H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition


2. THE PLASTERS WOULD NOT BE ORIGINAL - QUESTIONS OF PROVENANCE (3)

LOST TRANSACTION RECORDS

These two points being settled, I studied the notes on provenance by Dr. David Schaff, summarized for the MacLaren Art Centre on June 18, 2001. From Dr. Schaffīs description on how the plasters were acquired by the Gruppo Mondiale itself, I could only conclude that somewhere in the 1980īs or 90īs, the provenance line had become quite unclear, so that most of these pieces were offered to the Gruppo Mondiale in 1998 without proper documentation: 

I became aware of the plasters by Auguste Rodin, which were in the process of being acquired by a collector based in Italy, in the Fall of 1998. At this time, he had purchased a half dozen works and was considering others (..). Some of the works had vague documentation from Philippe Cezanne, an expert in Paris, while others were without. (…)

The issue of provenance for the plasters is complex and in some details, uncertain; however, one may point with confidence to the sales of the Rudier foundry and the settlement of the estate of Georges Rudier as the primarty sources of these works. During these dispersals, Rudierīs executor, Jean Mayodon, and his foundry manager, Jean Queto acquired significant portions of the plaster reserves.

[From: Notes on Authentication of Rodin collection for the MacLaren Art Centre,
by Dr David Schaff, 18 June 2001]

This means, between the Gruppo Mondiale and Mayodon or Queto, there had been other collectors or traders, who had not passed on the provenance documentation that normally accompanies such expensive items.

Their authenticity thus had to be confirmed by comparing all plasters with their matching pieces in other collections. This whole circumstantial procedure made me suspicious again:

Such a procedure of authentication would seem appropriate for a Donatello bronze or stolen sculptures found in a Nazi bunker, but not for sculptures that have changed  owners over the last decades in a regular way. 

[From a letter to MacLaren Curator Mary Reid, 3 Nov. 2001]

 

 

 

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