Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dallas: don't mention the auction-house ...

Calyx-krater
Source: DMA
The details surrounding the returning Campanian calyx-krater from the Dallas Museum of Art to Italy are not without interest. It was acquired from Ward & Co., but was returned to Italy due to "Evidence including photographs confiscated by the Carabinieri from Becchina’s warehouses in Basel, Switzerland". Its collecting history was said to have been a Swiss private collection.

Like another returning Apulian krater it was linked to Gianfranco Becchina. Both kraters now have a statement that includes this detail: "In April 2012 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized two works that were associated with the investigation of Becchina." It looks as if the original statement has now been edited.

I wonder if the statement remains slightly inaccurate. Is it because objects were returned to Italy in April 2012 after being seized at an earlier point by ICE? There is a more detailed discussion of the seizure here.

But why did DMA originally name the New York auction-house? And why have they now removed its name? Is it because these two ex-Dallas kraters have a similarly "clear provenance" as the antiquities in New York?


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