Thursday 13 October 2022

Cycladic Figure in the Stern Collection Identified from the Becchina Archive

Image courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis

Christos Tsirogiannis has identified one of the Cycladic figures in the Leonard Stern collection from the Becchina archive. The figure appears in a longer discussion about the agreement to display the Stern collection at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens and to place the collection on long-term loan at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Michael Kaplan, "Critics ‘angry’ over Greece’s deal with art collector Leonard Stern", New York Post October 12, 2022). 

The identification was first discussed in: Migdou, E. 2022. "Συλλογή Στερν και Αρχαιοκαπηλία." Athens Voice September 30, 2022.

The Early Spedos figure appears in P. Getz-Gentle, Personal Styles in Early Cycladic Sculpture, pl. 32. The shape of the feet is put down to 'damage during manufacture or soon after'. A reconstruction of the feet is provided in figure 22.

The appearance of the figure in the Becchina archive is a reminder of the unstated sources behind this collection. It raises issues about the due diligence process that was undertaken by the Greek Government prior to the formal agreement. Would the Met want to 'acquire' (on long-term loan) or display something derived from this particular dealer especially as earlier this year a pair of Apulian gold cylinders from the same source had to be returned to Italy?
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