Hatton Garden 'mastermind' is the son of 'genius' Cambridge biophysicist: 'Basil the ghost's' father pioneered study of DNA as aunt slams claims against him as 'outlandish'
- 'Final' Hatton Garden suspect is the son of a top Cambridge biophysicist
- Police say they found jewellery and gold at his north London flat
- He appeared in court yesterday and his lawyer said he is a jeweller
- His aunt has insisted he is not behind the raid and the charges are 'outlandish'
Art gallery ram-raid: No sign of paintings one year on
However their whereabouts, and who exactly was behind the heist remain a mystery.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, 1 April last year, a window in the front of the International Art Gallery shattered as a car backed into the building.
Alarms went off but by the time people arrived two 1884 Gottfried Lindauer paintings known as Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure and Chief Ngatai-Raure were gone.
A year on the centre's director Richard Thomson said they were still no closer to finding them.
"There's no news about the paintings... For us it's still as big a mystery as it is to a lot of people."
It took several months for the $50,000 to $100,000 worth of damage to the building to be fully repaired and security measures have been ramped up.
They will be on show this week as works from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's personal collection go up for auction, including three major paintings by Charles Frederick Goldie.
"There's a couple of really serious things that we've done that we've talked to the insurance company about.
"We've got 24 hour monitoring on foot, so after hours we've got an actual guard on at the moment until the auction is finished. The security is obviously quite high."
Mr Thomson said he believed the paintings hadn't left the country.
"A lot of people say 'oh they'll be overseas hanging on a wall in Shanghai or somewhere' but I really believe that's unlikely ... Everyone's speculating and who knows, they might just turn up. They could turn up in half an hour, they could turn up this time next year, we just don't know."
However, he said it wasn't something he'd like to dwell on.
"That's not how I live my life. The only person dwelling on that situation is the people that took them. They'll be living in fear and they'll have problems so their day will come."
Art historian and art crime expert Penelope Jackson said the art community was more aware now and it demonstrated to the country that New Zealand wasn't immune to these sorts of crimes.
"This terrible event had all the ingredients, all the sensational ingredients really, that you might get in a movie. Night time, smash and grab, highly valuable works and when I say valuable I mean not just monetary valuable but culturally valuable. That there were two get away vehicles etc."
While nothing is for certain, she said the paintings were more likely to still be in the country with their cultural significance and history meaning there's a bigger market for them here.
"New Zealand's too small, there'll be something that happens that will be a catalyst that will lead someone or the police to find those works."
She said many famous paintings have been found again in the past, in late 2016 two Vincent van Gogh paintings were found in Naples after being stolen from a public art museum in Amsterdam 14 years earlier.
Ms Jackson said many were worried about what condition they would be in if they did turn up.
"You've got paintings there that are 134 years old now so they're very vulnerable.
"They were moved quickly, there was broken glass involved, there was speeding vehicles, and if you think about how in an art museum context works are moved, you know not when the public are there, on cushioned trolleys, white gloves, lots of people, very carefully, very slowly, and this was the complete opposite."
Two Spaniards arrested over smuggling of artifacts looted by ISIS
Nazi-looted Cranach painting returned to rightful heirs to be sold at Christie’s Old Masters auction
Gutmann’s vast collection in his home to the west of Amsterdam was stolen by the Nazis in 1940, with many works acquired for Hitler and Goering. Gutmann and his wife Louise were arrested in 1943 and died in the camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz a year later.
But after its former owner acknowledged it had been stolen, Gutmann’s heirs, with the help of experts at Christie’s, negotiated its return.
The half-length oil on panel will now be offered at Christie’s Old Masters auction on April 19 in New York.
Simon Goodman, Fritz Gutmann’s grandson and owner of the Cranach painting, said: “I have spent years hunting for this marvellous painting. Among those pieces still missing from my grandfather’s collection, this was the piece I was the most doubtful of ever recovering. My family are thrilled by its discovery. We are also extremely grateful to the people who brought it forward and to Christie’s for facilitating its return.”
Monica Dugot, international director of restitution at Christie’s, said: “We hope that the reappearance of this painting demonstrates that with goodwill, perseverance and collaboration, amicable and fair solutions can be found in resolving complex restitution cases and losses due to Nazi persecution, even after so many years.”
The portrait, painted in the 1530s, depicts John Frederick I (1503-54), an electoral prince and head of the Schmalkaldic League of Germany - a defensive alliance formed by Protestant territories. John Frederick was an ardent supporter of Martin Luther and the Reformation, and is considered to be one of the founders of the University of Wittenberg.
He married Sibylle of Cleves in September 1526, whom Cranach also portrayed on numerous occasions. According to Christie’s, this painting is one of Cranach’s most refined depictions of John Frederick, who at the time of painting was the artist’s greatest patron and close friend.
Belgian Police Discover 84 Pages of Stolen Albert Uderzo Art in ForestIt feels something that might have actually happened in an Asterix comic, to be followed by a lot of dead wild boar. But it appears that Belgian police have discovered 84 stolen pieces of art by Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo, secreted in a forest. Or, rather, the town of Forest.
Eighty-four original drawings were found during a search of the town earlier this month. The art was reported stolen last year after being discovered being sold at auction in Belgium as part of what was called ‘The Rackham Collection’. But after the auction, the art — and the sellers — disappeared.
At the time, Uderzo said the pieces were either stolen, or lent out in 2012 and not returned. The owner of the auction house, Alain Huberty, while holding an investigation to determine the origin of the art pieces, stated that he knew the seller is honest, and that any statement from Uderzo that the art disappeared in 2012 is false. And the owner reported they had owned them for 30 years, and no police complaint has been filed.
But the gendarmes were on the hunt. And it was the French police who discovered their location, and worked with Belgian authorities to organise a raid within 24 hours.
Denis Goeman, spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, put the speed down to Getafix’s magic potion.
The stolen drawings are some of Uderzo’s earliest and predate Asterix, from the ’40s to the ’60s, including childhood drawings, he worked on the Captain Marvel Jr character and also Castagnac, a forerunner of Asterix.
The countries have different laws over art ownership, as a result of the theft of Jewish property during the Second World War. In France, owners of art are obliged to disclose how they acquired them, but not in Belgium. Uderzo describes Belgium as being “a little curious country for not having similar legislation,” which would have prevented the pages being put up for sale in the first place.
Asterix pages and covers regularly sell for six or seven figures, and while these artworks are worth less, in total they would be worth many millions.
No one has yet been charged or arrested and the French investigation continues.