Saturday, April 13, 2013

Max Gerchik and Sicily

The image chosen to publicise the upcoming exhibition, "Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome", at the Cleveland Museum of Art from September 2013 is a Sicilian terracotta head given to the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1976. The Getty has issued a checklist of the exhibits that includes items returned from North American collections to Italy.

We know that Dr Max Gerchik was the donor of at least one item that was returned to Italy. We also know that he was the donor of several inscribed lead plaques that were allegedly found at Selinus on Sicily.

Both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum have had to return objects to Italy. Both museums will want to avoid any further controversial decisions.

So when did Gerchik acquire this "Head of a Goddess"? Did he acquire it on the Beverly Hills market? For how long did it reside in his collection? Was the head from an "old Swiss collection"? What is the full collecting history of this piece?

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