Showing results 13 - 20 of 20 for the tag: Sotheby’s.

February 1, 2011

Nigeria & the looted artefacts from the Benin Empire

Posted at 1:37 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the proposed auction of an Queen Idia mask, looted from Benin in 1897. The auction is merely a symptom of a much wider ranging problem though – that museums & collectors pay too little attention to the actual provenance of the artefacts that they are acquiring.

From:
AllAfrica

Nigeria: Between the Country’s Artefacts And Western Iconoclasts
Ovwe Medeme
4 January 2011

Lagos — More controversies have arisen on the legality or otherwise of the refusal of the west to return the artefacts looted from the Benin Empire in 1897. Iconographic nature of the artefacts notwithstanding, foreign museums have continued to flaunt and exhibit the mask and other artefacts without recourse to their origin.

Before now, a lot of people have thought that there was only one Idia mask, the one in the British Museum. A few people realised that there was one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another at the Seattle Art Museum as well as another in the Linden Museum, Stuttgart. There is currently the news of a fifth mask that was to have been sold later this year.
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January 27, 2011

Was the decision to cancel the Benin mask based on moral principles, or merely a tactical withdrawal?

Posted at 2:10 pm in Similar cases

Kwame Opoku reflects on the cancellation of the planned auction of a disputed Benin mask by Sotheby’s.

From:
Modern Ghana

REFLECTIONS ON THE ABORTIVE QUEEN-MOTHER IDIA MASK AUCTION: TACTICAL WITHDRAWAL OR DECISION OF PRINCIPLE?
Author: Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Sun, 02 Jan 2011

The cancellation notice of the auction of Queen-Mother Idia mask on 4 December by Sotheby’s could not have been shorter:

“The Benin Ivory Pendant Mask and other items consigned by the descendants of Lionel Galway which Sotheby’s had announced for auction in February 2011 have been withdrawn from sale at the request of the consignors (2).
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Sothebys cancels sale of looted Benin Oba mask

Posted at 1:46 pm in Similar cases

Following numerous complaints from private individuals about Sotheby’s sale of a mask looted from Benin, the item has now been removed from the auction.

From:
Independent

Sotheby’s cancels sale of ‘looted’ Benin mask
Online protests halt auction of ‘plundered’ 16th-century artefact
By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent
Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sotheby’s has scrapped its February sale of a controversial £4.5m mask believed to have been looted by British forces from 19th-century West Africa.

A number of private individuals contacted the auction house last week to complain about the sale of the 16th-century ivory mask, once thought to have belonged to an ancient Nigerian king. Local government officials in Nigeria have publicly condemned the sale and criticised the object’s current owners, the descendants of a former British government official involved in an 1897 British invasion of Benin, a city-state in what is now Nigeria.
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January 24, 2011

Sotheby’s to auction disputed “Oba” mask from Benin

Posted at 2:08 pm in Similar cases

Yet again, an item that’s ownership is disputed is coming up for sale through one of the large auction houses. Like the more well known Benin Bronzes, the artefact in this case originated from the African kingdom of Benin.

I should point out at this stage that I’m slightly behind with posting articles at the moment – and as a result, the outcome of this story has already been determined. I will post the later coverage of it in due course.

From:
Financial Times

Sotheby’s to auction ‘Oba’ mask
By Susan Moore
Published: December 20 2010 02:02 | Last updated: December 20 2010 02:02

A 16th-century ivory pendant mask, one of the last great masterpieces of Benin sculpture remaining in private hands, is to be offered for sale at Sotheby’s London.

The mask, to be auctioned in February with an estimate of £3.5m-£4.5m ($5.4m-$6.9m), is thought to have been worn by the “Oba” or king of the west African city-state on ceremonial occasions. Only four other ivory masks of this age and quality are known, all of which are in museums.
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January 5, 2011

Looted painting owned by Gianni Versace returned to original owners

Posted at 1:51 pm in Similar cases

They say that there was no chance that Gianni Versace knew the painting was stolen when he purchased it. At the same time though, without a certain level of due diligence, it is easy to avoid finding out things that you don’t want to know. Its worth bearing in mind that this isn’t the first case of a fashion designer owning looted artefacts either.

From:
Reuters

Versace’s return stolen painting to original owners
LONDON | Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:39pm GMT

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A painting stolen from a London home in 1979 and which ended up in the collection of late Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace has been returned to its original owners, Britain’s Art Loss Register said on Monday.

The work by 18th century German artist Johann Zoffany had been billed as the star lot in a Sotheby’s auction of the contents of Versace’s Lake Como villa last year, but it was withdrawn at the last moment.
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December 14, 2010

Stolen statue spotted in Manhattan gallery by Italian policeman

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the statue located by chance in a New York gallery thirty years after being stolen from a museum in Rome.

From:
New York Post

Roamin’ cop nabs hot art
Italian sleuth spots statue in NYC gallery
By CLEMENTE LISI
Last Updated: 7:36 AM, November 20, 2010

An eagle-eyed Italian cop was hailed as a hero yesterday for spotting a precious stolen statue in a Manhattan art gallery — leading to the miraculous homecoming of that artifact and another filched sculpture.

The items, stolen in Italy in the 1980s and worth about $680,000 apiece, were unveiled in a small museum outside Rome, thanks to the police art-squad expert who was on vacation when he saw one of them during a stroll up Madison Avenue.
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December 9, 2010

Italian policeman locates looted statue in New York

Posted at 2:06 pm in Similar cases

An Italian policeman on holiday in New York spotted a statue stolen from a museum in Rome in 1980.

From:
Agence France Presse

Italian policeman in New York finds stolen statue
(AFP) – Nov 19, 2010

ROME — The return from the United States of a precious Roman artefact stolen from an Italy museum is thanks to an Italian policeman who strolled through New York on holiday this year, officials said on Friday.

Walking down Madison Avenue, the officer from Italy’s cultural heritage police noticed the marble torso on sale for 350,000 dollars (256,000 euros) in a gallery’s display, they said.
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August 17, 2010

Loot from Giacomo Medici’s warehouse up for auction?

Posted at 2:08 pm in Similar cases

Much of Italy’s recent success in restitution claims against institutions in the USA stems from the raids on the Geneva warehouse of Giacomo Medici. It now seems that other artefacts seen in photographs seized in the raids are now coming up for auction.

From:
New York Observer

Digging Up the Past
By Michael H. Miller
May 25, 2010 | 3:17 p.m

In June 1964, a group of fishermen off the northern Adriatic coast pulled a dull gray mass, shaped like a man, covered in barnacles, out of the water. It was the statue now known as Victorious Youth, believed to be the work of Lysippus-Alexander the Great’s personal sculptor. The fishermen took the statue ashore and sold it, cheap. It changed hands many times after that, quietly, until 1977, when the J. Paul Getty Trust purchased it for a then-record sum of $4 million from a Munich art dealer. In February 2010, Italy won a lawsuit in Italian court against the Los Angeles museum, demanding the statue’s return. The Getty, appealing, has yet to comply, arguing it was a Greek statue found in international waters.
Victorious Youth is far from the only masterpiece in limbo-or in court. As million-dollar antiquities auctions (and a controversy surrounding them) kick off in in New York the week of June 6, never has the tension between collector, dealer and so-called “source” nation been higher. Late last week, Germany’s Foreign Minister formally spurned Egypt’s request for the return of the 3,000-year-old Bust of Nefertiti that sits in a Berlin Museum; three months ago Egypt hosted an international conference demanding the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum, which has had it for 200 years. There are ongoing legal battles and new, or louder, claims from Turkey, China and Greece for the return of items. But Italy has been the most aggressive, successfully demanding the return of objects from both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty. (The Getty has returned 39 disputed objects to Italy since 2006, and isn’t finished, according to the museum’s general counsel, Stephen Clark.) Such disputes have pulled in collectors and chilled the climate for buying certain works, regardless of quality, dealers and auctioneers report. Now, three pricey ancient Greek items up for sale at Christie’s next month threaten to become a part of the messy, murky issues clouding the market.
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