|Entry from the Becchina archive|
Courtesy of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis
Why does this matter? The archive clearly shows that the lamp passed through Palladion Antike Kunst in 1993. (We note that the value at SFr 60,000 shows that the piece has clearly lost its value over the years.) Yet the auction house claims that this passed into an Austrian private collection after being acquired in Vienna in the 1960s. Now, the 1960s would conveniently place the lamp in the period before the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
But is the history supposed to be something like this? Sold in Vienna in the 1960s; acquired by an Austrian private collection; sold through Palladion Antike Kunst in Switzerland in 1993; acquired by an anonymous individual or corporate body; consigned for auction in London.
Here are the questions. Was the current vendor unaware that the lamp had passed through the hands of Palladion Antike Kunst in the 1990s? Had the auction house checked the history of the object or had they accepted the oral account? Which Vienna gallery sold the lamp in the 1960s? What is the authenticated documentary evidence? Finally, who consigned the lamp to Palladion Antike Kunst in the 1990s?
We presume that the auction house has contacted the Italian authorities.