Stolen Italian Old Master Painting and Etruscan Statuette Returned by the FBI
An oil sketch by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo stolen from a private home in Turin, Italy, in or about August 1982, and an ancient Etruscan statuette stolen from the Oliveriano Archeological Museum in Pesaro, Italy, in January 1964, were returned today to Italian officials by the FBI, according to a bureau press release: “Each artwork was returned to Warrant Officer Angelo Ragusa of the Rome Office of the Archaeological Section of the Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, today at a repatriation ceremony at the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.”
According to the release:
Following the theft, the painting’s whereabouts were unknown until it appeared for auction [at Christie’s Old Master Painting Sale] in New York in January 2014 [with an estimate of $500,000-700,000]. After being provided with evidence that the painting was the same piece previously reported stolen in 1982, the Tiepolo’s consignor agreed to its seizure by the FBI and its return to Italy. The United States Attorney’s Office submitted a proposed stipulation and order providing for the Tiepolo’s seizure and return, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered that order on January 23, 2015. Italian authorities continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the theft of the painting, including the circumstances of its importation into the United States.
[The bronze statuette of Herakles dating from the 6th or 5th BC was stolen] along with several other items, including ivory tablets of the 9th and 13th centuries, early Christian glass artifacts from the Catacombs of Rome, and Italic and Roman statuettes. After its theft from the museum, the Statuette passed through several hands, and was eventually discovered by Italian and U.S. authorities when it was offered for sale by an auction house in Manhattan. After being provided with evidence that the Statuette was the same piece stolen from the museum, the consignor agreed to the FBI’s seizure of the Statuette for repatriation to Italy. The United States Attorney’s Office submitted a proposed stipulation and order providing for the Statuette’s seizure and return, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered that order on October 2, 2014.