Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Watch Out! Art Thieves on the Prowl…

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Sasha Cox

Recently, Scotland has realized that of their millions of artifacts, thousands are missing. This discovery came after the British Museum in London learned they had lost precious gems. Although, it’s not always the museum’s fault.

Most pieces in museums are misplaced or stolen because of the huge shipments that go to the museums, or because of staffing issues. Regardless, it is theft, which some like Natalie Ashline, ‘24, finds to be “not right” and that stealing art “doesn’t show [any] respect or love for the arts.” Luckily, these museums had a good enough record to actually know what they were missing, so we can learn a bit more about the pieces.

Worth $3.7 million and standing at 6 1⁄2 feet tall, is the 19th century French bronze statue Les Bourgeois de Calais by Auguste Rodin. It depicts six French leaders who surrendered to the English during the 100 Years War. The Glasgow Museum acquired it in 1949 and it was placed in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park. Soon after, the museum lost track of it, and no one is sure what exactly happened to the statue. A plaster replica of the statue is now on display. The museum is dissapointed that it has been missing for 75 years and counting. Its place at Kelvingrove Park is being held by a statue of John the Baptist also made by Rodin.

Children Wading, a painting by Robert Gemmell, was returned to the Glasgow Life Museum. The painting was stolen in 1989 and then was placed on an archive of missing paintings called the Art Loss Register (ALR). It was possessed by a family, but was later put up for auction. Auctioneers were skeptical about the piece and confided in the ALR to see if it was the missing painting of the same name. Luckily, it was a match and was returned. This caused a trend in museums to start updating their lost art archives.

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Unfortunately, not every museum is that lucky, like the National Library of Scotland, which has lost over four thousand pieces. Some stolen items like rare plants and seeds end up getting sold on eBay instead of remaining missing. Ms. Baumer, an English teacher, finds this “very personal [issue] because somebody spent a lot of time on [the pieces]. It’s like you’re stealing their life’s work”. So if you happen to stumble on some old Scottish antiques, try and return them to Scotland because they just might be the missing artifacts that they’re looking for!

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