Thursday 20 April 2023

Fragments from a cup attributed to Makron

Cup seized from
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art

The New York Times has run a discussion of one of the Attic red-figured cups seized from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2022 (Graham Bowley and Tom Mashberg, "The Kylix Marvel: Why Experts Distrust the Story of an Ancient Cup’s Rebirth", April 19, 2023). The article looks at the way that this cup (and a companion piece also in the same museum) was put together from a series of fragments starting with pieces acquired from Fritz Bürki and the Summa Galleries, followed by pieces derived from Frieda Tchacos and Dietrich von Bothmer. 

The article includes identifications made by Christos Tsirogiannis from the Medici Dossier.

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Wednesday 12 April 2023

Princeton Fragments from an Attic Cup

Princeton y1988.16 and y1989-19a–r
Source: Daily Princetonian
In 1988 Princeton University Art Museum purchased through the Classical Purchase Fund a fragment of an Attic red-figured cup attributed to the Villa Giulia painter (inv. y1988.16). The following year Dietrich von Bothmer presented a series of fragments from the same cup (inv. y1989-19a–r). The note in the Record acknowledged the join.

What was the source for the fragment purchased in 1988? And what was the sources (or sources) for Bothmer's fragments?

The cup is one of the pieces under investigation by the Manhattan DA.

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Tuesday 11 April 2023

Developments at Princeton

Etruscan amphora inv. y1984-19.
Source: Daily Princetonian
It seems that five objects relating to Edoardo Almagià are to remain in Princeton University Art Museum (Sandeep Mangat and Miriam Waldvogel, "Five artifacts linked to alum under investigation for art smuggling will remain at University Art Museum", Daily Princetonian April 11, 2023). I am a little confused as the earlier report included pictures and some of the pieces mentioned in the most recent article, for example the Roman doll (inv. y1993-13), the Campanian stamnoid pyxis (inv. 87-3a–b) and fragments of a Roman Arretine bowl (inv. y1992-67), do not feature among the images. 

However, among the pieces staying in Princeton is the Etruscan amphora attributed to the Paris painter (inv. y1984-19). This is stated as: "Gift of Peter Glidewell through Edoardo Almagia, Class of 1973".

It should be remembered that Princeton has already returned a series of Etruscan architectural terracottas that were given by Almagià. These are discussed in: D.W.J. Gill, "Context matters: Princeton and recently surfaced antiquities," Journal of Art Crime 7 (2012): 59-66; id., Context matters: Collating the past, Amelia: ARCA, 2020, pp. 106–14; id., "Returning archaeological objects to Italy," International Journal of Cultural Property 25 (2018): 283–321 [DOI].

The latest article in the Daily Princetonian seems to confuse items that had been loaned by Almagià and those that had been given by him.

The article does include an interesting statement attributed to Almagià: 
"He added that he gave these fragments to Dietrich von Bothmer, a prominent German-American art historian."
We are aware that Almagià appears to have been the source for fragments in Bothmer's collection that had been acquired in 1984, 1986 and 1987. Does this imply that the fragments appearing in the original article were derived from Almagià? And was the Psiax fragment from the Centre Island private collection also from this source?

The Daily Princetonian mentions the seizure of fragments from Bothmer's collection although as far as I am aware no connection with Almagià had been made. These are discussed in: D.W.J. Gill, "Context matters: Fragmented pots, attributions and the role of the academic," Journal of Art Crime 8 (2012): 79-84. However other Bothmer fragments were included in the recent seizure from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Other figure-decorated fragments derived from Almagià have been returned from the San Antonio Museum of Art that had acquired them in 1985. Material derived from Almagià has featured in the Steinhardt return

I am aware of other Almagià material in a north American university collection that appears to have been derived from Crustumerium in Lazio. (A discussion of the piece along with other items from the same place features in a forthcoming article.)

Is it time for Princeton to provide additional so-called "provenance" information on its website?

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Saturday 8 April 2023

Amphora fragment seized from Princeton

Amphora fragment attributed to Psiax
Source: Daily Princetonian

An Attic belly amphora fragment attributed to Psiax (by Dietrich von Bothmer) was among the 11 objects seized from Princeton University Art Museum by the Manhattan DA (inv. 1997-469: BAPD 902285). The fragment was acquired by 1997 as an anonymous gift by exchange, though we also know that it was derived from a "Centre Island private collection". 

Among the other objects seized were six pieces on loan from Edoardo Almagià. Further details have yet to be released.

We know of another calyx-krater attributed to Psiax that had also formed part of a "Centre Island private collection". 

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Another Bubon bronze head likely to be repatriated

It appears that a bronze head acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum from Nicolas Koutoulakis has been removed from display and appears to be...