Fine Art Photographer Gabriele Viertel is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this underwater/fine art photography. To see Gabriele’s body of work click on any image. See also: Selected Work By Gabriele Viertel Back to HOME PAGE
About The Cartoonist & Illustrator Steffen Butz…
The most secretive place in the land of banks and international organisations Switzerland is the Geneva Freeport.
Watched by surveillance cameras and surrounded by barbwire, the insular Geneva Freeport next to the French border gives home to many treasures like gold, diamonds, paintings, sculptures, drawings, antiquarian books, archaeological artifacts, the biggest vine cellar of the world (> 3 mio exclusive bottles of vine), antiques and much more assets hidden from the public eye and authorities.
Originally, the Geneva Freeport was a traditional a customs zone, warehouse for merchandise storage and logistics hub. Today, the 60.000 sqm high-tech complex – rented by the city of Geneva – is a permanent storage for transporters and private individuals to safeguard their assets. The complex is a high security facility which is protected from fire, earthquakes, terrorism and other threats.
In fact, Geneva Freeport is globally known as paradise for money laundry, tax fraud, evasion of inheritance duty payments, deception of wealth in case of divorces, hiding valuables of all kind (including spoils of different wars all over the world) for various reasons.
Actually, stolen arts and cultural heritage became a criminal currency worldwide long time ago. Therefore, many stolen art pieces are not offered to original owners for re-buying / cash reward or to the conventional arts market anymore – instead the art is circulating (often just virtually) in the underworld of organized crime.
Another reason, why stolen arts seem to disappear for decades are national legal loopholes. In a few countries, you will become the rightful owner of your prey, if you possess it for a specific number of years (e.g. in the Netherlands: 30 yrs, no surprise that van Goghs are missed, see below).
In the recent past, the Geneva Freeport was subject to a number of scandals referring trafficking of stolen cultural heritage, money laundry also linked to the Art Basel and trading with arts looted from Jews during WWII, such as the David Nahmad – Modigliani painting scandal.
In particular, the priceless art collection in this blackbox is shrouded in legend. The scope and worth of treasures is unknown because there was never an inventory check. But the arts shall be worth billions of USD (only the Nahmad collection is valued with USD +3 bn). The freeport is the most restricted area in Europe. It is guarded by the Swiss customs police.
Insider information say, that art work of Chagall, Modigliani, Vermeer, Rodin, Renoir, Picasso, Miro and even of Leonardo da Vinci as well as of other notable artists is temporarily but in most cases permanently stored in this blackbox.
Interestingly, the Geneva Freeport shall store art pieces from famous artists (like Picasso) that are not cataloged yet. It is an open secret that the complex probably contains also undiscovered art forgeries.
The Geneva Freeport is not just a warehouse. It offers facilities for renovation of arts, framing, packaging, special showrooms for owners to admire their treasures, lounges for sales negotiations and other deals to ensure that owners, collectors, curators, consultants, dealers, insurers, gallery representatives can meet in total privacy.
Of course, the freeport is the one of the major marketplaces for dealing with information in the discrete art world.
Experts say, the Geneva Freeport is actually the biggest museum in the world. A museum, nobody can visit.
Till today, no one – even not the Swiss authorities that regard the freeport as extraterritorial – knows what is stored inside, what is going in and out and who is involved in which role if treasures are traded or relocated. In particular, the financial beneficiaries are not known.
THE GENEVA FREEPORT IS THE BIGGEST SAFE OF SWITZERLAND.
Retrieved And Lost Arts (Examples)
Found in Geneva:
Top left-hand side image: Roman relic to be returned to Turkey.
The two small images right-hand side: Stolen Etruscan sarcophagus and vase.
Image at the bottom: The bulls head among other ancient artifacts was stolen from the Eshmun Temple in Sidon during Libanese civil war.
Wanted Arts With Unknown Location (Examples):
Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are also among the most frequently stolen. In 2013, officially 85 van Gogh paintings (excluding drawings) were missing. In 2016, two paintings were found in an Italian country home of a Mafia member.
If you are curious like me, please find the link to the art loss register below…
Im Hofe steht ein Pflaumenbaum,
Der ist so klein, man glaubt es kaum.
Er hat ein Gitter drum,
So tritt ihn keiner um.
Der Kleine kann nicht größer wer’n,
Ja – größer wer’n, das möcht’ er gern!
‘s ist keine Red davon:
Er hat zu wenig Sonn’.
Dem Pflaumenbaum, man glaubt ihm kaum,
Weil er nie eine Pflaume hat.
Doch er ist ein Pflaumenbaum:
Man kennt es an dem Blatt.
The Plum Tree
In the courtyard stands a plum tree,
It’s so small, no one believes it.
It has a fence around it,
So no one can stomp on it.
The little tree can’t grow,
Yes – it wants to grow!
No one talks about it;
It gets too little sun.
No one believes it’s a plum tree
Because it doesn’t have a single plum.
But it is a plum tree;
You can tell by its leaf.
At The Porch,
Dutiful Patrol Or Swag,
My Fair Share.
Auf der Veranda,
Pflichtbewusste Patrouille oder Raubzug,
Mein gerechter Anteil.
How about showing your appreciation and love to your friends?
Let them know, you are always there, even if you don`t see them.
The beautifully illustrated book “Seasons of Friendship” might be a nice gesture to do so.
Or do you like to make a new friend? Then show your true colors… and be kind and mindful!
Same time, you can support the charity work of ladies of the St. John`s Church in Portsmouth / Virginia, who will benefit of the sales.
You are welcome on John` s blog: “My Life with Gracie”, where you can find further details about the eBook for download and its paperback version.
The latter offers the opportunity to make your gift even more special by personalizing the book. You can leave a private message, quote or poem with your signature (you can find many friendship poems here at wordpress).
For a preview of the book, please click here…
“SEASONS OF FRIENDSHIP” now available also as paperback book
This book is perhaps best read outdoors in a shady peaceful spot, perhaps in your own little backyard garden, real or imagined. Whether you read just one chapter at a time, one seasonal section at a time, or the entire book all in one leisurely afternoon, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you choose as a reader, I hope you will imagine Gracie and the others sitting at your feet, bringing you peace and friendship. For more details…
CARING IS SHARING!
Chose the Path that fits best to your personality.
Sign: left-hand-side hemisphere, Right-hand-side hemisphere.
At your bed,
Any words left-over, fade-out lines.
Unguarded, I have to….Go.
An Deinem Bett,
Keine Worte übrig, verblassende Linien.
Ungeschützt, muss ich…Geh.
Jonathan is currently taking on editing and writing projects on a freelance basis.
Need a writing coach who can help you find your voice? Need someone to take a disorganized pile of words and make it shine with clarity and zing? Need someone who can fact-check and polish a wonky article? Want that translation to make sense in English?
Then hire Jonathan!
Do not waste your time, just click here…