Thursday, December 1, 2016

An Etruscan bronze athlete from an old Swiss collection

Source: Schinousa archive
Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has drawn attention to four items in the December sale of antiquities at Gorny & Mosch in Munich.

I am particularly interested in the fifth century BC Etruscan bronze figure of a youth. The collecting history is given as follows:
Ex Sammlung R.G., Deutschland. Bei Royal Athena Galleries, New York, Catalogue XXI, 2010, 43. Ex Sotheby´s Catalogue of Antiquities 13. Juli 1981, 341.
If we tidy this up, it could be presented as:
R.G. Collection, Germany; Sotheby's (London) 13 July 1981, lot 341; Royal Athena Galleries, New York, Catalogue XXI, 2010, no. 43.
However if you check the Royal-Athena Galleries catalogue for 2010, the following collecting history is provided:
Athos Moretti collection, Bellinzona, Switzerland; Royal-Athena Galleries, 1985; R.G. Collection, Calodyne, Mauritius, 1985-2008.
From my notes on the piece I can provide a little more information:
Athos Moretti collection, Bellinzona, Switzerland; Sotheby's (London) 13-14 July 1981, lot 341; Royal-Athena Galleries, Catalogue IV, 1985, no. 185; Dr Leo Mildenberg for the R.G. Collection; R.G. Collection, Calodyne, Mauritius, 1985-2008.
I am curious about the information in the Gorny & Mosch catalogue:

  • Why is there no mention of the Athos Moretti collection in Bellinzona? What is the authenticated documentation that it was in this collection?
  • Why is there no mention of the Royal-Athena Galleries catalogue of 1985?
  • Why is there no mention of Dr Leo Mildenberg?
  • Why place the R.G. collection in Germany rather than Mauritius?

The more intriguing question is when was the bronze handled by Robin Symes? And why is there no mention of this?

It would be interesting to learn more about the collection of Dr Athos Moretti, not least because the Dallas Museum of Art is reported to have acquired a large part of his collection of jewellery in 1991.

It does suggest that the due diligence process for Gorny & Mosch needs to be tightened. For previous mentions of this auction house see Operation Ghelas.

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