"America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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"America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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HIDDEN TREASURES
Magazine spread of ‘most beautiful house in America’ conceals allegedly stolen Cambodian relics
Photos featured in Architectural Digest stories on the homes of the billionaire Lindemann family offer clues to investigators struggling to reclaim lost cultural heritage and shed light on the secretive private antiquities trade.
By Spencer Woodman, Malia Politzer, Peter Whoriskey and Nicole Sadek
August 15, 2022

The January 2021 issue of Architectural Digest featured a remodeled, $42 million San Francisco residence described as a Spanish Renaissance Revival palacio.

Owned by a billionaire’s daughter and her husband, the home is “theatrical” and has “been described, with good reason, as the most beautiful house in America,” the luxury magazine said.

Accompanying photos detailed its opulence — mirrored pilasters, walls paneled with white onyx, remarkable views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

One particularly impressive image showed a two-story central courtyard with several empty pedestals off to one side. The pedestals weren’t actually empty, though: The photo had been altered. Another version of the same photo, discovered by reporters on the website of the home’s architect, shows ancient Khmer sculptures resting on the same pedestals.
The Cambodian government says those stone relics, depicting the heads of gods and demons, match a set that was looted years ago from one of the nation’s sacred sites.

It is not clear who modified the photo or for what reason, but experts interviewed for this story confirmed that the sculptures had been edited out of the magazine image.

The owners of the San Francisco mansion are lawyer and author Sloan Lindemann Barnett and her husband, Roger Barnett, an executive at a nutritional supplements company. The couple, who purchased the property through a limited liability company, did not respond to email and phone messages from reporters.

The Cambodian investigation into the family’s collection goes beyond one set of statues. The stone artifacts in the San Francisco home appear to have come from a larger collection of Khmer relics held by Lindemann Barnett’s billionaire parents, Frayda and the late George Lindemann.

The parents’ collection appeared in an earlier Architectural Digest spread, in 2008, described as “one of the greatest collections of Southeast Asian art in private hands.” Those photos show their Palm Beach, Florida home crowded with Khmer antiquities, many of which the Cambodian government suspects were looted. Two of them appear to match artifacts that rank among the country’s 10 most important stolen relics, the government says.
Image
Photo of home interior showing artwork and sculptures
One of several photos from a 2008 issue of Architectural Digest showing George and Frayda Lindemann’s Palm Beach mansion and their extensive collection of ancient Khmer relics. The Cambodian government has identified more than 20 statues in the home they suspect were looted. Image: Scott Frances
https://www.icij.org/investigations/pan ... -magazine/
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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Ancient relics everywhere, with a hideous painting! Serious mismatch there.
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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I was wondering where those statues my militia mate scavenged and sold for $42 in 1987 went to.
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

Post by techietraveller84 »

The law only applies to the poor.
rozzieoz wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:01 pm Ancient relics everywhere, with a hideous painting! Serious mismatch there.
Agreed, if this is the most beautiful home in America, the photos don't do it justice.
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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John Bingham wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:04 pm I was wondering where those statues my militia mate scavenged and sold for $42 in 1987 went to.
Are you serious? I have a nice little spot on my balcony that could benefit from an ancient relic, if "your mate" is still around lol.
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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An altered AD photoshoot landed one wealthy Bay Area couple in hot water over potentially looted Cambodian relics
Josh Niland
Aug 16, '22 4:23 PM EST
Photo on link:
https://archinect.com/news/article/1503 ... ian-relics
A cropped screenshot of the original photograph in comparison with the altered version published by Architectural Digest in January 2021. Photographer: Douglas Friedman.

The tony $42 million Peter Marino-designed San Francisco manse was the subject of a multi-page spread in the January 2021 edition of the magazine. A spokesperson for Architectural Digest said that photoshopping was required by “unresolved publication rights around select artworks,” but an eagle-eyed attorney working for Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts who originally spotted the empty plinths indicated their resemblance to a pair allegedly taken from one of the country's most sacred sites a few years ago.

“It’s easily one of the most important statues in the temple, and probably all of Koh Ker,” Bradley J. Gordon is reported to have told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “By having this in their collection, the Lindemanns essentially had the Cambodian equivalent of a sarcophagus stolen from King Tut’s tomb sitting in their living room.”
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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Those photos show their Palm Beach, Florida home crowded with Khmer antiquities, many of which the Cambodian government suspects were looted. Two of them appear to match artifacts that rank among the country’s 10 most important stolen relics, the government says.
One can't help but wonder if the elements within the govt that identified them as looted had some hand in them ending up in the USA to begin with
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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rozzieoz wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:01 pm Ancient relics everywhere, with a hideous painting! Serious mismatch there.
I think that is a Fernand Léger painting. FYI Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (French: [leʒe]; February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of cubism (known as "tubism") which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art.

Bit of background:https://www.theartstory.org/artist/leger-fernand/
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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Fernand Léger paintings can fetch up to $70 million... :shock:

https://artist.christies.com/Fernand-Leger--32023.aspx#
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Re: "America's Most Beautiful House" Allegedly Contains Stolen Khmer Relics

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John Bingham wrote: Wed Aug 17, 2022 4:39 pm Fernand Léger paintings can fetch up to $70 million... :shock:

https://artist.christies.com/Fernand-Leger--32023.aspx#
It's hideous.
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