Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: marble statue identified

Cambridge University researcher Christos Tsirogiannis has made a further identification ("A marble statue of a boy at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts", Journal of Art Crime [Spring 2013] 55-60). The statue can be identified in a transaction between Mario Bruno and Gianfanco Becchina in August 1987.  It was then on offer through Galerie Nefer (owned by Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos) in 1989 and acquired by Virginia at that point. The curator in charge at this point was Dr Margaret Ellen Mayo (formerly linked to Summa Galleries in Beverly Hills).

Tsirogiannis' research demonstrates that Tchachos appears to have provided the statue with a created collecting history that linked it to Dr Arthur von Arx and Alfred Obrecht. The polaroid photographs also suggest that the statue was still in a broken and muddied state long after the time that Tchachos had been suggesting that the object was known.

Under the AAMD Guidelines this new evidence should compel the curatorial team in Virginia to contact the Italian authorities.

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