Friday, 7 October 2022

From Geneva to the Steinhardt Collection


Source: Manhattan DA

Five objects (Attic head aryballos; Protocorinthian duck and owl; Corinthian bull's head; Ionian ram's head; Apulian head vase) in the seizure of antiquities from the collection of Michael Steinhardt have something in common: they were placed on loan with Geneva's Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (1978–81). And all of them were subsequently placed on loan with the J. Paul Getty Museum (1984–96). And all of them were sold by Robin Symes to the Beierwaltes in 1996. All but the Apulian head vase appear in images from the Medici Dossier: the head vase itself appears in the Becchina archive (with an Attic skyphos now returned from the Shelby White collection).

Such loans to these two museums were used as a response to seizures  in 2018 from another dealer. It is almost as if the loans created an acceptable collecting history. This raid seems to relate to another group of material. 

The Geneva museum has associations with other loans such as the Ka-Nefer-Nefer mummy mask (though the museum does not have a record of the loan). And the Getty accepted loans of fragments from some of these same individuals, as well as complete pots such as the Steinhardt hydria.

It should be noted that the same Geneva museum appears to be linked to the Apulian grave group acquired by Berlin

What part did Geneva play in handling recently surfaced antiquities and providing them with a history? What other objects passed this way? The papers relating to the Steinhardt seizure expand on this aspect.

And how many of these objects were then placed on loan with the J. Paul Getty Museum? 

Note: Identifications from the Medici Dossier and the Becchina Archive were made by Christos Tsirogiannis.

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