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Stolen WWII Roman Bust Found $35 in Texas

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In 2018, in a second-hand shop in Austin, United States, the marble work of Bavaria was stolen. It was shown in San Antonio, and will be returned to Germany next year.

You did not expect to make such a discovery. While antiques dealer Laura Young was browsing flea stores in Austin, Texas, she came across a carved marble statue in 2018 that caught her eye. It was on the floor, under a table. It looked very sloppy, very old. » Without realizing its historical significance or even its origin, I hastened to buy it for $35 (about €33).

Then Laura Young conducted research to find out her origin, confirm her Roman authenticity, and discover the name of the person she represents. To do this, the antique dealer contacted a number of experts, such as auction houses, attorneys, and professors from the Department of Classics and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. And some research has paid off quickly, despite the gray areas that have persisted for four years now.

“I received an email from Maison Bonhams confirming that it was ancient Roman, but without a source, they could be of no further assistance.Laura Young said according to a press release from the San Antonio Museum of Art. Shortly after, Sotheby’s called us., continued. This new research was carried out under the auspices of auction house expert Jörg Dieterling, and has shown that the work dates back toVerse century AD

Experts and researchers still do not know how the statue was datedVerse century AD, he left Germany to land in a second-hand shop in Texas. San Antonio Museum of Art

According to the first elements that appeared, it could be a bust representing Drusus Germanicus (38-9 BC), a Roman general who worked to conquer the German lands of the empire. Others see it as an image of one of the sons of Pompey the Great (106-48 BC), who was defeated by Julius Caesar during the civil war.

Looting in Bavaria in 1944

The turbulent history of sculpture is also becoming clearer. According to the Bavarian authorities, the work was stolen in Germany during the Second World War from the site of a replica of the Pompeian Villa in Dioscurie, which was heavily bombed in 1944. S is located on the bank of the River Main in Aschaffenburg, built in the 19th centuryAnd Century at the request of King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1868). If there are still gray areas in the bust journey that led her from Bavaria to a second-hand shop in Texas, it is therefore impossible to offer the work for sale.

King Ludwig I of Bavaria commissioned architect Friedrich von Gartner to create a life-size replica of the Villa Dioscuri in Pompeii. It was built between 1840 and 1848, before being bombed in 1944 and then restored in 1960. Courtesy of the Bavarian Department of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes

Although it has gone unnoticed for years, the statue is preparing for display at the San Antonio Museum of Art, in agreement with Bavarian authorities, before being returned to the German state in 2023.

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Written by mbenfoddil

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