Wednesday 16 May 2018

The Minoan Larnax and the Michael C. Carlos Museum

Minoan larnax from the Becchina archive and in the Michael C. Carlos Museum
I was recently asked to comment on the acquisition of recently surfaced antiquities in Greece as part of an interview. One of the examples I gave was the Minoan larnax that was acquired by the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Although this piece has been discussed in the Greek press, the museum has not yet responded to the apparent identification in the Becchina archive.

Is the time now right for the Michael C. Carlos Museum or the wider authorities at Emory University to negotiate the return of this impressive piece so that it can be placed on display in a museum in Greece?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Antiquities seized in Lazio

Seized material. Source: Carabinieri
A group of archaeological material worth approximately 900,000 Euros has been seized in Lazio ("Sequestrati reperti archeologici per 900 mila euro", 11 May 2018; press release). The finds include an Attic black-figured horse head amphora, an Attic red-figured column-krater, a fragment of a tufa column, and other terracotta sculptures from the 4th to 2nd centuries AD. 

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Thursday 10 May 2018

Symes and a Roman medical set

Top: medical set for auction in Paris
Bottom: image from Schinousa archive
Pierre Bergé & Associés of Paris are offering a rare Roman bronze medical set (16 May 2018, lot 236). Its recorded history is: "Ancienne collection Hishiguro, Tokyo, 1992". The catalogue entry helpfully informs us that the set probably came from a burial ("Cette trousse de chirurgien a probablement été découverte dans une sépulture ...").

The set appears to be the one that has been identified by Dr Christos Tsirogannis from an image in the Schinousa archive thus linking it to Robin Symes.

Given that the catalogue entry suggests that this piece came from a funerary context and that the history of the piece can only be traced back to 1992 (and not to 1970), questions are being raised about the set's origins.

What due diligence was conducted on the medical set prior to offering it for sale? Did Symes sell the set to Hishiguro? How did Symes obtain the set? Who sold it to him?

I understand that the appropriate authorities in France are being informed about the lot.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Symes and a Geometric horse

Source: Schinousa archive
courtesy of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis
Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has identified a geometric horse from the Symes archive. The horse is due to be auctioned at 'The Shape of Beauty: Sculpture from the Collection of Howard and Saretta Barnet' at Sotheby's New York on 14 May 2018 (lot 4). 

Sotheby's provide a history of the horse and do acknowledge the link with Symes:

  • Münzen und Medaillen AG, Basel, May 6, 1967, lot 2 
  • Robin Symes, London, very probably acquired at the above auction 
  • Howard and Saretta Barnet, New York, acquired from the above on November 16, 1973

When did the horse leave Greece? Who consigned it to the sale in Basel? Did the Barnets acquire other material from Symes?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Another Bubon bronze head likely to be repatriated

It appears that a bronze head acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum from Nicolas Koutoulakis has been removed from display and appears to be...