Fragmentary Calyx Krater (vase -- circa 510bc) signed by Euphronios. Depicts the death of Kyknos in battle with Herakles. Height 17-3/4" and 75% plastic sold at Sotheby's, New York in 1990 for $1.7m from the Nelson Bunker Hunt collection.
Image: Sotheby's, New York The auction catalogue reads: " The Hunt calyx krater, in grandeur of form, style and subject, relates closely to the two relatively complete examples signed by Euphronios, those in the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first painted with the combat between Herakles and Antaios, the second with the death of Sarpedon, a subject which he repeats, later in the narrative, on the Hunt kylix."
via Artnet News, 1/13/06:
ANCIENT ART IS PLUNDER: MET STAFFER
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been "supporting theft and plunder for years," according to archeologist Oscar White Muscarella -- a longtime employee of the very same museum that he so harshly criticizes. In a ferocious interview with reporter Suzan Mazur published in Scoop, an "internet news agency" based in New Zealand, Muscarella compares U.S. museums to bordellos, and says that "collecting antiquities is rape." He calls the Met’s department of Greek and Roman art "The Temple of Plunder," and extends his indictment to other museum departments as well, saying that his museum’s Asian art department holds "hundreds and hundreds [of artifacts] from temples and tombs from all over Cambodia, Thailand, China, just to decorate vitrines in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." The job of the antiquities curator, Muscarella says, is to "buy stolen art" and "get false documents."
"All these museums are actively engaged in erasing this planet’s history," Muscarella says. As an archeologist, he argues that ancient artifacts should only be excavated scientifically by professionals, with objects and their contexts carefully documented. What’s the answer to the current controversy over ownership of disputed cultural property? New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg should "order" the Met to "stop buying stolen objects right now," and telephone the Italian consul in New York and tell him to come "in 10 minutes, 15 minutes" and pick up the controversial Euphronios vase. [For a detailed report by former Met director Thomas Hoving on the museum’s so-called "Hot Pot," see "Super Art Gems of New York City," June 29, 2001.]
What’s more, Muscarella accuses New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman, who has been critical of lax museum acquisition policies, of being "dishonest" and "getting paid to write. . . a cover up," apparently due to a perceived conflict of interest of newspaper owner Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who is a Metropolitan Museum trustee. Muscarella refers to Kimmelman -- and other critics who review exhibitions of ancient art without mentioning "plunder" -- as "pimps." In an email, Kimmelman called Muscarella’s charges "too silly to take seriously," and says that Muscarella "clearly knows nothing" about how the Times works.
Muscarella says that the Met fired him in the early 1970s, but he was able to retain his position at the museum after a long court battle. "I just don't understand why anyone who hates museums would work in a museum," commented Met communications director Harold Holzer to the Village Voice in 2003.
related articles by Suzan Mazur (Scoop):
When A Cup Is Not A Cup: Euphronios Ancient Art In Court
Friday, 4 November 2005, 12:48 pm
The Provenance Of Bob Hecht
Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 4:03 pm
The Medici Go-Round: Sotheby's & The Signed Euphronios
Thursday, 1 December 2005, 2:12 pm
Suzan Mazur: Bob Hecht, The Younger
Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 4:58 pm
more via Artforum News:
New Anti-Trafficking Unit; Italy Proposes Deal with the Met
01.13.06 - Jason Edward Kaufman writes for the Art Newspaper on New York's first task force "dedicated to investigating and prosecuting antiquities theft and trafficking." The unit will be established by Manhattan's district attorney Robert Morgenthau and led by lawyer Matthew Bogdanos, who may be better known as the US Marine Corps Reserves colonel who led the investigation into the looting of the Baghdad Museum. Elsewhere, the New York Times's Hugh Eakin reports that the Italian government has relayed a formal proposal to the Metropolitan Museum of Art that would grant the museum special access to long-term loans in exchange for the return of twenty works of Greek and Roman art. The proposed accord would avert possible legal steps against the museum by the Italian government.