The marble statue was carved over 4,000 years ago, a 7-inch-tall female figure with a sleek, abstract appearance, with its head slightly upward as if staring at the firm.
By the 1960s, the statue was taken to the United States, where the court was occupied by a tennis star and art collector. Alastair Bradley Martin And his wife, Edith, and are known as “The Gaynol Stargazer”.
Christie listed Stargazer for sale in 2017, attracting the attention of the Turkish government, which called for the auction to be halted.
The Turkish government then sued Christie, saying that the statue was robbed. The government told the court that it was the rightful owner of the statue and cited the Ottoman decree of 1906, which claimed extensive ownership of antiquities found in Turkey. But the auction went ahead and the statue was valued at $ 14.4 million before the anonymous buyer returned.
The statue is now being kept in a vault at the salesmen and offices of Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza. And a fight over its future made its way to Federal District Court in Manhattan, where a civil trial to determine the statue’s ownership began Monday.
Advocates for the Turkish government are arguing that Christie and the person who put the statue up for sale, Michael Steinhardt, should be seen as proving suspicious and therefore “a total and unconscious disregard of Turkey’s ownership law.” Worked in
Defense lawyers have admitted that the government is unable to prove ownership under that law and sacrificed their opportunities to claim the statue by not talking about it until the auction was planned.
The lawyer representing the Turkish government on Friday, Victor J. Rocco asks Steinhardt his thoughts about dealers of ancient art.
“I think there is a degree of latitude in dealing with ancient art that creates a good deal of discretion,” Steinhard replied.
The trial of the bench, which is being heard by Judge Allison Nathan, is the most recent chapter of an ongoing effort by the Turkish government to recover artifacts and antiques from the United States.
In 1993, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Ready to return A collection known as the Lydian hoard, which contained more than 200 gold, silver and bronze objects, dates from the reign of King Chrysus of Lydia, a kingdom in western Asia Minor that flourished in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE.
And in 2012, the Turkish government asked museums in Los Angeles, New York and Washington to commission dozens of artifacts looted from the country’s archaeological sites.
It is generally accepted that the item in the lawsuit originated in Kulakazizlar, the only workshop house known to produce Stargazers. The figures were so-called because of the angle at which a large head rests on a thin neck, Christie said in an online description, “the whimsical impression of a figure staring into the sky.”
When Guenol Stargazer was first listed for auction, Christy said From 1966 to 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art at various periods was present on loan, stating that “it is considered one of the most influential for its existence”.
The Turkish government said that one of its witnesses, Neil BrodyA senior research fellow at the School of Archeology at the University of Oxford would provide “extensive scientific evidence” for his conclusion that the statue was almost certainly found in Turkey.
The government said it would also show that the statue was excavated and exported from Turkey while the 1906 decision was effective.
To suppress the case that the statue was looted, the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote that it was obtained from a gallery run by JJ Klejman by Alastair Bradley Martin, who was also the source of the Met For the part of the Lydian Horde. (Thomas Hoving, former director of the museum Once referenced Czman as his “favorite dealer-smugglers”
Christie and Steinhard maintain that the Turkish government cannot prove ownership of the statue under the 1906 decree, because it has “no direct evidence as to where or when Stargazer Idol was found, excavated, or exported: its There is no witness to excavation or export. No photograph. “
The defendants also stated that Turkey was aware of the statue’s presence in early 1992, but did not act on that knowledge.
Defense lawyers said in court papers, “Turkey’s 25-year delay implicated its claim in the net of dealers, collectors and auction houses.” “And set them up for big losses when Turkey claimed Idol only after it came up for sale at a major auction house.”