The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, June 22, 2018

Rare 415-year-old Wytfliet Atlas stolen from the Royal Library of Sweden recovered at NYC gallery
The a detail of a world map page of the Wytfliet Atlas is photographed during a news conference, Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in New York. The Wytfliet Atlas stolen a decade ago from the Royal Library of Sweden has been recovered in New York. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

By: Ula Ilnytzky, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP).- A rare atlas stolen a decade ago from the Royal Library of Sweden by one of its chief librarians was recovered in New York and given back to its rightful owner.

Swedish and U.S. authorities showed off the 415-year-old Wytfliet Atlas at a news conference Wednesday. The book, created by Cornelius van Wytfliet and containing the earliest maps of the Americas, had been in the Royal Library collection for more than 300 years before it was stolen. There are only eight other copies worldwide, according to the library.

The atlas was one of 56 rare books stolen by Anders Burius, the chief of the Royal Library's manuscript department, and the first of his haul to be located.

Burius stole the books between 1995 and 2004, nearly the entire time of his employment there, and later committed suicide, said Steven Feldman of the New York firm of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, representing the library.

Burius confessed after learning that the library was undertaking an inventory due to suspicions of theft. He was arrested in 2004 and during temporary release from custody, he slit his wrists and cut a gas line to his kitchen stove, sparking an explosion in his Stockholm neighborhood that resulted in about a dozen injuries.

The 1597 book "has been available to the kings and queens of Sweden," said Greger Bergvall, the library's map librarian. "It's important because it's the only copy of the Wytfliet Atlas in Sweden."

The atlas contains 19 maps, including the first printed map of what was then considered California, correctly depicting a peninsula, Bergvall said. Other ancient maps, he said, portrayed California as an island. The peninsula portion is now Mexico's Baja California.

Bergvall said the atlas survived a devastating 1697 fire that destroyed about 18,000 of the library's 23,000 tomes. Today, he said, the library houses approximately 7 million books.

In June 2011, the Royal Library discovered that the atlas was being offered for sale by Arader Galleries. The New York map dealer, who had been unaware of the book's provenance, returned it to Sotheby's in London, where he had purchased it in early 2000. Feldman said Sotheby's, which had bought it from a London rare book dealer, turned it over to the Royal Library on June 15.

Feldman said Burius sold all the books under an alias and rubbed out markings that would identify their provenance.

Officials said they chose to announce the atlas' recovery in New York because it was discovered there.

The investigation into the 55 other missing books is ongoing and is being assisted by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. They include a 1663 edition of John Donne's poems, Joseph Scott's United States gazetteer from 1795 and a 1651 copy of Thomas Hobbes' philosophical masterwork, "Leviathan."

"We have leads on a number of them," Feldman said, adding that all the stolen volumes had been sold through Ketter Kunst, a German auction house.

"They went all over the world from the auction," he said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Today's News

June 29, 2012

Exhibition at Tate Modern reassesses the work of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch

Christie's to offer Contemporary art at attractive price points in newly re-launched open house sale

"One Life: Amelia Earhart" opens at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

Rare 415-year-old Wytfliet Atlas stolen from the Royal Library of Sweden recovered at NYC gallery

Two group exhibitions of gallery and guest artists open at Stephen Haller Gallery

Phillips de Pury & Company's London Contemporary Art Evening Auction totals $36,233,420

Pottery fragments 20,000 years old found by Chinese and American scientists in a Chinese cave

Exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art explores the relationship of architecture to culture and identity

United States Mint in Philadelphia reopens to public with new $3.9 million self-guided tour

Masterpiece London 2012, with a record 5,195 international and UK collectors, triumphs on opening day

Executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey supports sphere move to 9/11 memorial

First UK solo exhibition of accomplished international artist Jacob Hashimoto opens at Ronchini Gallery

Brooklyn Museum presents the final exhibition in Raw/Cooked featuring artist Ulrike Müller

Study reveals overbuilding of cultural facilities during building boom

Personal collections of Dale Chihuly provide backdrop for progressive American menu at Collections Café

Cindy Sherman, Bruce Nauman, Steven Holl and others elected as new National Academicians

Christie's Auction of the Daphne Guinness Collection achieves $744,285

Statue of firefighter, arson dog visits New York City museum

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

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