Ball State’s Kapoor Return Reveals New False Provenance', November 17, 2015). An Indiana museum bought a Chola-period sculpture of Shiva and Parvati from Subhash Kapoor in April 2005 for $100,000.
Kapoor presented paperwork showing it had been in a private collection since 1969. But images seized from Kapoor show he only acquired the bronze in 2004. At the time, it was covered in dirt and missing several piecesIt turns out that the object was sold with a letter which falsely declared that the object had been above ground before 2004. This had been written for Kapoor by Leo Figiel,
a collector of Indian art who died in 2013. The Peabody Essex Museum [...] acquired Figiel’s collection of antique Indian bronzes in 2006. Figiel provided Kapoor with this false letter claiming he acquired the bronze from “a European collection in 1969”.One wonders what it is that drives collectors to write and sign letters like these for a dealer. Is this something every collector will do to win a dealer's favour? What to do about the objects collected by people who have no compunction about telling an outright lie for a stranger, how many of them too have a diodgy provenance, possibly fudged by similarly dodgy paperwork? In what other areas of their life might they have been deceitful (this guy appears to have been a doctor)? Do they ever think of the consequences of being caught out lying? Mr Figiel is dead, his family however have to live with this.