Saturday, 11 March 2023

Guennol Stargazer Vanishes into the Market

Elaine Velie Turkey Waited Too Long to Repatriate Marble Idol, Court Rules Hyperallergic 9th Marck 2023 The 'Stargazer' is in the news again:

A New York court ruled yesterday, March 8, that Turkey has no right to a 6,000-year-old marble sculpture the nation says was looted because it waited too long to ask for it back. In 2017, billionaire Michael Steinhardt consigned the “Guennol Stargazer” idol to Christie’s, where it sold for $12.7 million. [...], although the buyer never actually took possession of it. A few weeks later, Turkey took legal action in pursuit of the idol’s repatriation. Christie’s declined to comment. Steinhardt’s lawyer, Andrew J. Levander, told Hyperallergic the court’s recent decision affirmed that his client “was an ordinary purchaser of antiquities without the same duty to investigate provenance as art dealers or museums.”
The verdict hinges on the laches doctrine, which strips defendants of their rights to make legal claims if they delayed asserting those rights.

The fact that this thing cannot be grounded in any proper archaeological context and certain of its features raise questions mean that there are some among us wh think that whoever gets to take this home perhaps is not actually getting what they thought they were paying for.

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