The return of 161 “unknown” antiquities of the Cycladic Civilization that they had granted from “private New York collector” at the Delaware-based Institute of Ancient Greek Culture, “without absolutely any financial burden on the Greek State», announced government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou.
It’s about extremely rare or even globally unique examples of the art and technique of the Cycladic Civilization of the 3rd pre-Christian millennium, where provide new data to the scientific knowledge of this period.
The Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni presented to the Council of Ministers of Tuesday the bill for the “Ratification of the agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Institute of Ancient Greek Culture of Delaware, regarding the return to Greece of a collection of antiquities of the Cycladic culture».
The first world view of part of the collection It will be done in GREECE with exhibition their at the Cycladic Museum from November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023 and then at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Mr. Economou did not name the American collector, but two people with knowledge of the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said it was Leonard Stern, the 84-year-old American billionaire businessman whose fortune, according to the Forbes estimated at 6.2 billion dollars.
The announcement of the government representative in detail:
“The Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, presented the bill for the “Ratification of the agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Institute of Ancient Greek Culture of Delaware, regarding the return in Greece collection of antiquities of the Cycladic culture”.
With the agreement to be ratified, the parties agree and accept that the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as the representative of the Greek State, which is the exclusive owner of Greek antiquities, in accordance with the Greek archaeological law (i) recognizes the non-profit legal entity “Institute of Ancient Greek Culture” based in Delaware and with the statutory purpose of promoting the cultural heritage of Greece, as the owner of a collection of 161 rare antiquities of the Cycladic Culture, which was granted to the Institute by a private collector in New York, pursuant to the July 21, 2022 Agreement Contribution Agreement between them and (ii) approves the exhibition of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York (“MET”) and the return of the first part of it to Greece no later than October 15, 2022 and the realization of the of its first global exhibition to the public, for a period of one year (November 1, 2022 – October 31, 20 23 ) at the Museum of Cycladic Art.
The agreement to be ratified is in favor of the country’s interests:
A. Short term because:
– a large number of “unknown” antiquities (161), many of which are extremely rare or even globally unique examples of the art and technique of the Cycladic Civilization of the 3rd pre-Christian millennium, are repatriated without litigation and without any financial burden whatsoever on the part of the Greek State, and provide new data to the scientific knowledge of this period.
-The first global screening of part of the collection to the public will take place in Greece immediately (exhibition at the Cycladic Museum from November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023).
– The exhibition of the collection at the MET, one of the most important and most visited museums in the world, will be held with the declared ownership of the Greek State. It should be noted that the report “Hellenic Republic – Ministry of Culture and Sports” is being adopted for the first time by the MET, by virtue of the relevant obligation assumed by it with the agreement to be ratified.
-The hall at the MET with the above indication of the ownership of the Greek State has been committed, without any financial burden to the Greek State, for a continuous and multi-year promotion of Cycladic Culture for 50 years.
– A dynamic and multi-year collaboration between the Ministry and the MET is immediately established, through the actions of the Memorandum that will be signed by December 31, 2022.
B. In the long run because:
– A process and method is established that encourages and urges other collectors of Greek antiquities to take similar actions, which will lead to the repatriation of antiquities, without the disadvantages of judicial involvement.
-The ethics of repatriation is strengthened and the appropriate background is created to achieve the favorable convergences in favor of fundamental national aspirations in the issues of claim and repatriation. And this, as the convention to be ratified sends a message of strong symbolism to the states, the institutions and the societies themselves, the special groups of competent scientists, but also the general public, as all these recipients are sensitized and form positions and perceptions.
-Greece appears as a modern country with an extroverted museum policy, which supports the international promotion of its culture to ever larger audiences».