|Etruscan hydria |
due to be returned to Italy
Following a January 2010 lead from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation’s (ICE HSI) Rome attaché, Cleveland-based HSI special agents launched an investigation into the true provenance of the artifact. Working closely with law enforcement officials in Italy, HSI agents were able to definitively establish that the documentation provided to the Toledo Museum of Art was falsified and part of a larger scheme by the Becchinas to sell illegitimately obtained cultural property.This suggests that the collecting history (please can we stop using the misleading term provenance?) for the Etruscan hydria had been "falsified".
So is the falsification of the documentation of the hydria a single example or a one off? It is a theme I have explored before (and I cited two examples linked to Palladion Antike Kunst run by Rosie Becchina). It is relevant to a Roman janiform head recently returned to Italy.
But what about other material? What about the pair of statues, Castor and Pollux, on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art? What is their association with Becchina?
And what about the Minoan larnax and the archaic pithos in the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art at Emory University? What does the Becchina archive tell us?
But it is not just North American museums that should be worried. The suspicion also turns to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, and the Miho Museum in Japan.