Thursday 26 May 2022

Developments in Sicily: Gianfranco Becchina

It has been reported that the assets of Gianfranco Becchina have been confiscated by a court in Sicily (Francesco Patanè, "Commercio illegale di reperti archeologici, confiscato il patrimonio al mercante d'arte Becchina", La Repubblica 25 May 2022). The report suggests that the reason was that Becchina had benefitted from the trade in recently surfaced antiquities. There is a specific link to activity at Selinunte in Sicily. 

This has implications for museums that purchased antiquities from Becchina or his gallery Palladion Antike Kunst in Basel such as the Getty where over 800 items can be identified in the online catalogue. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has a pair of Apulian gold cylinders that were received as a gift in 1981. Other material from Palladion Antike Kunst was given by Robert Hecht (e.g. cup fragments attributed to the Colmar painter; ) or purchased directly from the gallery (e.g. a black-figured lekythosthe white ground cup attributed to the Villa Giulia painter). Moreover, the confiscation gives fresh impetus for the identification of objects that can be recognised from the Becchina archive. This includes the Minoan larnax and a pithos in the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. 

Among recent returns from north America are three Etruscan gorgon feet from a brazier that were seized from the Steinhardt collection. 

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