These are the Cyclades of the Stern collection that are being repatriated – For the first time all the images in the public domain

These are the Cyclades of the Stern collection that are being repatriated – For the first time all the images in the public domain
These are the Cyclades of the Stern collection that are being repatriated – For the first time all the images in the public domain

The case and the special bill drawn up for the repatriation of the 161 Cycladic antiquities of the American tycoon Leonard Stern are unprecedented.

It was tabled in Parliament late yesterday and reveals every aspect of the deal and their images.

The surprise continues after news emerged from Monday’s Cabinet of the repatriation of the unknown 161 Cycladic antiquities that Leonard Stern owned and wanted to donate to the Metropolitan Museum. The developments were rapid: the Met contacted the Ministry of Culture to make it known and negotiations began between the Ministry, the Museum of Cycladic Art and the MET that lasted more than two years leading to the donation of the Collection.


Until September 30, the collection at Stern’s house

As stated in the bill that was submitted on Thursday night to the Parliament and will be discussed next Thursday, the Greek State is the exclusive holder and owner of the Collectionwhich until September 30th it will remain at Leonard Stern’s house in New York. In fact, according to the bill, an object of the collection, the figurine of a woman that is 132 centimeters tall! This will be delivered to the Met on 31 December 2022.

Inconceivable. A figurine 132 cm high / From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bill submitted to the Parliament

In the meantime, on October 15, we can expect 15 antiquities from the collection to arrive in Greece, which will be exhibited in a specially designed area of ​​the Cycladic Roof Museum. The exhibition in Athens will end on October 31, 2023, when they will be sent again to New York for the great exhibition of the Collection in a specially designed hall of the Board of Directors.

Of course, it remains unclear why Stern now decided to donate his Collection and above all how, from which sources and with which documents he acquired these objects. We remind you that the Museum of Cycladic Art is a legal entity of private law, non-profit nature, which according to its statute does not receive a state grant, is supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, while its permanent collections belong to the Greek State.


For 25 years (plus 25?) the Collection at the MET

Under the agreement, as outlined in the bill, the collection would be on display at the Met for 25 years, starting in January 2024 and ending on December 31, 2048. Specifically, from 2024 to 2033 all 161 objects of the Collection will be exhibited. From now on every five years until 2048, 15 different antiquities will come to Athens and be exhibited at the Museum of Cycladic Art.

Shocking: double idol / From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bill submitted to the Parliament

In fact, the large figurine (photo above) will be returned in January 2034. In the room where they will be exhibited, there will be the following inscription: “HELLENIC REPUBLIC – MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND SPORTS MUSEUM OF CYCLADIC ART ATHENS LOAN OF CYCLADIC ART TO THE MET.”

The obligations of the Metropolitan Museum

As the Met exhibition ends in December 1948, it will return to Greece and be exhibited in Greek museums that will then be approved by the Ministry of Culture. However, the Greek state has the possibility to agree on the loan of the collection from January 2049 for another 25 years “for the purpose of the continuous and multi-year promotion of Cycladic art at the MET, the mission by the Greek State is agreed, at the expense of the MET Antiquities of of Cycladic Culture from the museums of Greece, which the Ministry of Culture and Sports will select and send on loan, as follows:


fifteen (15) antiquities for the period from 1.1.2034-31.12.2048,

fifteen (15) antiquities for the period from 1.1.2039-31.12.2048

fifteen (15) antiquities for the period from 1.1.2044-31.12.2048.

Vessel, with characteristics of a female figure / From the bill of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted to the Parliament

In the event of non-loaning of the collection by the Greek State to the MET, for the period from 1.1.2049 onwards, shipment at the expense of the MET and exhibition in the above-mentioned room with the aforementioned indication and for a period of twenty-five (25) years from 1.1.2049, one hundred and twenty-two (122) antiquities of the Cycladic Civilization from the museums of Greece which the Greek State will then send to the MET.


Full list and scholarships

The Met is obliged to publish a complete museum catalog of the Collection which will be drawn up with the participation of two experts selected by the Ministry and will contain forewords on behalf of the Director of the Met, the Minister of Culture and Sports and the President of the Cycladic Museum. The catalog will also be published in Greek, while the Museum of Cycladic Art will bear the costs of publishing its own catalog.

Also based on the agreement, every three years a scholarship will be announced by the MET for Greek archaeologists, on the subject of the study of the Cycladic Civilization.

What is the Institute to which the Collection is donated

Article 3 provides for the ratification of the contract between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Cycladic Museum, the MET and the Hellenic Ancient Culture Institute Inc. (Institute of Ancient Greek Culture) of Delaware (“HACI”). The Institute was established essentially for this purpose, and is a non-profit legal entity based in Delaware, USA and aims to promote Greek culture and stimulate global interest and knowledge about Greek antiquities. Secretary General of HACI is Petros Ioannis Goulandris.


By decisions of the Board of Directors, whose President and the majority of members are chosen by the Cycladic Museum, HACI may, among other things, acquire works of art, objects and monuments of Greece dating from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, to takes care of their safekeeping, study and exhibition in museums or other appropriate places, with the right of final transfer to the Cycladic Museum or other museums in Greece.

According to an express provision in its statutes, HACI carries out the above-mentioned actions regarding Greek antiquities on the condition of observing the provisions of the Cultural Heritage legislation of the Greek State.

HACI is obliged by its statutes to submit all its actions to the provisions of the Greek archaeological law, the agreement foresees that the Greek State should first approve both the possession of the antiquities by HACI and their exhibition at the MET.


These are all the Cycladic antiquities that are being repatriated

See them in the pdf below from pages 23-59

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The article is in Greek

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