Wednesday 12 June 2013

Money and Gosh on Show in Munich

Nord Wennstrom continues to express his surprise that in this day and age, a dealer can offer dugup artefacts for sale without any firm indication when and how they came onto the market. This week his attention is drawn to an upcoming sale of a Munich-based firm which in their catalogue features hundreds of antiquities that lack a firm pre-1970 provenance. To attempt to make up for that, the firm make a show of having "retained the Art Loss Register to check" whether any of the items are currently being sought by the authorities. As Wennstrom notes:
Unfortunately, most [freshly] looted works have not previously been documented and reported as stolen, so this check is largely ceremonial.  All of these works may have been legally excavated and sold, but the auction house has not provided that information.
Odd that. You'd think dealers would by now have got the point about the ALR and its specific character and its mismatch with the specific character of the phenomenon freshly looted artefacts  (of course one could also be cynical and  suggest they have and are just going through the motions to provide their transactions with a veneer of respectability).  Wennstrom also notes a matched pair of freshly surfaced ("Ex. private collection G.O., London 1990s") Roman bronze ("chariot") attachments on offer. These had previously  failed to sell at Christie's  and are now relisted in Munich with a lower estimate. 

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