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History of objects in Virginia exhibition

Colleagues have suggested that I had a look at the exhibition catalogue of The Horse in Ancient Greek Art that will be opening at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in a week's time. Among the interesting sources for the objects are:

Edoardo Almagià: no. 43, Apulian volute-krater attributed to the Virginia Exhibition painter, Fordham University Collection 8.001 [Fordham cat. no. 32]Fritz Bürki: no. 19, Apulian lekythos attributed to the Underworld painter, Virginia MFA 81.55; no. 20, Apulian lekythos attributed to the Underworld painter, Virginia MFA 80.162; no. 26, Corinthian skyphos showing a boar hunt, Virginia MFA 80.27; no. 41, Apulian calyx-krater attributed to the Dublin Situlae group, Virginia MFA 81.81; no. 53.1, Apulian Xenon oinochoe, Virginia MFA 81.82; no. 53.2, Apulian Xenon oinochoe, Virginia MFA 81.83Sotheby's, London (12–13 December 1983): no. 42, Apulian patera attributed to the Baltimore painter, Fordham University Collection 11.003 [Fordham cat. no. 25…
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ALR: the need to differentiate between looted and stolen

I have been reading the comments made by James Ratcliffe over the return of archaeological material recovered in Europe after being removed from archaeological storage facilities in the Lebanon (Laura Chesters, "Art Loss Register, New York’s district attorney and antiquities dealers team up to safeguard Lebanese sculptures", Antiques Trade Gazette 6 February 2018). The comments relate to material that was derived from the archaeological excavation at Eshmun (see also here). 

The two Roman sculptures are given a little history:
"One sculpture was recovered when an antiquities dealer in Freiburg, Germany, was acquiring it from an Austrian dealer.""The second sculpture was identified when a dealer in London contacted the ALR before its potential acquisition. The sculpture was owned by a private collector and ALR contacted US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York. The New York County District Attorney’s Office then seized the piece to ensure its ret…

Ownership of Paestan krater handed back to Italy

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky has agreed to transfer ownership of a Paestan calyx-krater to the Italian authorities ("The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater", Art Daily 2018). It will, however, remain on loan in the museum. The krater, showing Dionysos playing the sympotic game of kottabos, was acquired in 1990 from Robin Symes (inv. 90.7).
It appears that the krater was identified by Dr Christos Tsirogiannis in 2015 from images in both the Medici Dossier and the Schinousa archive. Symes had claimed that the krater had come from a private collector in Paris.

This is one of a series of Paestan objects that have been returned to Italy. They include the Asteas krater from the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Paestan krater from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Paestan squat lekythos from the Fleischman collection, a Paestan squat lekythos from a Manhattan gallery, and the Paestan funerary painting.

The fact th…

Hobby Lobby and the Cylinder Seals

In a letter of 17 January 2018, an attorney for the US Department of Justice has indicated that "Hobby Lobby" has handed over additional cuneiform tablets.
As stated in the enclosed Stipulation, and pursuant to the July 20, 2017 Stipulation of Settlement, Hobby Lobby has delivered to the United States an additional 245 cylinder seals which comprise part of the December 2010 order and consents to their forfeiture. Upon the Court so-ordering the Stipulation, the United States will commence publication of notice of forfeiture on the grounds that the 245 cylinder seals constitute merchandise that was introduced or attempted to be introduced into the United States contrary to law, and are therefore subject to seizure and forfeiture to the United States, in accordance with 19 U.S.C. § 1595a(c)(1)(A), as alleged in the Verified Complaint in Rem. Accordingly, the United States respectfully requests that the Court so-order the enclosed Stipulation. This case is in addition to the mat…

The Becchina archive, a Minoan larnax, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum

More than 10 years ago, back in 2007, Dr Christos Tsirogiannis identified two pieces in the Michael C. Carlos Museum, a Minoan larnax and a pithos, with photographs from the Becchina archive. There is a case number with the General Secretary of the Greek Ministry of Culture: prot. no. 61/1-6-2007.

In 2015 the Italian authorities revealed a major collection of antiquities, worth some 50 million Euros, seized from Becchina in Switzerland. The Becchina archive itself contains some 10,000 photographs and 200 bundles of receipts. These images have led to the identification, largely by Tsirogiannis, of a substantial number of items in public and private collections as well as from auction houses and galleries.

A museum director who was faced with the identification of objects, i.e. more than one object, in their collection from this contentious source would no doubt wish to resolve the issue, not least because there is an obligation under the AAMD guidelines (2013). These state:
If a member…

A Mosaic from an Anonymous Collector

In September 2013 the Michael C. Carlos Museum installed a mosaic showing Achilles and Penthesilea before Troy in the galleries. A little more information appeared in the Fall 2013 / Winter 2014 number of the journal of the Michael C. Carlos Museum [online]. The Director, Bonnie Speed, was full of praise for the "monumental third- to fourth-century Roman mosaic, offered to the Museum on long-term loan by a very generous donor".

Who is this anonymous donor? There was a time when the museum at Emory University was leading the way in ethical loans of archaeological material (see here). 

We are told the panels "once decorated the floor of a sumptuous Roman villa". Where was that villa?

What is the history of the panels? When did they surface?

The answers to these questions are not provided in the publications of the Michael C. Carlos museum. If they were known, the information would have been stated.

Speed is a member of the AAMD. In 2013 the AAMD revised the Guidelin…

The Steinhardt collection and the Medici dossier

Among the antiquities seized from Michael Steinhardt was a Protocorinthian owl that had been acquired in 2009 for $130,000 (see Search Warrant).  A comparison can be found in the Louvre.

The Steinhardt owl appears in the Medici Dossier. How was it acquired by Steinhardt? What was the migration route?

See also the 20th century "imitation" donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum by Jiri Frel in 1979.

I am grateful to Dr Christos Tsirogiannis for sharing the image with me.