|Athenian krater to be returned to Italy from Minneapolis © MiBAC|
The krater was acquired in 1983 from Robin Symes apparently on the recommendation of Michael Conforti. The press releases are silent on the fact that MIA has started (and possibly shelved) an investigation into the krater's collection history back in November 2005 when museum officials were shown images from the Medici Dossier by reporters from the Los Angeles Times.
There are two comments. The Italian Minister of Culture, Giancarlo Galan, commented:
“This success was possible because Italy has chosen the diplomatic route in order to obtain the return of certain objects which might have provenance questions. I take this occasion to thank the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for its cooperation and look forward to future collaboration with them in many areas of mutual benefit.”Kaywin Feldman, director and president of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, said:
“The decision to transfer the Volute Krater demonstrates the MIA’s commitment to the highest ethical standards in developing and maintaining our collection ... Like so many mysteries, this one began with a fragmentary series of clues, calling into question the provenance of work. We are grateful to our colleagues at the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and officials at Homeland Security Investigations for working collaboratively with us to provide information and resolve any ambiguity about this object.”Feldman has clearly changed her position towards Italy's claims.
I have reviewed the story before and published a commentary in the Journal of Art Crime (2011).