Stolen Pompeii Fresco Recovered


The Art Loss Register bagged a fresco panel that was stolen from the Pompeii excavation office 12 years ago along with five other panels. This is the last of the panels to be recovered. Here’s an explanation from the ALR press release:

The six fresco panels were discovered between 1903 and 1904 by farmer Giuseppe De Martino, during the restoration of his farmhouse in Boscoreale, near Naples.  In July 1957, the frescoes became the property of the Italian government.  Following completion of work at the excavation site in 1997, the six panels were discovered missing.  The theft was reported to INTERPOL and registered on the Art Loss Register database.

By the time the wall fragment surfaced on the market, it had undergone significant restoration and repairs, but was distinctive enough that it was easily recognized by ALR staff.  The auction house had been provided with unverified provenance stating that the object had been in the United States for over twenty years.  Once the object was identified as stolen property, the auction house cooperated with ICE and the ALR.