Saturday, October 30, 2010

From Zurich to London and beyond

Earlier this summer Fabio Isman revealed the origins of some of the figure-decorated pottery in Madrid's National Archaeological Museum. Among the pieces illustrated in The Art Newspaper was a Gnathian krater apparently sitting in the workshop of Fritz Bürki in Zurich. (The newspaper on which the objects are resting is indicative.)

Madrid has yet to respond to the revelations.

Image
First published in The Art Newspaper.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Friday, October 29, 2010

From Saqqara to Barcelona

I am grateful to my postgraduate students for pointing me to another Barcelona story ("Pillaged ancient Egyptian artefacts discovered in Spain", BBC News September 15, 2010). It appears that Josep Cervelló, an Egyptologist, recognised some pieces in the window of a gallery in the city ("La redención de Imephor", El Pais September 16, 2010). Cervelló had worked at Saqqara until the excavation was disrupted by looting in 1999. The name (Imephor) on one of the pieces in the Barcelona gallery "made him suspect" that these newly surfaced pieces came from the site. The Barcelona galerista claimed that the items had been acquired on the London market ("Un saqueo con escala en Londres", El Pais September 16, 2010). A police officer claimed that the galerista had acted in "good faith" ("Actuó de buena fe"). The 8 limestone fragments were on sale for between 2000 and 10000 Euros ("Pieces of ancient Egyptian necropolis found in Spain: police", AFP September 15, 2010).

This case seems to be unrelated to the Egyptian coffin seized in Florida after being consigned by a Barcelona galerista.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Portable Antiquities Scheme: Discovering Our Past

I have been putting together some final thoughts on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and The Treasure Act (1996) for an invited forum piece. (I am grateful to key members of PAS who have supplied additional information, as well as to other colleagues for their comments.) I made a point of looking at the PAS display in the British Museum last week (on the way to lecture at the Institute of Archaeology) and found time to consider this important public interface.

The "past" of England and Wales is certainly being discovered and some of it is being recorded. But how much information is being lost? How much material goes unreported?

Image
© David Gill, 2010

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bonhams: Resurfacing Antiquities

Mark Hughes has written a significant piece on the October sale of antiquities at Bonhams ("Bonhams: Lots of trouble on New Bond Street", The Independent October 27, 2010). The story was broken by Italian journalist Fabio Isman in the Art Newspaper on the eve of the sale. The two lots had reported collecting histories: they are said to have resided in Swiss and European private collections. What is new in the story is that Hughes reveals that Bonhams had been aware of the possible identification of the two pieces well before the sale took place:
"Days before the auction the house received an email from an eminent academic alerting them to the questionable provenance of the lots, but it pressed ahead with the sale."
Bonhams has claimed that it had conducted a search with the Art Loss Register. But Chris Marinello, an executive director of the ALR, has clarified the ALR's position:
The controversy is that the Italian government does not want to release the photographs. I can understand their reticence. The Italians know that there were other looters working with Medici and may want to convict some of them. Those pictures are evidence and they could argue that releasing them could prejudice future proceedings.
Hughes raises an interesting issue:
But while figures in the art world say it is up to the Italian police to release the dossier, some argue that when even the slightest doubt is cast on the provenance of an antiquity, the auction house should remove it.
This report comes in the wake of recent surfacings on the market. The case is a reminder that auction houses need to improve their due diligence procedures.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Staffordshire Hoard: fieldwork

A review of the fieldwork conducted after the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard has appeared. The report includes plans showing the location of the discovery and its relationship to the line of Watling Street.

  • Dean, S., D. Hooke, and A. Jones. 2010. "The 'Staffordshire Hoard': the fieldwork." Antiquaries Journal 90: 139-52


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stolen Statue Recovered in London

The Italian Culture Ministry has announced the recovery of a statue of Zeus in London ("ARCHEOLOGIA: Recuperate in U. K. statua in marmo rubata a Roma nel 2002 dall’ Istituto Culturale Norvegese", October 15, 2010). The Carabinieri identified it in an unspecified London antiquities gallery. The statue had been stolen from the Norwegian Institute in May 2002. The gallery handed over the statue voluntarily without recourse to legal proceedings.

How did the Zeus get to the London gallery? Who was the vendor? What was the pathway from Rome?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Monday, October 18, 2010

PAS Annual Reports

I have been working on an invited discussion of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and have been frustrated by the absence of annual reports on their website.

So here they are:


I would be grateful for further links.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Marion True: response

Hugh Eakin has posted a piece on "Marion True on her trial and ordeal" for the New Yorker (October 14, 2010). True comments:
My greatest sadness is that the Italians were able to intimidate the entire American art world, and especially museums, without having to produce any evidence at all. Why didn’t museums band together and say, “How are we going to deal with this?” They ran off instead to make their own deals—deals which may not exactly be very good in the long run. Why did we hand over all this stuff without asking for more documents? The trial was a gigantic threat that everyone reacted to. The message was, “You could be next.”
The answer appears to be that no museum wanted to have the evidence that the Italians were known to have presented in court, or given to the media. Museums have been able to get away without disclosing the collecting histories of the pieces: New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art have been silent.

True was forthright when asked about the Getty: "I have nothing but the greatest contempt for them in the world".

Eakin's post has now received a comment from "Anderson". There are frank comments about Italy but interestingly the suggestion that North American museums "have actually been really trying to help as best they can over the last couple of decades, as one would expect, dedicated as they are to the love of history, art and culture". In other words, "Anderson" would argue that since 1990 North American museums have been adopting an ethical position when it comes to acquisitions. Yet 27% of the pieces returned to Italy from five of the AAMD-linked museums were acquired AFTER 1990. Is "Anderson" missing a key lesson from the returns?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Looting Matters and Wordle

Wordle: Looting Matters: Greece

Here is the Wordle cloud for recent discussion on Looting Matters.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Friday, October 15, 2010

Greece and CPAC: Statement from James Wright

Professor James Wright of Bryn Mawr gave evidence at this week's meeting of CPAC to consider the proposed MOU with Greece. Wright has excavated at Nemea and is director of the Nemea Valley Archaeological Project.

The Aidonia Treasure appears to have been found in the vicinity of Nemea. And Wright notes a recent excavation nearby:
Wright also recounted his own excavation in 2002 of a Late Bronze Age tomb that proved to be empty, having been thoroughly looted by grave robbers. “The destruction of this tomb makes it extremely difficult to understand the history of its use,” he said, “all the more the pity since it certainly belonged with the nearby Mycenaean settlement my team and I excavated.”

Wright made it clear that the proposed MOU with Greece needed to be signed:
Given the high price fetched by Greek antiquities in the United States, Wright said, illicit excavations and trafficking in such items are bound to continue unless our government acts to stop it. The damage trafficking causes to human understanding of our common cultural heritage justifies restricting the importation of these items, he argued.
Those interested in preserving and protecting the archaeological heritage of Greece would be wise to listen to Wright's views.

Image
Source Bryn Mawr.


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Looting Matters: Rome Trial of Marion True Dropped

Looting Matters: Rome Trial of Marion True Dropped

Discussion of the dropping of the Rome case against Marion True.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Egyptian sarcophagi returning to Egypt

There are several reports that several Egyptian sarcophagi will be returning to Egypt from collections in the United States (e.g. "US to return smuggled sarcophagi to Egypt", Daily News Egypt October 14, 2010). The items were removed from Egypt 50 years ago (thus around 1960, long before the 1970 UNESCO Convention) and they have been recovered in North America.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

AAMD on the MOU with Greece

The AAMD has made available its two submissions to CPAC relating to the proposed MOU with Greece.
a. Statement of the Association of Art Museum Directors; Presented by Stephen J. Knerly, Jr.
b. Statement of the Association of Art Museum Directors; Presented by Larry Feinberg, Director Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Knerly sums up his paper:
As a result, the Committee should recommend that Greece’s request be tabled for further study. The Committee should thoroughly investigate whether the statutory requirements necessary for the imposition of the import restrictions sought by Greece can be satisfied. In addition, before an MOU can be adopted by the United States, extensive work will need to done in order to create a designated list that does not sweep objects from all over the Mediterranean world into an effective trade embargo that would preclude the entry into the United States of objects from an extensive list of countries. Finally, the Committee should recommend that, in the interim, Greece be required to demonstrate its willingness and ability to achieve specific goals for the protection of its cultural patrimony and to provide the opportunity for the temporary and long-term loan of objects to American museums.

Feinberg echoes Knerly's words:
The Committee should recommend that Greece’s request be tabled for further study. Finally, the Committee should recommend that, in the interim, Greece be required to demonstrate its commitment and ability to achieve specific goals for the protection of its cultural patrimony.
It would have been interesting to have heard a little more from Knerly and Feinberg on the unresolved dispute with Greece concerning a Minoan larnax in an AAMD institution.

Image
© David Gill

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Marion True Trial in Rome: some lessons

The news that the long-running Rome case against Marion True has been dropped was expected. The Italian authorities have demonstrated that they are unwilling to turn a blind eye to the acquisition of recently-surfaced antiquities that appear to have been removed from archaeological contexts in Italy. The parading of a curator from such a high profile museum must have sent an icy blast through many a museum with displays of antiquities. Torkom Demirjian of Ariadne Galleries in New York is likely to be right to interpret the case: "Don’t deal with Italian cultural patrimony or we’ll create a headache for you". And it is clear that raids on the Geneva Freeport provided the evidence to lay the trail from Italy to North America via Switzerland.

It would be inappropriate to ask how much True knew about such networks of suppliers and dealers. But it is worth considering if she ever considered the source (or collecting histories) of each of the items as they were offered to her. Why were these high profile objects previously unknown? Did she really believe that they had been residing in some private villa beside Lake Geneva? Did she ever wonder why a Greek pot could be reconstructed from a sequence of fragments ("orphans") that all seemed to surface over a few years?

The object by object consideration of each of the 35 pieces challenged by the Italian authorities would have provided an opportunity to lay bare the networks behind the trade in such items. And it needs to be stressed that the J. Paul Getty Museum had acted responsibly and released the full collecting histories; these have received a detailed discussion (details).

The case has also revealed information about the Barbara and Laurence Fleischman collection that was acquired by the Getty.

Has every North American museum co-operated with the Italian authorities? What about the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with its Attic red-figured krater? And what will happen over the Princeton University Art Museum? And then there are the European collections (such as Copenhagen) and the Miho Museum in Japan.

Yet has there been a change in the attitude of museum curators in North America towards acquisitions? The AAMD has adapted its position over acquiring archaeological material (in spite of criticisms from James Cuno who is now perceived as being "out of touch"). And with the return of over 120 antiquities from North America to Italy, Paolo Ferri is right to say: "Italy showed that it wanted to break with past practices".

The True case will serve as a reminder to any museum curator who is tempted to buy that one object that will make their gallery world famous.



Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

UK Quango cuts announced

The UK ConDem Coalition government has announced a list of quangos that will be cut (full list).

Here are the cuts relating to heritage bodes.

  • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council: Abolish body and transfer functions
  • Railway Heritage Committee: Abolish body and functions
  • Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites: Abolish body and transfer functions in relation to England to English Heritage
  • Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships: Declassify and transfer functions
  • Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection: Declassify and reconstitute as a committee of experts

The following bodies are retained:

  • Museums listed as: Museums and Galleries (British Museum, Horniman Museum, Geffrye Museum, Imperial War Museum, Museum of Science and Industry Manchester, National Gallery, National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Science and Industry, National Museums Liverpool, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Royal Armouries, Sir John Sloane's Museum, Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wallace Collection)
  • National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • National Army Museum
  • Royal Air Force Museum
  • English Heritage
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art
  • Treasure Valuation Committee


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Neil Macgregor ... reaching 100

Neil Macgregor will be revealing object number 100 for his series, "A History of the World", live on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme. Listen at 7.45 am.

It is not too late to tweet your suggestion (#objectoftoday). What is the object for today? The iPhone?

Image
Neil Macgregor holding object 100 acquired at the 2010 Hay Guardian Festival? © David Gill

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marion True: press reactions

I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the reactions to the news that the case against Marion True has been dropped.

Nadja Brandt, "Italy Drops Conspiracy Charges Against Ex-Curator Marion True, Getty Says", Bloomberg.com OCtober 13, 2010.

Brandt quotes Torkom Demirjian of Ariadne Galleries in New York:
“It was a politically motivated trial just to send the message: Don’t deal with Italian cultural patrimony or we’ll create a headache for you ... This whole thing is a bureaucratic and ideological overreach. It’s a political decision to discourage private collecting of antiquities.”
The Ariande Galleries, it should be remembered, were reported to be linked to the Icklingham bronzes.

Elisabetta Povoledo writes on the New York Times blog ("Case Involving Former Curator Marion True Ends", October 13, 2010):
Paolo Ferri, the now-retired prosecutor who built the case against Ms. True, said on Wednesday that the trial had served as a signal to museums that buying objects without provenance “had to end.” With the trial, he said, “Italy showed that it wanted to break with past practices.”


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Marion True: charges dropped

Earlier today formal charges against Marion True, a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, were dropped due to the statute of limitations (Jason Felch, "Charges dismissed against ex-Getty curator Marion True by Italian judge", LA Times October 13, 2010). The trial has certainly been long-running.

Felch notes:
True had dealings with Medici and his business partner, Robert Hecht. The acquisition of the private collection of Lawrence and Barbara Fleischman in 1996 of more than 300 antiquities marked the peak of the Getty's collecting period, and would later form the core of the Italian prosecutor's charges.

There is a note about True's position on recently-surfaced antiquities:
She has since become an outspoken critic of the way museums used to acquire antiquities. In her one interview with the press, True told a reporter for the New Yorker that she was innocent and argued that she had done more to further the Italian cause than any other curator in America.
The December 2007 interview for the New Yorker did, however, reveal other issues including the flawed arguments of John H. Merryman.

This is not the end of all the legal cases. Felch notes:
True's co-defendant Giacomo Medici was convicted on related charges and his conviction was twice upheld on appeal. Robert Hecht, another co-defendant, remains on trial as the alleged head of the conspiracy, but the statute of limitations on his charges will expire in July.
Has the trial been a failure? The evidence presented during the Rome trials has been a reminder of how recently-surfaced antiquities enter the market and are acquired by major museums.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crosby Garrett, the Treasure Act and Lord Renfrew

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn raised the issue of the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet in a letter to The Times (London): 'Treasure Act Must Be Updated Now' (October 9, 2010). Commenting on the helmet's sale for more than £2million, Renfrew added (on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group):
Surely an object of this archaeological importance should go to a public museum, preferably within the region where it was found. There is, however, a deficiency in the legislation intended to secure this. A review of the Treasure Act was due in 2007 and is now clearly overdue. The Act has worked well in many circumstances, for example with the Staffordshire Hoard. We believe, however, that the definition of treasure should be extended without further delay to ensure that the public interest is more reliably safeguarded in the future. This can be done by order and does not require primary legislation.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Beans mean ... Crosby Garrett helmet

Farmer Eric Robinson of Crosby Garrett has confirmed that he would be receiving money from the sale of the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet ("Farmer Full Of Beans After £2m Helmet Sold", The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne) October 11, 2010). He tells how he plans to share the sale money with a metal-detectorist from County Durham: "My legs were like jelly as I followed the auction online. We're not party animals. We ate beans on toast and tried to take it in."

The report adds: "[Robinson] shared the fortune with the metal detector user from County Durham, who came across the 2,000-year-old find."


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Crosby Garrett helmet: farmer comments

The Carlisle press has revealed the identity of the farmer associated with the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet (Thom Kennedy, "Fight on to keep Crosby Garrett Roman helmet in Britain", News and Star, October 9, 2010).
The farmer on whose land the helmet said he would have liked it to stay in Cumbria, but Eric Robinson remained tight lipped over whether he will receive any of the money raised from Thursday’s auction.

“It’s quite amazing [that it was worth so much],” he said. “I would have liked it to be kept in Cumbria but I can’t do anything about it.”

Mr Robinson said the man who found it had been coming to his farm for seven years and ‘hit the jackpot’ with this find.

He added: “I saw it when he found it. It looked very special, like it was pretty important.”
This raises several questions:
a. When did Eric Robinson see the fragmentary helmet? Does he remember the exact date?
b. Was Eric Robinson shown the fragments in situ? Or in bags? Or in trays? Were the pieces still covered in mud?
c. Is there a written agreement with the anonymous finder from County Durham? Why does Eric Robinson think that there is a possibility that he will not benefit from an object reported to have been found on his land?


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bland: "a real gap in the treasure law"

Roger Bland, head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), has now spoken about the sale of the so-called Crosby-Garrett Roman parade helmet: "[The sale] does expose a real gap in the treasure law - a review was promised three years ago, and if it had been carried out, this outcome could have been avoided" (Maev Kennedy, "£2m face-off leaves local museum the loser in auction battle for superb Roman helmet: Stunning bronze artefact found in Cumbrian field sold to anonymous bidder", The Guardian October 8, 2010).

Sally Worrell of PAS expressed her deep frustration with the outcome: "It's so frigging annoying ... I'm gutted, to be honest - it's so frustrating to have worked so long on this and then not see it go to the museum."

This case has raised questions about the effectiveness of the Treasure Act 1996 and its ability to protect the archaeological heritage of England and Wales. Any advocates of extending PAS-style schemes to other countries (such as Greece and Italy) would do well to heed the present shortcomings.

Image
From the PAS website in a week when Kitchener seem to be in vogue.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

The find-spot of the Crosby Garrett helmet

The find-spot (or "provenance" to use the terminology of Christie's) for the Crosby Garrett helmet is given as: "Discovered by a metal detectorist, Crosby Garrett, Cumbria, May 2010". But what is the accurate and reliable collecting history?

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) suggests that the helmet "was found in 33 fragments, with 34 smaller fragments found in association." The finder was "a young guy" (according to Georgiana Aitken of Christie's) who has chosen to remain anonymous; he is clarified by the Independent as "from the North East of England and in his 20s". Yet there is a suggestion that there was more than one finder. Indeed the print edition of today's Independent ("Museum's £1.7m whip-round fails to save it Roman mask", Friday 8 October 201, 3) states:
"The helmet was unearthed in May by an unnamed father and son, from Peterlee, Co. Durham. They had spent years running their metal detectors over a site near Crosby Garrett. Their earlier searches turned up nothing of any value but they carried on because they liked the view."
Paul Barford has done a little more searching. The Peterlee link was noted in mid-September by the Westmorland Gazette. The Peterlee Mail also confirms the individual came from County Durham.

I note (following a link provided by Paul Barford) that a Peterlee metal-detectorist was involved with a case where an object had two separate find-spots: fields near Thirsk or near Catterick. If this Peterlee metal-detectorist is related to the finder of the "Crosby Garrett" helmet, there must be some concern that the Crosby Garrett findspot has been reported accurately. And if it is the same metal-dectorist (or his father) then it would be an interesting coincidence.

Roger Bland has written about the subsequent story:
The finder contacted Sally Worrell, National Finds Adviser in PAS (not the local FLO), in late May to tell her about the find and she saw the helmet and met the finder at Christie's on the day that he took it to Christie's (4th June). He had already been in touch with Christie's and other dealers quite soon after its discovery in May and the object was left with Christie's and their restorer from then on. At no point was the object in the care of PAS (or the British Museum).
Bland also notes that the findspot was not revealed until late August (i.e. more than 3 months later):
On 30 Aug., after lengthy telephone conversations with Sally, the finder showed Dot Boughton and Stuart Noon, joint Finds Liaison Officers for Cumbria and Lancashire, the findspot in Crosby Garrett. There is still evidence for the hole dug in the ground and the FLOs observe that the field contains traces of earthworks (which of course cannot be dated). The findspot is within 300m of a Roman road. 50 other objects have been recorded by PAS from the parish, including three other Roman finds.

Christie's asked for the PAS reference number but we declined to record it until we were satisfied that we had a precise findspot. We stressed to Christie's that no museum could consider buying it without that information and without assurance that the object was being sold with the agreement of the landowner.
What is not clear to me is how a firm connection can be made between a hole in the ground in Cumbria and the alleged findspot of the helmet. Is there any independent evidence that the soil traces on the helmet came from this site? Were any other bronze fragments found in the field?

What if the helmet came from an unrecorded site that the searchers wish to keep secret?

Between early June and August the helmet was restored (not conserved) for Christie's (apparently against a request from PAS and the British Museum). By early September it was ready to be photographed and placed in the catalogue for the October auction.

As a Dan from PAS, writing on behalf of Roger Bland, stated: "we regret that the finder and landowner were not willing to offer this find directly to Tullie House museum and that Christie’s have restored it before it could be scientifically examined."

What if the parade helmet was not found at Crosby Garrett? What are the intellectual consequences as the helmet is added to the narrative of the Roman occupation of northern England?

And does this case suggest that there is a need to amend The Treasure Act to strengthen the protection of the archaeological heritage of England and Wales?

Reference:

Worrell, S (2010) LANCUM-E48D73 A ROMAN HELMET Webpage available at: http://www.finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/404767 [Accessed: Oct 8, 2010 2:19:43 PM]

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Crosby Garrett Helmet: "It belongs to Cumbria"



Today's sale of the so-called Crosby Garrett helmet has provided widespread coverage. I was struck by the case made by the Tullie House Museum, the internationally important archaeological collection in Carlisle. 

It seems likely that an export restriction will be placed on the helmet. If so, I hope that the present proprietor will not be tempted to make a profit on this significant "find". But perhaps the new owner would consider putting it on permanent display in the county where it was found: Cumbria.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Crosby Garrett Helmet sold

The so-called Crosby Garrett Roman Helmet, allegedly found by a metal-detectorist at Crosby Garrett, Cumbria in May 2010, and swiftly restored to ready it for auction, was sold at Christie's (London) today for £2,281,250 ($3,631,750) (lot 176).



Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Medici Dossier and the London Market: Update

Last night the Art Newspaper revealed that two lots due to be auctioned at Bonhams today appeared to feature in the Medici Dossier.

The sale is taking place now but here are the outcomes for the two lots in question:
  • Lot 94: Attic red-figured pelike, attributed to the Eretria painter (Michael Padgett [1993]). Collecting history:  "European private collection, formed between the 1960s and early 1990s. Acquired by the present owner in 1993. Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate." Estimate: £3000-5000. Apparently unsold.
  • Lot 95: Head oinochoe. Collecting history: "Swiss private collection formed in 1960s-1970s". Estimate: £2000-3000. Sold: £3600.


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Medici Dossier and the London Market

The online version of The Art Newspaper has released details of two further pieces items identified from the Medici Dossier (Fabio Isman and Melanie Gerlis, "Medici “loot” for sale?", The Art Newspaper 217 (October 2010)). The pieces are due to be auctioned at Bonhams on 6 October 2010. The two lots mentioned in the report are lots 94 (an Attic pelike; "European private collection, formed between the 1960s and early 1990s. Acquired by the present owner in 1993. Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate") and 95 (an Attic head oinochoe; "Swiss private collection formed in 1960s-1970s").
The two objects are an Attic jar (lot 94, pictured), around 440-415BC (est £3,000-£5,000), and a Greek pottery pitcher (lot 95), around 400-350BC (est £2,000-£3,000).
Isman and Gerlis state:
Pictures in the Bonhams catalogue of the two works coming to auction on 6 October appear similar to Polaroids found in Medici’s Geneva store, which were seized in 1995 and presented as evidence during his trials, although these particular objects were never examined in court. This means that the objects have not been studied to establish their origins and whether or not they were illegally excavated or exported and may be legitimate.
Isman and Gerlis report a statement from Julian Roup of Bonhams:
Spokesman Julian Roup said that the firm has yet to have any proof that the pieces’ provenance is questionable.
Relevant images appear on the website of The Art Newspaper.

Isman has also discussed material in Madrid.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bronze Statue Seized in Algeria

I have noted before the Roman portrait of Marcus Aurelius stolen from a museum in Algeria. A report notes the seizure of antiquities, including a bronze statue, in Algeria (M. Abi, "Des statuettes antiques récupérées par la gendarmerie", Le Temps d'Algérie October 2, 2010).

It is also noted that in January 2007 some 250 antiquities were seized at Aguenar Airport (in southern Algeria); 3200 were recovered in 2006.

Image
Source: Le Temps d'Algérie.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails