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Saturday, July 26

Puno altar turns up in US Southwest

Feds seize colonial masterpiece: Peru claims this is the 16th-century altarpiece from a village church near Lake Titicaca: "The work in question (about 1575-95) is “El Retablo de Los Angeles” (“Altarpiece of the angels”), a polychrome wooden carving of SS Michael and Gabriel beneath a Crucifixion surrounded by putti. The altarpiece, with an empty tabernacle space in the lower centre, is in three sections, stands more than 10 feet high and weighs more than 1000 pounds–not something one could carry in a suitcase. 'It’s the most important work to come out of Latin American in my 30-year career,' said the New York dealer Valerie Taylor, who sells Spanish colonial paintings." Art Newspaper

If you want to see some off-the-deepend stuff, check out Michel Van Rijn website. Mentioned in the article above, Van Rijn accuses a New Mexican art dealer of trafficking with the altar. A more measure, wire copy story is in Santa Fee Newmexcian.com Art Dealer Accused of Owning Stolen Altar Piece. Van Rijn is full of self-righteous indignation, but obviously knows the art trade and its seamier side.

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