Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Antiquities Surfacing in Freiburg

One of the sources for antiquities that appear to be newly-surfaced is Galerie Günter Puhze in Freiburg, Germany. I say "appear to be" because there is rarely a declared history before Freiburg.

Let me give four random examples from among those listed in my research notes (KdA = Kunst der Antike, issued by Galerie Günter Puhze):
a. An Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Triptolemos painter. KdA 10, no. 200. Subsequently Christie's, London, November 12th, 1996, no. 142; Sotheby's, New York, June 5th, 1999, no. 171 (US$21,850); Sotheby's, New York, 6 June 2006, lot 17 (US$45,000).

b. An Apulian situla, attributed to the group of Copenhagen 4223. KdA 6 (1985), no. 226. Subsequently: Sotheby's, London, July 13, 1987, lot 308; purchased by Dr & Mrs Jerome M. Eisenberg. Now Boston, MFA 1991.242, gift of Dr and Mrs Jerome M. Eisenberg.

c. An Attic red-figured lekythos, attributed to the Oiokles painter. KdA 8 (1989), no. 211. Subsequently: Dr Elie Borowski collection; Christie's, New York, June 12, 2000, lot 79. Now: Jerusalem, Bible Lands Museum 4642.

d. An Etruscan neck amphora. KdA 6 (1985). Subsequently: Gilbert M. Denman collection. Now: San Antonio Museum of Art 85.119.8.
There should be no reason to be suspicious of the history of the pieces. After all, the Gallery is a member of the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art. In the Code of Ethics is this statement:
"The members of the IADAA undertake not to purchase or sell objects until they have established to the best of their ability that such objects were not stolen from excavations. architectural monuments, public institutions or private property."
The details of former owners are not provided so it appears that Galerie Günter Puhze stands at the start of the chain. But if these pieces were known before the 1970 UNESCO Convention it would be helpful - if only for the sake of transparency - for the dealer to provide this information. Were these pieces in some old German (or other) collection? Where have such complete pots been lurking for the last few centuries? Such histories would dispel any suspicions.

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