Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Scientist Who Said Too Much "Terminated by Sotheby's"

The Koh-Ker statue case gets murkier and murkier. Rick St Hilaire writes ('New Allegations Raised in Sotheby's Forfeiture Case...') about headless statues being shipped across continents, allegedly laundered by passing through the Thai market (and the hands, it is alleged, of a well-known collector). When an unnamed "professional art scientist" prepared a report on the object, it is reported that one of their conclusions was that the sculpture could have been "forcibly broken for ease of transport from the find site and then put back together later". Apparently, this was not what the auction house wanted to hear: "the government writes that Sotheby's terminated the scientist". I'm not sure I follow St Hilaire's meaning, the text seems a somewhat muddled account [ Update 15.11.12, I see that the wording within the quotation marks concerning the 'termination' has now been altered in St Hilaire's blog post: the sequence events presented however is still far from clear].

See alsoTom Masbberg and Ralph Blumental, 'Sotheby’s Accused of Deceit in Sale of Khmer Statue', New York Times, November 13, 2012. The collector denies having owned the statues.

UPDATE 15.11.2012
see now the rather derivative, but anonymous: 'Sotheby’s Record Night Overshadowed by Accusations of Deception', Guardian Express  November 15, 2012, the centre part of which seems to be more or less identical with the text of St Hilaire's blog without acknowledgement - but the title alone is good.

Vignette: Bad news

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