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22 J. Art Crime 65 (2019)
"'Woman on a Balcony' at the Jean Paul Getty Museum"

handle is hein.journals/jartcrim22 and id is 70 raw text is: 

Christos Tsirogiannis

              'Woman on a Balcony'at the Jean Paul Getty Museum

OnFebruaiy  16 2001, two Carabinieri and four French police officers raided the second-floor apartment
of the notorious antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, in one of the most prestigious and central areas of Paris
(Watson and Todeschini 2007:156-157). During the raid, there was discovered the famous handwritten
memoir  of Hecht, which overshadowed the rest of the findings: letters, antiquities covered with soil and
wrapped  in plastic shopping bags, as well as Polaroid and regular-print images depicting restored and
unrestored antiquities, some still 'very dirty with earth' (Watson and Todeschini 2007:158). Several of
these images pointed back to Giacomo Medici, since identical or similar images of the same objects
were discovered during the raid at Medici's premises in Geneva (Watson and Todeschini 2007:158-161).

     Only a few of the antiquities depicted in Hecht's images have been identified so far. For example,
in May 2012 I identified a pair of Canosan volute kraters ready to be auctioned as lot 99 by Christie's
in their antiquities' sale scheduled for June 8 in New York (Christie's 2012). The kraters were depicted
unrestored and partly broken inMedici Polaroids, but restored inHecht's regular-print images, confirming
the connection between the two notorious dealers. The previous appearance of the same kraters at a
Sotheby's auction in May 30, 1986 (lot 24), again in New York (Sotheby's 1986), should have been
enough to raise suspicions, given the long-published connection of Medici with Sotheby's during the
1980s, which was revealed by the work of the pioneering forensic archaeologists Maurizio Pellegrini
and Daniela Rizzo (Watson  and Todeschini 2007:136-138). Immediately after the identification was
made, I notified the judicial authorities in Rome (email 17 May 2012) and the case appeared in both
the Italian and Greek press (Isman 2012, Thermou 2012). Still, Christie's did not withdraw the kraters;
they remained unsold and 'returned to the seller' (email from Max Bemheimer, International Head of
Antiquities Department at Christie's, New York, on 2 January 2013). However, in September 2012 these
two kraters were repatriated to Italy and from 21 May to 5 November 2013 were exhibited at the National
Museum   of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, together with other repatriated antiquities; the entries on the
kraters in the exhibition catalogue (Landolfi et al. 2013:246-249, nos. 54-55, signed by Alessandra
Avagliano), noted only the work of the Carabinieri in recovering the objects. Furthermore, the Italian
authorities never revealed the owner(s) of the kraters who consigned them to the 2012 Christie's auction,
from whom   they were repatriated (Tsirogiannis 2015; 2016). This obstructed academic research on
international antiquities trafficking networks.

     What Watson  and Todeschini have not reported was that among the confiscated images in Hecht's
apartment, there was an extra bundle of regular-print images tied together with a string through a hole
in each image. These images depict all kinds of antiquities (vases, frescos, mosaics, figures, protomes,
etc.) and it remains unclear whether their connection with a string means that they came from the same
trafficker, or were restored by the same restorer, etc. One of these images depicts a section of a Roman


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