Art and the Art of Theft

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There is a shadow over the prestigious Princeton University museum of art. The Italian government has served a chargesheet to J Michael Padgett, the curator, for trading in what they term ‘stolen artifacts’. The New York Times had reported that the Italian government has listed about 20 pieces, including vases, bronzes and sculptures that an art dealer based in New York allegedly obtained illegally and sold to other American institutions in the 1980s and 1990s. Besides Princeton, these include the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art. Meanwhile, we sit pretty on the Kohinoor gem and celebrate the Commonwealth Games, though the British queen cares little about returning it.