Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Art Loss Register and Antiquities

Derek Fincham has commented on the 2010 Association for Research into Art Crimes (ARCA) conference at Amelia, in Italy. Chris Marinello of the Art Loss Register was there and Fincham provides a brief summary of his presentation.
Chris Marinello discussed the work of the art loss register, pointing out that the ALR has ceased to offer certificates for certain antiquities searches, as the database is unable to effectively determine if these objects have been recently looted from their archaeology.
I have some reservations about the use of the ALR database for identifying recently-surfaced antiquities. (In part, photography was not available in, say, the 6th century BCE when the Athenian pots were placed in an Etruscan tomb.)

I look forward to discussing this with Marinello later this summer. But the report is a good reminder that dealers and auction-houses should not rely on the ALR alone if they want to offer antiquities that do not have a documented collecting history that can be traced back to the period before 1970.

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