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The theft of the works of art of the National Gallery


Article written by the President of the Association, Achilleas Tsantilis in regards of the robbery of the artwork from the National Gallery of Greece

The way of guarding was insufficient and a coordination group was absent in order to find the stolen or even track them in combination with other public bodies, such as the Police, the EYP, and the Ministry of Justice.

As an expert of the Ministry of Justice on works of art, I have repeatedly asked the Minister himself but also from senior friends of judges and officials of the Greek Police, to create a group of experienced people who will be able to look for stolen works of art but also to take a stand regarding the counterfeit works for which there has been a great deal of grief and have flooded the Greek market. We are facing a problem which is the pathogenesis of the system.

A lot has been heard lately, especially from journalists but also ordinary citizens through social media, who have succeeded against the administration of the National Gallery, but also the Police. On the one hand, as we all know, the third undiscovered stolen work of Guglielmo Caccia, it is speculated that years ago it was auctioned in Italy with a small addition, that of the signature. The National Gallery had not assigned any of its employees to monitor developments in the field of auctions or sales in general in order to locate the stolen works. On the other hand, who can blame employees and management for something that is beyond their job description?

As for the Greek Police, the fact that Picasso's work fell to the floor, created a storm of reactions from everyone. It was indeed an unfortunate incident and indeed the communication advisor of the Minister of Citizen Protection, Mr. Michalis Chrysochoidis, could have shown more attention to the handling of the painting. On the other hand, mistakes are made. We do not send people on fire for a mistake that was made. Besides, the painting did not suffer any damage. The Greek Police deserve praise, which after nine years of an investigation managed to solve this very difficult case of theft, while there was no accusation by the perpetrators.

The state must organize a team of experienced people who with the necessary knowledge can manage similar crises.

The article was first published on on 15-07-2021 11:23