Tuesday 4 December 2012

Becchina and Dallas

Apulian krater returned to Italy
Source: DMA
It now appears that the return (in April 2012) to Italy of antiquities that had surfaced via Christies are now being linked explicitly to the return of some of the material handed over from the Dallas Museum of Art. The Dallas statement notes: "In April 2012 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized two works from Christie’s New York auction house that were associated with the investigation of Becchina."

The Apulian volute-krater attributed to the Metope group had surfaced via Sotheby's New York in 1991 (June 18, 1991), and was then purchased via the same auction-house in June 1996 (June 13, lot 87). The original source is said to be Gianfranco Becchina.

This raises a question. To what extent was Becchina consigning material with an origin in Italy to sales in New York? The documentation for what was happening in London is well known. But are we likely to see a similar pattern emerging for the situation on the other side of the Atlantic?

Will we start to see a new wave of returns as the Becchina archive starts to be investigated in more detail?

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