Skip to main content

Buyers Beware: Surfacing Medici Material

Last week I was discussing the continued surfacing of material identified from the Medici Dossier with Cambridge University researcher Christos Tsirogiannis. It is clear that material is shortly due to be auctioned. And this raises a bigger question.

a. Is the auction house aware that it is offering ex-Medici material? Has its rigorous due diligence checks picked up the relevant collecting history/histories?
b. Has the Art Loss Register spotted the material in its checks? I am sure that if it has, the auction house will have been informed.
c. Have the Italian authorities identified the material? We know that the Italian authorities scan the sales and have made requests for material to be withdrawn, although such requests are often declined.
d. Will potential buyers be aware of the ex-Medici material in the sale? The only advice on offer is to avoid any material that cannot be traced back to the period prior to 1970.

Buyers should be cautious.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

kyri said…
david,the art loss register is no use unless the pieces have been reported stolen[most auction houses check up every piece worth over 2-3k anyway]
why dont you just bite the bullet and tell us all which pieces your talking about,you have done in the past.
kyri.
David Gill said…
Kyri
We know that the ALR has access to the Medici Dossier. It will be interesting to see if the auction house reveals what it knows.
David

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 …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

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.