Skip to main content

A Bronze Krater in the Levy-White Collection

I can remember how moved I was when I saw the "Vix krater" for the first time. It was displayed in a darkened room at the heart of an exhibition, "Die Hallstattkultur: Frühform europäischer Einheit", in Steyr, Austria (1980). Such complete archaic bronze kraters are few and far between (though the cast attachments from others have survived).

Winifred Lamb, in Greek and Roman Bronzes (1929), had a section on archaic "Bronze Vases" and noted:
The surviving bronze vases are few, but those of which the provenance is known still fewer. Fewest of all are the vases which can, like pottery, be associated with excavation (p. 133).
She also noted,
An even more magnificent crater ... was discovered, during the last months of the war [sc. 1918], in a cemetery north of Lake Ochrida (p. 135).
The find-spot was Trebenishte (in the present Republic of Macedonia, close to the present frontier with Albania).

Such archaic kraters are rare which is why there is so much interest in the one on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Its present proprietor is Shelby White. This appears to be the krater discussed by Conrad M. Stibbe in a review article, "The krater from Vix again" (in his Agalmata: Studien zur griechisch-archaischen Bronzekunst. BABesch. Suppl. Leiden: Peeters, 2006 [Google Books]). In his discussion of the unique nature of the volute-krater from Trebenishte (p. 318), he appends a footnote (p. 321 n. 57):
We have now a second bronze volute krater with the same pattern on its foot. See my forthcoming publication in the volume in memory of Leon Levy.
This newly surfaced krater appears to be important. So it would be helpful to have some answers to the following:
  • Does the Shelby White krater have a reported find-spot?
  • When was the Shelby White krater acquired? Who sold it?
  • When did the Shelby White krater first appear?
  • Has it passed through the hands of any other collectors?

Comments

phrygian said…
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is still withholding any information concerning the bronze krater from the Levy-White collection displayed at that museum for four years now.

This being the case despite a request lodged two weeks ago by Dr David Gill - a colleague and professional.

That is kinda silent confirmation of a link connecting the exhibited krater with the Koreschnica krater.
David Gill said…
I would have thought that the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston would want to distance itself from this controversial issue. What is the collecting history for this krater?
phrygian said…
Collecting history for this krater?
Nonexistent, zero, zilch, nada...!
David Gill said…
I understand why Phrygian says this ... but the krater was not "beamed" (as in Star Trek) into the Shelby White and Leon Levy collection. It was presumably purchased from a dealer and there must be a record. So the information is there - it is just that it is not being disclosed. This seems to be contrary to the spirit of the AAMD Guidelines on loans of archaeological material.

See now my specific comments on Houston.

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

The Toledo skyphos and a Swiss private collection

The Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter in the Toledo Museum of Art (inv. 1982.88) is now coming under further scrutiny following the research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis. The skyphos shows Hephaistos returning to Olympos.

Tsirogiannis has identified what appears to be this skyphos in five photographs in the Medici Dossier. The museum acknowledged that the skyphos had resided in a 'private Swiss collection'. Tsirogiannis suggests that this is probably a reference to Medici.

Enquiries to the museum by Tsirogiannis elicited the information that the skyphos had been acquired from Nicholas Koutoulakis (although that information does not appear on the museum's online catalogue).

The curatorial team at the Toledo Museum of Art will, no doubt, be contacting the Italian authorities to discuss the future residence of the skyphos.

For further discussion of the Toledo Museum of Art on LM see here.

Reference
Tsirogiannis, C. 2017. "Nekyia: Museum ethics an…

Metropolitan Museum of Art hands over Paestan krater

In May 2014 I commented on a Paestan krater acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after it had been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in photographic images seized from Giacomo Medici. Tsirogiannis published his full concerns in the Journal of Art Crime in 2014, but it has taken a further three years for the museum to respond.

The krater showing Dionysos in a hand-drawn cart was purchased in 1989 from the Bothmer Purchase Fund (details from the Museum's website, inv. 1989.11.4). The krater surfaced through Sotheby's New York in June 1989.

It is unclear who consigned the krater to Sotheby's New York.

It has now been revealed that the krater has been handed over to the US authorities after a warrant had been issued (Tom Mashberg, "Ancient Vase Seized From Met Museum on Suspicion It Was Looted", New York Times July 31, 2018).

It appears that the museum did make an attempt to resolve the case in December 2016. Mashberg notes:
The Met, for its par…