Friday, October 30, 2015

Green Collection Needs More Transparency

Gary Vikan suggests that the Green collection respond to concerns raised about the collection's origins by being more transparent.  Vikan championed a similar way to deal with cultural property issues during his long and successful tenure as Director at the Walters.  In the end, the Greens and their dream for a Museum of the Bible will likely be best served by adopting the approach Vikan suggests.

4 comments:

Robert Leonard said...

Peter, it seems obvious that no antiquity should be described as a "hand-crafted clay tile," particularly in the light of the known looting of the Baghdad Museum. This is the sort of deception that gives ALL collectors a bad name. There is no shortage of legitimate cuneiform tables to be had in the United States, all from collections formed well before 1970. (I do not say that these tablets were looted, merely that they were intentionally misdescribed and with no proper provenance.)

Robert D. Leonard Jr.
U.S.A.
numismatist

Cultural Property Observer said...

Bob, agreed, sounds wrong. The Greens will be responsibile civilly, but for criminal liability to attach there needs to be some guilty knowledge. Sometimes foreign sellers misdescribe imports because of fear of theft. It's not to avoid taxes because antiquities come in duty free.

kyri said...

as a collector i agree with Robert,this is not the first time this has happened and im sure it wont be the last.egyption sarcophagus misdescribed as old timber,genuine vases labeled as copys and you peter making excuses for the mega rich collectors who know exactly what is going on.
kyri.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Kyri, I simply think its far too early to jump to conclusions based on information that was initially leaked to the Daily Beast, an internet publication edited by Tina Brown, who is not known to be a fan of the Greens or their evangelical and conservative background. How do we know the information that was leaked is accurate? I would also note the collector in the sarcophagus case you cite was ultimately exhonerated (after spending a ton of money paying for a defense) and the two dealers that were involved ultimately plead to far more minor offenses than originally advertised. So, let's see how this develops before we convict the Greens of anything.