2013 Archives

FBI and Scotland Yard veterans to present:
“The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime”

Seminar at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, October 14-18, 2013

July 19, 2013

Explore the professional art world this fall with retired art crime specialists from the FBI and Scotland Yard at “The World of Art and the Fine Art of Crime,” a unique five-day seminar offered October 14-18, 2013, at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Virginia Curry and Dick Ellis
Virginia Curry and Dick Ellis

Participants will learn first-hand about issues of art management, operations and collecting, famous art crimes and international repatriation efforts. Daily lectures will be followed by trips to museums, auction houses and galleries to visit with arts managers.

The seminar will be presented by two internationally noted art crime investigators. Richard “Dick” Ellis is a former detective with New Scotland Yard, where he founded and led the Art & Antiques Squad for more than a decade. Virginia Curry is a former FBI undercover agent and Art Crime Team member whose high-profile cases have been chronicled in such books as Chasing Aphrodite and The Medici Conspiracy (see full bios at end of release).

Topics to be covered include the following:

  • Museums: A lecture on museum operations will be followed by a trip to a regional art museum, where participants will visit with professionals regarding exhibit curation, conservation, security and provenance issues.
  • Auction houses: A talk about the auction business is followed by a visit to an auction house, discussion with staff, preview of an upcoming auction and participation in a mock bidding experience.
  • Art galleries: A lecture on galleries’ roles in identifying tastes, finding clients and working with them to build collections is followed by visits to local galleries and meetings with owners and artists’ representatives to discuss current collecting trends in contemporary and traditional art.
  • Art crime and looted cultural heritage: From Egyptian antiquities to Native American art to Nazi thefts during World War II, issues of rightful ownership, provenance and repatriation of art works continue to challenge art organizations and governments worldwide. Current cases will be discussed by international experts.

The seminar is presented by the Meadows School’s Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship. Cost of the seminar is $1,495, which includes presentations, continental breakfast and lunch each day, transportation to museums, galleries and auction houses, and entrance fees. Seating is limited. For more information, contact Abigail Smith at 214-768-3425 or abigails@smu.edu, or visit http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/event/world-art-and-fine-art-crime.

About Richard “Dick” Ellis

Dick Ellis is internationally recognized as a professional art crime investigator and a director of the Art Management Group, an association of security, appraisal and conservation specialists. Based in London, he is a former detective with New Scotland Yard, where he founded and ran the Art & Antiques Squad for over a decade. His many accomplishments include the investigation and recovery of Munch’s iconic painting “The Scream,” featured in the book The Rescue Artist, and Vermeer’s “The Love Letter,” featured in The Irish Game and the 2012 publication, Hot Art

Ellis is an advisor to the UK’s government on the application of anti-seizure legislation and was a member of UNESCO’s panel of experts on the protection of cultural property, lecturing extensively on cultural property issues around the world. With over 25 years of experience in the field, he continues to act for private clients, most recently recovering two stolen Picasso paintings in Serbia in 2011.

About Virginia Curry, M.A.

A professional art crime investigator and licensed security consultant, Curry is a former FBI Art Crime Team member, highly successful undercover agent/instructor and FBI security consultant. Her many accomplishments include the investigation of the Getty Museum antiquity smuggling case, the investigation and recovery of an Andy Warhol/Keith Haring painting stolen from Madonna, the Southwest Museum director embezzlement case – which led to the first conviction of a museum director in U.S. history – and other high profile and complex FBI investigations that all resulted in criminal convictions. Some of her investigations are chronicled in the books Circle of Greed, The Medici Conspiracy, Chasing Aphrodite, The Gardner Heist, Washed in Gold and Framed and in numerous newspaper and magazine articles.

Curry has also served as an FBI consultant for television programs and movies, most notably Miss Congeniality. She holds master’s degrees in both Italian and Spanish and recently received her M.A. in art history from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.  She speaks five languages fluently and is a GIA certified Graduate Gemologist (GG).  She is also a university-trained, state-licensed and FBI-certified teaching professional.  Curry has extensive auction experience and recently participated in key positions during several auctions viewed on the Syfy channel show, Hollywood Treasure.




Find an Expert