Skip to main content

Pots Passing Through The Market (Ancient and Modern)

I have been working my way through Trademarks on Greek vases: addenda (2006). The index has a section, "Vases once on the market, present location unknown". Alan Johnston notes in the "Introduction" (p. vii):
It will not escape those even skimming the following pages that the bulk [sc. of new material] has appeared, depressingly, on the antiquities market, virtually always without provenance; I retain a column "provenance" in the catalogue, but it is thinly populated indeed with respect to the addenda.
Here are some of the recent "surfacings" (but "present location unknown") on the largely unnamed North American and Swiss markets (ordered by Johnston Type) since the publication of the original volume in 1979. (I exclude here the 75 or so pieces from Sotheby's, London that entered the market in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as named dealers in Switzerland). In one case it has been possible to identify the present proprietors.
  1. Type 6A, 1a. Amphora (Type B). Hesperia Arts, auction (27 November 1990, lot 28). [For comments on this sale.]
  2. Type 14A, 1a. Neck-amphora, attributed to the Antimenes painter (von Bothmer). Geneva market.
  3. Type 16A, 12a. Hydria. Previously Sotheby's (London) 7-8 July 1994, lot 289; New York market.
  4. Type 21A, 103a. Column-krater. (Information from von Bothmer). Switzerland, market.
  5. Type 27A, 8. Neck-amphora. Geneva market (information from von Bothmer).
  6. Type 2B, 1a. Hydria. Geneva market (information from von Bothmer).
  7. Type 11B, 25a. Stamnos, attributed to the Siren painter (von Bothmer). Formerly Hunt brothers (no. 12); New York market, Atlantis; Sotheby's (New York) 19 June 1990, lot 13; New York, Shelby White and Leon Levy.
  8. Type 13B, 17a. Neck-amphora. Geneva market (information from von Bothmer).
  9. Type 2F, 18a. Hydria (attributed to the Leagros group). New York market (information from Michael Padgett).
  10. Type 9F, 32b. Lekythos (attributed to the Athena painter?). New York market.
  11. Type 10F, 13a. Pelike. New York market (information from Jasper Gaunt).
The loss of contexts means that there are intellectual consequences when trying to make sense of the distribution of commercial graffiti on Greek pottery.

One of the pots "once on the market, present location unknown" has a recorded history prior to 1970 and its present location is known:
  1. Type 9E, 118a. Amphora, attributed to the Niobid painter. Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) [brother of Isadora Duncan]; Dorée Duncan Seligmann [granddaughter of Raymond Duncan], by inheritance; Robert E. Hecht, Jr., New York, 1961 [mode of acquisition unknown]; New York market, Atlantis (1990); Baltimore, Walters Art Museum 48.2712 (acquired in 1993 by purchase).
Reference
Johnston, A. W. 2006. Trademarks on Greek vases: addenda. Oxford: Aris and Phillips. [Worldcat]

Comments

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 …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Attic amphora handed back to Italians

The research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has led to the return of an Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Harrow painter, to Italy (Tom Mashberg, "Stolen Etruscan Vessel to Be Returned to Italy", New York Times March 16, 2017).

The amphora is known to have passed through the hands of Swiss-based dealer Gianfranco Becchina in 1993, and then through a New York gallery around 2000 (although its movements between those dates are as yet undisclosed).

During the ceremony, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney stated:
“When looters overrun historic sites, mine sacred spaces for prized relics, and peddle stolen property for top dollar, they do so with the implicit endorsement of all those who knowingly trade in stolen antiquities” More research clearly needs to be conducted on how material handled by Becchina passed into the North American market and into the hands of private and public collectors.