The Rescue, Stewardship, and Return of the Lysi Frescoes by the Menil Foundation
22 International Journal of Cultural Property 1 (2015)
15 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 15, 2015
The return of works of art by museums to nations of origin has generated considerable scholarly response, yet there has been little engagement with the potential role museums could have as responsible stewards for works of art that are at risk. One important example can be seen in the actions of the Menil Foundation. The Menil, with the permission of the Church of Cyprus, conserved a series of frescoes and created a purpose-built gallery on the Menil campus in Houston to safely house them. It was a novel solution to the problems caused by the situation in Cyprus. Acquiring and saving these thirteenth century frescoes gives an important template for the rescue and conservation of works of art that are at risk, but also exposes similarly-situated actors to the moral dilemma of purchasing looted art with the consent of the original owner.
Keywords: Cyprus, Menil Foundation, antiquities looting, art loan
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