Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Koutoulakis Herm returns to Greece

Source: Hellenic Ministry of Culture
In October 2014 Bonhams offered a Roman herm that it was claimed to have been in the collection of Nicolas Koutoulakis collection in Geneva since 1965. But Glasgow University researcher Dr Christos Tsirogiannis spotted that the head had been offered on the market in the spring of 1987, undermining the collecting history presented in the catalogue.

The head has now been returned to Athens and features in a major press release. Sadly Tsirogiannis' contribution is not acknowledged.

I have written on the issues relating to this herm in the Journal of Art Crime ("Context Matters: Learning from the Herm: The Need for More Rigorous Due Diligence Searches").

This case reminds us of the need to authenticate the documentation used to present collecting histories, and it brings into question the issues relating the due diligence search conducted by Bonhams (and its agents).

It perhaps shows that objects associated with Koutoulakis are not above suspicion. I was recently viewing such an object linked with that individual in a high profile London gallery. What questions should be asked about that piece?

For my earlier discussion of this herm see here.

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