A brilliant photobeach in Architectural Summary featuring the $42 million San Francisco mansion of art collectors Roger Barnett and Sloan Lindemann Barnett was photographed cleaning up allegedly looted Cambodian art from the article.
In a photograph posted on the house’s architect’s website, several ancient Khmer statues were displayed on pedestals nestled among palm trees in the house’s courtyard. However, the sculptures have disappeared from the same photo published by Architectural Summary in January 2021, despite a caption mentioning “sculptures from Southeast Asia”.
According to Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who worked together to comb through the 11.9 million documents in the Pandora Papers.
The 2021 leak details the offshore financial dealings of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people, and has led to numerous revelations about looted antiquities.
Among those involved are the late Cambodian antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford, who placed works in some of the most prestigious museums in the United States.
Roger Barnett and Sloan Lindemann Barnett, daughter of billionaire art collector George Lindemann and sister of art dealer Adam Lindemann, is a Spanish Renaissance Revival palace with white onyx paneled walls, ornate mirrored columns and a view view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
It has “been described, with good reason, as the finest house in America”, Architectural Summary proclaimed.
Neither the couple nor Conde Nast, which publishes Architectural Summaryanswered questions from Artnet News.
It remains unclear who photographed the photo, but a spokesperson for the magazine told ICIJ that the statues were not shown due to “unresolved publishing rights regarding certain works of art”. The sculptures, however, would never have been copyrighted and would never have posed any rights issues.
The magazine previously featured George Lindemann, praising his $40 million holdings as “one of Southeast Asia’s largest art collections in private hands” in a 2008 article.
This story caught the attention of Cambodian investigators, who suspected that many Khmer treasures belonging to Lindemann had been looted.
Eventually, a Cambodian antiquities broker nicknamed “Jungle Cat” told the government that he personally delivered looted works to one of Latchford’s main suppliers and that these statues were purchased by the Lindemanns.
“Some of these statues are of enormous historical and cultural significance to Cambodia and should be repatriated as soon as possible,” Phoeurng Sackona, the country’s Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, told ICIJ.
This includes the three stone heads which were obviously missing from the Architectural Summary story, which was allegedly stolen on a road leading to Angkor Thom in Siem Reap.
Latchford confirmed this in an email to a colleague with a photo of the works, saying “all stolen”.
Also involved are a pair of Khmer statues that the Lindemanns donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after purchasing them on a trip to Cambodia with Latchford.
“Our museum has a long history of assessing cultural property claims and, where appropriate, returning objects based on rigorous review of the evidence,” a Met spokesperson said in a statement.
The US Department of Homeland Security has been in contact with the Lindemanns, but there are currently no repatriation plans. The family have not been charged with any wrongdoing.
In January, tech entrepreneur and Netscape creator James H. Clark, another Latchford client, returned $35 million worth of Southeast Asian antiquities to Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Thailand. .
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.