Tuesday 4 June 2013

New Information on the National Gallery of Australia Nataraja

SCOOP: New Evidence Of Stolen Idols at the National Gallery of Australia by Chasing Aphrodite. They report on the blog:
In the coming days, ChasingAphrodite.com will publish new information about several of the objects the NGA acquired from Kapoor. The records, obtained from sources with knowledge of the on-going investigations, show that several of the objects were illegally removed from Indian temples shortly before Kapoor offered them to Radford, Maxwell and other NGA officials. Many of the objects were accompanied by false provenance papers. Those ownership histories are belied by evidence seized from Kapoor, including photographs sent to him by smugglers soon after the idols had been removed from Indian temples. 
What is notable is that although the museum pledged to show what they had of the collecting history of the 21 Kapoor objects they house, and the results of further research, they have been very reticent at actually doing so. One of the items concerned is the 130 cm bronze Nataraja, or Dancing Shiva for which in 2008, the NGA paid Kapoor $2 million (see herehere, here, and especially here for my coverage).  
Kapoor provided the museum with a document stating that he had purchased the bronze from a Washington D.C. man in October 2004. [...] The story of the Washington owner was a fabrication, the records show. [...] In April 2007, Kapoor obtained a certificate from the Art Loss Register saying the Shiva had not been registered as stolen property.
Among the evidence for this was a photo of what seems very likely to be the same Nataraja sent to Kapoor by smugglers in October 2006, soon after it was stolen from the Sivan Temple in the village of Sree Puranthan in Tamil Nadu.  It seems though that nobody willing to fork out Kapoor's asking price was going to ask the question how this item actually came onto the market.

Chasing Aphrodite do not mention that between going missing and coming on sale, the statue 'lost' part of its base, as I pointed out earlier.

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

And here, just for the sake of additional coverage.


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