We are reliably informed (by a former ancient art consultant) that one consequence of our thesis is that some North American collectors are now questioning the wisdom of acquiring painted pottery, since the field is so controversial (and nothing puts off collectors as much as controversy: they want their investments to be secure and not subject to the vagaries of scholarship). ... Any opposition to the view that Greek pottery did not possess an exalted position in antiquity should now be judged against the background of a market whose supporters are afraid of losing possible financial and material benefits.It needs to be remembered that these words were published before the raid on the Geneva Freeport, and prior to the publication of Peter Watson's Sotheby's Inside Story. It anticipates the fallout from the Medici Conspiracy that has damaged the reputation of so many major North American museums (and some European and south-east Asian ones along the way).
It would be inappropriate to identify the ancient art consultant (as it appeared on the person's business card). But if that consultant had advised her / his clients that it would be wise not to invest in recently surfaced Greek figure-decorated pottery some of the problems could be avoided. Indeed some of those clients could be questioning the advice that they had been given.
I am hoping that some of these issues will be raised in the wider discussion on Thursday next week in the McDonald Institute, Cambridge. Readers of LM (and others!) who live within easy reach of Cambridge are more than welcome to attend.