Monday, 20 May 2019

Toledo Museum of Art and an Attic skyphos

Source: Toledo Museum of Art
In 2017 Dr Christos Tsirogannis wrote a study of the Attic red-figured skyphos attributed to the Kleophon painter (by Dietrich von Bothmer) and acquired in 1982. Tsirogiannis had spotted that the skyphos featured in the Medici Dossier, and elicited from the museum that it had been acquired from Nichols Koutoulakis. 

It has now been announced by the Italian authorities that the skyphos will be returned to Italy [press release, 16 May 2019].
Il ministero per i Beni e le attività culturali della Repubblica italiana e il Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) hanno annunciato oggi di aver raggiunto un accordo per il trasferimento alla Repubblica italiana di uno skyphos attico risalente al V secolo a-C (Vaso Potorio), che raffigura il ritorno di Efesto sull'Olimpo. Lo skyphos è stato acquistato da TMA nel 1982, ma recentemente, il Museo ha ritenuto di dover acquisire ulteriori informazioni dal Mibac circa la sua provenienza. In collaborazione con il Ministero e alla luce de informazioni fomite da questo, il TMA ha ritenuto appropriato di trasferire lo skyphos all'Italia. Il Mibac ha accettato di concedere in prestito lo skyphos al Museo per 4 anni e, al termine del periodo di prestito, di effettuarne di ulteriori su base rotativa.
The skyphos will be placed on loan to Toledo for 4 years. It is significant that the role of Tsirogiannis has not been acknowledged.

Toledo has placed a statement on its website. It includes this paragraph:
The Toledo Museum of Art purchased the skyphos in 1982 for $90,000 with funds gifted from Edward Drummond Libbey. The provenance of the object was called into question in 2017 by Christos Tsirogiannis, a forensic archaeologist, after which the Museum began an internal investigation and contacted the Italian authorities.
The entry for the skyphos in the Toledo Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum does not provide information about the piece's previous history.

Toledo has already returned an Etruscan kalpis, also acquired in 1982. What else was acquired in this period from the same sources? Museums need to be revisiting any material that passed through the hands of Koutoulakis.

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