Israel Politician Accused of Mane and Katz Paintings Theft

Emmanuel Mane-Katz. Landscape. 1959. Canvas, oil. Stern Gallery, France.

The investigation of one of the biggest art theft during the history of the country has started in Israel. In the end of September the police arrested three persons suspected in misappropriation of more than twenty valuable art works including Eugene Delacroix and Edouard Manet paintings. The precious masterpieces were stolen from the city museum and the city hall of Safed between 2005 and 2007. As it turned out, the main suspect is Reuven Sade, the deputy mayor of the city.

The investigation began about a year ago when Tel Aviv branch of Sotheby’s auction house made a request to Katz Museum in Haifa to confirm the authenticity o f several works by famous Israel painter Emmanuel Katz (Mane-Katz). In return, the museum informed the auction house that all tree paintings had been stolen.

The number of Katz paintings was given to Safed city museum by the artist himself. Some time later the museum was closed and all the paintings were given to the city hall where they decorated the interior. During the investigation the police found out that there were only five Katz paintings in the city hall while three other works including the most famous painting Woman with Circus Horse had been stolen and sold to the Sotheby’s auction house. One of the main suspects became Reuven Sade, the deputy mayor of the city. Being a collector and an owner of an art gallery, he had the necessary power and was well informed about the market value of the paintings.

The following investigation discovered other even more interesting details about the crime. The suspects who were Jerusalem businessman Tamir Greenberg and 66 year old citizen of Raanana also appropriated several priceless masterpieces from the city museum collection. Five paintings including works by Delacroix and Manet which price is several millions of dollars were discovered during the search in one of the apartments. All together the police managed to find 25 paintings but it is possible that some paintings were sold abroad.

It is necessary to emphasize that many officials from the city hall noted that Sade made a big contribution to the city development and prosperity. He has a perfect reputation and has been the deputy mayor for five years. Sade was also going to run for the elections to the City Council representing Arkady Gaidamak’s Tsedek Hevrati party.

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Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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