Friday, November 28, 2014

Due Diligence at Christie's: time for change?

Sardinian Figure from the Medici Dossier
Source: Tsirogiannis / ARCA
The decision to withdraw the Steinhardt Sardinian Figure from the 'Ancient Art' auction at Christie's in December raises some issues.

First, did the Christie's antiquities team check the collecting history of the figure for themselves? It is clear from a simple and brief search that the figure had been owned by a private individual (who appeared to be represented as a gallery) and that the gallery where the figure was exhibited did not appear to own it. Why did Christie's present the information in the way that they did?

Second, did the Christie's antiquities team contact the Italian / Sardinian authorities to check that the figure was not listed in one of the photographic archives?

Third, did Christie's use a third party to check databases of "stolen" archaeological objects? It is known that some of these agencies do have access to some of the photographic archives seized by the Italian authorities.

Fourth, have the staff at Christie's managed to learn anything from previous seizures? How have they adapted their due diligence processes? Is there enough rigour?

Is a way ahead to ask much more searching questions about objects that do not have full and documented collecting histories that lead to the period prior to 1970?

Is it time for a new approach to be adopted by the auction-house?

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1 comment:

Ravi Jangid said...

Sound good, I say it should be. Due diligence is the turning point or a business or things.

Source: Best Due Diligence services in India


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