Monday 21 April 2008

Marble Lekythos Returns to Greece

Mihalis Liapis revealed today that a marble funerary lekythos has been returned to Greece from an antiquities dealer in Switzerland ("Ancient Lekythos Returned", Athens News Agency, April 21, 2008). It is reported:
It is a funerary lekythos depicting a farewell banquet for the deceased, in a classic farewell scene. It was presented at an international antiquities dealers exhibition in 2007 in Maastricht, where it was put up for auction by a Swiss antiquities dealer.

After a series of negotiations, the Swiss dealer decided to hand over the lekythos to the Greek government in an out-of-court settlement, without reservations or conditions. It was delivered to a representative of the Greek embassy in Berne and then crated in the customs free zone in Basel before being transported to Greece.
The lekythos appears to have surfaced at TEFAF Maastrict in March 2007. The press release does not name the dealer. (The TEFAF website only lists those who are due to exhibit in 2009). It would be interesting to know if the lekythos had been recognised by the Art Loss Register (ALR) whose services are used for TEFAF.

Will more details be released? The return was "without reservations or conditions"—so why the secrecy?

Rompres has provided further images and the following statement:
A funerary lekythos made of Pentelic marble (400-350 B.C) is displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece, 21 April 2008. The lekythos was officialy [sic.] presented to the Press on 21st April by Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis after it was repatriated on 17 th April from Basel, Switzerland where it had been part of the collection of the antique dealer J.D.Cahn.
Presumably this is Jean-David Cahn AG of Basel.

Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday inspects a 4th-century B.C. marble funerary lekythos returned to Greece from the collection of a private antiquities dealer in Switzerland that he presented to the press at the National Archaeological Museum the same day.
From Athens News Agency.

1 comment:

David Gill said...

For a little more detail on how the lekythos was identified:
"A Swiss antiquarian was forced to return the vase after he tried to sell it at auction in Maastricht in 2007. It had been identified from photographs taken from suspected antiquities smugglers in a previous raid."

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