Saturday, 17 September 2011

Minneapolis to return krater

Athenian krater to be returned to Italy from Minneapolis © MiBAC
The Italian Ministry of Culture (MiBAC) and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) have announced that MIA will be returned an Athenian red-figured volute-krater to Italy (press release: Italian, English). MIA joins five other AAMD museums in returning cultural property to Italy.

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).

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to butt in at a slight tangent, but the two blogs I read on the antiquities trade is this one and Paul Barford's-- but the latter seems to have gone "by invitation only", and very recently. Why is that ?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Can you please give an update on the situation with Paul Barford's blog? How serious are these threats? "Invitation only" will take away the largest group of followers from Paul.

Paul Barford said...

Hi chaps, thanks for the interest/ concern.

I can't say too much at this stage, I'm more or less OK and (because I closed it), four years' worth of my texts on the blog are OK. A mass attack from UK metal detectorists intended to get it closed/ deleted was being planned for Sunday 18th.

Heritage Action's "Heritage Journal" will have a short text which explains the recent problems I have been having with the metal detectorists (what's new eh??).

I'm not giving out invitations at the moment [It was supposed to say its "private", a one-man blog]. There are no new posts yet, I've been busy with other things.

But once again, many thanks for the interest. It's a shame too, as readership figures were growing steadily. Which is of course precisely why certain types of people would like it to disappear.

Anonymous said...

By Golly I miss Barford's blog

Anonymous said...

Me, too!

Parthenon Partnership Proposed

Pedimental Sculptures from the Parthenon © David Gill Jonathan Williams, the Deputy Director of the British Museum, has called for a 'Pa...