Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Becchina: More Revelations from North American Museums?

Roman marble janiform head
North American museum directors and their curatorial staff know all too well the way that the Medici Dossier has shown how past acquisitions have damaged institutional reputations. Of course, more revelations from the Medici Dossier are likely to appear.

But I suspect the attention is beginning to shift to the Becchina archive. Readers will know that raids on this facility in Basel yielded 10,000 photographs as well as 200 bundles of receipts.

Becchina's name has been linked to an Athenian red-figured pelike, an Apulian situla, and the Roman marble janiform head seized from Christie's, the returned Etruscan hydria from the Toledo Museum of Art, the Apulian krater and the Campanian krater from the Dallas Museum of Art. Earlier returned pieces that had passed through Palladion Antike Kunst in Basel are three pieces (an Attic black-figured hydria, an Attic red-figured pelike, and an Apulian bell-krater) from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and two (an Attic red-figured amphora, and the Asteas krater) from the Getty. Perhaps one of the best-known pieces linked to Becchina is the Getty kouros.

Operation Andromeda has shown some of the contacts made by Becchina. There are also unresolved cases surround material in Madrid, the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, and in the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Material once handled by Becchina also continues to appear on the New York market.

It is likely that there will continue to be more identifications as attention switches to the 10,000 photographs and the associated receipts.

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