Over the past year, Turkey has been stepping up its efforts to reclaim art and antiquities the country claims were smuggled-out illegally and now reside in some of the world’s top museums. In March, officials from the Turkish government requested that the Metropolitan Museum of Art return 18 items from its collection that the museum acquired through the Norbet Schimmell Collection, a former Met trustee whose gift to the museum was touted at the time as one of the most important ever.
In September, the New York Times reported on Turkey’s newly “aggressive” tactics, as some have dubbed them, to claim antiquities. One source of friction comes from a Unesco convention regulation recognized by most museum directors that allows museums to keep objects that were removed from their country of origin before 1970. Turkey, though, now cites an Ottoman-era law, claiming that it has the right to any objects removed after 1906.
So does the Dallas Museum of Art have any items in its collection that Turkey will claim? That’s the rumor I heard yesterday, so I reached out to the museum. And while there have been no formal requests as of yet, a spokesperson with the museum did say that the DMA is currently organizing a visit by a delegation from Turkey next month.
Image: Vessel with Suspension Lugs (5th millennium BC) 5 x 5 1/2 x 4 1/8 in. Ceramic, paint. Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark. Country of origin: Turkey.