Friday 23 April 2010

New Move in St Louis Mask Case?

According to Ula Ilnytzkye (Egyptian official chides museums over antiquities - AP 22/4/10) Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he was continuing the struggle to get back the Ka Nefer Nefer mask from St. Louis Art Museum, and had turned over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security "all the evidence that I have to prove that this mask was stolen, and we have to bring it back".
On Wednesday, St. Louis Art Museum spokeswoman Jennifer Stoffel, said the institution "had correspondence with Hawass in 2006 and 2007 and has not heard anything on the matter since". At the time, she said the museum shared information with Hawass on the mask's provenance and said "we would do the right thing ... if there was something that refuted the legitimacy of the provenance." The St. Louis museum has said it bought the mask from an art dealer in the United States in 1998 after checking with authorities and with the international Art Loss Register. It said it also approved the purchase with the Egyptian Museum.
The St Louis museum claims it "has not heard anything' since 2007, but what has the museum been doing to verify the story it wants everybody to accept about its whereabouts in the decades preceding its purchase in 1998? Mr Charly Mathez, who apparently has a memory like a sieve when asked for details about where he saw the mask in 1952 is not likely to provide more information, but what progress have SLAM made in tracking down the mysterious 'Kaloterna (Kaliterna?) collection in Croatia? Then the collector in Switzerland who gives a provenance of the "early sixties", but who turns out to be Suzanna Jelinek who it seems was the Aboutaam's landlady in Geneva. What has SLAM found out about her "collection" in the past few years since the fuss blew up about this item's route from Sakkara to St Louis?

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