Skip to main content

Collecting histories and Christie's

Source: Schinoussa Archive
The December sale at Christie's in the Rockefeller Plaza is fast approaching and has once again given Cambridge University researcher Christos Tsirogiannis material to consider. He draws my attention to one publicly declared object linked to Robin Symes: an Apulian loutrophoros attributed to the Varrese painter (lot 132). This was first recorded in 1983, and then auctioned on the New York market in 1995. One wonders at how the loutrophoros moved from a funerary context in southern Italy to the Symes gallery.

A second Apulian piece, a dinos attributed to the painter of Louvre MNB 1148, is said to have been known since 1983 when it was on the London art market (lot 134). It was then sold in an anonymous sale at Christie's New York in 1993. The dinos's true collecting history is revealed by its appearance in the Schinoussa Archive.

These are not the only pieces in the auction that have an interesting background. One wonders if Christie's have contacted or will be contacting the Italian authorities. Max Bernheimer of Christie's has reminded us of the extremely rigorous due diligence process conducted by the auction-house in order to restrict repatriation issues further down the line.

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…