Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Statue Stolen from Berlin Store Turns up in UK

 A late sixth or early fifth century BC Etruscan bronze statuette portraying a warrior with lance and helmet entered Berlin’s state collection in 1860 and was exhibited along with other ancient bronze objects for some eighty years in Berlin's Altes Museum. On the outbreak of the War in 1939 to protect it from bomb damage it was packed and stored in a secure location. Unfortunately it was one of a number of objects stolen in the chaotic aftermath of the Fall of Berlin in 1945. At the end of the war 'some of these storage places were unprotected and there were incidents of theft by civilians and Allied personnel', according to Martin Maischberger, the deputy director of Berlin State Museums’ antiquities collection. This story does however have a happy end, due to the sharp eyes of an unnamed member of the staff of the British Museum which seems to be playing an increasing role as the watchdog of the British antiquities market (Catherine Hickley, 'Ancient bronze statuette lost after the Second World War returns to Berlin' The Art Newspaper 1 March 2017).:
The bronze was part of an English private collection and sold at auction in 2015. It was later consigned to the London art dealership Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd. After Forge consulted an expert at the British Museum who identified the statuette as missing from the Berlin antiquities collection, the consigner agreed to return it. Berlin State Museums paid a small fee “as compensation, not the full market value,” Maischberger says. 
Unfortunately, this was not an isolated theft from the museum stores, there are many more conflict antiquities out there from the same source. The Berlin collections are still missing thousands of pieces that disappeared at the end of the Second World War. A few years ago I blogged about an Assyrian gold plaque  in the private hands of the Flamenbaum family in America.(this eventually was apparently rather gracelessly returned after a long court battle). Some objects plundered from the Berlin collections have ended up in Russian museums. The arts newspaper article also notes that:
A partner warrior bronze that also vanished after the war has been located in the university museum in Bochum in western Germany. The Berlin antiquities collection is in talks to recover it, Maischberger says.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.