Skip to main content

Theft of Egyptian antiquities in Amsterdam: update

In May I commented on the seizure of some antiquities at an unspecified Manhattan auction-house by agents of ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The pieces had been stolen from the Bijbels Museum in Amsterdam on July 29, 2007. The objects were identified by the staff of the Art Loss Register (ALR).

The staff of ICE seem to have been regular visitors to Manhattan auction-houses this year. Their activity includes the seizure of a Corinthian krater from Christie's on 1 June, and more recently an Apulian situla and an Attic red-figured pelike. A Roman wall-painting was also seized from the premises of a Manhattan auction-house at the beginning of June, again with the assistance of the ALR.

But to return to the stolen Egyptian antiquities. Judith H. Dobrzynski on "Real Clear Arts" also covered the story (May 28, 2009) but telephoned the ALR where she spoke to a member of staff:
When I called Christopher A. Marinello, ALR's executive director, he declined to name the auction house, but he said that it was one of the big two -- Christie's and Sotheby's.
Today I emailed the press offices of both auction houses.

The press office at Sotheby's was extremely helpful and sent me a short comment:
I’ve now checked with our New York office since I had no recollection of this, and I can confirm that no seizure of this description took place at Sotheby’s.
The public relations officer at Christie's sent a brief statement:
I am unable to confirm this.

I am extremely grateful to the relevant press officers for their prompt and instructive responses.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

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 …

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.

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…