There's Big Money And The Need For Reform In The Antiquities Trade

02 Nov 2011 8:51 AM | Anonymous

There's Big Money And The Need For Reform In The Antiquities Trade

There’s big money in art–even in ancient art. An Imperial Chinese vase in a Swiss collection just sold for the  utterly amazing price of $22 million, because the Chinese want to bring back all the sublime ceramics and paintings that are owned privately across the globe. Likewise, Greece, Italy, Turkey and some Latin American nations have been active in searching out looted items  that is their cultural heritage. And the number of newly minted billionaires everywhere including Russia and the Middle East  means more would-be collectors  wanting to show off the fruits of their fortunes on the walls or alcoves of their palatial homes.

This past summer my old friend Peter Aldrich, a retired real estate investor from Boston, who began collecting Greek and Roman artifacts  in emulation of the late Leon Levy and his wife Shelby White (donors of the new Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan  Museum of Art in New York, told me of his concerns about the cultural heritage of these ancient civilizations. So, together we worked on revising a piece he wrote some time ago. All the thoughts and suggestions below are from Aldrich, who is a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and a donor there.

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