Unusually there were two owners. The sculpture was partly owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (1981.783), and partly by Leon Levy.
The catalogue statued that Boston had been presented with this part of the fragmentary statue in 1981 by the Jerome Levy Foundation (established by Leon Levy). However this has now been clarified:
"Gift of Leon Levy and Shelby White and Museum purchase with funds donated by the Jerome Levy Foundation, 1981"
Although the exhibition catalogue provided no hint of a find-spot, it did speculate,
"The Levy statue (or group ...) might have stood in a small public building, such as an urban bouleuterion, or a gymnasium-bath complex ..."The Herakles is incomplete. The lower part is missing. And we know where the legs are - the museum catalogue tells us:
"The lower part of this statue, now in the Antalya Museum, was excavated in the South Baths at Perge".
So when did the Levy Herakles torso surface? Again the museum presents the evidence:
"By 1981: with Mohammad Yeganeh, Bundenweg 7, 6000 Frankfurt/Main (said to be from his mother’s collection and before that from a dealer in Germany about 1950); half interest purchased by MFA (with funds provided by the Jerome Levy Foundation) from Mohammad Yeganeh, December 30, 1981; remaining half interest owned by Leon Levy and Shelby White; remaining half interest gift from Shelby White to MFA, January 21, 2004"
So in other words we are asked to believe that this torso was in the hands of "a dealer in Germany about 1950". There is clearly no certified documentation or the museum would not have used the telling phrase "said to be ..."
The legs were excavated at Perge in southern Turkey in 1980 (see short report). A three-dimensional model of the legs has now been created, in part to demonstrate the link. In 1992 a cast of the lower part of the body was shown to fit with the Levy torso (details given in Walter Robinson, "Getting to the bottom of split statue", Boston Globe, December 27, 1998 [archived]).
Fifteen wearisome years have gone by and the only changes to note are:
a. The MFA accepts that the Levy torso and the Perge legs come from the same statue.A due-diligence procedure (presumably what is published on the MFA website) shows that the secure trail ceases in 1981 when the upper part of the statue passed from the hands of Mohammad Yeganeh to the joint ownership of the MFA and Leon Levy. Is it a coincidence that the legs were discovered just one year before? Is the "word of mouth" evidence compelling enough to believe that the Levy torso was around in Germany in the 1950s? After all, one of the lessons from the antiquities returned from Boston to Italy in 2006 was that histories were indeed fabricated.
b. The MFA now owns the Levy torso outright.
Could there be an alternative view? Could the torso have been found around 1980 but then bundled across international frontiers to surface in Frankfurt?
The MFA now has the opportunity to reunite the two halves of this statue. If we accept that this Herakles forms part of the "Glories of the Past", we also need to acknowledge that the intention of its sculptor was for it to be viewed and enjoyed as a complete work of art.
Has the time come for a reassessment of the MFA's position?