Skip to main content

Sotheby's (London) and the Returns to Italy

Common threads are beginning to emerge from a study of the recent returns to Italy. It is possible to start building up a picture, even though some of the institutions (and the single private collector) have yet to issue detailed information (see earlier comments).

At least seven of the pieces appear to have "surfaced" at a Sotheby's auction in London. These were clearly purchased in "good faith".
  1. New York, MMA 1985.11.5. Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Berlin painter. S (L) 1982 December 13-14, lot 220.
  2. Boston, MFA 1998.588. Lucanian nestoris. S (L) 1982 December 13-14, lot 298.
  3. Boston, MFA 1988.431. Apulian loutrophoros, attributed to the White Sakkos painter. S (L) 1984 December 10, lot 366.
  4. New York, Jerome Eisenberg. 1992. Attic black-figured neck-amphora, attributed to the Leagros gorup. S (L) 1985 July 17-18, lot 257 (it then passed through Galerie Günter Puhze in Freiburg; reported to have been acquired by Royal-Athena Galleries in 1992).
  5. New York, Shelby White. Attic black-figured neck-amphora of Panathenaic shape, attributed to the painter of Louvre F 6. Glories no. 104; S (L) 1985 July 17, lot 313.
  6. New York, Jerome Eisenberg. 1991. Attic red-figured column-krater, attributed to the Geras painter. S (L) 1987 December 14, lot 295.
  7. Boston, MFA 1999.735. Attic red-figured bell-krater, attributed to the painter of the Louvre Centauromachy. S (L) 1995 December 14, lot 95.
Who consigned the pieces?

Peter Watson's study, Sotheby's, the inside story (London: Bloomsbury, 1997), pp. 117, 120, commented on two of these specific sales:
  • July 1985: '104 unprovenanced antiquities' consigned by Christian Boursaud of Geneva (PO Box 41, 57 Avenue Bois de la Chapelle, 1213 Onex, Geneva)
  • December 1987: '360 lots, 101 were sent in by Editions Service' (of Geneva)

Image
Apulian loutrophoros, attributed to the White Sakkos painter. © MiBAC.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

George Ortiz collection to be displayed in London

Christie's is due to display part of the former collection of the late George Ortiz in London in a non-selling show to mark the 25th anniversary of the exhibition at the Royal Academy. There is a statement on the Christie's website ("The Ortiz Collection — ‘proof that the past is in all of us’"). Max Bernheimer is quoted: ‘Ortiz was one of the pre-eminent collectors of his day’.

We recall the associations with Ortiz such as the Horiuchi sarcophagus, the Hestiaios stele fragment, the marble funerary lekythos, and the Castor and Pollux.

Bernheimer will, no doubt, wish to reflect on the Royal Academy exhibition by reading Christopher Chippindale and David W. J. Gill. 2000. "Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting." American Journal of Archaeology 104: 463-511 [JSTOR].

Bernheimer will probably want to re-read the two pieces by Peter Watson that appeared in The Times: , "Ancient art without a history" and "Fakes - the artifice b…

Adding to the history of an Attic black-figured amphora

The post-excavation histories of objects are important as we map the that cultural property passes through collections and the markets. This is clear for an Attic black-figured amphora, attributed to Group E, that is due to be auctioned at Christie's New York on October 31, 2018 (lot 31). It shows Herakles and the Nemean lion, and Theseus and the Minotaur.

The auction catalogue claims that it surfaced in the hands of John Hewett in London in 1970 (or earlier), then to a private collection in Europe, followed by a series of auctions:
A European private collection; Antiquities  Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1988, lot 130thence to a private collection, New YorkAntiquities Christie's, New York, 15 December 1992, lot 81Antiquities Sotheby's, New York, 17 December 1996, lot 50Antiquities, Sotheby's, New York, 4 June 1998, lot 102 The amphora appears in the Beazley Archive (BAPD 350425). This provides the history sequence as follows (though in the list of auction catalogues s…