For the second time, a Scottish-based antiquities researcher has discovered looted works that were up for sale at a major auction house. A prolific researcher, Dr Christos Tsirogiannis discovered four works in Christie’s antiquities sale that were traced back to the archives of two illicit traffickers. Christie’s withdrew the lots:
Dr Tsirogiannis, a member of Trafficking Culture, a Glasgow-based research programme which compiles evidence of the contemporary global trade in looted cultural objects, said: “Christie’s continues to include in its sales antiquities depicted in confiscated archives of convicted art dealers. Sometimes they sell the lots but nearly every time they withdraw them.
“I don’t understand why they can’t do due diligence beforehand. Clearly, it’s not taking place. Christie’s say they don’t have access to these archives which is not true. Every auction house, dealer and museum should refer to Italian and Greek authorities, who would check for free before the sales.” Dr Donna Yates, of Trafficking Culture, added: “Do they contact antiquities trafficking experts before their auctions? No, never. Do they make public whatever provenance documents they have for a particular piece? No, never. I can only conclude that they don’t take this particularly seriously.”
Christie’s artefacts linked to organised crime (The Scotsman)