Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leonardo Patterson. Ha. Haha.

Last week at my art history tutorial, my professor mentioned that he was acquaintances with a man named Leonardo Patterson back when he lived in California. Somehow, his wife's curator ex-husband was associated with Patterson, so they had met a few times and found him memorable mostly because he had something to do with antiquities and he or his lady friend had a pet lemur or exotic cat or something. Yesterday, my professor asked me if I had looked up Leo. I had forgotten, and he said, "Well, I did, and I found a lot of interesting stuff." And then he spent the next fifteen minutes talking about the Barnes Foundation.

So I Googled Leonardo Patterson.

From the Los Angeles Times: "This guy is legendary in the field," said Michael Coe, a retired Yale anthropology professor who told authorities in 1997 that a 1997 Patterson exhibit in Spain included possible fakes. "He has managed to have a career that is just unbelieveable."

From Stanford's Cultural Heritage Resource: "Leonardo Patterson started trading Precolumbian antiquities in New York during the late 1960s. He first came to public attention in 1984 when he was arrested and charged with fraud for attempting to sell a forged Mayan fresco to Boston collector Wayne Anderson (Nagin 1984). Patterson had been asking $250,000 for the piece, which was accompanied by two photocopied letters of authentication from Donald Hales and Paul Clifford. One year later, in 1985, he was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth airport and charged with illegally-importing into the USA a Precolumbian figurine and 36 sea turtle eggs. In 1995 he was in the news for supplying a European collector with a bronze Precolumbian brazier that was subsequently recognized to have been smuggled out of Mexico or Guatemala (Honan 1995). In response to a New York Times enquiry, Patterson’s lawyer stated that the brazier had been in Patterson’s possession for almost 30 years."

From the BBC: "Mr Patterson, 66, maintains he has done nothing wrong and says he assembled the collection legally from several other collectors. "All of that stuff, I got it in Europe. I don't traffic pieces," he told the AP."

I think maybe "interesting stuff" is KIND OF AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

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