Former Director of Louvre Museum Charged in Art Trafficking Case

    Photo: ABACAPRESS.COM [via The Art Newspaper]

    The Facts

    • The former director of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, has been charged in connection with the trafficking of antiquities from the Middle East.

    • Martinez, who ran the Paris museum from 2013 until last year and currently serves as an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of art heritage, was indicted for "complicity of gang fraud and laundering" of items bought by the MET and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This shows that the trafficking of antiquities is not exclusive to terror groups and organized crime networks. Witting and unwitting collectors, auction houses, and art facilities all contribute to this theft. This is why all of civil society including businesses, governments, and international organizations must mobilize to protect our past.

    Narrative B

    Despite criticisms, temporary safe havens for endangered cultural objects are needed in some situations, particularly for artifacts in countries faced with conflict and instability. The practice actually helps address the problem of art theft - an atrocious act that leaves gaping holes in the material cultural heritage of poor peoples and fragile states.

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