Thursday 21 September 2023

Bothmer, Almagià and the Michael C. Carlos Museum

Red-figured calyx-krater fragment
attributed to the Kleophrades painter.
Michael C. Carlos Museum inv. 2006.051.011B

I have noted that Dietrich von Bothmer acquired a fragment of a cup from Edoardo Almagià and then gave it to the J. Paul Getty Museum: the rest of the fragments were supplied by Galerie Nefer (D.W.J. Gill 2022. "Context Matters: Fragmented Athenian Cups." Journal of Art Crime 27: 77–84. ). 

A fragmentary calyx-krater attributed to the Kleophrades painter was presented to the Michael C. Carlos Museum by Bothmer in 2006. It is interpreted as showing the funeral mound of Hektor. Bothmer acquired the first fragment in July 1972, followed by further fragments in September 1978: the sources for these are unknown. However in 1978 another fragment was acquired from Bruce McNall of the Summa Galleries; this was followed by further fragments from Nikolas Koutoulakis in 1981, Edoardo Almagià in 1993, and Harry Bürki in 1994. 

This network of names would suggest that the origins of this krater deserve further investigation. Tsirogiannis and I will be exploring a parallel network, also including Bothmer, in a forthcoming article.

Incidentally, a fragmentary calyx-krater showing the funerary mound of Achilles (?), and compared by Bothmer to the Kleophrades painter, had resided in the private collection of Cornelius C. Vermeule (BAPD 3197). Both kraters seem to have surfaced around the same time.

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Tuesday 19 September 2023

Two bronze hydriai: one from a Munich collection

L: Formerly Shelby White collection
R: Currently Michael C. Carlos Museum

Jasper Gaunt has drawn a parallel between a bronze hydria returned to Greece from the Shelby White collection and a second acquired by the Michael C. Carlos Museum from Robert Hecht in 2001. The second piece is reported to have once formed part of the collection of Doris Seebacher in Munich, Germany.

The authorities at the Carlos might like to consult the index of Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini, The Medici Conspiracy, in order to find out more about this 'collector'. 

Can the hydria's history be traced back to the period prior to 1970?

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Saturday 2 September 2023

Bubon: More Returning Sculptures

Line drawing of part of the base in the Sebasteion at Bubon, Türkiye with portrait statues of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus at the appropriate positions. Note: the figures are not to scale.

Christopher Chippindale and I drew attention to the imperial bronzes associated with the Sebasteion at Bubon in Turkey back in 2000: discussion of this group can be traced back to the 1970s. The looting of this space seems to have taken place in the early 1960s. It now seems that the (headless) portrait of Marcus Aurelius as a philosopher will be returned from the Cleveland Museum of Art and will be reunited with the portrait of Lucius Verus from the Shelby White and Leon Levy collection: the pair were originally displayed, appropriately, next to each other. They will join the Lipson statue of Septimius Severus that was seized from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other pieces include the head of Caracalla that had been displayed at Fordham University. 

Elizabeth Marlowe ("Bronze Roman statue, believed to have been looted from Turkey, seized from Cleveland Museum of Art", The Art Newspaper 31 August 2023) has pointed out that Cleveland has played down both the identification with Marcus Aurelius and the association with Bubon. The same phenomenon is being played out with the bronze statue in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The online entry now notes: 
It was associated throughout the 1970s and 1980s, by some scholars, with other bronzes that had been found near Bubon, Turkey. However, that opinion was ultimately disproved in 1993. The Houston sculpture was acquired in 1962; the excavations at Bubon commenced two years after, in 1964.
The start of the illicit activity at Bubon may well have preceded 1962 and the museum would be sensible to be cautious.

It appears that a portrait of a woman from the Worcester Art Museum (inv. 1966.67) has also been removed from display. It was reported to have been found 'in south-western Anatolia'. Andrew Oliver associated this find with Bubon. 

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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...