Exquisite 19th century stolen painting of Maharaja Serfoji II traced to US museum
The Tamil Nadu Police’s Idol Wing has traced a 19th century painting that went missing from Saraswathi Mahal Library in Thanjavur before 2017, to the custody of the Homeland Security of the US. The painting depicts King Serfoji II of the Bhonsle dynasty with his son Shivaji II.
Investigations revealed that Homeland Security received it from a US museum that bought the painting from Subhash Kapoor, an international antique smuggler now lodged in a Tamil Nadu jail. It was revealed that the painting had been bought by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts, from Subhash Kapoor for $35,000.
Efforts were being made to trace and bring the painting back to Thanjavur, police said. As per the idol wing, the painting was purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Massachusetts by Manhattan-based antique dealer Subhash Kapoor in 2006 and was handed over to Homeland Security after it found that the painting was a stolen one. Kapoor was arrested in 2011 for smuggling antiques out of India and is currently in prison.
However, the exact date of theft could not be ascertained. When the investigating team searched online, they found a picture of the painting on the website of a foreign museum. The idol wing began investigations after a complaint from a man named E Rajendran about the painting of Raja Serfoji, of Thanjavur’s Bhonsle dynasty.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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