Monday 10 June 2013

Want to see what Fake 'Provenances' Look Like?

Anyone curious to see what alleged fake provenances look like might care to take a look at "Chasing Aphrodite's" latest post ("Documents Suggest More Stolen Idols At National Gallery Of Australia", June 9, 2013)
As promised, here’s additional information on some of objects the museum acquired from Subhash Kapoor, whose Manhattan gallery Art of the Past has been selling ancient art to museums around the world since 1974. [...] The National Galley of Australia has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Perhaps none is needed? Any good faith museum in possession of purported ownership histories from Kapoor should be investigating the true provenance of those objects – and making the results public.
I suppose we should ask ourselves whether the currently-demonised Kapoor was or is the only antiquity dealer who uses headed notepaper and skipping over uncomfortable details to give dodgy antiquities an air of legitimacy. I think we all suspect that this is a pretty widespread practice in the antiquity-selling world, which anyway functions for the most part as no-questions-asked transactions.

The three antiquities discussed by Chasing Aphrodite are:

Two 15th century stone Dvarapalas Dvarapalas, or Door Guardians, bought NGA 2005 (for nearly $500,000).

An 8th century sandstone sculpture of Nagaraja, the Serpent King, bought NGA in 2006 (for $337,500).

In 2008, the NGA acquired a 19th century monumental brass Alam, or Islamic processional standard, from Kapoor for $195,000.

Vignette: can you tell real from fake?

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