Skip to main content

Princeton: correction

I am grateful to a reader for pointing out that Catherine Duazo's article on acquisitions by the Princeton University Art Museum has been updated. It now states:
In June 2010, the Italian government accused the Princeton University Art Museum’s antiquities curator, J. Michael Padgett, of acquiring nearly two dozen Italian artifacts for the museum that were the property of the Italian government. The University conducted an internal investigation and is now waiting for the Italian government's response.
It should be noted that the New York Times disclosed the Italian papers in June 2010.

There is an additional note at the end of the article:
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that J. Michael Padgett was accused of illegally donating artifacts to the Princeton University Art Museum when, in fact, he allegedly assisted in the artifacts' acquisition from an alumnus.
This story is about the due diligence process conducted by a curatorial member of staff at the Princeton University Art Museum. And the correction is misleading in that the report that appeared in The New York Times included loans as well as acquisitions.

The alumnus has given an interview to Princeton Alumni Weekly (and see my earlier comments):
The New York Times recently reported that Italian authorities are investigating Edoardo Almagià ’73 for illegal trafficking in antiquities. The Times cited a document written by Italian authorities alleging that the former antiquities dealer loaned, donated, and sold ancient artifacts to the Princeton University Art Museum through curator Michael Padgett, who also is under investigation.
Objects linked to Almagià have been returned from Cleveland to Italy.

What are the fully documented collecting histories of the twenty or so disputed pieces? What loans were made? Will Princeton make all this information available via its website? (A model for this would be Boston's Museum of Fine Art where it is extremely easy to find objects derived from Almagià, e.g. Roman portrait acquired in 1991, "By 1991: with Edoardo Almagià, 136 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022; purchased by MFA from Edoardo Almagià, May 22, 1991"). Will Princeton make available its full due diligence process?

James Steward, the present director of the Princeton University Art Museum, claims:
We ask a very rigorous set of questions about any work of art that hypothetically might enter our collection either as a gift or a purchase ... We really have a tough standard in that regard, and I would say one of the toughest standards in the country.
If such a "rigorous set of questions" have been asked about the twenty or so objects, Princeton University Art Museum has an academic responsibility to make a full disclosure of this information.


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…