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Christie’s Pulls Contested Antiquity from Upcoming Sale

November 28, 2014
Lot 85. A SARDINIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL OZIERI CULTURE, CIRCA 2500-2000 B.C. 13 ¾ in. (34.9 cm.) long Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000. Provenance with Harmon Fine Arts, New York. with The Merrin Gallery, New York, 1990 (Masterpieces of Cycladic Art, no. 27). Acquired by the current owner, 1997.

Lot 85. A SARDINIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL
OZIERI CULTURE, CIRCA 2500-2000 B.C.
13 ¾ in. (34.9 cm.) long
Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000.
Provenance
with Harmon Fine Arts, New York.
with The Merrin Gallery, New York, 1990 (Masterpieces of Cycladic Art, no. 27).
Acquired by the current owner, 1997.

The lead lot, by estimate, in Christie’s December 11, 2014 sale of antiquities, a 4,500-year-old Sardinian idol, has been withdrawn from the sale according to the Web site of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA).

Image of the Sardinian idol from the Medici archive (provided by Dr. Tsirogiannis). Click on image to enlarge.

Image of the Sardinian idol from the Medici
archive (provided by Dr. Tsirogiannis). Click on image to enlarge.

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, a Research Assistant in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow, linked the work to one in the photographic archives of looted antiquities maintained by Giacomo Medici, an art dealer convicted in 2004 of dealing in looted antiquities and the subject of the 2006 book The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities from Italy’s Tomb Raiders to the World’s Greatest Museums. Dr. Tsirogaiannis wrote: “The object appears in the Medici archive, smashed in 6 pieces, missing the upper left part of its head.” The work was also the subject of several posts on David Gill’s Looting Matters Web site and several others.  The idol is among more than one-third of the 192 lots on offer that lack a pre-1970 provenance.

The work has been removed from Christie’s Web site and attempts to find it result in the following:

Zero

 

The entry that was removed looked like this:

Lot 85. Description. Click on image to enlarge.

Lot 85. Description. Click on image to enlarge.

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