Skip to main content

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?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

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piece wasnt dug up yesterday and its been on display.im sure that if it was in the medici archives it would have been withdrawn as were other pieces.in my eyes christian levette is a model collector,an antiquities collector of the 21st centuary,buying as ethicaly as he can.a guy who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.
kyri
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.
kyri
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
David
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.
kyri.

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 Getty Kouros: "The moral is, never ever buy a piece without a provenance"

In the wake of the 1992 Athens conference to discuss the Getty kouros (85.AA.40), one of the delegates, a "distinguished" American museum curator, was quoted ("Greek sculpture; the age-old question", The Economist June 20, 1992):
The moral is, never ever buy a piece without a provenance.
The recent discussions about the return of antiquities from North American museums to Italy and Greece may seem far removed from the acquisition of what appears to be a forged archaic Greek sculpture in the 1980s. However, there are some surprising overlaps.

The statue arrived at the Getty on September 18, 1983 in seven pieces. True (1993: 11) subsequently asked two questions:
Where was it found? As it was said to have been in a Swiss private collection for fifty years, why had it never been reassembled, though it was virtually complete?
A similar statue surfacing in the 1930s
A decision was taken to acquire the kouros in 1985. The official Getty line at the time (and reported in Russell…

The Getty kouros: a modern creation?

The refurbished galleries of the J. Paul Getty Museum no longer include the Getty kouros, a sculpture purchased in 1985 (Christopher Knight, "Something's missing from the newly reinstalled antiquities collection at the Getty Villa", LA Times April 19, 2018). Knight explains:
Unexpectedly, the Getty kouros, a controversial sculpture even before the museum acquired it more than 30 years ago, has been removed from public view. The work is now in museum storage.   For decades, the life-size carving of a standing nude youth carried one of the most distinctive labels of any work of art in an American museum: “Greece (?) about 530 B.C. or modern forgery.” The label encapsulated puzzling issues about the work, whose questionable status as dating from the archaic dawn of Western civilization had been the focus of scholarly and scientific research, debate and international symposiums for years. It is ten years since I provided an overview of the kouros here on LM. And over 20 year…