The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, June 25, 2018

United States Government Returns Art Work Stolen Over Three Decades Ago to Owner
Jean Jansem, Head of boy

BOSTON, MA.- The last of seven pieces of valuable artwork, stolen on Memorial Day in 1978 from a home in Stockbridge, are were returned to their owner by authorities.

In November of 2008, retired Massachusetts attorney, Robert R. Mardirosian, of Falmouth, was sentenced to seven years in prison following a jury conviction on August 18, 2008, for possession of stolen goods. The case arose from the theft of seven pieces of art from a Stockbridge home in 1978 – the largest burglary from a private residence in Massachusetts history.

Upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of Mardirosian’s last appeal, the government returned two paintings by Jean Jansem, titled Woman Seated and Boy, which are the last of the seven paintings stolen from the home of Michael Bakwin. The FBI had obtained these paintings from a Swiss friend of Mardirosian. The other five paintings, Portrait d’une Jeune Fille and Portrait d’un Jeune Homme by Chaim Soutine, Maison Rouge by Maurice Utrillo, Flowers by Maurice de Vlaminck, and a still life by Cezanne that later sold for $29.3 million at Sotheby’s, were previously returned to Bakwin.

The evidence at trial showed that, on Memorial Day weekend in 1978, seven pieces of valuable artwork, including the Cezanne painting, Bouilloire et Fruits, were stolen from Bakwin’s Stockbridge home. Mardirosian, now retired, practiced law for years in Massachusetts prior to his retirement. He had secretly held the stolen paintings since shortly after the 1978 theft, when the alleged thief, David Colvin, whom Mardirosian represented in another case, left them with him. Colvin was shot and killed in 1979.

Mardirosian maintained possession of the stolen artwork in Massachusetts until 1988, when he moved the paintings out of the United States and eventually to a Swiss bank for safekeeping. Mardirosian sought to profit from the stolen paintings by, among other things, demanding a finder’s fee of $1 million. Mardirosian was able to keep his possession of the paintings secret by working through lawyers and others in London and Switzerland, as well as a Panamanian shell company he created just for the paintings, Erie International Trading Co. (Erie).

Mardirosian attempted to move the stolen paintings to London for sale. However, an investigation by the Art Loss Register (ALR) determined that the artwork was stolen. ALR is a London-based company that maintains a comprehensive database of stolen artwork. Auction houses, such as Sotheby’s, retain ALR’s services when performing due diligence on artwork to be auctioned.

ALR alerted the rightful owner that his stolen paintings had surfaced and ultimately, on October 15, 1999, brokered an “agreement” between the owner and Erie – Mardirosian’s Panamanian shell corporation – whereby Erie handed over the most valuable painting, the Cezanne, in exchange for the owner’s relinquishing all claims to the remaining six pieces of artwork. At the time, the remaining six paintings were valued at approximately $1 million. Two months later in December, the owner auctioned the Cezanne through Sotheby’s in London for $29.3 million.

Mardirosian later sought to sell the remaining six stolen paintings in 2003. Mardirosian arranged to have the paintings brought to a Swiss bank for valuation and authentication by Sotheby’s. In April 2005, Mardirosian arranged for four of the six paintings to be sent to Sotheby’s for transport from Geneva to Sotheby’s in London - after which the owner filed a lawsuit seeking to void the 1999 “agreement” with Erie.

Robert R. Mardirosian | Boston |

Today's News

November 20, 2010

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg Presents an Overview of Alberto Giacometti's Mature Work

Denver Museum Prepares for Next Steps in Scientific Analysis of the Ice Age Fossil Site

Stonehenge Gets Multimillion-Pound Grant for Major Makeover to Help Restore Dignity

Scientists Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Danish Astronomer Tycho Brahe's Sudden Death

World's Most Famous Diamond Unveiled at National Museum of Natural History

Colombian Fernando Botero's Matadors, Chile's Matta Top Latin American Auction at Christie's

Important American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's New York

United States Government Returns Art Work Stolen Over Three Decades Ago to Owner

Rijksmuseum Anounces Two Acquisitions that Highlight the Birth of Christ

Two Ancient Statues Stolen in the 1980s From Italian Museums are Now Home

An Old Bearded Man by Gerard Dou; A Highlight in the Old Master Paintings Sale at Sotheby's

Ford's Model A: Michigan Museum Plans to Break Ground on New Museum Next Year

Getty Announces Exhibition that Recreates a Day in the Life of an 18th Century Parisian Townhouse

Major Retrospective of Paintings by Alexis Rockman Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Staff Promotions Announced by Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art

Major Sculptures and Projections by Seven Internationally Significant Artists at The Fruitmarket Gallery

New Chair and Five New Members of the Board of Directors Announced by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Meet the New Curators for 2012 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Galerie Miranda opens exhibition of works by Marina Berio

2.- Restorers unveil original face of Belgium's 'Mystic Lamb'

3.- Classic Beauties unveils the sensual enchantment of Neoclassicism

4.- Exhibition presents a dramatic survey of five hundred years of Spanish painting

5.- Glasgow blaze guts one of world's top art schools - again

6.- The Prado opens the first major monographic exhibition on Lorenzo Lotto's portraits

7.- Cleveland Museum of Art announces new acquisitions

8.- A record setting necklace, diamonds & gemstones propel $1.9 million in jewelry sales at Rago in June

9.- Czech Art Nouveau painter Mucha's masterpiece finds home after 90 years

10.- Exhibition at The Laing Art Gallery explores the garden as a "stage" for the extraordinary

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful