Thursday, 20 December 2018

Leutwitz Apollo Under Scrutiny Again

The Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio US  has signaled a new direction in its approach to collecting antiquities by hiring Seth Pevnick as its new curator in charge of ancient Greek and Roman art (Steven Litt, Cleveland Museum of Art hires Seth Pevnick as ‘profoundly ethical’ curator of ancient Greek and Roman art  The Plain Dealer Dec 20th 2018). The Museum has had a number of problems with dodgy antiquities including an ancient Roman marble portrait head of Drusus Minor bought recently. Pevnick is described as:
"a curatorial sleuth well versed in researching the provenance, or ownership history, of ancient artworks. [...]  the museum values his deep background in education and archaeology and his ability to forge partnerships with source countries.[...] Pevnick has a PhD. in archaeology from the University of California Los Angeles  [...] Pevnick embodies the museum’s desire to find “someone who would be profoundly ethical and well-versed in these issues and would share our aims in acquiring only objects that would be problem free.”
Most interesting of all the museum spokesperson and Pevnick said that they’d like to see the Cleveland museum organize a symposium on its ancient bronze Apollo said to have been found in Leutwitz, Germany, purchased in 2004. The collecting history received from the dealer does not bear scrutiny and has never convinced anyone, and involves obvious contradictions (easy enough to check). Also, if what I have been told is true, the Museum first misrepresented what was known about the solder uniting the sculpture with an old base (in Leutwitz?) and then suppressed the results of new analyses.
“I hope we’ll be able to do a symposium,” Pevnick said. “That’s part of what a museum is all about - having intellectual discourse.”
Indeed it is, something that Cleveland has  paid only lip-service to in the past, even since William Griswold became director in 2014, replacing the director, David Franklin, running the museum when it was bought (after certain allegations emerged about his personal life).

I was amused by this tweet that raises an interesting substantive issue:

  1. It made me wonder about degrees of ethics - profoundly ethical, a little ethical, mildly ethical. Interesting wording.


David Knell said...

"Dec 20th 2018"

Good lord! Are you going all American on us? Translation please! :)

Paul Barford said...


David Knell said...

The format of the date in your Plain Dealer link (quoted in my comment). I know you're not terribly keen on Americanisms.

As to the "Leutwitz Apollo", I'm sure we'll be hearing more about it in the new year.

Paul Barford said...

Ah, that's laziness - I get the gubbins of the references from the original articles. Oooo, I think we've not heard the last of Leutwitz. Keep meaning to drive over there and peer through the hedge and ask around a bit...

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