Thursday, 13 October 2022

Are Claims Against North American Collections Successful?

Source: Christos Tsirogiannis

Leonard Stern has responded to criticisms of his agreement over the display of his collection of Cycladic sculptures by commenting,  "Usually [countries such as Greece] fight to get their stuff back and don’t succeed" (Michael Kaplan, "Critics ‘angry’ over Greece’s deal with art collector Leonard Stern", New York Post October 12, 2022). Stern is perhaps unaware of the scale of returns: I calculate that over 850 items have been returned to Italy from North American public and private collections, as well as from auction-houses and galleries.

Greece has perhaps not been as active in the process as Italy. Indeed, the Minoan larnax that was identified in the Becchina archive by Christos Tsirogiannis remains at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. But we should remember that 55 items worth $20 million from the Michael Steinhardt Collection were returned to Greece earlier in 2022: they included several Cycladic items. And a bronze krater from another New York collection was returned to Greece.

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