Friday, April 15, 2011

A Corinthian olpe from a (recent) Swiss "collection"

In March I commented on a story from the Wall Street Journal. The interview included quotes from Max Bernheimer of Christie's.
"Buying through an auction house, where due diligence is incredibly thorough and everything is openly published in the catalogue, limits the possibilities over ownership and repatriation issues later on."
Yesterday Christie's held a sale of antiquities in London.

What was the collecting history for the Corinthian olpe (lot 197), that sold for £32,450 (est. £20,000-£30,000)? It is said to have been "Acquired on the Swiss art market in 1996". Were senior figures at Christie's aware of any indication of its previous "owner"? Had they checked with the Italian authorities as part of their due diligence process? If the answer is "no", does this undermine Bernheimer's claim that Christie's "due diligence is incredibly thorough"?

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