Skip to main content

A register for antiquities in private hands

Earlier this week I posted on the attempts by Italian authorities to pursue 350 or so antiquities from a Zurich-based dealer and conservator who has been linked with several of the objects returned from North American collections. Peter Tompa, the Washington lobbyist, posted a comment and then grumbled elsewhere that I had "posted but did not directly answer" his question.

I responded with a request for him to disclose the identity of the anonymous but knowledgeable collector of Greek pots. Tompa has failed to respond with either a comment or a separate posting --- and that is surprising.

Tompa is the legal officer for the Cultural Property Research Institute (CPRI). William Pearlstein, who is cited by Tompa in his comment, is a Director. The CPRI has a number of "projects" on the go. I have commented on the first and its inadequacies.

The second project relates to "Developing different models for a registry that can be applied to privately-owned objects". The CPRI promises "A draft report will be published on the CPRI website by the end of 2009"; it has yet to appear. The project is due to do the following:
Several different forms of registries have been proposed in legal articles with extensive discussions of how a registry might preserve security and privacy, the degree of transparency/opacity they should have, the responsibilities of contributors to a registry, the potential interaction with law enforcement, and what sort of repose it might offer. The CPRI will pull together, explain and compare the models that have been proposed and others that may also serve the purpose of inclusive registry.
It would be so helpful for the legal officer and the director of the CPRI to urge the anonymous knowledgeable pot collector to publish her or his collection on the CPRI website as the first stages in a public registry. Are there any Apulian pots? What are their collecting histories? What percentage of the collection has recorded histories before 1970?

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 …

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…

Metropolitan Museum of Art hands over Paestan krater

In May 2014 I commented on a Paestan krater acquired by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after it had been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in photographic images seized from Giacomo Medici. Tsirogiannis published his full concerns in the Journal of Art Crime in 2014, but it has taken a further three years for the museum to respond.

The krater showing Dionysos in a hand-drawn cart was purchased in 1989 from the Bothmer Purchase Fund (details from the Museum's website, inv. 1989.11.4). The krater surfaced through Sotheby's New York in June 1989.

It is unclear who consigned the krater to Sotheby's New York.

It has now been revealed that the krater has been handed over to the US authorities after a warrant had been issued (Tom Mashberg, "Ancient Vase Seized From Met Museum on Suspicion It Was Looted", New York Times July 31, 2018).

It appears that the museum did make an attempt to resolve the case in December 2016. Mashberg notes:
The Met, for its par…