Thursday 30 April 2020

Taking a Leaf From the Metal Detectorists' Songbook: "Doing Some Good"

Charles Ede's Corona-MASK
Art Trade Gazette:
Coronavirus: Dealers sell antiquities to give NHS and homeless charities a boost When coronavirus first led to a UK lockdown, some dealers reported feeling powerless to help or even to sell. Now traders are launching more and more efforts to transact while doing some good. Recently two antiquity dealerships have had a go at doing their part. London gallery Charles Ede is…
They are taking a leaf from the UK metal detectorists' songbook, Baz Thugwit and Tattooed Harry long ago realised that if you say its a commercial rally, but "organised for charity", people will be lulled into thinking 'aww-decent-guys-with-a-heart-surely-can't-be-involved-in-anything-even-a-little-bit-dodgy'. Look at what Mr Ede is trying to shift... 

Here, appropriately is a theatrical mask. Look at its 'collection history':
PROVENANCE Kenzo collection, Paris, France; acquired early 1980s
In other words so long ago that probably the paper trail has gone cold and they can't touch you for it.

That does NOT show the object was acquired and sold licitly.

Where, when and HOW did this item leave the ground/monument and enter the antiquities trade? What claims were made at the time that this was licit and legal and how were they documented? 

Without that documentation (no special pleading) nobody should feel that they have any kind of a right to be buying or selling that object and any that are like it in terms of discarded or neglected documentation.

This is no better than the metal detectorists
If British antiquities dealers wanted to "do some good", they could use lockdown to reflect on just how many items in their stock have actual documentation of licit origins, and if the answer is "not many", then really should they even contemplate opening up their stores again when this is all over. Let the virus cleanse the antiquities market of the dealers that could not be bothered to buy only identifiably squeaky-clean items for their stockroom. Because they too are an infectious virus.

hat tip: Chasing Aphrodite

1 comment:

kyri said...

your right about the vague provenances but other than that the prices these dealers charge for bog standard pieces is a joke they could give %75 to charity and still make a profit.this is just a publicity stunt as far as i am concerned.

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