The Louvre Abu Dhabi is rocked by a scandal over the trade in antiquities


In late July, reports emerged that two prominent curators were being held for questioning in connection with a major scandal involving the trade in antiquities that has affected the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Artnet.

According to this week Artnet, one of the curators, Jean-François Charnier, was officially accused of providing false provenance information about artworks that made their way into the Louvre Abu Dhabi collections, as a result of efforts Charnier made on behalf of the organization France Muséums. France Muséums declined to comment on The Daily Beast.

According to Generations Nouvelles, “five objects looted in Egypt bought by the Louvre Abu Dhabi” are items linked to Charnier’s intervention and are now part of an extensive investigation, alongside hundreds of ancient artifacts believed to have been traded. The Louvre Abu Dhabi has not responded to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

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In June, the New York State Department seized five other Egyptian antiquities from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the wider investigation.

Transactions related to the looting of antiquities are a global problem, and the practice has yet to be fully combated by the countries involved, but some are trying: in February, fearing the practices of the Taliban, the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and US Customs and Border Protection placed art and antiquities from Afghanistan under ’emergency import restrictions’, but an uphill battle must be fought. In 2020, an Interpol poll found that more than 850,000 ancient looted items had been seized by global law enforcement in that year alone.

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France Muséums was founded in 2007 as part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi origins, and the international museum consultancy’s website states that it “designs[s] museums as ecosystems organized around works of art, which are able to connect very diverse target groups, cultures and territories.”

Jean-François Charnier and another curator, Noëmi Daucé, are specifically suspected of looking the other way regarding the approval of the provenance of the objects in question; they worked for Jean-Luc Martinez, the former director of the Louvre in Paris, before it was suspended by the French government because of his connections to the art trade. The Louvre declined to comment on The Daily Beast.

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Martinez, according to Artnet, was charged earlier this year with “complicity in gang fraud and money laundering”. In June, a report by French investigators was released saying France Muséums was guilty of “genuine professional negligence”, “violation of deontological rules” and “failures”.

The post The Louvre Abu Dhabi is shocked by the antiquities trade scandal appeared first on The Daily Beast.


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