Thursday, December 15, 2011

Looting Matters: Fortuna returns to Italy

Looting Matters: Fortuna returns to Italy
http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2011/12/fortuna-returns-to-italy.html

 Fortuna © MiBAC The Italian Ministry of Culture has announced today that the North American healthcare company, Humana, based in Louisville, Kentucky, will be returning two Roman marble statues to Italy (press release, in Italian; "US company sends Italian statues home", AP December 14, 2011).

It appears that Humana had acquired the two statues "in buona fede" from an unspecified New York gallery back in 1984. The company then contacted the Italian authorities when it was informed that the statues had been removed from Italy illegally ("illecitamente sottratti"). The Italian Minister of Culture praised Humana for taking the initiative to co-operate with the Italian authorities.

This appears to be in marked contrast to the behaviour of a New York gallery and a New York auction-house when objects that they were due to sell were identified from seized photographic archives.

It will be interesting to learn which New York gallery supplied Fortuna and the other Roman statue to Humana. And how were the statues identified? Which photographic archive was used? Who supplied the New York gallery?