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8 J. Art Crime 79 (2012)
Context Matters

handle is hein.journals/jartcrim8 and id is 84 raw text is: 

David Gill

                                      Context   Matters
            Fragmented Pots, Attributions and the Role of the Academic

In hiuary 2012 the Italian government announced the return of some 40 archaeological fragments from the
Meropolitan Museum   of Art in New York. The fragments had been bequeathed by a deceased American
collector (riconducibili alla collezione privata di un cittadino americano, deceduto). The following day, the
Italian investigative journalist Fabio Isman reported, in Il Messaggero, that the anonymous collector was, in
fact, Dietrich von Bothmer (Isman 2012). Isman was able to add that some of these 40 fragments were part
of objects that had already been returned to Italy from North American collections, or from objects that had
been seized by the Carabinieri. Bothmer had himself indicated that he always gave fragments of mine when
they would fit another vase in the collection (Norskov 2002: 331).

    The Italian report specifically added the information that some of the fragments came from the Onesimos
cup, returned by the J. Paul Getty Museum and now on display in the Villa Giulia in Rome (Sgubini 1999;
Godart and De Caro 2007: 78- 79, no. 10); see Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312). The first parts of the cup were
acquired in 1983 from the European art market (Walsh 1984: 246, no. 73, mv. 83.AE.362). At the time, it
was noted that a fragment of the cup identified by Dyfri Williams in the collection of Dietrich von Bothmer
has been presented to the Museum, accession number 84.AE.8; its acquisition was reported the following
year (Walsh 1985: 169, no. 20, mv. 84.AE.80; see Williams 1991). Further fragments, from the European
art market, were added in 1985 (Walsh 1986: 191, no. 47, mv. 85.AE.385.1-2). It is significant that Dyfri
Williams, who published the Getty cup, noted that he was shown photographs of a rim fragment, made
up of three pieces in November 1990. He does not specify who owned the pieces. Subsequent research has
shown that the fragments were derived from Galerie Nefer (owned by Frida Tchacos-Nussberger), and the
Hydra Gallery (Gill and Chippindale 2006: 312).

    A  second piece, returned to Italy with fragments from Bothmer, was the fragmentary Attic red-figured
krater attributed to the Berlin painter (mv. 77.AE.5), and acquired by the Getty (Gill and Chippindale 2007:
229, no. 14a; Moore 2000). The earliest fragments were donated by Herbert Lucas, and then added by Vasek
Polak in 1982 (mv. 82.AE. 124), Bothmer in 1984 (eight fragments) (mv. 84.AE.972.1-8), and by Galerie
Nefer (European Art Market) in 1984 (mv. 84.AE.68; Walsh 1985: 169, nos. 21-22). Another fragment
was sold to the Getty by Frederick H. Schultz Jr in 1987 (mv. 87.AE.51; Walsh 1988: 143, no. 6, European
market [sic.]), and 15 further fragments from the London art market, by exchange in 1990 (mv. 90.AE.2.1-
15; Walsh 1991: 139, no. 16). A set of fragments was loaned in 1989 (mv. L.89.AE.43.1-3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13-15,
20, 23, 24, 28, 30, 39). Peter Watson has identified the London source as Robin Symes, and the anonymous
lender as Giacomo Medici (Watson and Todeschini 2006: 225-28). Indeed it has been suggested that the 35
fragments on loan from Medici were offered for $125,000 (Watson and Todeschini 2006: 225).

    Bothmer  made donations of other fragmentary pots to the Getty. He appears to have made well over one


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