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National Gallery of Australia returns the artifacts to India bought from a disgraced dealer

The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has said that it will now return 14 of its works for the Asian art collection. It will return the arts to India. Thirteen of those have been purchased from Art of the Past, a Manhattan gallery. Subhash Kapoor was the owner of it. He is also facing accusations for offering leadership to the trafficking ring, which has looted thousands of artifacts. The remaining one artifact of the 14 is from the late New York dealer, William Wolff.

Three arts may head back to India upon the review of their provenances. According to the director of the National Gallery of Australia, Nick Mitzev, the 14 objects values 43 million. Among them, 6 arts are bronze or stone sculpture. One of them is a brass professional’s standard, also and a painted scroll along with the six photographs.

It is not the first time this museum has returned the work that it bought from Kapoor. In 2014, the national gallery of Australia returned a bronze sculpture to India. The sculpture was of the Shiva Nataraja. The museum acquired it from Kapoor. Later that year, the museum launched the Asian Art Provenance Project. It has also helped in identifying the origin of the projects that it has in its collections. In 2016, two of the sculptures which the museum acquired from Kapoor were sent back to India.

“Following this action, along with the repatriation of works in 2014, 2016, and 2019, the National Gallery will no longer hold any works acquired through Subhash Kapoor in its collection,” the museum said in a statement. “The decision to return the works is the culmination of years of research, due diligence and an evolving framework for decision-making that includes both legal principles and ethical considerations.”

Police arrested Kapoor in 2011, and he is currently in jail in India awaiting trial. He is also subject to an extradition request from the Manhattan District Attorney. He is facing charges with 86 criminal counts in terms of larceny and the possession of the stolen property. Also, he is facing charges related to the conspiracy to defraud.

He has an accusation of looting thousands of artifacts from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and many other countries. He trafficked more than 2000 artifacts that have been seized from this storage.

The operation involved arts dealers in Singapore and Hong Kong. Also, there are many art restorers from London and Brooklyn.   The Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, said he welcomed the decision of the museum to return the artifacts.