Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Apulian pottery formerly in the Geddes Collection

LM has taken an interest in the Geddes collection. I took another look at the Mougins Museum of Classical Art that is opening this month. I have already noted that the museum has being buying from the Royal Athena Galleries and that the curator, Dr Mark Merrony, the editor-in-chief of Minerva, now owned by Christian Levett (Dalya Alberge, "'Compulsive' art collector builds French museum to display ancient treasures", Observer March 27, 2011). I was thus interested to note that one of the three ancient pieces highlighted in the Greek section was an Apulian hydria.
This exquisite red-figure example from south Italy shows a mythological scene featuring Eros, the god of Love and Hermes, the messenger god. Attributed to the Trudo [sic.] Painter.
The hydria, more accurately attributed to the Truro painter, had apparently surfaced at Sotheby's (London) on 9 December 1985 (lot 375). It had then been placed on loan to the University of Melbourne (March 1988 - July 2003) and the Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities, Monash University, Melbourne (November 2005 - April 2008). It was then sold at Bonham's (London) in October 2008, lot 18. (This sale was particularly significant.)

The sale of objects at Sotheby's in 1985 is not without interest.

What is the full collecting history of the Mougins hydria prior to 1985?

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kyri said...

i also bought a bell krater in this sale with a collecting history of 27 years.i consider myself to be an ethical collector as is christian levette,provenance was of the upmost importance for him.25-30 years ago it was common to have anonymous sales,thats not my fault or the fault or any other collector.25-30years is about as good as it gets for most pieces.the piece wasnt dug up yesterday and its been on display.im sure that if it was in the medici archives it would have been withdrawn as were other pieces.in my eyes christian levette is a model collector,an antiquities collector of the 21st centuary,buying as ethicaly as he can.a guy who wants to share his collection with the world.give the guy a break.

David Gill said...

I presume that this was the Campanian bell-krater: lot 39 for £16,800, attributed to the Libation painter, that first surfaced at Sotheby's (London) on 13 July 1987, lot 292.

Given that the Royal-Athena Galleries and Shelby White have returned objects to Italy that first surfaced at Sotheby's (London) in 1985 and 1987, I hope that you would share the concerns.

Would you care to share the full collecting history of your krater prior to its 1987 London appearance?

kyri said...

i wish,no but even that krater has been published.but to be honest after reading the medici conspiracy i avoid any apulian pottery originating from sothebys in the 80s like the plague.my lot was no.40 another campanian bell krater,ex guttmann,purchased in krefeld germany.the catalog says late 80s-early 90s but after some research i found that it was 84-5.
but going back to the geddes collection,hear was a guy,not buying in some back street ally but in one of the worlds most respected auction houses,a lover of greek art, a great freind of one of my heros a.d.trendall,who by the way never seemd to mind people collecting antiquities,a collector who,researched his pieces loand them and published them and because of things that are out of his control he cant even sell some pieces which he bought in good faith.this is not right and this is why i believe that any photos in any archives should be published so as ethical collectors we can avoid them.dave not all collectors are no questions asked but sometimes if a piece has 25 years + provenance,has been published,exhibited ,if you cant buy these than what can you buy?i hope your not in the michael vickers shcool of archaeology were he lambasted and ridiculed greats like trendall for attribution of pieces and compares collecting to paedophillia.its best to educate collectors,name calling will get us nowhere.

David Gill said...

Dear Kyri
Thank you for clarifying your acquisition as lot 40, attributed to the Boston Ready painter, so not one of the Geddes pieces.
Sadly, Peter Watson's Sotheby's: Inside Story has shown us what was happening in what you describe as "one of the world's more respected auction houses". The name of the Australian collector appears against the image of an annotated sale catalogue.
I hope that you have been able to read Artful Crafts.
With best wishes

kyri said...

sadly thats the point,it was sothebys behaving badly not geddes,he was not privy to what was going on and at the time anonymous sales were quite common.on the page you mention are geddes name on one bell krater and eisenberg on another[page 121 peter watsons sothebys inside story]but only as innocent buyers,neither of the two were acting in an unethical way for the time but both have been punished.sothebys in my eyes were totaly to blame for acting like a clearing house for looted antiquities.
ps.my lot was part of the geddes collection,geddes bought it at christies in 2004,the only difference with mine and lot 39 is though they both came from the guttmann collection, guttmann bought lot 40 in germany not through sothebys.believe me things have changed for the good now,its very difficult to consign unprovenanced pieces into christies or bonhams allthough as you know there are a few exceptions when the odd piece pops up.anyway,i enjoy your blog,even if i dont agree with everything you say,keep it up.

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