Friday, January 1, 2010

2010: Looking Ahead

I have reviewed some of the key developments in 2009. I expect that there will continue to be further revelations from the Medici Conspiracy. 2009 saw several ex-Medici pieces seized at an auction-house in New York and unless due diligence procedures are changed we are likely to see more items emerging. It seems likely that as the True and Hecht trial continues there will be further objects identified. The Italian claims on material in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Miho Museum were unresolved in 2009 ... so perhaps there will be moves in 2010.

There are two major photographic archives which have yet to make an impact on museums and collectors: the Basel images and the Symes albums. As the objects start to be identified we are likely to see the impact of "toxic antiquities" on the market.

Other items need to be resolved notably the Cleveland Apollo and  the St Louis Art Museum mummy mask.

Zahi Hawass is planning a major conference in Egypt which will seek the return of cultural property. I wonder if Bulgaria will be invited as the country has claims on some Byzantine silver. FYROM also has claims on recently looted material that is reported to be in North American collections. Hawass is clearly intending to step up pressure for the return of Nefertiti from Berlin.

The AAMD still needs to resolve the issue of accepting loans of recently-surfaced antiquities. (And I said that a year ago ...)

2009 has seen changes in the patterns for major auction-houses selling antiquities ... and I hope that it is not just due to the credit crunch but rather from the desire to act more ethically.

Gill and Chippindale are planning some major pieces of research for 2010 ...  Context Matters will continue in the Journal of Art Crime ... and Looting Matters will hopefully distribute further stories through PR Newswire.

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