Saturday 23 February 2013

Bothmer fragments on the AAMD Object Register

Group of approximately
10,000 terracotta vase fragments.
The approximately 10,000 von Bothmer fragments now feature on the AAMD Object Register. Details of the collecting history are provided:
Dietrich von Bothmer was a long-time curator and scholar of Greek & Roman Art at the Museum, from 1946 until his death in 2009. Throughout his career at the Museum, he acquired Attic vase fragments which came to form a study collection. For some of the fragments, the Museum knows the date and dealer for Dr. von Bothmer’s acquisition. For others, there is no acquisition information. 
Most of the pieces are unpublished. The exceptions appear in Sir John Beazley’s compendia of Attic vase-painting: Attic Black-figure Vase-painters (1956), Attic Red-figure Vase-painters (2nd edition, 1963), and Paralipomena (1971). Many of the fragments by Douris are included in Diana Buitron’s monograph on the painter (Mainz, 1995). Fragments by Makron are included in Norbert Kunisch’s monograph (Mainz, 1997). Isolated works are published elsewhere. 
The collection has not yet been catalogued, however the Museum is committed to cataloguing, photographing and publishing it electronically. Once the fragments are catalogued, any known provenance will be published on the Museum’s web site.
When will the Metropolitan Museum of Art publish the known information? What will the names of the dealers tell us? When will images of the fragments be available for scrutiny?

The Met also provides information why the Bothmer collection should be excluded from the 1970 rule:
The study collection assembled by Dr. von Bothmer represents over fifty years of study and expertise, and it complements the Museum’s distinguished collection of prehistoric, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman pottery. Dr. von Bothmer identified and grouped the fragments according to well-defined art historical criteria – shape, date, painter, sometimes potter, subject matter. The degree of refinement in the classification is considerable. 
Though the material consists primarily of small pieces, its artistic interest resides, to a considerable degree, in the artists who are represented, including Onesimos, Epiktetos, Douris, Makron, the Brygos Painter, the Berlin Painter, the Villa Giulia Painter, and other well-known names. Still other fragments are noteworthy for details of shape or execution. 
The Bothmer Fragment Collection presents a very extensive and significant range of opportunities for study among scholars world-wide, notably those expert in Greek vase-painting. In addition, it makes possible joins with pieces in other museums, particularly those with holdings acquired during the nineteenth century from the Campana Collection. 
In the spirit of cooperation between the Museum and Italy, the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities of the Italian Republic consented to the Museum accepting this bequest as a resource for research, publication, and display. In its agreement with the Ministry, the Museum agreed to strive to facilitate the recomposition of original objects by donating joining fragments in the Bothmer Fragment Collection to other institutions, or, where appropriate, requesting donations to the Museum, in order to augment fragments in the Bothmer collection.
It is striking that no mention is made of the returns of the Bothmer fragments to Italy as they appeared to join other pots already returned to Italy.

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