Thursday, June 3, 2010

Christie's Called on to Return Three Objects

The Wall Street Journal reports today that Italy and archaeologists are calling on Christie's International to return three objects that are slated to be sold at a June 10 auction. The antiquities are believed to have been illegally excavated in Italy.

The disputed objects include a Roman marble torso from 2nd century CE, an Apulian cup from the 4th century BCE, and a Greek figure of a goddess from the 3rd century BCE. Those advocating the objects' return to Italy argue that the artifacts have murky provenances and appear in thousands of Polaroids from Giacomo Medici's collection of stolen antiquities. They have cited the 1970 UNESCO Convention when calling for repatriation.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Christie's plans to continue with the June 10 auction. A New York City spokesperson stated,

With respect to these particular lots, Christie's has not been notified of a title claim by any government authority, nor are these lots identified as problematic by the Art Loss Register or Interpol," she said. "As an added measure, Christie's has undertaken its own research into this matter and has found no evidence to support the need to withdraw these lots. Unless and until Christie's receives a title claim, we plan to proceed with the sale of these lots.
It will be interesting to see if the sale is halted before June 10. Stay tuned!

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