Saturday 13 March 2010

IADAA Dealers and their Code of Ethics

The "Code of Ethics of the International Association of Dealers of Ancient Art" (IADAA), a dealers' support group formed in a London hotel in 1993 reads as follows:

1- The members of IADAA undertake to the best of their ability to make their purchases in good faith.
2- The members of IADAA undertake not to purchase or sell objects until they have established to the best of their ability that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions or private property.
3 - The members of IADAA refuse to dismember and sell separately parts of one complete object.
4- The members of IADAA undertake to the best of their ability to keep objects together that were originally meant to be kept together.
5- The members of IADAA undertake to the best of their ability to keep photographic records prior to repair and restoration, to be honest and open by describing in writing the amount of repair and restoration undertaken to a prospective purchaser.
6- Members guarantee the authenticity of all objects they offer for sale.
7- Members of IADAA undertake to the best of their ability to inform the Administrative Board about stolen goods and thefts. They also undertake to co-operate with international and national agencies involved with the recovery of stolen goods.
8- It is a condition of membership that all members undertake to check items which are to be sold at a price of € 5,000 or over (or local currency equivalent) with the Art Loss Register or with a stolen art register which is recognised by the Board, unless the item has already been checked.
9- IADAA condemns illegal use of metal detectors.
So the usual stuff. Everything to "the best of their ability" (undefined). Not terribly clear is that word "excavations" in point 2. This is an international document, and over here where I am the word (or its equivalent) can mean archaeological site. Somehow though I do not think this is what they are saying.

There is no mention here of export licences, no mention of complying with or recognising any legislation. Only post-fact co-operation in point seven . Point nine is illogical; if applied to the UK it repeats point two, if applied to any other country (and "excavation" does not refer to archaeological sites) then it means it is OK to dig stuff out of archaeological sites without a metal detector, but not with. Where is the logic in that?

As for reporting stolen material offered in the trade, the body to whom a really ethical code would require to be reported is the police, not the board of the IADAA(which surely to be logical should include the word "fakes"). We note there is not a single mention here of it being considered fundamental to being an ethical trader in antiquities by the IADAA to supply provenance information or collection history or accompanying documents such as export licences to buyers.

The dealers at the Brussels and Basle "ancient art" fairs are all IADAA members. But here is a list of members:

Jacques Billen, Harmakhis Gallery - Bruxelles; Dominique Thirion, Ars Antiqua - Bruxelles.

Olivier Chenel, Galerie Chenel - Paris; Jean-Pierre Montesino, Galerie Cybèle - Paris; Didier Wormser, Galerie l'Etoile d'Ishtar - Paris.

Antonia Eberwein, Roswitha Eberwein GmbH - Göttingen; Bernd Gackstätter,
Antiken-Kabinett - Frankfurt / M.; Jürgen Haering -Freiburg; Günter Puhze, Galerie Günter Puhze - Freiburg; Gordian Weber, Weber Kunsthandel GmbH - Köln.

Vincent Geerling, Archea Ancient Art - Amsterdam; Mieke Zilverberg, Kunsthandel Mieke Zilverberg - Amsterdam.

Israel: Gideon Sasson, Sasson Ancient Art - Jerusalem

Edith Bader Koller - Lugano; Dr. Robert R. Bigler, Asian & Egyptian Art - Rüschlikon; David Cahn, Jean-David Cahn AG - Basel; Jean-Louis Domercq, Sycomore Ancient Art SA - Geneva; Stefano Donati, Donati Arte Classica - Lugano; Fritz Hugelmann, Galleria Serodine - Ascona; Hans Humbel, Galerie Arete - Kilchberg; Michael G. Petropoulos, Galerie Rhéa - Zürich.

United Kingdom:
Laura Bosc de Ganay, Arteas Ltd. - London N14; James Ede, Charles Ede Ltd. - London W1; Rupert Wace, Rupert Wace Ancient Art - London W1.

United States of America:
Robin Beningson, Antiquarium Ltd. - New York; Dr. Jerome M. Eisenberg, Royal-Athena Galleries - New York; Alan Safani, Safani Gallery - New York.

The IADAA has however removed from its list of members the individual in Barcelona who sold the Egyptian sarcophagus that was seized in Florida (noted by David Gill, pers. comm.). So none from Spain now, since that dealer seems to have been the sole representative of the antiquities market of that country on their list of members.

So none from any of the "source countries" for classical artefacts then? None from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, anywhere in North Africa (or Africa at all), none from any country at the east end of the mediterranean except one Israeli dealer? None from eastern Europe. None from the Middle East. So how "international" is this organization? Its mostly an old boys' club of big galleries from the economic core of the EU with America tacked on isn't it?


1 comment:

Marcus Preen said...

Yawn. Just the same as the coin dealers.... they will "guarantee the authenticity of all objects" but not the legitimacy.

It said exactly that on Bill Sykes' business cards.

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