Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dallas Museum of Art returns antiquities

Back in January we noted that Maxwell Anderson was investigating three pieces acquired for the Dallas Museum of Art in 1998: a volute krater, and two Etruscan bronzes. All had been acquired from Edoardo Almagià. I have published a discussion of the implications of acquiring items from this particular individual  Anderson is clearly maintaining his embrace of a higher ethical standard for museum curatorship and others could learn from him.

It now appears that these items have been returned to Italy along with two other ceramic kraters and a terracotta antefix.

In addition Dallas is returning the Orpheus mosaic to Turkey (Randy Kennedy, "Dallas Museum Volunteers to Return Mosaic to Turkey", New York Times Arts Beat, December 3, 2012). The mosaic had been purchased from Christie's in 1999.

Dallas has yet to publish a formal statement.

These returns will step up pressure on other North American museums to settle claims from Turkey and to investigate acquisitions from Almagià.

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2 comments:

DR.KWAME OPOKU said...

Maxwell Anderson should be congratulated by all. As you quite rightly point out, others could learn from him. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, could learn from the example of the Dallas Museum of Art and seek immediately a solution to its dispute with Nigeria regarding its recently acquired Benin artefacts. The museum could also learn from its own experience with Italy regarding restitution.

Western museums must finally accept that the Age of Restitution has arrived and there is no point in trying to resist legitimate demands for restitution or trying to put obstacles in the way of amicable solutions.

Museums should cooperate to defeat those who would like to destroy the cultural artefacts that are often said to belong to all of us and yet when it comes to protecting these artefacts few are concerned.

Dr. Kwame Opoku.

DR.KWAME OPOKU said...

Maxwell Anderson should be congratulated by all. As you quite rightly point out, others could learn from him. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, could learn from the example of the Dallas Museum of Art and seek immediately a solution to its dispute with Nigeria regarding its recently acquired Benin artefacts. The museum could also learn from its own experience with Italy regarding restitution.

Western museums must finally accept that the Age of Restitution has arrived and there is no point in trying to resist legitimate demands for restitution or trying to put obstacles in the way of amicable solutions.

Museums should cooperate to defeat those who would like to destroy the cultural artefacts that are often said to belong to all of us and yet when it comes to protecting these artefacts few are concerned.

Dr. Kwame Opoku.

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