The Responsibilities of Art Ownership
November 19, 2010
It has taken over three decades for Michael Bakwin to regain possession of his art collection.
In 1978, somebody broke into Bakwin’s Massachusetts home and stole seven paintings worth millions of dollars.
In 2008, Robert M. Mardirosian, a retired criminal defense lawyer, was convicted in federal court in Boston for possessing six of the stolen paintings. Mardirosian brought the works to his law offices, then to a Swiss Bank, and then to London, where he was caught out by the Art Loss Register. Mardirosian, who stopped practicing law to become an artist, is now serving a seven-year prison term.
Now the works have finally been returned to Bakwin, who “now believes that individuals should not own extraordinarily valuable masterworks such as the Cezanne. It is too easy for such artwork to be stolen or destroyed by fire.” However, Bakwin also expresses an intention to hang the works back up in his home.