Being found with stolen works of art in your gallery can turn into something of a “when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife” situation as this story from the Guardian illustrates. Richard Temple owns a gallery in London which has the reputation of being the foremost dealership in icons there.
Unfortunately, a woman recognized works on his gallery website that had been stolen from some remote monasteries in Northern Greece, hardly a good strategy for someone knowingly trafficking in stolen artworks:
“I’ve been in the business for 51 years and I’m too well known as a gallery to take any risks at all,” he said. “We are an obvious target. We had gone through the correct protocols, but one has to have a certain amount of trust as business is conducted in good faith. I know the seller – he is somebody I deal with and I think he, in turn, was duped.”
Upon presentation of documentation showing them on display in Greece, the art dealer voluntarily gave up his rights to the icons last week. “They left last Thursday in the hands of Scotland Yard,” he said. “It was very painful and unfortunate.”
Stolen Greek Relics Found in London (Guardian)