Heritage Auction Galleries’ Second Tuesdays @ Slocum presents The U.S. vs. Art Thieves featuring retired FBI Special Agent Robert K. Wittman, speaking on Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. at its Slocum Street Design Annex. The talk is free and open to the public.
In 2004, the FBI established a rapid deployment Art Crime Team composed of 12 Special Agents, each one responsible for addressing art and cultural property crime cases in a specifically assigned geographic region. The Art Crime Team, coordinated through the FBI’s Art Theft Program, is located at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Team agents receive specialized training in art and cultural property investigations and assist in art related investigations nationally and worldwide, working in tandem with foreign law enforcement.
In his talk, U.S. vs. Art Thieves, Special Agent Wittman will discuss the United States’ renewed efforts to break up crime rings that are stealing and smuggling priceless works of art, looting archaeological sites and churning out forgeries. He will also discuss some of his own experiences in his almost 18 years on the FBI’s art beat.
Wittman’s investigative work takes him around the world, often undercover. He’s been responsible for the recovery of more than $215 million worth of stolen art and cultural property. Highlights of his career so far include one of the original 14 copies of the Bill of Rights, a Rembrandt self-portrait, a 2,000-year-old pre-Columbian piece of body armor, five Norman Rockwell paintings, and a group of paintings – two by Spanish master Francisco Goya – from a private Madrid estate.
The event is an effort to teach others how to avoid becoming victims of theft or fraud. Wittman has given presentations before such organizations as the American Association of Museums and has also represented the United States at numerous international conferences. He serves as a member of the Department of State’s Cultural Antiquities Task Force in Washington. In 2004, the Smithsonian Institution awarded Wittman the Robert Burke Memorial Award for Excellence in Cultural Property Protection at the National Conference on Cultural Property Protection.
Heritage’s Slocum Street Annex is located at 1518 Slocum Street, in the Design District of Downtown Dallas.
For more information, go online to www.HA.com, or call 800-872-6467.