Monday, January 30, 2012

Princeton: collecting histories needed for further antiquities

In June 2010 details were provided of a longer list of material that was under investigation at Princeton. This included an Attic pot sold to the museum in 2001. It can now be confirmed that this is indeed the black-figured Tyrrhenian amphora attributed to the Guglielmi painter purchased in 2001 (inv. 2001-218) [JSTOR] [Museum catalogue] [Beazley Archive 9003149]. Will the museum reveal the collecting history of this amphora prior to 2001?

A second piece that appears to be under investigation is a bronze Villanovan cinerary urn in the form of a hut that was purchased from an unstated source in 1999 (inv. 1999-70) [JSTOR] [Museum catalogue]. Again, what is the collecting history of the cinerary urn?

There is, so I understand, a much longer list. Will Princeton be making a full statement about the background to the recent returns? Did all the pieces come from the same source? What are the complete collecting histories? Is there a reason to maintain a silence?

Part of the mission of the Princeton University Art Museum is "to advance knowledge of art and archaeology". Does this apparent lack of transparency advance knowledge?

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