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
Date Written: 2009
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
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