Saturday, 29 December 2018

The scale of returns to Italy from North American collections

My analysis of the archaeological objects returned to Italy has appeared in the latest number of the International Journal of Cultural Property. The article includes a catalogue of the returned material. There is reference to the 3,500 fragments derived from Francavilla Marittima and returned to Italy.

Museums considered:

  • Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • Fordham University
  • Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Princeton University Art Museum
  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • University of Virginia Art Museum in Charlottesville
Objects from private collections, galleries and auction houses are also discussed.


'Returning archaeological objects to Italy’, International Journal of Cultural Property 25, 3 (2018), 283–321. [DOI]

Abstract
It has been more than 20 years since the raids on the premises at the Geneva Freeport were linked to Giacomo Medici. The seizure of photographic records led to a major investigation of acquisitions by museums and private collectors. This was expanded following the confiscation of archives from Robin Symes and Gianfranco Becchina. Over 350 items have been returned to Italy from North American public and private collections as well as auction houses and galleries. This article reviews the returns and identifies some of the major themes. It also notes some of the unresolved cases both in North America and in Europe and Japan.

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Thefts from Archaeological Stores and Museums

One observable phenomenon in recent years has been that some recovered material was derived, not from an unexcavated archaeological site, but from archaeological museums and stores. This is explored in my latest column, 'Context Matters', for The Journal of Art Crime 20 (Fall 2018), entitled 'Thefts from museums and archaeological stores'. While many of the pieces come from collections in Italy, others are recorded from Greece, Egypt, and Libya. 

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Friday, 21 December 2018

Cleveland Museum of Art: new curator of Greek and Roman Art

Seth Pevnick will be moving from Tampa to the Cleveland Museum of Art where he will be the curator of Greek and Roman Art (Steve Litt, "Cleveland Museum of Art hires Seth Pevnick as ‘profoundly ethical’ curator of ancient Greek and Roman art", cleveland.com 20 December 2018).

One of the acquisitions that will need to be addressed is the "Leutwitz Apollo". The modern history of the monumental bronze does not seem as secure as it has been presented by the museum (see here). It is time for some of the analyses to be made public and open to debate.

The case of the acquisition of the portrait of Drusus Minor is, perhaps, illustrative of the museum's policy towards acquisitions in recent years (see here).

| |
Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

VFMA and the display of the horse in Greek art

The VFMA exhibition catalogue for 'The Horse in Ancient Greek Art' has been reviewed by Carl Shaw in BMCR. The review does not consider the wider issues of the histories of the objects, with previous handlers including Nicolas Koutoulakis, Walter M. Banko in Montreal, Edoardo Almagià, and Fritz Bürki.

These issues have been discussed in some detail in the Journal of Art Crime earlier this year [see previous post].

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Papyri and due diligence

There is much comment at the moment about the sale of papyri to the Museum of the Bible (MOTB), and specifically how fragments owned by th...