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Displaying items by tag: heritage police

Friday, 04 April 2014 11:55

Italy Launches Stolen Art App

Italy’s heritage police, global experts in finding stolen artworks, have launched a smartphone app that encourages the public to help solve art-related crimes. Users who come across artworks they suspect have been stolen can take a photograph of it and send it directly to the police who check in real-time whether it matches any of the missing works listed in their archives. Users are also encouraged to add any artwork they may own to the database so they can be readily tracked down if stolen in the future.

The app, which is named iTPC with “TPC” being the Italian acronym for “Protection of Cultural Heritage,” will be available to download from AndroidMarket and AppleStore. Users will also have access to information on artworks that the police are actively searching for as well as a list of heritage police offices for those looking to report a crime or submit a claim for an artwork in person.

Italy’s heritage police manage the largest database of stolen art in the world, with details on approximately 5.7 million objects. The special department opened in 1969 and is headquartered in a Baroque palace in Rome.


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Wednesday, 02 April 2014 16:07

Gauguin and Bonnard Paintings Recovered in Italy

On Wednesday, April 2, Italy’s Culture Ministry unveiled two paintings that were recovered by police specializing in locating stolen art. The works, which are by the French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard, had been hanging in an Italian factory worker’s kitchen for nearly 40 years. He was unaware of the spectacular value of the works in his possession.

The two paintings were stolen from a London home in 1970 and then abandoned on a train traveling from Paris to Turin. The works were stored in an Italian Railways lost and found facility until they were offered at a lost-property auction in 1975. A Fiat factory worker with a passion for art purchased the paintings for roughly $30. A friend of the factory worker alerted Italian heritage police last summer when he grew suspicious of the paintings’ value.

Gauguin’s “Fruits sur une Table ou Nature au Petit Chien” is estimated to be worth between 10 million and 30 million euros. The Bonnard painting, titled “Le Femme aux Deux Fauteuils,” is said to be worth around 650,000 euros. The investigation into how the paintings ended up in the Fiat worker’s kitchen are still ongoing. It is unclear who the works will be returned to since the original owners have passed away. 

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