Call to end appeasement of art thieves

In a good article highlighting the growing problem of art theft, Geoffrey Clarfield criticizes what he calls a policy of “appeasement” that encourages crime and manages to throw in a jab at Yale for waiting over a century before returning artifacts stolen from Machu Picchu.

Art owners and museums still pay huge ransoms for stolen art. Our publicly funded museums and private auction houses have encouraged illegal trade by buying imported antiquities and muddling their provenance. Anyone who buys antiquities smuggled out of Iraq is indirectly paying for the civil war there.

In the 1930s, the British had a word for such behaviour, “appeasement.” It would be wise for museums and the public to reject and actively oppose this underground trade and its addiction to paid ransoms.

Stop the appeasement of art and antiques thieves Geoffrey Clarfield Globe and Mail 7/5/08

Posted by Chris

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