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MCMA Celebrates Return of Wounded Indian Sculpture 65 Years After Theft

The “Wounded Indian” on show on the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. Photograph by Stewart Gamage.

QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS, USA, August 9, 2023/ — The Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Affiliation (“MCMA”) right now introduced the upcoming return of the monumental Wounded Indian sculpture to its native Boston 65 years after its theft. The celebrated life-sized statue carved from a single piece of marble has been the topic of a decades-long possession dispute between MCMA and the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. The Chrysler now agrees that MCMA owns the Wounded Indian and can return it promptly and completely, with MCMA guaranteeing its public show within the Boston space.

The story of the statue’s disappearance from MCMA’s assortment in 1958 and reappearance on distinguished show on the Chrysler in 1988 went public this Might with a front-page expose by the Washington Publish. The case has additionally been reported in The Artwork Newspaper and is underneath investigation by the FBI’s Artwork Crime Staff and the Division of Justice.

Peter Stephenson sculpted the Wounded Indian in 1850, impressed by the well-known Roman sculpture from antiquity Dying Gaul. In line with Google Arts & Tradition, the Wounded Indian “ranks among the many most stunning and affecting works of American neoclassical sculpture.” In 1893 James W. Bartlett gifted the statue to MCMA, which proudly displayed it in its exhibition corridor for 65 years. When the corridor was bought in 1958, MCMA was advised that the sculpture had been by accident destroyed in the course of the transfer and discarded.

The nonprofit had no purpose to doubt this report till the statue reemerged a long time later, absolutely intact and on public show in a brand new wing on the Chrysler. The wing is known as for the New York artwork collector James “Jimmy” Ricau, who was controversial for having little concern for documenting how or the place he acquired objects. Ricau obtained the Wounded Indian by 1967 from sources unknown, and donated the statue in 1986 to the Chrysler, whose leaders initially took Ricau at his phrase that it was lawfully obtained, however later developed doubts.

Based in 1795 by patriot and silversmith Paul Revere and different artisans, MCMA gives grants to native Boston nonprofits that practice folks for mechanical trades, specializing in bodily, mentally, and economically challenged people who want help to help themselves. Present MCMA Trustee and Common Counsel Paul Revere III acknowledged, “Within the 24 years since we first acknowledged our declare to the Chrysler, we’ve got reminded ourselves usually of our motto: ‘Be Simply and Concern Not.’ It has paid off. The Wounded Indian is coming dwelling.”

Greg Werkheiser, founding companion at Cultural Heritage Companions, PLLC, authorized co-counsel for MCMA, concluded, “When museums scrutinize the historical past of artwork earlier than they purchase it and even whereas it’s current of their collections, they deny a marketplace for thieves and looters whereas preserving an object’s true historical past. The optimistic final result right here strengthens all cultural establishments.”


Belongings of pictures, MCMA’s Assertion of Gratitude, and extra background and prior protection obtainable at:

Greg Werkheiser
Lawyer at Regulation, Cultural Heritage Companions, PLLC
+1 703-408-2002


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