Tuesday, May 12, 2009
ALR reports and e-commerce
Last week saw the opening of the new e-tiquities website "by Phoenix Ancient Art" (see earlier comments). Yet one week on there has been a major change. Last week you could read the on-line reports from the Art Loss Register (ALR): now the links to the reports have been removed and replaced with a logo and a little message, "All e-Tiquities have been searched in the Art Loss Register database."
Why the change? Is the ALR unhappy about having its reports posted on the web? Do the reports demonstrate in black-and-white terms that the collecting histories for some of the pieces cannot be extended back to 1970?
But what about transparency? How can potential buyers be sure about the "provenance" of the pieces?
Perhaps the time has come, as Larry Rothfield has proposed, for an archaeological body to be responsible for vetting these histories.