Former FBI agent turned author Robert Wittman’s first-ever art crime seminar a ‘hit’ with attendees

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The 13 attendees shown here, including Caroline Ashleigh, sixth from the left, participated in Robert Witman Inc.'s first annual Art Crime Investigation Seminar held June 13-18, 2011. Wittman, front row, second from the left, is shown with his staff.

PHILADELPHIA – Thirteen attendees took part in the first annual Robert Wittman Inc. Art Crime Investigation Seminar, which launched June 13, 2011. The week, consisting of five days of instruction and discussion with field experts, was a one-of-a-kind seminar in which each participant personally interacted with the material and presenters. The result was a seminar described by participants as unmatched in quality of topics, expert presentations, and atmosphere.

art crime seminarArt Crime Seminar attendee Caroline Ashleigh is featured on the Antique Trader Blog where she covers the world of art crime:

 

Robert Wittman Inc. provided a comprehensive look into the art business industry, covering a diverse array of topics.

Monday’s agenda included a discussion of the resources available to art investigators and an in-depth analysis of property crime investigation techniques. Tuesday’s topics ranged from international art investigation and homeland security concerns with retired DHS Special Agent Jim McAndrews to art law with former Assistant United States Attorney Robert Goldman. Wednesday’s itinerary focused on understanding the structure of museum personnel and methods of collection security as explained by Herbert Lottier, Security Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as the availability of art databases and the importance of the art insurance industry.

Thursday brought discussions of art title law with Attorney Jonathan Ziss, the importance of saving antiquities, and the role of conservation and forensic techniques in identifying frauds, fakes and forgeries. Friday’s presentation rounded out the week, featuring practical applications of the knowledge divulged throughout the course of the seminar.

Because of the diversity in the seminar’s content, participants were encouraged to think about their goals in the greater context of the art industry. Participants responded positively to the unique approach, agreeing that the “issues covered in the course are of prime importance to understanding the complexities of the art world” and that “the training design and presentations well represented the parameters of the field.”

To present this information, Robert Wittman Inc. drew together the expertise of industry leaders to create a speaker program possible only through Wittman’s 20 years of networking in the field. Each morning, Wittman discussed the relevancy of the previous day’s presentations, as well as expanding upon interests specific to attendees. Speakers encouraged participant interaction during their presentations, engaging the audience not only with facts, but with real-life case studies and experiences in which the speakers often played an integral role.

There is no one better able to convey the quality of the seminar than the participants themselves. One stated, “This was worth every penny. I don’t go to very many seminars where I think that.”

Other attendee comments include:

  • “There are no words to express what an incredible opportunity this was. I never imagined I would find something like this.” 
  • “The seminar was an eye opening experience.” 
  • “This seminar presented the nuts and bolts of the legal issues related to art that museum professionals need to know.” 
  • “Well worth the price.”  

The next seminar is scheduled for June 10-15, 2012. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2012. For further information visit www.robertwittmaninc.com.

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Hands-on excercises included techniques in identifying frauds, fakes and forgeries.

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