Friday 8 December 2023

Silver Pyxis Lid Returned from VMFA

Silver pyxis lid formerly VMFA inv.  82.181.

Among the returning antiquities from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a silver pyxis lid. My colleague Christos Tsirogiannis has confirmed that an image is in the Becchina archive with the annotation indicating a link with Robert Hecht. Another colleague has confirmed that the the lid was a gift of Jonathan Rosen, an associate of Hecht in Atlantis Antiquities.

VMFA has yet to release a list of the returns that contains the inventory numbers as well as the previous histories (so-called 'provenance'). The museum also appears to have scrubbed the digital record of these accessions unlike some other institutions that have recorded their deaccessions. 

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Thursday 7 December 2023

Gnathian Askos Returned from Virginia MFA

Gnathian Askos formerly in Virginia MFA 80.72

One of the announced returns from the VMFA is a Gnathian askos attributed to the Rose painter (inv. 80.72). This was identified from a photograph in the Medici Dossier by Christos Tsirogiannis ten years ago:
Tsirogiannis, C. 2013. "Nekyia. From Apulia to Virginia: An Apulian Gnathia askos at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts." Journal of Art Crime 10: 81-86.
The museum purchased the askos from Fritz Bürki. One wonders what other pieces in the collection were derived from this source.

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Virginia MFA Returns Antiquities

Apulian lekythos. Formerly Virginia MFA 80.162

It has been announced that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond will be returning 44 antiquities to their countries of origin, namely Egypt, Italy and Türkiye (see press release). The press release gives limited information and omits inventory numbers. One of the pieces is a bronze Etruscan warrior that was stolen from the Museo Civico Archeologico in Bologna in 1963 (apparently inv. 2014.217).

Other pieces that can be identified included an Attic marble funerary stele apparently handled by Gianfranco Becchina (inv. 79.148), and a pair of Apulian lekythoi attributed to the Underworld painter that were acquired from Fritz Bürki (inv. 80.162, 81.55; the one acquired in 1980 was a gift of the Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on the Occasion of its 25th Anniversary) [see earlier post]. A group of funerary terracottas from South Italy, and acquired in 1985, forms a large batch within the return.

Another piece is the marble statue of a boy (inv. 89.24) that was identified ten years ago by Christos Tsirogiannis:
Tsirogiannis, C. 2013. "A marble statue of a boy at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts." Journal of Art Crime 9: 55-60.
The statue was purchased from Galerie Nefer (Freida Tchacos) though it can be traced back to Becchina. 

We look forward the VMFA releasing more details about  the returns. 

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Tuesday 5 December 2023

Bubon Bronzes Returning to Türkiye

Portrait of woman. Source: Manhattan DA

Among the antiquities being returned to Türkiye today are several bronzes associated with the Sebasteion at Bubon ("D.A. Bragg Announces Return of 41 Antiquities To The People of Türkiye", December 5, 2023; see here). It is reported to have been handled by Robert Hecht. Among the other pieces are two bronze heads of Caracalla, one from Fordham University, and the other that had been seized from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two pieces have been returned from Boston's MFA: the head of ruler, and the right leg (perhaps linked to a statue of Commodus). Both Boston pieces are linked to Jerome Eisenberg.

Details of the other items being returned to Türkiye (but unassociated with Bubon) are not provided in any detail except for a silver statue of Cybele that was seized from Michael Ward (see observations from ARCA).

Reconstruction of part of the Sebasteion at Bubon. Source: David Gill

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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...