Monthly Archives: April 2011

Yale returns artifacts to Peru

The agreement reached between Yale University and the government of Peru may long serve as a model for cultural property negotiations. After eight years of legal disputes, the two sides reached an agreement last November 23 that provides for the return of some 5,000 artifacts that will be housed in a newly established research center, co-managed by Yale and the Universidad Nacional de San Antionio Abad del Cusco.  The International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture will house the artifacts excavated from Macchu Picchu in the early 190os by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham.  See the text of the Nov. 23 agreement here.

More than 350 objects returned to Peru on Wednesday, March 30.  According to Yale Daily News, Peruvian president Alan Garcia was “profoundly satisfied” to see the return of the once disputed artifacts.

The next shipment of objects is scheduled for December 2011. (accessed April 28, 2011)



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Controversial Monument to German Unification

Berlin has announced plans for a new monument to German unification to be built in East Berlin.  Titled “Citizens in Motion,” the planned monument would take the form of a 180-foot long seesawing disk that would rock back and forth as visitors moved across it.  The moving monument could accommodate as many as 1,400 people, with around 20 needed to launch the swaying action.

According to the designers, choreographer Sasha Waltz and architectural firm Milla and Parter, the monument will symbolize the role of individuals in shaping their community.  But what if the creative experiment goes awry, as some are predicting?  Uwe Hameyer, director of the Berlin Association of Architects and Engineers has argued that crowding around the monument could cause confusion and panic.  Frankfurt’s Allgemeine Zeitung suggested that restricting tourists’ access to the monument would recall not unification but East German repression.

Is the design a stroke of genius?  Innovative and groundbreaking?  Or misguided and potentially dangerous?

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Wildenstein Legal Woes

The Wildenstein family once again is embroiled in litigation. The New York Times reported on April 19, 2011 that French authorities summoned Guy Wildenstein for questioning in Paris by antifraud investigators.  During a search of the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, French police investigators seized a cache of 30 artworks, some of which had been reported stolen or missing by victims of Nazi looting and their heirs.

The raid of Institute stemmed from a lawsuit filed against Wildenstein by his step-mother, Sylvia Roth Wildenstein, who accused him of money laundering and tax evasion.  She died last November, but another widow, that of Guy’s brother Alec, also has filed a suit against Guy for breach of trust.

The proliferation of lawsuits against Guy Wildenstein further taints the name of a once respected art dealing family.

See (accessed April 27, 2011)

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