Unilever Lecture 2019 : “The Antiques Rogue Show – An Examination of Dutch Art in Crime

From the announcement in the Winter Newsletter :

The Netherlands and Dutch art have a special place in art history straddling a period from the 1400’s to the twentieth century, incorporating many of the acknowledged great masters such as Jan van Eyck, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Vermeer and van Gogh who between them have created many of the most iconic works of art in the world.

It is hardly surprising that such great works of art have attracted the attention of many of the world’s great institutions and private collectors often paying world record prices for these paintings. Why then, if they are so well known and unique, do the works of such artists attract equal attention from the criminal fraternity?

The lecture will examine the place of Dutch Art in “Art Crime” and will explain the motives behind the criminals involved in what is today a global problem. It will explore the methods used to expose these crimes and recover the stolen art from the criminal underworld.

Richard Ellis is an internationally recognised art crime investigator with over 30 years’ experience. A career detective with the Metropolitan Police, he served in Special Operations at New Scotland Yard where he founded and ran the Art & Antiques Squad until 1999 when he left to become General Manager of Christie’s Fine Art Security Services. In 2000 he returned to the investigation and recovery of stolen art as Managing Director of Trace recovery services and in 2005 established his own company, the Art Management Group.

His many recoveries include Munch’s “The Scream”, over 7,000 antiquities looted from China and Egypt and most recently paintings by Lempicka and Dali stolen and recovered in The Netherlands. Since 2008 he has been an Expert Advisor to the UK Government on International Loans to Museums and has attended UNESCO workshops as an expert on the protection and recovery of cultural property. He is a founding trustee of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and lectures extensively on art crime.


From the report in the Spring Newsletter: