Architectural Digest appears to have scrubbed evidence of ancient Khmer artifacts from photos depicting the luxurious San Francisco home of Sloan Lindemann Barnett and husband Roger Barnett, a Washington Post investigation revealed Monday.
The photos, which appeared in the January 2021 issue, show numerous empty pedestals in Lindemann Barnett’s courtyard. However, the Post found photos on the website of the couple’s architect, Peter Marino, that showed the pedestals actually held numerous Khmer artifacts that the Cambodian government has said were looted from the country years ago.
Lindemann Barnett, a lawyer and author, is the daughter of billionaire George Lindemann, who died in 2018, and Frayda Lindemann. The artifacts in Lindemann Barnett’s home appear to have been inherited from her parents, who were noted art and antiquities collectors. Their Palm Beach, Florida, home was featured in AD‘s 2008 issue. which featured numerous Khmer artifacts and which was described as “one of the greatest collections of Southeast Asian art in private hands.”
Experts who looked at the photo shoot images on behalf of the Post counted 20 artifacts that are suspected to have been looted. One of the statues allegedly owned by the Lindemanns — a sandstone sculpture depicting the warrior Dhrishtadyumna — is so culturally important that the National Museum of Cambodia displays an empty pedestal in its honor.
AD frequently obscures images of artworks and artifacts, something that becomes obvious when watching their YouTube series Open Door, in which celebrities give tours of their homes, often with large paintings or sculptures blurred out in the background due to licensing agreements. When the Post reached out to AD, a spokesperson said that they had simply edited the photos due to “unresolved publication rights around select artworks.”
Like many allegedly stolen Cambodian artifacts, the Lindemann collection is connected to Douglas Latchford, a notorious middleman who sourced artifacts for rich collectors, storied auction houses, and specialized galleries. He was charged in 2019 by New York prosecutors for falsifying provenance. Though Latchford died in 2020 and that case ended with his death, investigators have continued to track down works that passed through his hands in hopes of getting them restituted.