At least ten of the forty objects returned to Italy by the Getty were acquired from the collection formed by Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman. In the Cleveland Museum of Art returned a Campanian bird askos to Italy that had been given by them in inv. The Fleischman collection also contained the marble head of a Cycladic female figure.
Cycladic material had not been an interest for the Fleischmans, and the head had been acquired when Lawrence Fleischman was "supposedly experiencing financial difficulties" pp. However it should be remembered that the fragment had formerly formed part of the Mr and Mrs A.
Leuthold said to have been acquired in , and Asher Edelman collections. The fact that material returned to Italy contained objects from the Fleischman collection is significant for other reasons. Chasing Aphrodite notes, "More than 85 per cent of the objects on display had no documented ownership history, a good indication that they had been recently looted" p. This statement is derived from an unacknowledged study of several private collections of classical antiquities by this reviewer and Christopher Chippindale. Is the lack of collecting history——a term I prefer to provenance 12 —now explicable by the returns?
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Chasing Aphrodite provides a significant chart that suggests the Getty identified three different groups in the Fleischman collection "provenance OK", "mixed group" and "uncertain" p. The chart is explained: "The transaction appeared to have been structured so that the Getty paid for the most legally defensible objects first and received the rest as gifts".
It is not clear which of the returned Fleischman objects fell into which of the three categories. Chasing Aphrodite also suggests that some of the collecting histories were fabricated through the issue of apparently fake receipts p.
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If this is the case, then it is a timely reminder that collecting histories need to be confirmed by authenticated documentation. One aspect of the Getty story that is not told here relates to fragments of Greek, and especially Athenian, pottery. This is well illustrated by the fragmentary phiale attributed to Douris. Was this to ease the sending of fragments from Italy? Or was it to tempt museums that had already acquired fragments to purchase the matching pieces?
Robert Guy. Is the acquisition of recently surfaced antiquities a problem that is confined to the Getty or to North America? So far well over objects have been returned to Italy from North American public and private collections. Additional material has been returned from the private collection of Shelby White, as well as from the stock of the Royal-Athena Galleries in New York City. Although the objects are not specified, they are likely to include the Attic krater, attributed to the Methyse painter, that was purchased from Robin Symes and now in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and material that passed through the Gilbert M.
Statuette of a Horse (Getty Museum)
Denman, Jr. Specific museums are not singled out although many have been named in recent press reports. The exhibition catalogue carried a message from Michael Brand, the director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, who saw it as a "milestone" in the cultural property debate "Questa mostra si presenta come una pietra miliare nel complesso dibattito internazionale sul patrimonio culturale. The Nostoi exhibition featured one of the crucial pieces in Chasing Aphrodite , a Protocorinthian olpe.
The olpe was acquired in , though Chasing Aphrodite does not note that it was a gift of Werner Nussberger.
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Chasing Aphrodite explains how the olpe had been the subject of correspondence between Marion True and Medici in in which it had been revealed that the olpe had been found in the Monte Abatone cemetery at Cerveteri and thus demonstrating that Medici had been the ultimate source pp. The Onesimos cup featured in the call by Maria Antonietta Rizzo at the University of Viterbo for the return of the piece pp.
The cup had been acquired in fragments between and from sources such as Galerie Nefer the tondo, via Nino Savoca of Munich and the Hydra Gallery via Christian Boursaud and the so-called Zbinden collection , and subsequently been published by Dyfri Williams. Two additional fragments were added in by Medici, and another in from two men who worked at Cerveteri. Chasing Aphrodite has two parallel strands: the pursuit of "beauty" so that the goddess could be acquired for the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the pursuit of the truth behind the acquisition that reveals the networks behind the market, and the acceptance of such illicit activities by senior members of the North American museum community.
The charting of the intellectual consequences of such pursuits will demonstrate how the study of the ancient world has been irreversibly damaged. Masterpieces of the J.
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Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, Reviewed in BMCR Quoted by D. Gill in BMCR See also David W. Dietrich von Bothmer ed. A Passion for Antiquities , no. The antefix had earlier formed part of the Hunt collection: J. Tompkins ed. Merrin Gallery: Image. Christopher Chippindale and David W. David W.
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