January 28, 2013
Regular readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed the increase in returns of disputed artefacts in recent years. American Museums have led the way here, but many others are now being drawn into this new way of operating – to return the artefacts without things progressing as far as legal action, on the basis that doing so will aid other co-operative projects with the countries involved.
For many years, people clamoured that the return of the Parthenon Marbles would open the floodgates for the emptying of museums. Now, it appears that the floodgates have already partially opened & the Parthenon Marbles had nothing to do with it.
So – now that that argument seems no longer valid, surely it is time for the British Museum to reconsider the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens? Unlike many of the countries that have threatened legal action, or to withdraw co-operation, by blocking exhibit loans etc, Greece has always maintained good relations with museums in Britain – but it appears that taking the nice approach counts for nothing in this instance – the carrot is not enough & there needs to be the threat of some type of stick before large institutions are willing to come to the negotiating table.
New York Times
The Great Giveback
By HUGH EAKIN
Published: January 26, 2013
THE news has become astonishingly routine: a major American museum announces it is relinquishing extraordinary antiquities because a foreign government claims they were looted and has threatened legal action or other sanctions if it doesn’t get them back.
In the past two months, the Dallas Museum of Art has transferred ownership of seven ancient artworks, including a pair of Etruscan bronze shields, to Italy and Turkey; the Toledo Museum of Art has handed over to Italy a rare water vessel that had been on display since 1982; and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has announced it will be transferring to Sicily a terra-cotta head believed to depict the Greek god Hades, which it purchased from a New York dealer in 1985 for more than $500,000. Other museums across the country — including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Cleveland Museum of Art — have also given up prized antiquities.
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