Saturday, April 21, 2012

Something needs to be done about Madrid

Attic black-figured amphora now in Madrid.
Source: Schinoussa archive,
courtesy of Christos Tsirogiannis
Italian journalist Fabio Isman has written a piece on the Madrid antiquities for Il Messaggero ("Antichita’, I tesori che l'Italia non rivendica", April 21, 2012). Isman estimates that while Italy has repatriated approximately $1 billion worth of antiquities from North American museums, private collectors, galleries and auction-houses, the pursuit of the 22 objects in Madrid has rather come to a halt.

These 22 objects can be identified from photographs in the archives seized from Giacomo Medici and Gianfranco Becchina, as well as that of the UK based dealer Robin Symes.

Will Spain co-operate with a fellow European nation and return the disputed pieces? Spanish museum curators should act in a professional way and contact their Italian counterparts to resolve the matter.

Isman also rehearses the collecting history of an Etruscan amphora acquired in 2009 by the Art Institute of Chicago (inv. 2009.75) [AAMD Registry]. The amphora had been sold by Christie's in New York in 2008 for $116,500 (lot 225).

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