zondag 17 juli-2011
True, the Dutch art musketeer Michel van Rijn has a tainted reputation. But that dates back far into the 20th century. Since then he has been actively involved in bringing back ancient art to it's place of origin, in the Middle East and the meditteranian area.
It goes without saying that he made a lot of enemies, several of them powerful enough to make Van Rijn's life miserable from time to time. Especially the Lebanese gallery owner Ali Abutaam and the American gasman James Ferrell. But in the meantime, both gentlemen are confronted with their final countdown. On July 2nd we reported Aboutaam's arrest in Geneva and a French television documentary connecting Ferrell with the Hezbollah drew the attention of two major American newspapers.
In between Van Rijn made contact with Christie's in London. The renowned auction house had a very rare Italian mosaic of the early middle ages on the selling list of July 7th, that easily would have brought in an amount between a half to one million Pounds (Lot 0564, Sale 7983). The art musketeer suspected that the object had been stolen on Sicily and warned Christie's. The mosaic was withdrawn. Explanation? There was something wrong with the provenance. After that Van Rijn alarmed one of his Italian contacts. After a short time he received a warm acknowledgement. He was right. The mosaic had been stolen.
Christie's can expect a letter from Italy on a very short notice. It can take a while, but the mosaic will go back to Sicily.