The Artifacts of Wartime Art Crime: Evidence for a Model of the Evolving Clout of Cultural Property in Foreign Affairs

ART AND CRIME: EXPLORING THE DARK SIDE OF THE ART WORLD, pp. 203-224, Noah Charney, ed., Praeger, 2009

Posted: 5 Jul 2011 Last revised: 19 Jul 2011

Erik Nemeth

Cultural Security; RAND Corporation

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Reflection on wartime treatment of artworks, historic buildings, and religious monuments since World War I reveals the compounding value of cultural property in foreign affairs. The poignant plunder of artworks during World War II has led to a history of restitution that suggests a model for the resolution of wartime art crime. The exploitation of cultural artifacts in developing nations during the Cold War era tests the model for repatriation of antiquities, and the destruction of historic and religious monuments in the post-Cold War period offers an opportunity to apply the model in predictive analysis for strategies in foreign policy. Specific examples illustrate the maturing market value of Nazi plunder. Successful restitution cases and an expanding art market inspire repatriation of looted antiquities. The financial and political significance of artworks decades after the wartime art crime indicate that the clout of displaced cultural property in foreign affairs increases with time.

Keywords: cultural property, plunder, looting, trafficking, restitution, repatriation, foreign policy

Suggested Citation

Nemeth, Erik, The Artifacts of Wartime Art Crime: Evidence for a Model of the Evolving Clout of Cultural Property in Foreign Affairs (2009). ART AND CRIME: EXPLORING THE DARK SIDE OF THE ART WORLD, pp. 203-224, Noah Charney, ed., Praeger, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1877508

Erik Nemeth (Contact Author)

Cultural Security ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://culturalsecurity.net

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/n/nemeth_erik.html

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