Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Virginia: "we're willing to help in any way"

I have commented before on the loan of items from the Lewis Collection to Virginia MFA. I now note that the museum has made a fuller response (Mark Bowes, "VMFA studies artifacts of smuggling defendant", Richmond Times Dispatch July 23, 2011).

Alex Nyerges, the museum's director and CEO, commented: "to the best of our knowledge [the collection] was purchased by the owner and lent to the VMFA in good faith". Some of the pieces were purchased on the London market. Others are said to have passed through anonymous French and Swiss private collections. The report highlights the problems of falsified collecting histories ("provenance").

It is reported:
the VMFA has notified the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York through the Virginia attorney general's office of the museum's willingness to cooperate in the investigation.
"We just said if there is anything you need from us, we're willing to help in any way," Nyerges said. So far, federal authorities have not contacted the museum, he said.
The report notes that the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University has failed to respond to enquiries. I know that Lee Rosenbaum has also contacted the museum and received the same silence. My email has gone unacknowledged.

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