Friday, January 18, 2013

Toledo: Correction Request

Source: ICE
Gabriella Becchina, a resident of Castelvetrano in Sicily, has been in touch about an earlier post about the Etruscan hydria that had formed part of the collection in Toledo. She draws attention to the wording of the ICE press release (and I quote from a longer section in that release):
The kalpis, a ceramic vessel used in ancient times for holding water, depicts a mythological scene of pirates being transformed into dolphins by Dionysos. It was smuggled out of Italy after an illegal excavation prior to 1981. It was then sold in 1982 to the Toledo Museum of Art by art dealers Gianfranco and Ursula Becchina, who had earlier purchased it from convicted art smuggler Giacomo Medici. The Becchinas misrepresented the true provenance of the vase to the museum by providing falsified documentation. 
Following a January 2010 lead from HSI Rome, Cleveland-based HSI special agents launched an investigation into the true provenance of the artifact. Working closely with law enforcement officials in Italy, HSI special agents were able to definitively establish that the documentation provided to the Toledo Museum of Art was falsified and part of a larger scheme by the Becchinas to sell illegitimately obtained cultural property. Gianfranco Becchina was convicted in February 2011 of illicitly dealing in antiquities by a court in Rome. That conviction was appealed by Becchina and remains in the Italian court system.
[Emphasis suggested by Gabriella Becchina.]

She suggests that the post was misleading: "No mention, as you can see, of a scheme linking the return of the artwork and further illicitous purveying plans."

I hope that this rectifies the citation.

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