Wednesday 14 December 2011

US Company Sends Italian Statues Home

US private collectors of antiquities may be willingly joining their dealers to fight for the "right" to buy artefacts without documentation of legal export, but we should note that not all US concerns are so sanguine about involvement with dodgy antiquities. Humana Inc., a health insurance company based in Louisville, Kentucky, bought two Roman marble statues (of the Goddess Fortuna and another female figure) in good faith at "a New York gallery" in 1984 and had displayed them at its headquarters. According to ABC News, it now turns out that they were smuggled from Italy and are being returned to the people of Italy, the Italian government said.
Italy praised Humana for having come forth voluntarily and contacting the Culture Ministry with its suspicions about the statues. Italy has for years been on a campaign to compel museums and private collectors to return looted antiquities.
The latter are putting up a fight protesting over "ownership rights" - but as we have seen, the existing legislation-nobody-in-the-collecting-world-is-talking-about makes that seem an invalid defence.

ABC News, 'US Company Sends Italian Statues Home',
December 14, 2011.

Officials say two Roman statues that were smuggled from Italy and pu

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