Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Christos Doumas on Cycladic Forgeries

New York MMA
inv. L.2022.38.49
An interview with archaeologist Christos Doumas was published earlier this week. The focus was on the 15 items from the Leonard Stern collection that went on display in the Homecoming exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art. Doumas raised questions about the authenticity of some of the figures. When pressed by the journalist he thought that at least 4 or 5 of the figures (out of 10!) were likely to be fakes. (Only one is identified: the Late Neolithic figure [no. 1], though it should be remembered that Getz-Gentle does illustrate this in Personal Styles, pl. 2. The Homecoming catalogue notes, 'It belongs to a type that has not yet been identified among Aegean marble figurines of the Neolithic period'.) Doumas based his view on fakes on the type of marble that was used. He raised the issue why there had not been a panel formed to help authenticate the figures in the Stern collection. 

This raises questions about other figures in the Stern collection especially in the light of recent revelations about the forging of Cycladic figures. 

How will the curators at the Museum of Cycladic Art and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art respond to Doumas' concerns? There is likely to be unease that accepting all the Stern figures as authentic has the potential of corrupting the corpus of knowledge for Cycladic figurines. 

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