Versace’s Stolen Zoffany Portrait Returned Home

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 26, 2010

Stolen in 1979, Johan Zoffany’s Portrait of Major George Maule was slated to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in March 2009 as the centerpiece of the contents of Gianni Versace’s Lake Como villa. The painting was pulled from the sale at the last moment, and — as reported this week by Reuters — has now been returned to its original owners:

Johan Zoffany, "Portrait of Major George Maule, acting chief engineer of Madras" (Photo from "The Economist")

. . . A direct descendent of the subject of Portrait of Major George Maule contacted the Art Loss Register, which tracks lost and stolen art and antiquities, and the ALR in turn contacted Sotheby’s. “What could have been a protracted legal battle between two very well financed European families and their copious sets of lawyers has been amicably settled by the Art Loss Register’s art mediation team,” the ALR said. Although the terms of the settlement between the two families remained confidential, the ALR’s Christopher Marinello said: “There is no doubt that Gianni Versace had no knowledge that this painting was stolen when he purchased it in the 1980s. “This portrait does … hold particular sentimental value to the … heirs and the Versace family were extremely gracious in their willingness to compromise in seeing its return.” . . .

The Economist’s coverage of the story from March of last year is available here»

Call for Papers: The Wye Valley in Wales

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 26, 2010

The Wye Valley: Romantic Representations, 1640–1830
Tintern, Monmouthshire, Wales, 6-8 July 2011

Proposals due by 1 January 2011

The aim of this international conference – held on the banks of the Wye at Tintern, with views over to the abbey ruins – is to revisit one of Britain’s paradigmatic cultural sites: the Wye Valley. From Thomas Traherne and Henry Vaughan to William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, from the Early Modern period to Romanticism, this resonant ground has been central to British poetry, art, aesthetic theory, picturesque tourism and political intervention. The borderspace from Pumlumon to Chepstow became one of the great internalised cartographies of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is time to trace the flow of Wordsworth’s famous ‘wanderer through the woods’ anew in order to reconsider the conditioning influence this frontier-river had on the literary, artistic and cultural imagination of the age.

The Wye Valley: Romantic Representations will examine a broad spectrum of negotiations with the Wye Valley during the period 1640–1830, following in the footsteps and waterwakes of the period’s commentators, authors and artists. How might we ‘revisit’ the Wye Valley in order to defamiliarise the myriad responses to this landscape? What is the extent of the Wye Valley’s ‘reach’ into the various cultures of the age? What are the contours of various ‘cross-border’ negotiations with the Wye? The conference will bring international scholars together to examine a crucial section of the Welsh and British map.

The conference will take place at the heart of Tintern, a few hundred yards from the abbey and the river. Hotels and B&Bs are located within a couple of minutes’ walk. Possible excursions include the Piercefield picturesque estate, the wooded hills overlooking the valley, the castle at Chepstow, the famous iron forges along the impressive Angidy Valley and of course the Abbey itself. 20-minute papers are invited in any relevant area; suggestions are given below. Please email abstracts of c. 300 words to Stephanie Churms (scc09@aber.ac.uk) by 1 January 2011. (more…)

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