Friday, 7 March 2008

Cleveland: the Italian List?

There has been talk this week of the allegedly confidential list of antiquities that Italy would like to see returned from Cleveland. Rebecca Meiser reported:
"It's supposed to be a confidential document," says spokesman James Kopniske. "I don't even know what's on it."
Information on the Cleveland material started to appear with the list of South Italian pottery published by Suzan Mazur in October 2006:
  1. A Lucanian calyx-krater, attributed to the Policoro painter (1991.1). Alleged to have been sold by Robert Hecht; formerly in the Hunt collection; sold 1990.
  2. A Paestan black-figured lekythos (1985.1). Allegedly acquired through Hecht. Appears to be listed in the Italian documentation (no. 82): "Lekythos attica a figure nere, oggi al Museo di Cleveland".
  3. A Campanian red-figured acorn lekythos (1986.204). Gift of Jonathan Rosen.
  4. An Apulian volute-krater, attributed to the Darius painter (1988.41).
  5. An Apulian bell-krater, attributed to the Choregos painter (1989.73).
All five pieces are likely to have been found in South Italy given their fabrics. It should be noted that the "name vase" of the Choregos painter is a krater, once in the Fleischman collection (purchased from Fritz Bürki), and now returned from the Getty to Italy.

Mazur expanded on this simple list when she reported on the meeting between Italian officials and staff from the Cleveland Museum of Art (apparently on April 20, 2007). She then listed further pieces.
1. East Greek perfumed-oil container in the shape of a heron (1988.65).
2. Corinthian column-krater (1990.81).

South Italian and Italian
3. Geometric bird askos, Etruscan (1993.1).
4. Pontic oinochoe (1986.88).

Marble sculpture
5. Torso of Aphrodite, marble (1988.9).

6. Etruscan silver bracelet (1996.17). Gift of Edoardo Almagia and Courtney Keep in honor of Arielle P. Kozloff

7. Amber sphinx, possibly South Italian (1985.49).
8. Amber head of a woman, Etruscan (1992.61).

9. Bronze reclining woman at banquet, Etruscan (1988.155). Gift of Mrs. Ernest Brummer.
10. Bronze reclining flautist, Etruscan (1986.184). Gift of Mrs. Ernest Brummer.
11. Bronze reclining lyre-player, Etruscan (1986.185). Gift of Mrs. Ernest Brummer.
12. Bronze statue of a warrior, Sardinian (1990.1).
13. Bronze rider, perhaps western Greek (1977.41). Publ. Gods Delight, no. 13.
14. Bronze Herakles (1987.2). Publ. Gods Delight, no. 61, “purchased together and conceivably found with [62]”.
15. Bronze Lar (1987.3). Publ. Gods Delight, no. 62, “purchased together and conceivably found with [61]”.
16. Victory with cornucopia, Roman (1984.25). Publ. Gods Delight, no. 66, “traveled through the art market and conceivably found with [63-65]”. [See nos. 63-65, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum]
17. Bronze statue of a barbarian (1987.64). Publ. Gods Delight, no. 67, “said to have been found near Taranto”.
18. Roman bronze ampula in the shape of a bear (1972.102).
Note that several of the pieces are likely (though not certainly) to have been found within the frontiers of the modern Italian state given their cultural links with Etruria, the Greek colonies of southern Italy and Sicily, and Sardinia (nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17).

Some of the items on Mazur's list were known before 1970 and need not detain us here:
  1. Head of the emperor Balbinus from sarcophagus, marble (1925.945). Gift of J.H. Wade.
  2. Silver cup, Roman. Vicarello (1966.371). Silver for the Gods, no. 95. Formerly in the collections of R. Garrucci, Naples; Sir William Drake, London; Edmond de Rothschild, Paris. First known 1866.
  3. Bronze statue of a warrior, Etruscan (1967.32).
Michael Bennett, the curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, has insisted that there is "an obligation to look at that evidence". Please could the collecting histories (i.e. former owners, dealers, alleged find-spots) for the 23 pieces listed above be made available? What are their documented histories before 1970?

Kozloff, A. P., D. G. Mitten, and S. Fabing. 1988. The Gods delight: the human figure in classical bronze. Cleveland, Ohio; Bloomington, Ind: Published by the Cleveland Museum of Art in cooperation with Indiana University Press.
Mazur, S. 2006. "Italy will contest Medea vase now at Cleveland Museum." 9 October 2006.
—. 2007. "Italy's list of lost treasures at Cleveland." April 22, 2007.
Oliver, A., Jr. 1977. Silver for the gods: 800 years of Greek and Roman silver. Toledo: The Toledo Museum of Art.

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