Thursday 29 November 2018

Becchina and a hydria attributed to the Pan painter

Attic red-figured hydria attributed to the Pan painter
Source: Becchina archive.
Courtesy: Dr Christos Tsirogannis.
Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has spotted that a hydria due to be auctioned at Christie's in London on 5 December 2018 (lot 126) also features in the Becchina archive. The estimate for the pot is £20,000-£30,000. 

The auction catalogue provides the following history for the piece:
  • with Holger Termer, Hamburg. Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1986. 
The scene was interpreted by Erika Simon as Theseus and Hekale in a contribution to the Festschrift R. Berlinger ('Theseus und Hekale', in  Perspektiven der Philosophie 13, 1987, pp. 409-416, pl. 1.2). Simon appeared to know the piece from the Hamburg private collection.

The Beazley Archive (BAPD 29055) is a little more cautious: 'Old woman (Hekale) with phiale at kalathos, youth with chlamys, spears and pilos (Theseus ?)'. It also provides the information that the attribution was by Martin Robertson.

The invoice in the Becchina archive is dated to the 26 January 1987, though a proforma of 12 December 1986 is also recorded. The invoice suggests that the scene possibly represents Oedipus and Teiresias.

Who is the present owner of the hydria? Is it the person or gallery who acquired it from Termer in 1986 (sic.)? Or did Palladion sell it on to a further party? Were Christie's unaware of the Becchina link? What had the due diligence search found?

It should be noted that the same sale at Christie's has other Termer pieces. What are their full histories?

It would be helpful if the full history of the hydria was to be disclosed. In any case, when did the hydria first surface? Is there any evidence that it was known prior to 1970?

Where were hydriai attributed to the Pan painter found?

  • Athens: 1
  • Padula: 1
  • Vulci: 1
  • Vulci (presumably, said to be): 1
  • Capua (presumably, said to be): 1
  • Nola (presumably, said to be): 1
  • Metapontum: 1

Italy is a likely find-spot.

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