Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Italy Seeks Ancient Loot From Symes Trustees

Italy Seeks Ancient Loot From Symes Trustees


By Suzan Mazur

"The collection represents a selection of objects from a larger collection formed by Maurice Tempelsman, a diamond merchant resident in New York, over the past twenty-five years. The individual pieces come from a variety of sources, although the largest number were provided directly by, or were bought legally through, Robin Symes of London. All have been legally imported into the U.S. The collection is currently in the Museum." -- Acquisition Notes of Getty Museum antiquities curator Arthur Houghton cited in The Medici Conspiracy.

Among the high profile clients of British antiquities dealer Robin Symes was Maurice Tempelsman -- one of the pillars of the Eastern Establishment (Council on Foreign Relations, Africa-America Institute, long-time beau of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and "friend" of former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright); Leon Levy & Shelby White and the Metropolitan Museum of Art were customers too. Symes bought his pieces primarily from now-convicted antiquities smuggler Giacomo Medici, the man who sold the Euphronios Sarpedon vases to Bob Hecht.

In a reversal of fortune beginning with the accidental death of Symes's long-time business partner and companion Christo Michaelides ten years ago at a dinner party in Italy hosted by Levy & White and then many months in prison in the UK -- Symes, once the prince of the ancient art trade, is now bankrupt. And Italy is asking for restitution of some 1,000 artifacts from Symes's Trustees in Bankruptcy, according to Maurizio Fiorilli, the lawyer for Italy's Ministry of Culture who negotiated the return of the Euphronios krater and other treasures from America's museums.

Although Symes destroyed most of the documents related to his business partnership with Michaelides, there is still an indelible photo trail. Here is a sampling of the pieces Italy seeks as part of its cultural patrimony. In many cases there is an exact match of objects in the Medici polaroids seized during police raids on Medici in Geneva and of objects in the Symes hoard photographed by the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Images Courtesy of Davide Proietti/Carabinieri Art Squad

1. Etruscan terracotta relief, draped woman Southern Etruria


Photo Medici ----- Photo Symes #2603
Click for big versions

2. Etruscan terracotta head


Photo Medici --------- Photo - Symes #2582
Click for big versions

3. Etruscan gold and glass beaded necklace with round flat pendant

Photo Medici

Photo Medici --------- Photo - Symes #2841
Click for big versions

4. Etruscan gold and blue class beaded necklace with gold amphora


Photo Medici ----------- Photo - Symes
Click for big version

5. # 199 Earthenware pot with applied panel relief decoration from Vulci, 7th Century BC

Click for big version

6. #2624 Patera with handle in human shape, Greek from Southern Italy, 6th Century BC

Click for big version

7. #G 1210 Bone fibulae - dolphins from Taranto

Click for big version

8. #I 1269 Terracotta vegetal ornaments from Taranto

Click for big version

9. #37D Foot of black-figure Attic vase with Etruscan inscription

Click for big version

10. #I/1190 Italic or Etruscan bronze statuette, 6th - 5th Century BC

Click for big version

11. #R 2767 Silver phiale, two silver cups (calathus) and a silver patera, 1st - 2nd Century AD. Similar to artifacts from Pompeii, Ercolano and Boscoreale

Click for big version

12. #2361 Carinated cup with baccellature common to the Vesuvian area, decorated on the outward side with leaf designs in pairs.

Click for big version

ENDS

*************

Suzan Mazur's stories on art and antiquities have been published in The Economist, Financial Times, Connoisseur, Archaeology (cover) and Newsday. Other reports have appeared on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs. Email: sznmzr@aol.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Faisal Al-Asaad: Gaza: McCully’s Calls For Restraint On Both Sides Is Side-Taking Itself

Since June 12th, the world’s attention has been squarely focused on the events unfolding in the West Bank, Gaza and the occupied territories. The disappearance of three Israeli youths who were later found dead prompted a flurry of condemnations ... More>>

ALSO:

Tania Billingsley: Demand For Accountability On Sexual Assault

Since my assault I feel that people have been assuming that my idea of justice is to have Rizalman found guilty in a New Zealand court. While it is an important part of justice being done, my main reason for wanting this is not for my own sense of ... More>>

Leslie Bravery: Hold The Perpetrator To Account, Not The Victim!

In a 4 July 2014 statement to Scoop Independent News, on the violent deaths of four young people in the Israeli Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully made the following comments: 'The recent killing ... More>>

ALSO:

Santon Tekege: Investigative Report Into Oil Palm In Nabire Regency, Papua

Several companies’ plans to invest in the oil palm sector in Nabire have met with local opposition. People from the Yerisiam and Wate ethnic groups have staged several peaceful actions in Nabire against one of these companies, PT Nabire Baru1. More>>

ALSO:

Redress Information: Putting The Death Of The Israeli Squatter Teens In Context

The Western media are awash with correspondents’ reports on the grief Israelis are experiencing over the death of three teenagers. The teenagers, the sons of Jewish squatters living on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, who disappeared ... More>>

ALSO:

Liran Antebi: United States: Prepared For Military Intervention In Iraq?

Following the seizure of Iraq’s main cities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), there has been much discussion about possible US military intervention in Iraq. Since the ISIS campaign began, a small American force of 275 soldiers has been ... More>>

John Chuckman: Iraq, ISIS, And Intervention: Just What Is Going On?

As so often is the case in foreign affairs, we will never know with precision what is happening in Iraq. The governments involved have reasons to disguise what they are doing, and a number of governments are indeed at work there. More>>

Joel Cosgrove: MANA and Industrial Relations: “Between equal rights, force decides”

Fightback participates in the MANA Movement, whose stated mission is to bring “rangatiratanga to the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed.” Capitalism was imposed in Aotearoa through colonisation, and the fight for indigenous self-determination is intimately ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news