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Philippe de Montebello Archives • Elginism

Showing 11 results for the tag: Philippe de Montebello.

February 26, 2010

Is the declaration on the importance of Universal Museums still valid?

Posted at 2:08 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

A few years ago, various major museums around the world released a declaration on the Importance & Value of Universal Museums – a declaration that was essentially an attempt at justifying their own modus operandi. Whether they call themselves Universal, Encyclopaedic or Enlightenment museums, it seems that in their own eyes they must continue to exist in their current form,, rather than dealing with the various repatriation issues that affect them.

From:
Modern Ghana

IS THE DECLARATION ON THE VALUE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE “UNIVERSAL MUSEUMS” NOW WORTHLESS?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

David Gill has posed the question whether the Declaration on the Value and Importance of Universal Museums should be considered as worthless in view of the fact that the main objective of providing immunity against restitution claims has not been achieved. With regard to the restitutions made by major US American institutions to Italy – Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Princeton University’s Art Museum .- he states:

“Such repatriations perhaps demonstrate the flawed thinking behind the “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums”.
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August 18, 2009

Scandals at the Metropolitan Museum

Posted at 1:53 pm in Similar cases

Michael Gross’s new book looking behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Museum. This includes new details between the acquisition of some artefacts – & the successful restitution claims that have led to the return of these artefacts.

From:
Buffalo News

NONFICTION
A fascinating secret history of ‘Rogues’ behind the Met
By Jean Reeves Barre
NEWS BOOK REVIEWER
August 16, 2009, 6:35 AM

Michael Gross’ audacious new book on New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is as intriguing as a brace of novels. And in bulk it rivals such in girth — 499 pages plus index, notes and acknowledgments, a total then of 545 pages — and the reader is loath to skip one of them.

“Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art” will be lambasted by critics. It’s true that it’s long on gossip and scandal and short on art. You won’t find any analysis of the fine points of color or form of a Matisse or a Monet.
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August 11, 2009

What has been learned from the return of the Euphronios Krater?

Posted at 12:51 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

High profile restitution cases have created a shift in museum culture in recent years, but some of the people involved such as Philippe de Montebello, still claim to have no comprehension of why such actions took place.

From:
Modern Ghana

DO DIRECTORS OF “UNIVERSAL MUSEUMS” EVER LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | 1 day ago

It appears legitimate to question whether the directors of “universal museums” ever learn from experience. When we read the books and articles of James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, Neal MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, and Philippe de Montebello, former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, we cannot escape the conclusion that, as far as restitution is concerned, these directors have not learnt anything from recent history and events. (1) This impression has been confirmed by statements made by Philippe de Montebello at Rockland, Maine, United States. (2)

Montebello, who had spoken about other issues, could not avoid discussing the question of restitution which has been brought again to the forefront by the opening of the New Acropolis Museum and the consequent pressure on the British Museum to return the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles that Lord Elgin caused to be removed from Athens in 1801 to 1812 under dubious circumstances. (3) The comments of the former Director of the Met on restitution were reported as follows:
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July 27, 2009

Former Metropolitan Museum director talks about restitution of artefacts

Posted at 12:46 pm in Similar cases

Former Met director Philippe de Montebello has given a talk in which he speaks about the issues of restitution affecting museums. Based on previous comments, it is unsurprising that he is against the idea of restitution. What is puzzling is that even after the return of the Euphronios Krater from his own museum he still doesn’t seem to understand the problem – he sees it as something that should only ever be dealt with when legal reasons dictate that an artefacts should be returned & never for a philosophical / ethical reason. This skips neatly over the fact of why many of the laws allowing return are what they are, whereas legal action should be the last resort after other more amicable negotiation methods fail. He also introduces an odd idea of entitlement – that people should be able to see artefacts in locations other than their original locations (e.g. New York), but with little explanation of why this should be the case or who decides this.

From:
Bangor Daily News

7/25/09
Former Met director talks at Strand
By Jessica Bloch – BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Philippe de Montebello is considered one of the most powerful men in the world of art. Yet de Montebello, who recently retired after 31 years as the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, joked Thursday evening that he grew to dread the renowned art experts who worked under him.

“I have the utmost respect, and fear, of curators,” said de Montebello, who participated in a question-and-answer session at the Strand Theatre with Roger Dell, the Farnsworth Art Museum’s director of education, as part of the museum’s Farnsworth Forum series.
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May 29, 2009

How to preserve the worlds museums

Posted at 7:18 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Spiked has predictably written a favourable review of James Cuno’s latest work on why ancient artefacts are best retained by the museums that currently hold them whether or not they were acquired by them legitimately.

From:
Spiked

How to preserve the future of museums
Whose Culture? – a collection of essays defending the vital importance of museums – is a welcome challenge to repatriation policies underpinned by identity politics.
by Tiffany Jenkins

There is a thirteenth century ivory casket on show at the Art Institute of Chicago. The box was made from an elephant’s tusk, probably found in southern Africa and then brought to Sicily, Italy, by Muslim traders from the Swahili coast. It was once used as a Christian reliquary and it bears an inscription in Arabic. Visitors to the Art Institute can also view the fourteenth-century German monstrance made of gilt silver around a translucent vessel. The holder for this relic was a perfume bottle made in Fatimid Egypt.

The ivory casket and the monstrance are just two of many works at the Art Institute which reflect connections between cultures. Artefacts are created through interactions between people, through exchanges of ideas and materials. Questions around who ‘owns’ such objects, where they should be and what meanings we draw from them are at the heart of a debate currently raging amongst archaeologists, museum professionals, nation states and various claimant groups. Now, the once beleaguered side of the debate is finally standing up, arguing loudly that museums are, in fact, good places to keep artefacts and art work and that sending objects back to their assumed countries of origin – which has been the dominant view until now – is not always a good idea.
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December 1, 2008

How did the Krater end up in the Met?

Posted at 2:02 pm in Similar cases

Sharon Waxman, author of Loot, looks at the Metropolitan Museum’s upcoming change of director & how the museum might handle future cultural property restitution claims.

From:
New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor
How Did That Vase Wind Up in the Metropolitan?
By SHARON WAXMAN
Published: December 1, 2008
Los Angeles

THE imminent arrival of Thomas Campbell as the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is much more than a simple changing of the guard after the long tenure of his predecessor, Philippe de Montebello. Mr. Campbell, who will take over one month from today, is a 46-year-old curator from the Met’s department of European sculpture and decorative arts, and he has a unique opportunity to shift the tone of an enduring and increasingly hostile debate in the world of art and museums: Who should own the treasures of antiquity?

Up to now, the parties on either side of this dispute have stood in opposing corners with their fingers in their ears. The governments of Italy and Turkey have filed lawsuits to force the return of plundered and looted artworks. Egypt has threatened to suspend excavation permits if iconic artifacts are not repatriated. Greece has built a new museum in Athens in large part to justify its renewed demands for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain.
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September 19, 2008

Behind the scenes at the Met

Posted at 12:45 pm in Similar cases

A book due out next year by Michael Gross looks behind the scenes at the Met – in particular, how they made some of their acquisitions & whether they really did believe that they were always acting in good faith. The author tells me that quite a bit of previously unknown information will be revealed in the book.

Perhaps this will offer an interesting antidote to James Cuno’s book, giving the other side of the story of how a universal museum actually operates.

From:
New York Post

MUSEUM EXPOSÉ
September 17, 2008

ONE unwelcome chore for Thomas Campbell, director-elect of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be the repercussions from “Rogues’ Gallery” by Michael Gross – the exposé Campbell’s predecessor, Philippe de Montebello, failed to stop. Though it’s not due out until spring, it’s already ruffling feathers. Among its revelations is the real reason why the Met returned its Euphronios vase and other looted objects to Italy this year: Italian prosecutors threatened to indict the museum’s emeritus antiquities curator, Dietrich von Bothmer, and put the wheel-chair-bound nonagenarian on trial if the treasures weren’t returned. Just like that, they were.

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August 23, 2008

Lectures on the Encyclopaedic Museum

Posted at 2:05 pm in British Museum, Events, Similar cases

James Cuno, Neil MacGregor, Phillipe De Montebello & Thomas Gaehtgens represent the astonishingly one sided collection of speakers lecturing in Chicago on the concept formerly known as the Universal Museum. (details of each lecture follow the main article).

From:
Chicago Art Institute

NEWS: The Art Institute of Chicago Presents: 360 Degrees: Art beyond Borders
22 Aug 2008

The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

27 September 2008–16 June 2009

[…]

Join us for a wealth of insightful and exciting 360 Degrees programming.

# Lectures: Four engaging lecture series occur throughout the season. In “The Fate of Encyclopedic Museums,” directors from the Art Institute, the Getty, the British Museum, and the Met discuss the role of the encyclopedic museum. Noted scholars also explore current and historical perspectives on globalization and Art Institute curators give their take on the encyclopedic nature of their collections.
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July 27, 2008

UNESCO, Nok terracotta & The Met

Posted at 11:18 am in Similar cases

New York’s Metropolitan Museum has no record of Nigerian art prior to the Benin Bronzes. Met Director Philippe de Montebello suggests that this is a problem brought about by the 1970 UNESCO convention on Cultural Property.

Kwame Opoku however suggests that perhaps this approach is glossing over the realities of the situation.

From:
CultureGrrl

Kwame Opoku, a tireless commentator on restitution issues (one of whose essays recently attracted a rejoinder on Afrikanet.info from Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello), responds to Michael Conforti Q&A About AAMD and Antiquities:

It is always interesting to hear from those whose work it is to keep records of the past achievements of mankind and society declaring that we must forget the past and look forward to the future. What they are saying is that there should be no archaeology of the acquisition practices of the past.
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July 2, 2008

MacGregor will be staying at British Museum for another four years

Posted at 1:39 pm in British Museum

When Philippe de Montebello announced his retirement from New York’s Metropolitan Museum, British Museum director Neil MacGregor was one of the people tipped to replace him. The British Museum has just announced though that although he was offered the post, he has turned it down with the intention of staying with the British Museum until 2012.

During the next four years though, whilst MacGregor may continue trying to resist change, he may find that he is left with little choice, with the carpet being swept out from under him by changing views on restitution in the Museums’ world.

From:
Daily Telegraph

British Museum director says no to Metropolitan Museum of Art move
By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
Last Updated: 6:42PM BST 01/07/2008
British Museum director Neil MacGregor has turned down a job as head of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr MacGregor was approached as a possible replacement for Philippe de Montebello, who is stepping down as Met director at the end of this year.

But after weighing up the offer, he has pledged his future to the British Museum for another five year term.
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April 22, 2008

Kwame Opoku responds to Philippe de Montebello

Posted at 11:24 am in Similar cases

Philippe de Montebello, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Musum has never been popular with restitutionists, despite being unwillingly responsible for some of the most significant artefact restitutions in recent years. He always gives the impression that he does not really even try to understand the issues & implies that he has been forced into making decisions by situations outside his control.

From:
Modern Ghana

DOES THE DEMAND FOR THE RESTITUTION OF STOLEN AFRICAN CULTURAL OBJECTS CONSTITUTE AN OBSTACLE TO THE DISSEMINATION OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT AFRICAN ARTS? COMMENTS ON A LETTER FROM PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO, DIRECTOR, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK.
By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Feature Article

Reference is made to the letter from Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1), New York, which was published in AFRIKANET on Friday, 18 April, 2008. http://www.afrikanet.info/. In his letter, Philippe de Montebello refers to my article entitled “Is Legality still a viable concept for European and American Museum Directors?” http://www.afrikanet.info/index. The Director of the Metropolitan does not address the main point of my article, namely, that the arguments the European and American museums present in defence of their holding of stolen African cultural objects are extremely weak. It seems the director is more interested in the picture inserted in the article than in the serious comments on legality. I shall therefore only comment on the points raised in his letter.

We are sorry that the Director of the Metropolitan Museum had to go to so much trouble in order to identify the Nok terracotta. Incidentally, why must a Nok sculpture be described as “haunting, strange-looking object”? This description comes from a museum director who has artworks from the Egyptians, Guro, Lobi, Dogon, Bamana, Senufo, Baule, Lumbo, Igbo, Fan Yoruba, Chokwe, etc among his collections. I thought we had long moved away from the period when the Europeans and Americans described whatever came out of Africa in these terms. Or are we going back to those days when an unbridgeable difference was assumed to exist between African art and European art? Surely, after the influence of African art on modern art and after so many exhibitions on African art, some organized by the Metropolitan Museum, such a description sounds somewhat odd, especially coming from a Director of one of the leading museums of the West.
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