Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Collecting histories for the Baltimore painter

Detail from Apulian krater attributed to the Baltimore painter.
A New York gallery is offering a pair of "important" Apulian volute-kraters attributed to the Baltimore painter. They are reported to have the following histories: "Ex S.B. collection, San Diego, CA., acquired from Royal-Athena in 1991".

But what were the collecting histories prior to 1991? Research by Christos Tsirogiannis has suggested three other previous holders: one in Switzerland and the other in London. At least one had apparently passed through the well-documented Athena Fund II managed by Hesperia Arts Auction Ltd. in 1990.

Why has the New York gallery failed to mention Athena Fund II? And what about the earlier handlers?

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4 comments:

kyri said...

two of the best volute kraters i have seen outside museums in my lifetime.they had a big double page advert in last months minerva,allthough i had seen them before,as i do visit their site often just to drool over some of their pieces.
1991 for such apulian masterpieces is a joke.they had to have been published/known before this date.
kyri.

jerome eisenberg said...

As Dr. Gill and Mr. Tsirogiannis are well aware, a history of provenance was not required back in 1991 when the vases were acquired. Since they were purchased in an auction, Hesperia Arts, the previous year, it would obviouskly not have been in the best of interest of a dealer to publish this fact in his catalogue and is certainly not the practice of any dealer either then or now. An earlier provenance would certainly not have been supplied if it came from a recent commercial source whether it be a dealer currently in business or an auction. Further, the Italian Carabinieri, having reviewed that catalogue and others in detail in 1907, have no claim on either of the two vases. It is in poor judgement that neither Dr. Gill nor Mr. Tsirogiannis did not contact the currrent owner before publishing this blog with its damaging innuendos.

David Gill said...

The Athena Fund II is not without significance. For a brief discussion see here.

kyri said...

to be fare to dr.eisenberg,for me he is one of the most ethical and honest dealers around and has been instrumental in dragging the trade in antiquities into the 21st century.at least his gallery openly publish all their pieces rather than selling behind closed doors or consigning to auctions anonymously,as many dealers do.
these volute kraters of course where legaly obtaind and he is right that in 1990 many pieces were sold without provenance[as a collector myself i know that it is very rare to have documentation pre 1970] but for me such magnficent pieces surely should have been known before 1990 and because they where not,im afraid people will ask questions.
kyri.

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