Monday 2 January 2023

2023: Looking Ahead

New York MMA
inv. L.2022.38.47

What stories are likely to dominate LM in 2023? The loan of the Leonard Stern collection of Cycladica to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is likely to draw considerable attention. How did the museum accept a loan of material that includes objects that are documented as having been derived from the Keros haul? How did the Greek authorities decline to lay claim to a figure identified from the Becchina archive? The authenticity of some of the items in the collection is likely to be a discussion point. Can material lacking any sort of reliable find-spot be used to contribute to our understanding of the past?

I suspect that we will be returning to the nature of due diligence. What actions need to be taken by auction-houses, galleries, museums and private collections to stop recently surfaced material entering the market and collections? 

The return to Turkey of one of the Bubon Roman imperial bronzes will no doubt bring claims on other pieces from this group: this includes material in New York, Cleveland, the Getty, and Copenhagen. The return of the Düver frieze fragment will probably also prompt Turkish authorities to press for the repatriation of other parts of the frieze now held in North American and European collections. These returns are a reminder that objects acquired prior to 1970 are no longer considered to be 'safe'.

I will be taking a look at a number of university collections to explore how they have acquired material that have had to be returned to Italy. How can such collections present a clearly articulated ethical standard?

Finally, it is likely that there will be renewed claims for the return of the architectural sculptures from the Parthenon. The return of some of the Benin bronzes have set a precedent for such repatriations. I will be looking at the nineteenth century acquisition of architectural sculptures as part of a conference to be held in the summer of 2023. 
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The Stern Collection in New York: Cycladic or Cycladicising?

Courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis There appears to be excitement about the display of 161 Cycladicising objects at New York's Metropolit...