the first edition of “Los Caprichos” would be priced at $3,000 to $5,000, according to James Goodfriend, owner of New York’s C&J Goodfriend Drawings and Prints. Prints from the posthumous second and third editions, dated 1855 and 1868, respectively, “are very good and very hard to tell apart,” he adds, but sell for $1,500 to $2,000. Mr. Goodfriend says he sells prints from later editions, however, for $150.
Lifetime etching of Francisco Goya y Lucientes from the “Los Caprichos” set.
Lifetime etching of Francisco Goya y Lucientes from the “Los Caprichos” set. Photo: Sotheby's

“I only keep them around to show people what not to buy,” he says. The lines are not as sharp. The shading weakens or is uneven or has just disappeared.” Still, he says, “I see some people pay $800 to $900 for these things at auction.”

A principal source for identifying artworks is a catalogue raisonné, an annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist. Catalogues raisonnés, found in museum and university libraries, provide illustrations that can be checked against an artwork. They also note when certain editions were produced, numbers of copies (if that information was available), which print publisher or foundry made the edition, changes made and the quality of the work.

Alice Duncan, director of New York’s Gerald Peters Gallery, recommends always asking for an artwork’s history of ownership, or provenance, and the date the work was produced, as well.

Art advisers will do this kind of research for a collector, but such help doesn’t come cheap. Advisers usually charge around 10% of the value of the art being acquired, though they may set fees on a per-hour basis. Wendy Cromwell, a Manhattan adviser, puts the hourly range at between $75 and $250, depending upon the experience of the adviser.
Casts off

To judge the value of good detective work, consider the works of an artist as well known as Frederic Remington. Posthumous sculptures attributed to Remington are so numerous that art dealers are particularly wary of their histories. Remington, who lived from 1861 to 1909, is famed for his lifelike depictions of the American West, particularly his bronze statues of cowboys and cavalrymen on horseback.

“Ninety percent of the things that say ‘By Frederic Remington’ I wouldn’t get near, and 90% may be a low estimate,” says Ms. Duncan, who says her gallery will only take on consignment Remington sculptures that can be proved to have been produced during the artist’s lifetime or by authority of his widow, Eva, who died in 1918.

After 1918, unknown quantities of “Remingtons” were produced as the foundry used by Remington himself cast more bronzes using his molds, and other foundries created their own molds using existing sculptures as models. The copies may look close, but when compared with documented Remington sculptures, the differences become evident.

Liz Sterling, senior vice president and head of American art at Sotheby’s , says the median price of lifetime casts of Remington’s sculptures are “several million dollars,” reaching a high of $5.6 million at Sotheby’s in 2008 for the artist’s 1896 “Wounded Bunkie.” Prices for estate casts, those made under Eva Remington’s authority, of the same pieces range from $100,000 to $1 million, she says, and the auction house does not handle castings later than 1918.

Mr. Grant is a writer living in Amherst, Mass. He can be reached at

Appeared in the February 13, 2017, print edition as 'After Artists Die, Their Molds and Plates Live On.'



A restorer fixes a restored piece of the face of a man bust, which is one of the two funeral reliefs from Palmyra archeological site that will be restored at the Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration (ISCR - Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro) in Rome, on February 16, 2017. The busts of a man and a woman, dated from the 2nd and 3rd century AD and destroyed by the Islamic State group (IS), have been entrusted to the care of the technical and restorers of the ISCR in Rome. By the end of this month, they will be returned to their place of origin. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

ROME (AFP).- Two rare busts rescued from the Islamic State group's destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra will soon be heading back to Syria, after a painstaking restoration in Italy. Recovered by Syrian troops, they had been badly disfigured with what appeared to be hammer blows and are perhaps the only such artefacts to leave the desert site without being stolen. Modern technology aided their saving, which is also being seen as a tribute to Khaled al-Assad, the former head of antiquities at Palmyra, murdered by IS fighters in 2015, at the age of 82. "This is an example of an issue we hold dear: that of cultural diplomacy, the fact that culture can be an instrument for dialogue between people, even when circumstances are difficult," Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said Thursday. IS jihadists seized Palmyra in May 2015 and began to systematically destroy the city's monuments and temples, while also looting its many archeological treasures. They were driven out in March 2016 but reca ... More

Technology Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW YORK The Smartest Ways to Use Your Smartphone in the Car - Wall Street Journal - The best dashboard solutions are Apple ’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Plug in your phone via USB and the core apps pop up on the car’s screen and can be controlled with familiar voice assistants. But they’re in only a limited number of car models. (The bigger, more-expensive Volvo XC90 is one of them—and this fall’s update of my XC60 will be, too.)

Most car interfaces are still stuck in the slow lane compared with the computers in our pockets. And so, like far too many drivers out there, I use my phone to get around.
Mounting the Phone

“How do we drive safely using our smartphones? We don’t,” says Debbie Hersman, president and chief executive of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit that works to eliminate preventable deaths. Ms. Hersman says the safest way to drive with your phone is to put it in the trunk.
This is how not to drive with your smartphone.
This is how not to drive with your smartphone. Photo: Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal

But using voice control and other hands-free solutions is the lesser evil when compared with fiddling with a phone in your hands, lap or cup holder. That’s why it’s so important that you mount your phone where you won’t have to look down—yes, like an Uber driver.

I tested 15 different mount options in three categories. What works best will likely depend on the interior design of your car.

Vent mount. The $20 Insignia Vehicle Mount is my top pick. With plastic brackets that latch to the inside of the vent, it’s harder to install than some, but it tightly gripped even a phablet. The downside of vent mounts? They block vents.

Dashboard/windshield mount. A suction-cup mount may be the easiest to glance at, but it could also obstruct your vision. The high-tech (and pricey) $80 Logitech ZeroTouch stuck to my dash best and was the most inconspicuous, but it does require you to attach magnets to your phone or case.

CD slot mount. The CD slot hasn’t seen this much excitement since 2001. If your car has a disc player that’s relatively close to the top of your main console, try Anker’s $13 CD Slot Magnetic Car Mount (it too uses magnets to hold your phone in place) or the non-magnetic version.
The Insignia Vehicle smartphone mount for vents, at left; the Anker CD Slot mount, right'''''Android Phones

One of the best reasons to switch to Android these days is superior in-car apps. Google’s own Android Auto app has exactly what I want in the car. Launch the app, and a big-buttoned interface takes over your phone, with access to Google Maps, phone calls and music—Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora. The app also shows notifications, though I suggest turning them off.

The best part is the Google Assistant. Wake it by saying, “OK, Google,” then ask it to play George Michael, call Mom, repeat the last navigation prompt—even report who won the Super Bowl.

The voice recognition works great… when it’s quiet. Because the app relies on the phone’s microphone, it can struggle to hear over loud music.

Logitech’s ZeroTouch app for Android gets around that. When you put your phone on the required ZeroTouch mount, the app launches in the background. Hold your hand in front of the phone to wake Logitech’s voice assistant. ....


The iPhone is a disappointment in the car. There’s no Android Auto app equivalent, and Logitech doesn’t yet have an iOS ZeroTouch app. The best thing iPhone owners can do is rig Siri to work in the car.

Some cars, like BMWs, may allow you to use the steering wheel’s voice control button to summon Siri. My car won’t, and Bluetooth Siri button accessories don’t work with iOS 10.

The “Hey Siri” function on recent iPhones is fine for controlling music and maps, but because of Apple’s iron grip, you have to use Apple Maps and Music (I still prefer Spotify and Google Maps).

And Siri also had a hard time hearing me over loud music. A trick for AirPod owners: Wear one wireless earbud and tap the side to wake Siri; it also puts the microphone closer to your mouth.

2. SAN FRANCISCO—Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel’s premise for reinventing social media in 2011 was simple: create an app to send disappearing pictures.

Now, on the cusp of going public, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. is reinventing itself. The hottest new social network in years, with 158 million daily active users, wants to be known as a camera company.

To that end, Snap has acquired a series of companies that specialize in computer vision and augmented reality. And in November, it introduced its first physical camera, embedded in sunglasses called Spectacles.

Snap’s metamorphosis reflects a growing need among social-media firms to be more than just networks of friends. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook Inc., Snap’s biggest competitor, last week outlined in a 6,000-word manifesto his ambition to turn the 13-year-old social network into the backbone of a new “social infrastructure” so it can address some of the world’s biggest problems, like terrorism, disease and climate change. Facebook has also invested in virtual reality, betting it will be the next major computing platform.
Related Video
Snap's initial public offering will enable the social media platform's founders and two Silicon Valley venture-capital firms to rake in a huge fortune. WSJ's Lee Hawkins explains. Photo: Zuma Press

Twitter Inc. has broader ambitions too. This month, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said the social-media platform, known for its brief messages, has been trying to refocus itself as the world’s fastest place to get news.

For Snap, articulating a different vision helps differentiate the company from Facebook, which has a larger user network than Snapchat, and Twitter. Facebook has mimicked several Snapchat features in the past year, including Stories, a collection of images that disappear, on its photo-sharing app Instagram.
A monitor at a store in New York shows customers how they will look in Snap’s Spectacles.
A monitor at a store in New York shows customers how they will look in Snap’s Spectacles. Photo: Saul Martinez/Bloomberg News

Mr. Spiegel is also wary of being overly dependent on Apple Inc. and Google’s Android, whose phones, with their built-in cameras, are the primary tool for using Snapchat, according to a former Snap employee.

Even though the first line of Snap’s initial public offering document claims “Snap Inc. is a camera company,” investors say they are evaluating Snap through a media and entertainment lens. The valuation that Snap is seeking in its IPO—between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion—reflects a sales multiple similar to Facebook and Twitter when they went public.

“Snap isn’t a camera company,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “Camera companies sell cameras. Snap sells the ability to connect with people.”
Related Video
Snapchat parent Snap is wooing major ad firms ahead of its initial public offering, hoping to land lucrative advertising deals that could bolster the IPO. WSJ's Lee Hawkins explains. Photo: Richard B. Levine/Zuma Press

Snap’s new definition for itself is a metaphor for how the camera is the central tool of the app, according to two Snap investors. It doesn't envision itself as a hardware maker, along the lines of GoPro Inc. or other camera makers that have gone bankrupt. Snap declined to comment.

“Cameras have evolved from being just a piece of hardware, like a chip, to software that is connected to the internet,” Mr. Spiegel said in a video that Snap published a week ago for its roadshow. “With Snapchat, the camera has become the primary input for the phone.”
Related Coverage

   The ephemerality at Snapchat’s core when it launched in 2011 as a messaging platform for disappearing photos established a new way of digital social interaction. In the past, content on the internet such as emails and photos was considered permanent, and people didn’t know who was seeing it, Mr. Spiegel said in the roadshow video.

Two years later, Snap updated its app with Stories, the feature for collections of pictures and videos that disappear in 24 hours. This made the short-lived messages available for anyone to see, beyond people’s networks of friends.

Karen North, director of the social media program at the University of Southern California, described this as Snapchat’s “genius pivot,” because it took the carefree feeling that Snapchat had created and broadened it beyond messaging.

“Before, Snaps were just messages to people,” Ms. North says. “Then they gave people an opportunity to tell a story.”
Related Video
When Snap Inc. goes public, Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will retain control of more than 90% of the company's voting rights. WSJ's Shelby Holliday looks at how Snap's rare share structure stacks up against other tech companies. Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Snap then focused on making photos or videos on its platform interactive, which was one of the first introductions of augmented reality to a mainstream audience. In 2015, Snap launched Lenses—filters that blend computer images into real photos—that packaged augmented reality into tools that added bunny faces, talking tacos, monsters and vomiting rainbows onto regular selfies. The Lenses also created a lucrative advertising opportunity, allowing brands to buy a presence on Snapchat.

While Snap was rolling out these enhancements to its social media tool, Mr. Spiegel had something bigger in mind. Worried about being so dependent on smartphones made by other companies, Mr. Spiegel wanted to migrate the app onto other devices. He began hinting at his interest in cameras, expressing admiration for Polaroid founder Edwin Land at a technology conference in 2015.

Snap launched Spectacles, its first gadget, in November, slightly more than a year after the failure of Alphabet Inc.’s Google Glass. Google’s head-mounted device drew ridicule and raised privacy concerns for its ability to surreptitiously record video. Snap, on the other hand, devised a circular light to indicate when the Spectacles are recording.

“Snap is the first company that has gotten people to wear a camera on their face and made it cool,” says Matt Miesnieks, a partner at venture-capital firm Super Ventures, which hasn't invested in Snap.

Still, good looks may not be enough to convince investors Snap has a vision beyond social messaging. In its public filing document, Snap cautioned that it could be hard to justify its spending if new products fail to engage users.

“There is no guarantee that investing in new lines of business, new products, and other initiatives will succeed,” the company said.

Corrections & Amplifications
Snap and Twitter release different metrics about the sizes of their networks. Snap discloses daily users, while Twitter discloses monthly users. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Twitter has a larger user network than Snap. (Feb. 26)

Write to Georgia Wells at and Betsy Morris at

3. NEW YORK - Wall STreet Journal - Is Your Stuff Safe in the Cloud?
Storing documents in a private cloud that you access from home is one way to minimize risk of hacking can—and do—hand over data when compelled by a court order. (The most responsible, like Google, Apple and Dropbox, report how often it happens.Have you seen the headlines lately? Hacking and surveillance are bigger news than the next iPhone. Yet companies like Google, Apple and Dropbox have been urging us to load all our photos, and sometimes even more precious documents, in an online vault called the cloud. It’s actually huge racks of servers, in locations all over the world.
What could possibly go wrong with hundreds of millions of people storing personal data in a centralized warehouse?
In August, Dropbox reset the passwords for 68 million accounts in response to a 2012 breach. Anyone with an email address is at perpetual war with phishers, who were behind a big celebrity photo iCloud leak in 2014. Is anything safe from hackers?
A lesser-known cloud alternative is gaining traction: Store stuff on a hard drive at home, but access it online from anywhere. Known as “personal cloud” storage, some products from Western Digital WDC 0.83% and Seagate STX -1.35% use your own internet connection and are known only to you and the drive maker, so your files are less of a honeypot for hackers. You can get gobs of space for under $200—and no monthly fees. Two newcomers I’ve also been testing, Lima Ultra and Apollo, are even simpler and work more like Dropbox.
Yet a private cloud has problems, too: Without 24/7 security from Google or Apple, you are solely responsible for keeping hackers out. And you have to keep that drive from failing, or risk losing important data.

I asked hackers and security pros where they store their most precious documents—tax files—and got different answers from nearly all of them. Some said they would trust the public cloud, while others said they would keep files far away from the internet (making them difficult to share with an accountant). “There is no really perfect advice right now,” said Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.

Security and privacy involve choices we all need to make for ourselves—and are worth at least as much consideration as the color of your phone. If that sounds like too much work, I’ve prepared a study guide:
Cloud storage may seem invisible, but your files are sent to data centers like this Google facility in Groningen, Netherlands.
Cloud storage may seem invisible, but your files are sent to data centers like this Google facility in Groningen, Netherlands. Photo: VINCENT JANNINK/Agence France Presse/Getty Images
The Public Cloud

Pro: For reliable access to your stuff from any connected device, it’s hard to beat the convenience of the largest cloud services. Dropbox, which charges $100 to store a terabyte of data for one year, perfected the magically-in-sync folder of stuff. Google and Apple offer the hands-down easiest way to manage photos and videos, shifting them off your phone or laptop before out-of-space alerts pop up.

These services make compelling arguments that they are best prepared to fight hackers. They not only encrypt our data on their servers, but also constantly look for suspicious patterns, scanning the dark web for chatter and even paying hackers to identify vulnerabilities. Case in point: Dropbox says it thinks users lost no data from the 2012 hack because of the way it stored passwords. Security is “about long-term protection against constantly evolving threats,” said Mark Crosbie, the company’s head of trust and security.

Con: The public cloud turns you into a perpetual renter, where you get hooked into a service that could cost you more than a drive within two years. It doesn’t happen often, but cloud services can also go down temporarily.

The public cloud is scariest for people concerned about privacy and the threat of government surveillance. Your personal data is out of your own control. Apple promises not to examine your data, while Google paints analyzing and sorting your photos as a selling point. But because they hold keys to decrypt at least some of your files, they can—and do—hand over data when compelled by a court order. (The most responsible, like Google, Apple and Dropbox, report how often it happens.) Who knows what could happen if laws change?

How to be safer: Way too many of us leave our stuff at risk in the cloud by re-using passwords and not turning on an extra layer of security called two-factor authentication (a.k.a. 2FA, two-step verification, or login approval). Once you turn it on in cloud settings, it typically sends you a secondary passcode via text message or app. It isn’t foolproof, but it could keep a hacker out of your stuff if they get your password.

For supersensitive files like tax documents, consider encrypting them with a separate password before storing them in the cloud. On a Mac, use FileVault in the Disk Utility; on a Windows PC, use Microsoft BitLocker.
The Private Cloud

Pro: Your data is in your own hands. And running your own cloud provides you a useful defense: obscurity. Hackers motivated by money tend to go after the biggest targets and lowest hanging fruit. Chances are they won’t be homing in on your network in search of a cloud server. Also, you are the only one who knows the password.

Personal cloud drives might cost more up front, but with no monthly fees, you could even save money. My favorite, Promise Technology’s Apollo, comes with 4TB for $300. The $130 Lima attaches to a USB drive you may already own. Many let you share storage with family or colleagues, who all get their own logins and space. They can also back up the photos on your phone over Wi-Fi.

Con: So you want to be in the server business? While all four of the private cloud devices I tested were easy to set up, it’s on you to keep them running. If your home Internet or power goes out, you lose access to your stuff. And you have to trust these companies to keep updating software to address new threats.

While they are improving in simplicity, none is as simple as Dropbox or as tightly integrated as Apple’s iCloud. When you need to get data off them, you may be limited by the upload speed of your internet connection, which is often much slower than the download speed.

How to be safer: A personal cloud, like any other connected device in the house, is at risk if you don’t secure your home Wi-Fi with a password and keep your router software up to date.

And beware: Hard drives often fail at the worst possible moments. Apollo and Lima have a solution, but it’ll cost you: If you buy a second unit, you can keep a copy of your drive—constantly updated over the internet—in a different location in case of theft, fire or failure.

Corrections & Amplifications
Mark Crosbie is the head of trust and security at Dropbox. An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled his surname as Crosby. (March 14)

Appeared in the March 16, 2017, print edition as 'Protect Your Cloud Data From Capture.'

BITS AND PIECES Spring/Summer 2017

1..  WASHINGTON (AFP).- Adolf Hitler's personal telephone, which the Fuehrer used to dictate many of his deadly World War II commands, sold at auction on Sunday for $243,000, the US house selling it announced.
Originally a black Bakelite phone, later painted crimson and engraved with Hitler's name, the relic was found in the Nazi leader's Berlin bunker in 1945 following the regime's defeat.
The auction house Alexander Historical Auctions, which did not reveal the winning bidder's identity, had estimated its worth between $200,000 and $300,000. The starting bid was set at $100,000.
The Maryland company auctioned off more than a thousand items including the phone and a porcelain sculpture of an Alsatian dog for $24,300.
Both winners bid by telephone.
More than 70 years old, the Siemens rotary telephone is embossed with a swastika and the eagle symbolic of the Third Reich.
Alexander House dubbed the phone -- which Hitler received from the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces -- as "arguably the most destructive 'weapon' of all time, which sent millions to their deaths."
It said Hitler used it to give most of his orders during the last two years of World War II.
Russian officers gave the device to British Brigadier Sir Ralph Rayner during a tour of the bunker shortly after Germany's surrender.
Rayner's son, who inherited the phone, put it up for sale, its paint now peeling to reveal the original synthetic black resin surface.
Andreas Kornfeld of Alexander House told AFP its estimates were based on a number of factors, including "rarity and uniqueness."
"It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history," the auction house said in a statement. "This was not a staid office telephone."
"This was Hitler's mobile device of destruction."

TRIBAL AUCTIONS Spring/Summer 2017

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1. BRUSSELS, Bruno Classens Feberuary 2017 Auction ‘surprise’ of the day: a rediscovered Maori flute (putorino)
These last few days there was a lot of buzz in the air in the circles of collectors and dealers in Maori art. Did you hear about this previously unknown flute in a small UK auction? Of course one did! Thanks to the well-consulted live online auction site The saleroom even the smallest British auction house (in this case in the small village of Haslemere, Surrey) now can reach a global audience. Even if mislabeled, so many aficionados are browsing these sales, that no sleeper stays unnoticed. Estimated at only £50-100, this masterpiece was bound to make a top price.
A few were somewhat skeptical about this offering. Surely it should be clear, even to the untrained eye, this is not a pipe. A one second google search would make that very obvious. They got the culture right, at least. In my view, just five minutes on google would eventualy end at the beautiful Maori flute we sold at Christie’s Paris last year. So, the auctioneers, or didn’t do their homework – but why then illustrating the lot with so many professional pictures ? – or did know the object would make what it is worth anyway and hoped to generate a lot of extra buzz with the low estimate. It did work if that was the case, as this exceptional Maori flute sold for £140,000 (without premium) this afternoon. With costs, the total price is around £180,000 or € 210,000 ($ 225,000). This might sound as a lot of money compared with the estimate, but in fact this still is a very good price for it and I’m sure we’ll see it again sooner or later.
Now, you’re probably wondering how these flutes sound like ? Well, you can hear (and see) Richard Nunns play an early 19th century putorino form the Oldman collection below..

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 2.  PARIS.- The auction house Binoche and Giquello, auctioned off an American collection of pre-Colombian works of art, March 31. The sale totaled 3 million euros, which is twice its estimate. During two hours, collectors from around the globe battled to obtain one of the sixty masterpieces out of the sixty-eight lots offered.
The queen of the auction, the Venus Callipyge of Chupicuaro led the sale. The winning bid came on the phone, double her estimate, at 285 750 €. This Venus is similar to one preserved in the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, of which she is now the muse. By style and size, these two Venuses are sisters, certainly coming from the same workshop. The last owner purchased it in 2008. (Lot N°48)
Among the finest auctions, these works are particularly memorable:
• A standing figure carved in gray-green diorite, from the Chantal culture, State of Guerrero, Mexico, was sold for 266,700 €. The work is dated around 300-100 BC, corresponding to the recent pre-classical period. It is suitable for the Merrin collection in New York. (Lot N°24)
• An anthropomorphic mask of the Teotihuacan culture, on the high central plateau of Mexico, reaped 222,250 €. Sculpted in yellow-green onyx, it dates from the classical period, between 450 and 650 BC In 1979, J.-C. Peter G. Wray, Scottsdale, bought the work of John Stokes, acquired in 1964. Then it belonged to Richard Manoogian, Detroit. The last owner of the object at the Merrin Gallery in New York in 1991. (Lot N°53)
• A Venus made of ceramic with the red and black winding, of the Chupicuaro culture, in the State of Guanajuato in Mexico, sold 110 490 €.This is a recent pre-classical work, dating from 400-100 BC This statuette was acquired in 1972 by Ann Nisensen, Los Angeles, then belonged to James Bodishbaugh, Santa Fe. By Hy Zaret, Westport and the last owner of the work in 2008 at the Lands Beyond Gallery in New York. (Lot N°49)

3. 1.NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that the Collection of Edwin & Cherie Silver, Los Angeles, will be offered in a single-owner auction of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art during the height of the New York auction season in November. The dedicated auction is led by a magnificent selection of important Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon – icons of African art. Assembled during the golden age of American post-war collecting in these categories, the group is a time capsule of the caliber of artwork that was available to collectors decades ago, but is very rarely found in the market today. The collection comprises more than 100 works and has an estimated total value in excess of $10 million.
In addition to the famed group of Kota Reliquary Figures, the collection includes a major group of Pre-Columbian terracottas from Ancient West Mexico, acquired in the early years of Edwin and Cherie’s collecting; a monumental seven-headed Ijo Forest Spirit Figure from Nigeria, which has been shown at LACMA and extensively published; a large and highly refined Hemba Ancestor Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; important jewels of small-scale Yombe statuary, also from the Congo; an assortment of fine West African masks; and American Indian sculpture and baskets.
Selected highlights from the collection will travel to Sotheby’s Paris in September to be shown during the Parcours des Mondes fair, and then back to the Silvers’ hometown of Los Angeles for an exhibition at Sotheby’s headquarters there in October. The collection in its entirety will then be exhibited at Sotheby’s New York alongside the marquee autumn auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art, in a celebration of the historical connections and aesthetic affinities these art forms share.
Jean Fritts, Worldwide Chairman of African & Oceanic Art, said “Ed and Cherie Silver possessed a rare sophistication as collectors. Diligent, scholarly, and determined in their approach, they amassed one of the great American collections of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art over the course of 50 years. Acquiring from the best sources in America and in Europe, they absorbed the stories behind each artwork and developed a distinctive vision. It was always a great pleasure to visit Ed and Cherie in their elegant modernist home in the hills above Los Angeles. We are delighted that the family has chosen Sotheby’s to present the Silvers’ vision to the world.”
Alexander Grogan, Head of the African & Oceanic Art Department in New York, commented: “We are thrilled and honored to present the pioneering collection of Edwin and Cherie Silver, truly one of great American collections in the genre. The Silvers began their odyssey as collectors with Pre-Columbian Art, assembling an extraordinary group of terracotta couples from ancient Mesoamerica. Many of the African works in the collection are well-known to lovers of African Art, as the Silvers generously lent them to prominent museum exhibitions and kindly facilitated their publication in the scholarly literature. The striking silhouettes and abstract geometry of the famous Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon were a sight to behold in the Silvers’ living room. The sale of the Silver Collection will provide rare opportunities for today’s collectors and Sotheby’s is delighted to celebrate their unique and sophisticated taste this fall.”   

ARCHAEOLOGY Spring/Summer 2017

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1. GLASGOW.- GUARD Archaeologists have recently recovered a very rare and internationally significant hoard of metalwork that is a major addition to Scottish Late Bronze Age archaeology.
A bronze spearhead decorated with gold was found alongside a bronze sword, pin and scabbard fittings in a pit close to a Bronze Age settlement excavated by a team of GUARD Archaeologists led by Alan Hunter Blair, on behalf of Angus Council in advance of their development of two football pitches at Carnoustie.
Each individual object in the hoard is significant but the presence of gold ornament on the spearhead makes this an exceptional group. Within Britain and Ireland, only a handful of such spearheads are known - among them a weapon hoard found in 1963 at Pyotdykes Farm to the west of Dundee. These two weapon hoards from Angus - found only a few kilometres apart - hint at the wealth of the local warrior society during the centuries around 1000-800 BC.
There are two more aspects that elevate the Carnoustie discovery to international significance. The first aspect is the extremely rare survival of organic remains. A leather and wooden scabbard encased the Carnoustie sword and is probably the best preserved Late Bronze Age sword scabbard ever found in Britain. Fur skin survives around the spearhead, and textile around the pin and scabbard. Such organic remains rarely survive on dryland sites.
The second aspect is that the hoard is not an isolated find but was buried within a Late Bronze Age settlement, which means that once the excavation has been completed it will be possible to study the archaeological context of the hoard, revealing new insights into the local Bronze Age community that buried it. Not least of which was the longevity of settlement here. For the excavation has also revealed the largest Neolithic hall so far found in Scotland, a building dating to around 4000 BC and that may have been as old to the people who buried the weapon hoard, as they are to us.
‘It is very unusual to recover such artefacts in a modern archaeological excavation, which can reveal so much about the context of its burial. Owing to the fragile nature of these remains when we first discovered them, our team removed the entire pit, and the surrounding subsoil which it was cut into, as a single 80 kg block of soil,' said GUARD Project Officer Alan Hunter Blair. 'This was then delivered to our Finds Lab where it was assessed by a specialist Finds Conservator to plan how it could be carefully excavated and the artefacts conserved.’
'Organic evidence like Bronze Age wooden scabbards rarely survive so this just underlines how extraordinary these finds are,' said GUARD Project Officer, Beth Spence, who undertook the excavation of the hoard in GUARD Archaeology’s Finds Lab along with Conservator Will Murray from the Scottish Conservation Studio.
Along with the hoard, the GUARD Archaeology team have discovered around 1000 archaeological features, among them the remains of up to 12 sub-circular houses that probably date to the Bronze Age along with the remains of 2 rectilinear halls that likely date to the Neolithic period. Some of the other archaeology on site consists of clusters of large pits containing discarded, broken pots and lithic artefacts. It is unclear yet if the archaeological remains comprise a settlement that lasted from the Neolithic until the Late Bronze Age or if it comprises several settlements built upon the same site but separated in time by many centuries.
Claire Herbert of ACAS, Archaeological advisers to Angus Council, said ‘The archaeology uncovered at Carnoustie is undoubtedly of national and international significance, and will certainly further enhance our knowledge of the prehistory of this area, providing an invaluable opportunity to learn more about how people in Angus lived in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.’
Angus Council communities convener Donald Morrison added: ‘It is clear that Carnoustie was as much a hive of activity in Neolithic and Bronze Age times as it is now. The discoveries made on land destined for sporting development have given us a fascinating insight into our Angus forebears and I look forward to learning more about our local prehistory.’
Vice convener Jeanette Gaul said: ‘To make such a find while preparing to create sports facilities for Carnoustie came as a huge surprise to us all. We’ve since learned it is of national and, indeed, international importance. But I am pleased that the archaeologists have involved local young people in the excavation project and are offering us all an insight into Angus’ distant past.’
In tandem with the excavation, GUARD Archaeology have brought community benefits and added value to the work by providing tours and presentations for local schools, including Carnoustie High School and Monifieth High School. Work experience for two students (from Carnoustie High School and Brechin High School) was also provided. Each of the students were trained in core skills in archaeology and were provided with a bespoke training plan and an archaeology skills passport for potential future careers in archaeology. In addition, GUARD Archaeology provided employment throughout the contract for a recently graduated archaeologist from Dundee. Throughout the project GUARD Archaeology have strived to use local suppliers and resources so that as much of the contract value as possible goes back into the local economy. 

2. Today, as Iraqi forces backed by an international coalition inch forward in their fight to recover Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group, historians are looking at how to save, repair or retrieve precious heritage after the jihadists' three-year reign.
At a meeting in Paris last week, Iraqi officials and dozens of experts from around the world agreed to coordinate efforts to restore Iraq's cultural treasure.
But, they admitted, the road ahead will be hard and long.
"The main challenge is for Iraqis to deal with this task by themselves. It is important to empower the people," said Stefan Simon, director of global cultural heritage initiatives at Yale university.
"It is a heart-breaking situation," he added. "(...) Rehabilitation will take a very long time. They need patience. "
In 2014, at the zenith of IS' self-declared "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, more than 4,000 Iraqi archaeological sites were under the heel of the Sunni fanatics.
In the Mosul region alone in northern Iraq, "at least 66 sites were destroyed, some were turned into parking lots, Muslim and Christian places of worship suffered massive destruction and thousands of manuscripts disappeared," Iraq's deputy minister for culture, Qais Rashid, said at the conference, hosted by Unesco.
The most grievous blow has been suffered by the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, believed to be named after the biblical hunter Nimrod.
Eighty percent of the site has been destroyed, by jihadists driving bulldozers and detonating explosives.
Nineveh, once the largest city in the world, has been 70-percent destroyed.
As for Mosul itself, historians are quailing at the likely fate of the city's museum, the second largest in Iraq and a treasure house of ancient artefacts.
After suffering looting during the 2003 Iraq War, the museum was on the point of reopening in 2014 when IS took over.
The jihadists immediately set about destroying objects from the Assyrian and Greek period, which they claimed promoted "idolatry."
Grim discoveries by the Iraqi army in its advance towards the jihadists' bastion of west Mosul have prompted some specialists to fear the worst.
In mid-January, Iraqi troops in Neneveh liberated the reputed tomb of the Prophet Yunus -- known to Jews and Christians as the Prophet Jonah.
"(It is) far more damaged than we expected," Culture Minister Salim Khalaf said.
The site could collapse, because the jihadists dug tunnels underneath, both to hide from attack and to dig for artefacts, he explained.
More than 700 items have been looted from the site to be sale on the black market, he estimated.
Iraq is turning to Interpol and other world agencies to track down the lost treasures. Under UN Security Council resolution 2199, all trade in cultural artefacts from Iraq and Syria is illegal.
"Daesh tried but will never erase our culture, identity, diversity, history and the pillars of civilisation," Iraqi Education Minister Mohammad Iqbal Omar said, referring to another name for IS, also called ISIS or ISIL.
France Desmarais, of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), a professional museum group, said there was a long and tragic history of trafficking in cultural objects from northern Iraq.
However, "successive wars in Iraq since 2003 have created additional opportunities" for the trade, Desmarais said.
Universal values
The long-term needs of preserving Iraq's ancient history are many. They start with securing and monitoring sites, drawing up an inventory of items that are safe or missing, restoring and digitising manuscripts -- a task that is dozens of years in the making, and with a bill to match.
But culture embodies universal values, and there is a deep well of goodwill for this venture.
"Culture implies more than just monuments and stones -– culture defines who we are," says Unesco chief Irina Bokova.
That's a point of view shared by Najeeb Michaeel, an Iraqi Dominican monk who saved hundreds of manuscripts from the 13th to 18th century, spiriting them to safety in Kurdistan just before IS began its destructive grip on the plain of Nineveh.
"We have to save both man and culture," Michaeel said. "You cannot save the tree without saving its roots."

© Agence France-Presse

3.  CAIRO (AFP).- Archaeologists in a muddy pit in a Cairo suburb on Thursday uncovered two pharaonic statues dating back more than 3,000 years.
The relics were found in Mattarya district, site of the ancient Pharaonic capital of Heliopolis and today a sprawl of working and middle class districts in northeastern Cairo.
The statues, discovered on wasteland between crumbling apartment blocks, are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty, which ruled from 1314 to 1200 BC.
One statue stands eight meters (26 feet) tall and is carved out of quartzite, a tough stone composed mostly of quartz grains.
It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II -- also known as Ramses the Great -- suggesting it represents him.
The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II.
They were discovered by a joint German-Egyptian archaeological mission.
"The discovery of the two statues shows the importance of the city of Heliopolis, which was dedicated to the worship of Ra," the sun god, said Aymen Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian team on the dig.
He said the discovery was "very important" because it indicated the Oun Sun temple was a "magnificent structure".
Dietrich Raue, head of the German team, said the archaeologists were working hard to lift the statues so they can be transported to another site for restoration.
© Agence France-Presse
4. MALTA mithsonian Subscribe SmartNews History Science Innovation Arts & Culture Travel At the Smithsonian
This month, one of the world’s best preserved prehistoric sites — a 6,000-year-old underground burial chamber on the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta — reopened to the public. Last June, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, one of Europe’s only known neolithic necropolises, closed for a series of improvements to its environmental management system. Its reopening brings updates that will enhance conservation and ongoing data collection while improving visitor access and experience.

Archaeological evidence suggests that around 4,000 BCE, the people of Malta and Gozo began building with the purpose of ritualizing life and death. The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, one of the first and most famous of such complexes, is an underground network of alcoves and corridors carved into soft Globigerina limestone just three miles from what is now the capital city of Valletta. The builders expanded existing caves and over the centuries excavated deeper, creating a temple, cemetery and funeral hall that would be used throughout the Zebbug, Ggantija and Tarxien periods. Over the next 1,500 years, known as the Temple Period, above-ground megalith structures cropped up throughout the archipelago, many with features that mirror their subterranean counterparts.

Whatever remained of the above-ground megalithic enclosure that once marked the Hypogeum’s entrance was destroyed by industrialization during the late 1800s. Now, visitors enter through a modernized lobby, then descend a railed walkway and move chronologically through two of the site’s three tiers, glimpsing along the way evidence of the structure's dual role as worship and burial place.
Read more:

5. MEXICO CITY The tzompantli were once believed to only contain the skulls of conquered male warriors
Archaeologists digging in Mexico City have uncovered what they believe to be a legendary tower of skulls, Reuters reports. Over the last two years, the team has dug up more than 675 skulls, including many skull fragments. The find is located near the ruins of Templo Mayor, one of the most important temples in the area during the reign of the Aztecs.
The tzompantli were ceremonial racks that display severed heads of victims in Mesoamerica, the Associated Press reports. While it was previously believed that such a tower would only include the skulls or male warriors conquered in battle, the archaeologists uncovered skulls of women and children as well during the excavation, challenging what the researchers know about these skull racks, Reuters reports.
The tower in question is suspected to be part of the Huey Tzompantli, which was located on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of sun, war and human sacrifice. According to accounts by Spanish conquistadors Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Andrés de Tapia?—who both viewed the Huey Tzompantli in the early 16th century, upon on their arrival in Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs, now Mexico City—the Huey Tzompantli was massive. Both claimed the structure could have contained over 100,000 skulls, though contemporary scholars believe that count was significantly exaggerated.
Rossella Lorenzi at Seeker reports that the researchers believe the partially unearthed skull rack was built between 1485 and 1502, and ran 112 feet in length and stretched 40 feet wide. Parts of the skull rack were constructed by cementing skulls together to support the platform. The researchers believe that structure may have once contained up to 60,000 skulls.
The skull rack is not the only recent find in Mexico City. Last month, researchers unveiled an Aztec temple and ball court discovered under a hotel. The team also found 32 severed neck vertebrae from individuals who had been sacrificed inside the temple.
Read more:

6. MEXICO CITY (AFP).- A giant temple to the Aztec god of the wind and a court where the Aztecs played a deadly ball game have been discovered in the heart of Mexico City.
Archaeologists unveiled the rare finds Wednesday after extensive excavations, giving journalists a tour of the semi-circular temple of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl and nearby ball court.
Records indicate that Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes first watched the ritual Aztec ball game at the court in 1528, invited by the last Aztec emperor, Montezuma -- the man whose empire he went on to conquer.
Historians believe the game involved players using their hips to keep a ball in play -- as well as ritual human sacrifices.
Archaeologists uncovered 32 sets of human neck bones at the site, which they said were likely the remains of people who were decapitated as part of the ritual.
Only part of the structure remains -- a staircase and a portion of the stands. Archaeologists estimate the original court was about 50 meters (165 feet) long.
The temple, meanwhile, is a giant semi-circle perched atop an even larger rectangular base. The whole thing once measured some 34 meters across and four meters high, archaeologists said.
The ancient structures stand in startling contrast with the sprawling mega-city that now surrounds them, which was built atop the ruins of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.
They are just the latest ancient vestiges to be discovered in the historic city center, at what is known as the Great Temple site.
"The discovery we are looking at is a new chance to immerse ourselves in the splendor of the pre-Hispanic city of Tenochtitlan," Culture Minister Maria Cristina Garcia said.
A hotel formerly stood on the site of the newly discovered ruins until 1985, when it collapsed in a catastrophic earthquake that killed thousands of people.
The hotel's owners then noticed the ancient remains and alerted the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Archaeologists believe the temple celebrated the god of the wind and was built between 1486 and 1502.
Officials said they plan to open the site to the public, although no date has been set.





1. WASHINGTON DC Wall Street Journal Native American Exhibitions
“When a white man’s grave is dug up, it’s called grave robbing. But when an Indian’s grave is dug up, it’s called archaeology.” Naomi Schaefer Riley reviews “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits” by Chip Colwell.
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
Updated March 10, 2017 4:45 p.m. ET
‘When a white man’s grave is dug up, it’s called grave robbing. But when an Indian’s grave is dug up, it’s called archaeology.” These words, spoken by Tohono O’odham of American Indians Against Desecration, point to the conflict at the heart of Chip Colwell’s “Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits,” a careful and intelligent chronicle of the battle over Indian artifacts and the study of Indian culture.
After the Civil War, Mr. Colwell tells us, America’s scientists and anthropologists, funded by the U.S. government, collected millions of religious objects, cultural artifacts and human remains from Indian tribes with the plan of studying and exhibiting them. In 1879, Congress formed the Bureau of Ethnology, whose goal, Mr. Colwell writes, was to “document fading lifeways and gather cherished objects before they were forever gone.” The assumption was that Indian culture would disappear—either through assimilation or population decline—within a few years.
In some cases, items were recovered through trickery and even robbery. As George Dorsey, the first Ph.D. in anthropology at Harvard and a curator of Chicago’s Field Museum, explained in 1900 to one of his assistants: “When you go into an Indian’s house and you do not find the old man at home and there is something you want, you can do one of three things: go hunt up the old man and keep hunting until you find him; give the old woman such price for it as she may ask for it running the risk that the old man will be offended; or steal it. I tried all three plans and I have no choice to recommend.”
Mr. Colwell, a senior curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, shows that not every researcher was as potentially unethical as Dorsey. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of objects now in museums like the Smithsonian or the Peabody Museum at Harvard or Mr. Colwell’s own Denver museum were purchased fairly. Native American tribes were often in financial straits—in some cases, tribe members needed the money for food and other necessities. So when dealers came to them offering to buy artifacts, they were happy to make a deal.
But ethical quandaries were unavoidable. As Mr. Colwell notes, “most transactions were inherently unequal, with cash and power in the hands of dealers and collectors, who rarely obtained the consent of all clan members.” Complicating matters, the communal ownership of artifacts often meant that the Native Americans who were making the deals didn’t really own the objects they were selling.

MUSEUMS Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW YORL BLOUINARTINFO - Michael E. Shapiro is an expert on arts administration. Not only did he serve as director (now Director Emeritus) of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for 20 years, he also wrote a book about the job, titled "Eleven Museums, Eleven Directors: Conversations on Art and Leadership." In it, Shapiro interviews the leaders of some of the top art institutions in the country — including Glenn Lowry, Director of MoMA; and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, to name a few — to pick their brains about what it means to lead a museum today.
The book, released just over a year ago, is particularly relevant today, following the recent resignation of Thomas Campbell, who stepped down from his position as the director of the most prominent museum in the country, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, under mounting pressure from both the museum board and scrutiny from the public.
Shapiro sat down with ARTINFO to break down the unique challenges Museum Directors face in the 21st century.
The Biggest Challenges Facing Museum Director’s Today
“Art museums are among the most revered institutions in our country,” said Shapiro. Because of that, they’re also under the microscope. “There is risk, regardless of the size or scope of the intuition. The level of expectations—and the level of complexity—that come along with the job of director of a large museum, has increased dramatically. With more success comes more expectation.”
Here are the three biggest challenges Shapiro believes confront directors today:
Old vs. Young
“Museum directors face many exciting challenges. One of the biggest is conveying a sense of inclusiveness, which includes animating and attracting the millennials while also assisting the older generations in continuing a massive transfer in wealth from individuals to institutions—in other words, growing the endowment.”
“Directors need to embrace technology as a vehicle for speaking to and attracting audiences to the museum, without undercutting the special experience of the immediate and direct work of art.”
The Fundraising Dance
“Even well-endowed institutions like the Met find themselves needing additional financial resources to continue fulfilling their mission. Supplying those resources, providing a vision for the future, animating and embracing the staff and all its diverse interests, and keeping the board happy by running a tight fiscal ship—it’s all a part of doing the dance that directors now have to do.”
What makes present museum directors' challenges different than the past?
Museums today are not the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. The same can be said of the job of a museum director. Shapiro identifies three major ways in which museum directors' challenges are different today than they were in the past:
“The essentials of effectively running a museum: a dynamic and stimulating program, important acquisitions, successful fundraising, a healthy balance sheet, sustained attendance and membership growth have not changed. But the instant, international communication of these activities and the opportunity for widespread comment and assessment both locally and internationally is still a powerful new phenomenon.”
“Figuring out how to maintain engagement between the museum and its programs and younger, more distracted audiences is a major challenge. Social media and digital tools have a role to play for this constituency and others, but it's an area that is still being developed.”
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, museums more than ever before need to effectively and deeply connect with their diverse communities.”

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2. NEW YORK Wall Street Journal - A New Plan at the Metropolitan Museum
After the ouster of the Met museum head, interim chief Daniel Weiss to present sweeping overhaul
By Kelly Crow
March 21, 2017 2:58 p.m. ET
Amid a dramatic management shake-up at the top of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this month, interim chief executive Daniel Weiss is moving in with a sweeping plan to balance the budget and provide a road map for renovations.
The plan, to be presented to the Met’s board of directors on Wednesday, could amount to an audition by Mr. Weiss for the top job at the nation’s premier encyclopedic museum.
A 59-year-old former head of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, Mr. Weiss was hired by the Met two years ago as president. He took over as interim chief executive March 1 after director and former chief executive Tom Campbell resigned under pressure.
Daniel Brodsky, the Met’s chairman, said the museum is “lucky to have him,” though he said a search committee will still be formed at some point to find a new director—even if Mr. Weiss is eventually tapped for the post. No time frame has been given to launch the search. Mr. Campbell remains director until June 30.
The Met, which has two million objects and hosted seven million visitors last year, has been in turmoil since last spring when the museum said it was struggling to close a $15 million deficit that could balloon to $40 million if cost-cutting measures weren’t enacted quickly. Mr. Campbell laid off workers and pared exhibits over the past six months—but when those efforts fell short of solving problems and criticism continued to mount, Mr. Campbell resigned.
Mr. Weiss said recently that the overall thrust of his plan is to cut costs—and still grow—at a reasonable pace. “This ship was going a little too fast and turned a little too quickly,” Mr. Weiss said, sitting in his airy office that overlooks Manhattan’s Central Park and is decorated with a wintry scene by Alfred Sisley. “I don’t lose sleep over our ability to manage it.”
Specifically, Mr. Weiss said he intends to tell the board that he can close the $15 million deficit in the museum’s $398 million budget over the next two or three years by postponing exhibits and trimming back-office costs while pushing for higher revenue from the museum’s gift shops and restaurants. He isn’t planning on more layoffs following a string of nearly 100 staff cuts over the past year.

    ‘If [museums] don’t change and grow, they’re accused of losing relevance. If they do, they have to justify every dime,’
    —Nik Honeysett, Getty Museum, former head of administration

Mr. Weiss said he plans to suggest that the museum tackle several renovation projects one at a time, rather than attempt to overlap them. First up, he will advocate for a “decidedly unsexy” project to replace 60,000 square feet of 1930s-era skylights that are at risk of leaking above the museum’s European art galleries, he said. Cost: $140 million. Mr. Weiss also will champion a roughly $20 million renovation of the museum’s British galleries, a $5 million face-lift for its musical instrument galleries and seek bids to renovate its African wing, a job he thinks could cost around $60 million.
One thing his proposal on Wednesday won't revive is any mention of the museum’s stalled, $600-million campaign to expand its southwest section into a bigger area for contemporary art—an effort that wilted last year after fundraising proved scarce. The museum’s newer art could go back into a spruced-up version of its current spot known as the Wallace wing—or continue to funnel into exhibits planned in its leased Met Breuer space, Mr. Weiss said.
Leonard Lauder, who four years ago pledged $1 billion worth of cubist art to the museum, also seems to have thrown his weight behind Mr. Weiss, calling him “very good at his job.” Mr. Lauder said he recently agreed to host several groups of curators at his New York apartment to reassure them that his promised gift isn’t in jeopardy because of the stalled contemporary-art wing, Mr. Campbell’s departure or concerns about the Met’s finances.
The Met’s gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but the new plan calls for tripling those sales.
The Met’s gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but the new plan calls for tripling those sales. Photo: Brett Beyer
“The Met has seen its ups and downs and its directors come and go,” Mr. Lauder said, but the only things visitors ever remember are the prized pieces on display within it. “If you ask people who is running the Louvre right now, who can name the guy? But they all know the Mona Lisa,” he added.
Mr. Weiss has already embarked on a series of budget cuts, and museum executives and rank and file say they’re still adjusting to the new austerity. For example, Melanie Holcomb, curator of medieval art, said she had to cut “a significant slice” of her roughly $3 million budget for a show last year about Jerusalem, including canceling some art loans.
Employees have also been instructed to wring more sales from the Met’s restaurants, which brought in $24 million last fiscal year. Will Manzer, the former president of Perry Ellis’s menswear division, has been hired to overhaul the Met’s eight gift stores, in part by manufacturing new product lines. (Hint: Expect more items for men, like Met-branded cuff links and watches.) Mr. Manzer said the gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but he said he’s trying to triple those sales.
Among New York’s art establishment, Mr. Weiss is still something of a newcomer. Born in Newark, one of his first jobs was managing a museum shop in Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Later, he earned degrees in art history (he likes Byzantine art and Greek sculpture) from Johns Hopkins University and business administration from Yale.
At the nucleus of the Met controversy is that $15 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, but the Met’s past annual reports suggest deficits of $4 million to $8 million are commonplace. The museum hasn’t had to siphon from its $2.5 billion endowment to pay operating expenses, a move that nearly sank the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles a few years ago. And in terms of fundraising, the museum said it has raised roughly $850 million over the past five-and-a-half years—an average of $150 million a year.
Other major encyclopedic museums also reported budget shortfalls last year including the Louvre Museum in Paris, which said it suffered a $10 million loss, and London’s Tate Museum, whose income fell 30% last year to $193 million compared with the previous year. Both museums also saw attendance drops, with visitors falling off 15% at the Louvre and 20% at the Tate. By contrast, attendance at the Met grew last year to seven million, up 400,000 visitors from 2015.
The Met could take a few cues from the Art Institute of Chicago, which has a smaller, $650 million endowment but ended the last fiscal year with a $7.3 million surplus.
Museum experts say the Met’s size and role—its assets more than double that of Washington’s National Gallery of Art, for example—can be a mixed blessing, putting its every misstep into sharp relief. Brian Ferriso, director of the Portland Art Museum and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, said Mr. Weiss’s change-agent plan could thrust him into a position he may not ultimately want. “Can he move it forward? He might find more flexibility at a small museum,” Mr. Ferriso said.
Nik Honeysett, the Getty Museum’s former head of administration, agreed, saying the director role can be prestigious, yet thankless. “Museums are damned if they do change and damned if they don’t,” Mr. Honeysett said. “If they don’t change and grow, they’re accused of losing relevance; if they do, they have to justify every dime.”

3. NEW YORK Wall Street Journal By Edward Rothstein March 21, 2017 4:56 p.m. ET
Of all that has been imagined of the afterlife, probably nothing comes close to the scene at a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History, in which unburied dead of the past 7,000 years keep posthumous company with each other, laid out in display cases, coffined or wrapped or half unwrapped, accompanied by vessels of preserved organs or relics like a sewing bobbin. One body is bundled in coarse cloth and held together with rope, another is encased in gilt magnificence; one woman is bound with two children, another corpse is left with only a head after ancient grave robbers hastily tore it apart looking for jewelry; and these remains share space with a preserved ibis, crocodile and cat.
The dead almost always inspire awe; they are reflections of what we all become, or demonstrations—in this case—of how some, of different times and places, imagined they might live on. “Mummies” (through Jan. 7, 2018) is an exhibition in which some 18 individuals (or parts of them) are brought into light or can be peered at and maneuvered on touch-screens showing CT scans. And the effect is powerful. We are not looking at a simulacrum of death, but are in its presence. We see one seventh century B.C. Egyptian who, 100 years ago, was unwrapped either “for science or spectacle”: His head was detached. It now lies in place, but the half-wrapped figure still cannot be looked at without some voyeuristic embarrassment: We can scarcely tell where aged linen gives way to desiccated flesh and ancient bone.
This exhibition gives its charges a more technologically subtle unveiling, and in some cases the results are revelatory. The procedures do not distance these bodies from us, but bring us closer to their lives. DNA testing gives us information about their diet. Forensic analysis diagnoses diseases like tuberculosis. In 1977, only four years after being introduced to hospitals, CT scanners (one is on display) began to be applied to the long dead. In one mummified bundle containing a child preserved aabout 1,000 years ago by the Chancay culture in Peru, a scanner disclosed several small figurines. Without ever opening the sack in which the child’s body is hunched in a crouch as in many Peruvian mummies, the figurines (grave offerings? playthings?) are presented to us, produced by 3D printer from scans. On touch-screens you can rotate those objects along with bundles of human remains, then instantly pass through layers of wrapping, or take slices as if using a digital scalpel.
This exhibition originated at the Field Museum in Chicago and includes some mummies that had not been seen displayed since the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. There have been other traveling exhibitions of mummies in recent years—one, “Mummies of the World,” from American Exhibitions Inc. (now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science), is more wide-ranging, theatrical and commercial. But here a weakness—of overly tight focus—is also a strength; the exhibition angles away from sensation and toward scientific investigation, treating two cultural realms in which mummification took place over thousands of years. Ancient Egypt is the more familiar; pre-Columbian Peru has become the focus only in recent decades.
Top row: This highly decorated coffin contains a boy of about 14 years old, who died around 250 BC in the Ptolemaic era of ancient Egypt. CT scanning and subsequent 3D imaging reveal that the teenager was placed into a coffin that was too large for him. Bottom row: More CT scanning and subsequent 3D imaging. With the CT scans and a 3D-printed reconstruction of the skull, French artist Elisabeth Daynès began creating a sculpture to depict what the boy looked like. The completed, hyper-realistic sculpture by artist Elisabeth Daynès recreates the teenage boy who was mummified centuries ago.Photos: The Field Museum(3); Elisabeth Daynès, Paris(2)
The oldest mummies from Peru were created by the Chinchorro culture (c. 5000-2000 B.C.) some two millennia before those of the ancient Egyptians. None of these rare, fragile specimens are on display, though we learn something about their creation. While the Egyptians tended to leave the structure of their dead intact, removing the organs and embalming the remains, the Chinchorro apparently took their dead apart, tanned the skin, and pieced them back together using reeds and clay. The Egyptians believed they were preparing the elite dead for the afterlife, but mummies in many Peruvian cultures played a regular role among the living.
Much of this requires guesswork, particularly because in Peruvian cases no systems of writing have come to light. In one display case here, we see a Peruvian skull from the Nazca culture (from the first eight centuries A.D.) with a hole bored through its forehead that would have once been threaded with rope to attach it to a belt—as shown on a Nazca pot. Such skulls were once believed to be “war trophies,” but DNA analysis shows they were of the same culture of the people who wore them (which doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t trophies).
Scanning and DNA analysis also disclosed various anomalies we see in the exhibition, including a young Egyptian man mummified around 250 B.C. and then placed in a coffin made 200 years earlier and inscribed with another’s name.
But the oldest mummy here is also the most emotionally touching: A woman who was buried in hot, dry Egyptian sand between 5500 and 2700 B.C. was naturally mummified and lies before us. She was less than 34 years old, had lost most of her teeth, suffered from arthritis and had hardened arteries. And here she lies, wrapped in barely discernible linen and fur under a frayed reed mat, crouched so we see the top of her skull and her two protruding feet, near a scanned image of her bent skeletal frame. She is a reminder of the pain and loss mummification is meant to disguise—or permanently fend off—which, in this afterlife anyway, it clearly does not.
—Mr. Rothstein is the Journal’s Critic at Large.
Appeared in the March 22, 2017, print edition as 'Unwrapping History.'


1. WASHINTON DC Committee for Cultural Policy - Benin Repatriation Request Raises Tough Questions
March 29, 2017.  Benin has requested the repatriation from France of thousands of objects procured during colonial rule in Benin at the end of the 19th century. The length of time that has passed undermines any legal claims for return, but ethical arguments remain. Among the challenges are that items are in the hands of French museums, the Church and in private collections. There is no list of missing items, but the parties pressing for return believe there are 4500-6000 items that should go back to Benin.
Another issue may be the future safety of objects if they were sent back to Benin. The recent direct threats to Benin by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, and the group’s strategy of creating chaos and destruction as a means of cultural genocide (and of generating outraged publicity), raises persistent questions about the security of repatriating significant numbers of cultural objects to that region.
Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey, was under French colonial rule from around 1892 until 1960, when the country gained independence. France “acquired” most of the treasures from Dahomey during a period of colonial fighting between 1892 and 1894. Missionaries also brought numerous cultural objects back to France during the same period. Benin’s ambassador to UNESCO, Irenee Zevounou, is pursuing negotiations with both the French state and the Church for the return of thousands of cultural objects including swords and thrones, that are thought to now reside in French public and private collections.
The repatriation request is complicated by French and international law, by the lack of an official list of objects, and the fact that the former Kingdom of Dahomey included parts of Nigeria as well as Benin – which country can make the claim? The part of the 1970 UNESCO Convention which covers the repatriation of cultural objects states that the signatory nations must “ensure that their competent services co-operate in facilitating the earliest possible restitution of illicitly exported cultural property to its rightful owner.” But what is “illicitly exported” in this 19th century context?  The Convention (although ratified by France in 1997) is not really implemented there – for all practical purposes, at least, since it is a major tribal market and home some of the largest tribal art sales in the world, such as Parcours des Mondes. France also upholds the “inalienability and imprescriptibility” of objects that have been part of French public collections for more than a century.
Neither the Benin government nor the civil society groups requesting return can make a valid argument that the cultural objects would be preserved if they were returned to Benin. Although the political situation in Benin is relatively quiescent compared to its neighbor, Nigeria, there is a potential threat from the Boko Haram insurgency, which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 individuals and the displacement of over 2.3 million people in the region. While a coalition of soldiers from Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Benin appeared to have subdued the ultra-fundamentalist Islamic group in 2015, a subsequent division within Boko Haram resulted in debate over whether the group would dissipate, or instead gain strength as a dual insurgency.
On March 20, 2017, Newsweek reported that “Boko Haram Vows to Impose Sharia Law in Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Mali.” Though much of Boko Haram’s activity has been in Northeastern Nigeria, the fact that they’ve named Benin as a target is concerning.
Agreements for long term loans or safe harbor also seem to be part of President Francois Hollande’s agenda on cultural property, and this may be an avenue for discussion, if France tolerates any claim at all. In spite of the cultural destruction that has occurred at the hands of ISIS and other terrorist groups, the granting of safe harbor to items from war zones has often been overlooked in recent years, in part due to misguided concerns that antiquities were being used to finance terrorist activities. A proactive approach using safe harbor as its foundation may do much to protect cultural heritage in countries under threat from terrorism and war.
Hollande has taken direct measures to support just these aims. In a November 2015 address to delegates at the 38th UNESCO Conference in Paris, he proposed bringing Syrian antiquities to France for safekeeping. Since then, in September of 2016, he announced a $100m fund to combat terrorist attacks on cultural sites and “protect the resources of humanity” in the Middle East. In November of the same year he unveiled a plaque for a Louvre Museum conservation facility in Liévin, designed as a haven to hold art and antiquities from countries in crisis until they can be safely repatriated to their country of origin.
A discussion between the parties that focuses on preservation and public access to objects in both France and Benin may be the most fruitful and least fraught with political jockeying – and the most prudent where war and terrorism are present threats.
Image: 16-17th century sculpture from Benin Kingdom, Nigeria Edo State, Benin Empire, Musee du Quai Branly, Paris, author Rama, Wikimedia Commons.

2. WASHINGTON DC - Committe for Cultural Policy -Vikan: On Creating a New Culture of Antiquities Collecting in the US
Vikan: On Creating a New Culture of Antiquities Collecting in the US
March 25, 2017.  “We are an immigrant nation and we all have a shared interest in the preservation of ancient culture; and we should all value the controlled, legal movement of cultural property as we value the free movement of people, literature, and ideas.” So writes Gary Vikan, Committee for Cultural Policy (CCP) President and former director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, in the February 2017 edition of Apollo.
In Trading Places, Dr. Vikan describes the origins of the encyclopedic museum system in the U.S., and the results of recent, self-imposed regulation which has led to a veritable freeze of the free movement of cultural property.
Vikan proposes a process in which the U.S. could unfreeze the flow of cultural objects and “create a new culture of collecting, which will be sustained by the vast number of antiquities already within borders of the United States.”
Mass collections of antiquities built by magnates such as J.P. Morgan, Henry Walters and others fueled the collections of the museums of the late 19th and early 20th century. Vikan writes, “In those days, collectors benefited enormously from a flourishing legal export trade in antiquities. Walters’ renowned Imperial Roman sarcophagi came to America from a private collector in Rome in 1902, with full oversight by the Italian government. But there was also plenty of loot to be had.” “Loot” that often was acquired through questionable means.
It was this wholesale collecting of antiquities that ultimately led source countries and international organizations to implement laws to restrict the exportation of cultural property. Vikan continues, “In 1970, UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The United States was not only the first major antiquities-importing nation to sign on to the 1970 UNESCO Convention; it was the first to pass implementation legislation to give the Convention legal effect. The Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 created the President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee, to entertain requests from foreign nations that we in the USA, in concert with other antiquities-buying countries, and stop the importation of broad categories of antiquities that previously had been flowing unhindered into the USA.”
The flow of antiquities exported without source country authority slowed by the 1990s, but Vikan says that the lax culture of regulation that existed within the museum system enabled some many recently imported antiquities to find their way into collections in the U.S. In 2008 a rewrite of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ (AAMD) acquisition guidelines stemmed this flow by establishing guidelines: “AAMD members normally should not acquire a work unless research substantiates that the work was outside the country of probable modern discovery before 1970.”
Vikan discusses the significance of the change in museum culture: “For me, the clearest evidence that the old system is dead is that antiquities are not coming out of war-ravaged Syria. Virtually nothing of any monetary or cultural significance is now on the US art market from that troubled region. I contrast this with the bustling trade in war loot that I encountered as a young curator in the 1980s, when vast numbers of important pieces of Byzantine art – including icons, frescoes, and even church mosaics – were pouring westward in the wake of the 1974 Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus. Whole church interiors were then being offered by well-known dealers to established private and museum buyers.”
The AAMD guidelines stopped the flow of looted antiques but had the unintended consequence of placing hundreds of thousands of antiquities (legally imported but not legally exported from the source countries) in limbo. They were legal to own, buy and sell, but museums would not accept the, even as donations. Museums and collectors began to refer to them as “orphans.”
“Orphan” antiquities also included artworks and artifacts procured prior to 1970, but which lacked records of purchase. They might be works of fine art or that glazed pot one of your relatives bought during a trip to Afghanistan in their youth. Or the early icon your great-great-grandmother brought with her when she emigrated from Russia. Items that were acquired legally but the proof of their purchase has long ago disappeared.
To release the orphans from this state of limbo, and to enable them to be collected, curated, and exhibited by museums, Vikan envisions “a new culture of collecting.” This involves the liberation of two categories of antiquities that already exist within the United States – “orphan” antiquities and the vast quantities of antiquities that exist in museum storage, the ones never placed on display for public view.
Vikan envisions an internet database containing images of “orphans”, which “aggressively marketed to their countries of likely origin, with adequate protection of privacy, would be where potential claimants could find large numbers of searchable antiquities in the hands of American collectors and dealers, and make whatever legitimate claims they might have for restitution.”  Anything unclaimed after a period of time would, by default, be considered to have a clear title and therefore be able to reenter the market place.
The complexity of the guidelines for deaccessioning antiquities in museum storage is cited by Vikan as the reason so many stay in basements and storage areas, never seen by the public, and creating an ongoing expense for the museum.
“AAMD guidelines should be revised,” Mr. Vikan says, “and incentives found for getting these works swiftly to public auctions, so that they can re-enter the marketplace of dealers and collectors, and eventually find their home in other museums, where they will be prized and exhibited.”
He concludes, “The net result of these changes in policies as they relate to orphans and to the reaccessioning of storeroom collections would be to build a robust environment in America for the legal, regulated trade in antiquities and, ultimately, to serve our museum collections and the public.”
Note: See a new Comment by Dr. Vikan in Apollo, Blame Games at the Met.

ART MARKET Spring/Summer 2017


1. NEW YORK (AFP).- A 1982 untitled Basquiat sold for $110.5 million in New York on Thursday, setting a new auction record for the US artist in Sotheby's flagship post-war and contemporary art sale, the auction house said.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, the US wonderkid of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, who died in 1988 of an overdose at the age of 27, has been catapulted into the rostrum of 20th century greats by the rising value of his work.
A tense bidding war lasted for around 10 minutes between a client in Sotheby's New York showroom and another on the telephone, with the telephone buyer ultimately clinching the top bid.
The skull-like head on a giant canvas in oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint called "Untitled" was the star lot of the May auction season in New York and had been valued pre-sale in excess of $60 million.
Loud cheers and applause greeted the conclusion of the sale, which almost doubled the previous Basquiat record of $57 million, set for a self-portrait snapped up by a Japanese billionaire at Christie's last year.
Thursday's canvas was last bought in 1984 at Christie's for $19,000.
Sotheby's auctioneer opened bids Thursday at $57 million and offered occasional moments of levity and encouragement to the bidders.
"It's a great masterpiece at $98 million dollars," he said to laughter in the room shortly before the bidding war concluded. The $110.5 million price tag includes the buyer's premium.
At least 14 works from the Brooklyn-born artist were on sale at Christie's and Sotheby's this week.
The subject of much of his work -- ordeals endured by blacks in America -- is finding renewed resonance in the wake of nationwide US protests since 2014 about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.
Rival auction house Christie's sold Basquiat's "La Hara" -- a 1981 acrylic and oil-stick of an angry-looking New York police officer -- for $35 million on Wednesday, eclipsing its $22-28 million estimate.
Pablo Picasso holds the world record for the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction. His "The Women of Algiers (Version 0)" fetched $179.4 million at Christie's in New York in 2015.

2.  TOKYO (AFP).- With a single post on Instagram, Yusaku Maezawa announced not only his purchase of an $110.5 million Basquiat masterpiece, and his place in auction history, but arguably signalled a new era for art in Japan.
The price, a record for the artist, is reminiscent of 1980s Japan when corporate big-spenders splashed out on Impressionist art -- along with foreign property and businesses -- in an asset-buying spree.
But billionaire Maezawa insists he is just an "ordinary collector" -- despite his extraordinary bank balance. His purchases are born out of love and driven by gut instinct, rather than the instructions of any art advisor.
"I buy simply because they are beautiful. That's all. I enjoy classics together with the history and stories behind them, but possessing classics is not the purpose of my purchase," he told AFP.
Rather than squirrel away his latest purchase -- Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 "Untitled", a skull-like head in oil-stick, acrylic and spray paint on a giant canvas -- he plans to loan it out to galleries worldwide.
"I hope it brings as much joy to others as it does to me, and that this masterpiece by the 21-year-old Basquiat inspires our future generations," he said after the New York sale last month.
He's the one
The 41-year-old's style is a step change from the corporate image of Japan's traditional art collectors who possess paintings as investment tools or to cement their social status.
Paper tycoon Ryoei Saito, who bought Vincent Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr Gachet" in 1990 for $82.5 million -- a then record -- and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette" for $78.1 million -- famously triggered outrage when he said he would have the canvases put in his coffin and cremated with him when he died. He later recanted.
"Many Japanese rushed to buy paintings for investment during the bubble economy," said Shinji Hasada, an official at Shinwa Art Auction, of the 1980s and 1990s boom period.
Customs figures showed works of art valued at $246 million were imported in 1985, but the figure shot up to $3.4 billion in 1990.
But many of the bubble-era masterpieces were sold off in a fire sale when the Japanese economy collapsed. Today Japan's art collection market has shrunk to around one-twentieth of its peak, Hasada explained.
And while collectors such as former chairman of publisher Benesse Soichiro Fukutake, who helped transform a remote island into an art haven, have bolstered interest, Hasada believes Maezawa could inject new life into the sector.
"In all eras of history, patrons have come out to boost the art world, and in that sense he is the modern one we have been waiting for," Hasada said.
An aspiring rock star as a teen, he moved on to selling music merchandise via mail order and then online. In 1998 Maezawa founded Start Today, which operates the nation's largest online fashion mall, ZOZOTOWN.
Today, he is 11th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3.5 billion, according to business magazine Forbes.
Young artists' champion
His Instagram feed, where he proclaimed to the world that he was the one who purchased Basquiat's painting, is peppered with shots of his luxury living -- including private jets, yachts and designer watches, but also his beloved art.
Many traditional collectors are more secretive -- "Untitled" had previously not been seen in public for decades -- but Maezawa wants to engage a new generation with his passion -- some 73,000 people follow his posts.
"I think (Instagram) is helping promote contemporary art in terms of information sharing," he explains, adding that he has also uses social media to discover and buy pieces from new talent.
He founded the Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, a boon for the city's talent who feel they have finally found a champion.
Yukimasa Ida, a 27-year-old contemporary artist who has won the foundation's special jury award, regards Maezawa as a "figurehead" of up-and-coming Japanese artists aiming to challenge the global artworld.
"He is an encouraging collector, of a kind that has been hardly seen in Japan ... in terms of fostering and influencing young artists," Ida told AFP.
Maezawa said he wanted to introduce upcoming artists to a broader audience.
"I'm happy that good works by young artists with limited chances will see the light of day by my purchasing them," he added.
Next he plans to open a museum in Chiba, east of Tokyo, which will display his collection, which includes works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons.
It will also showcase his Basquiat pieces -- last year he paid $57.3 million for the artist's painting of a horned devil.
But he plans to tour "Untitled", which set a record for any US artist at auction, showcasing it at galleries around the world.
He said: "I wish to loan this piece — which has been unseen by the public for more than 30 years — to institutions and exhibitions around the world."

 3. NEW YORK Art Auction Houses Offer Cash Advances
Perk allow collectors to quickly tap equity in valuable artwork and other collectibles consigned for sale
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments and the traditional direct loans to clients.
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments and the traditional direct loans to clients. Photo: iStockphoto/Getty Images
By Daniel Grant
Updated March 27, 2017 10:37 a.m. ET
Large auction houses have long offered loans to their “art rich, cash poor” clients, using a piece of art, jewelry or other collectible as collateral. But a growing number of both large and small auctioneers are taking it a step further and offering some clients a new perk: an interest-free cash advance on a piece consigned for sale.
The cash advance allows a person whose principal assets are illiquid—in the form of valuable artworks and other collectibles—to quickly tap the equity of those assets. This is especially appealing to collectors who have large short-term financial needs and can’t wait for that consigned painting, sculpture or necklace to actually sell—which can take months or even years, in some cases.
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And the perk can give auction houses a competitive advantage over art galleries—which typically don’t offer cash advances on consignments—by putting money in the seller’s pocket right away.
“Loans and advances against consignments are part of the industry that is growing the fastest,” says Thomas B. McCabe IV, vice president in charge of business development and private sales at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia.
Money on the Spot
The amount of an advance typically ranges from one-quarter to one-half of the estimated value of a consigned piece. The auction house takes physical possession of the artwork, and once the piece is sold, the seller receives the sale price less the advance, sales commission and other fees.
So, for instance, the consignor of piece estimated at $100,000 might receive an advance of $25,000 and, after a sale price of $100,000, an additional $55,000 (deducting a 20% commission).
Since auctioneers are more likely to pay an advance on pieces they expect to sell and sell well, a consignor may be in a stronger position to negotiate fees. Auctioneers also earn money from the buyer’s premiums—typically 12% to 25%—so they may be willing to take less on the seller’s end.
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But what if the artwork fails to sell at auction? The piece is likely to be offered at a subsequent sale, and interest on the advance may be charged, although that rarely happens. However, if a piece continues not to sell, the auction house may demand its money back or charge interest on the advance and call it a loan.
At Freeman’s auction house, for example, a consignor pays an annual interest rate of 10% on the unpaid balance of the advance after 35 days if an object hasn’t sold, according to the company’s written terms and agreements. The other option is just to return the advance within the 35 days without any penalty.
Mr. McCabe says cash advances are a “courtesy” available to certain consignors who make the request. “We’re not a bank or a pawnshop,” he says, but adds that the cash advances are incentives to prospective consignors in a competitive auction field. “We know there are other auctioneers out there who will advance the money if we don’t.”
Previous Wealth Management Coverage of Art and Collecting
Case by Case
Decisions on giving advances tend to be on a case-by-case basis. A known client is somewhat more apt to receive an advance. A rare, sought-after item is more likely to bring the consignor an advance than one that’s not as assured of selling at auction or for a sizable price. “Jewelry is always popular and is likely to merit a higher advance than something that might not sell as easily, such as, say, something from antiquity,” says Joanne Porrino Mournet, executive vice president at auction house Doyle in New York.
Sotheby’s Financial Services makes both cash advances against consignments (generally, at 50% of the low estimate) and the traditional direct loans of no less than $1 million with renewable two-year terms. “We generally lend to clients who we’ve worked with in the past, whether as buyers or sellers,” says Jan Prasens, managing director of Sotheby’s Financial Services.
The perk doesn’t appear to be catching on with art dealers, however, who tend to not give cash advances on consigned pieces. “If you can guarantee that something will sell,” says Maxwell Davidson IV, senior director of Maxwell Davidson Gallery in New York, “you are confident enough to buy it outright, rather than take it on consignment and advance cash against a sale.”
Mr. Grant is a writer in Amherst, Mass. Email him at
Appeared in the March 27, 2017, print edition.



FOLK ART Spring/Summer 2017

1. NEW BRAUNFELS, TX.- The Marcy Carsey Collection of American furniture and folk art, one of the most notable collections of Americana brought to auction in recent memory, will be presented by Lark Mason Associates on the iGavel Auctions website between May 16 and June 6, 2017. Assembled by Marcy Carsey with the help of her friend and business partner Susan Baerwald, the collection contains works purchased over the past 25 years featuring 19th and early 20th century furniture, weathervanes, trade signs, anniversary tin, quilts, hand-hooked rugs, toys, whimsical pieces and hand-made musical instruments. The well-known and respected experts and gallerists, opened Just Folk, in 2007 in Los Angeles. Appearing at the top folk art and Americana shows in the United States., they were sought out by collectors and interior decorators for their beautiful presentations, which positioned Americana in the context of art and design. The duo has recently embarked on a new venture, taking their gallery virtual to better share their important inventory with a new generation of collectors.
Ms. Carsey, one of Hollywood’s most successful television producers who, with her partner Tom Werner, won numerous Emmy Awards for such mega-hits as “That ‘70s Show,” “Roseanne,” “Third Rock from The Sun,” “Grace Under Fire,” and many more, is passionate about her collection and her desire to share her love of Americana with others. "I have always been attracted to things that make me smile," says Carsey. "It’s important that others get to share the joy that these pieces have given me and my family over the years.”
Lark Mason, whose career spanned twenty-five years at Sotheby’s including a stint as one of their leading generalists, was particularly thrilled with the opportunity to present the Carsey Collection at auction. “Rarely does the public have an opportunity to purchase a professionally curated and assembled selection of works of this quality,” he said. “With their bold splashes of color and distinctive lines, these items can easily be integrated into a contemporaryir interior.”
One of the major highlights of the collection are 38 remarkable antique carriages and childhood vehicles from the Weinberg Collection. Ranging from nearly unused wheeled carriages to stunning 19th century sleighs, the collection is a snapshot of American childhood from the height of the Gilded Age. Fully documented and cited in numerous reference works, another collection of this quality is unlikely to come to the market.
Additional objects include an important early 19th century Paint Decorated Cupboard, (Est: $40,000-60,000), a 19th century Tall Shaker Red-Painted Chest, (Est: $20,000-30,000), a 19th century Pennsylvania Painted Lift-Top Blanket (Est: $15,000-25,000) and a wide variety of weathervanes, clocks, tables, chairs, and other objects estimated at prices that are accessible to buyers at all economic levels.
Notes Mason, “With its exceptional range of objects and condition, this collection is a great opportunity for seasoned collectors and decorative arts buyers to purchase significant works of American folk art and furniture.”
Viewing the collection is by appointment in New Braunfels, Texas from May 20th to June 5th.

2.  ATLANTA, GA.- Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High Museum of Art, announced today that the Museum has received 54 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, one of the most significant acquisitions by the High’s folk and self-taught art department since its establishment in 1994.
The combined gift and purchase features paintings, sculptures and works on paper by 33 contemporary African-American artists from the Southern United States, including 13 works by Thornton Dial (1928–2016) that span four decades of the artist’s astounding career. The acquisition also features 11 quilts created by the women of Gee’s Bend, Ala., tripling the Museum’s examples of this unparalleled tradition in American art. Work by Lonnie Holley and Ronald Lockett, artists whose work the High has been collecting since the 1990s, is joined by sculpture from their Alabama contemporaries Joe Minter and Richard Dial. In addition to Minter and Richard Dial, artists entering the High’s collection for the first time include Eldren Bailey, one of four Georgia artists represented in the acquisition, Charles Williams, Vernon Burwell and Georgia Speller. A significant group of paintings and sculpture by Joe Light, as well as individual works by artists such as Archie Byron, Mary T. Smith, Royal Robertson and Purvis Young, complement existing holdings by those artists.
The High’s acquisition is part of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s strategic gift/purchase program designed to strengthen the representation of African-American artists from the Southern U.S. in the collections of leading museums across the country, including the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“This gift dovetails remarkably well with our existing collection—essentially adding strength on strength to one of the most distinctive and important collections of its kind,” said Suffolk. “We’re grateful to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation for the opportunity to deepen our commitment to these artists and recognize their impact on contemporary art.”
“This landmark acquisition is a capstone of years of collaboration with the High Museum of Art, the anchoring institution in the Foundation’s hometown of Atlanta. We are very pleased to add dozens of significant works to the High’s collection of contemporary art and look forward to years of future collaboration through insightful programming, displays and publications,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
This acquisition is the latest in a series of major milestones for the High’s folk and self-taught art department. In 2014 the Museum received a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta-based patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone to support and expand the Museum’s folk and self-taught art initiatives, including the endowment of a permanent, full-time curatorial position. Katherine Jentleson, Ph.D., joined the High in 2015 as the inaugural Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art. Since Jentleson’s arrival, the Museum has added 177 artworks to the folk and self-taught art collection and continues to build its robust special exhibition program, which has included “Green Pastures: In Memory of Thornton Dial, Sr.” (Feb. 13 through May 1, 2016), “A Cut Above: Wood Sculpture from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection” (May 14 through Oct. 30, 2016) and the solo retrospective “Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett” (Oct. 9, 2016, through Jan. 8, 2017). Since establishing the department in 1994, the High has presented other notable exhibitions, including “Howard Finster: Visions from Paradise Garden” (1996), “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” (2006), “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial” (2012–2013) and “Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts” (2012–2013).
The High began collecting the work of contemporary self-taught artists in 1975 and became the first museum outside of Alabama to make a major purchase of work by Bill Traylor in 1982. The following decade included a significant acquisition of work by Howard Finster and the foundational gift of more than 150 works of art from T. Marshall Hahn, which established the High as a leader in work by Southern self-taught artists. Subsequent gifts in the 2000s, including more than 130 works by Nellie Mae Rowe from the Judith Alexander Foundation and more than 80 works by various artists from the collection of Gordon W. Bailey, reinforced this strength. The Souls Grown Deep acquisition greatly deepens the High’s holdings of contemporary art from the South, endowing the collection with masterpieces collected by William S. Arnett throughout the region in the 1980s, which formed the basis for the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.
To showcase these new acquisitions, the Museum will increase the physical footprint of the folk and self-taught art galleries by 30 percent as part of a permanent collection reinstallation planned for 2018.
“When we unveil works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in our expanded galleries it will be a defining moment that makes undeniable the magnitude of achievement that has been realized by artists here in the South, regardless of their level of training,” said Jentleson. “This is art that breaks boundaries and defies expectations, challenging long-held assumptions about where great art comes from and whom we acknowledge as the leading artists of our time.”
Thornton Dial, Sr.
For many years, the High has held the largest public collection of Dial’s work and has recognized his artistic genius through exhibition projects. With the addition of 13 paintings and sculptures from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the Museum nearly doubles its holdings to include paintings and assemblages spanning Dial’s entire 30-year career, giving the critically acclaimed Alabama artist a lasting legacy within the High’s world-class collection.
Key works:
• “Crossing Waters” (2006–2011), the largest painting Dial ever made, references the transatlantic voyage that forcibly brought hundreds of thousands of African people to lives of servitude in the United States.
• “Driving to the End of the World” (2004), five works created as a commentary on the global oil crisis made from an old truck that Dial found deserted in the woods, comprise the only series of work Dial ever completed.
• Three pre-1990 works, “Beaver Dam” (1987), “The Old Ku Klux: After All Their Fighting, Where’s the Profit” (1988) and “Turkey Tower” (1980s), illustrate the early period of Dial’s career previously undocumented at the High.
• Two works from 2002, “Looking Out the Windows” and “Mrs. Bendolph,” exhibit the highly sophisticated range of Dial’s assemblage practice as it blossomed at the dawn of the millennium.
Gee’s Bend Quilts
Gee’s Bend, Ala., was named after Joseph Gee, who built a plantation there in the early 1800s. The Gee family sold the plantation to Mark Pettway in 1845, and most present-day residents, including many of the Gee’s Bend quilters, are descendants of slaves from the former Pettway plantation.
Dating from the 1970s to 2005, the 11 quilts included in the Souls Grown Deep Foundation gift/purchase triple the High’s existing holdings of works by these celebrated women artists and demonstrate the incredible legacy of their artistic production, which parallels many of the experiments with color, flatness and abstraction associated with postwar American painting. Quilts by Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Lee Bendolph and Annie Mae Young complement existing holdings by these artists, while work by Lucy T. Pettway, Arlonzia Pettway, Arcola Pettway, China Pettway, Jennie Pettway, Agatha Bennett, Polly Bennett and Flora Moore enters the collection for the first time.
Additional highlights:
• A trio of found-object sculptures by Alabama-born, Atlanta-based artist and musician Lonnie Holley (born 1950), including “What’s on a Pedestal Today” (1990) and “Not Olympic Rings” (1994), two works that engage directly with the postmodern practice of institutional critique
• “The Comfort and Service My Daddy Brings to Our Household” (1988), a steel sculpture by Thornton Dial’s son, Richard Dial (born 1955), one of several works that demonstrates dynamic artistic exchange and cross-influence.
• Key works by Ronald Lockett (1965–1998), whose retrospective the High recently hosted. “Civil Rights Marchers” (1988) and “Once Something Has Lived It Can Never Really Die” (1996) span the artist’s brief but explosive career and complement the High’s existing holdings of Lockett’s cut-metal drawings and deer paintings, work in which animals become potent symbols for the vulnerability of African-American men in the post–Civil Rights era South.
• Works commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: a painted cabinet by South Carolina artist Sam Doyle (1906–1985) titled “A Dream” and sculpted likenesses of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King by Vernon Burwell (1916–1990) of Rocky Mount, N.C. Both works represent an alternative narrative to canonical accounts of American portraiture, in which white subjects by white artists have been historically dominant.
• Rare work by Atlanta artist Eldren Bailey, who began decorating his property in the Mechanicsville neighborhood with concrete sculpture in 1945. “Pyramid” (1970s), a concrete sculpture embedded with found objects including costume jewelry, pennies and a freemason’s pin, is a 20th-century heir to the memory jug, a form that has long been associated with the survival of African traditions on American soil.