Pakistani art collector regains rare paintings By M. Ziauddin

LONDON, March 25: A Dubai-based Pakistani art collector regained possession of two of his rare paintings by an Indian artist, Francis Newton Souza, costing an estimated $600,000 when a British court after a four-day hearing recently ruled in his favour in a case of theft.

Talking to Dawn here Mr Kurta said that he had reported the theft to the Art Loss Register in May 2005 and also to the police at the Southhall Police Station in July 2006.

The court in a 55-page judgment ruled that the paintings should be immediately returned to Mr Kurta and that his legal cost amounting to an estimated $700,000 should also be paid by the defendant with an additional similar amount to the defendant’s Counsel.

The defendant in this case, Mr Michael Marks, a furniture dealer had claimed that he had acquired the said paintings from another furniture dealer.

He said he had purchased the paintings directly from the artist in New York in December 1982 under a written agreement.

He said he realised the paintings were stolen ‘around 2003 and positively around 2005’ when he was writing a monograph on F. N. Souza and had his entire collection of the artist re-photographed “and noticed when comparing the new photographic list with a previous list made in 1984 that these two paintings were missing.”
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