OHIO, US, March 5, 2014 (Toledo Blade): For the third time recently, an acquisition by the Toledo Museum of Art is the subject of a federal probe. The museum was contacted just over a week ago by the U.S. Justice Department regarding a bronze figure it purchased from Subhash Kapoor, a second-generation antiques dealer and owner of Art of the Past Gallery in New York City. He is facing trial in India on charges of illegal exportation, conspiracy, and forgery.
The investigation is in its very early stages, Kelly Garrow, communications director for TMA, said, adding that the museum will cooperate fully. "At the time of consideration, the museum received a provenance affidavit, and the curator personally spoke to the listed previous owner," the statement says. "The object was also run through the Art Loss Registry with no issues detected."
Questioned is a bronze statue of the Hindu Deity Ganesh, known as the Ganesha, on display in the Asian Sculpture Gallery. The museum acquired the figure in 2006 from Mr. Kapoor. A New York Times report says the museum bought the Ganesha for $245,000.
The museum has not been asked to turn over the Ganesha, which closely resembles a figure listed as stolen in an Indian police report. The item is one of 18 metal Deities missing from a village in Tamil Nadu, a state in southeast India. The museum's Web site says the Indian police department sent the museum copies of the report along with photos of the looted goods in July.