This was not a wish purchase Total Bust
In fact, the $ 34.99 sculpture that an art collector picked up in 2018 in Austin, Texas, wasn’t just tchotchkeBut it is actually a century-old Roman bust that has been missing from Germany since World War II.
Laura Young, an intelligent buyer with a good eye, told The Art Newspaper that she saw a man with curly hair and a beard marble bust on the floor of his local Goodwill, under a table. It looks “pretty dirty, pretty old,” he said. He bought it for less than 40, thinking that someone would want to buy it for a garden statue or something else. It weighed 52 pounds, and he asked a Goodwill employee to help carry it to his car, where he fastened it with a seatbelt to keep it safe when traveling home.
He was surprised to see how old and worn the statue was, however, so he spent the next few years with art historians at the University of Texas at Austin and several auction houses around the country trying to find its source, according to San Antonio. Museum of Art.
Sotheby’s adviser Jörg Deterling identified the bust as a century-old sculpture once in the collection of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, further evidenced by the Bavarian administration of state-owned palaces, gardens and lakes. The bust may depict the son of Pompey the Great (106-48 BC), who was defeated in the Civil War by Julius Caesar.
The statue will be returned to its fair home in Germany next year, but the Bavarian administration of the state-owned mansion has agreed that the curious discovery may now be on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art until May 21, 2023.
How a century-old, 52-pound marble Roman bust at a goodwill shop in Texas from Germany is still a mystery. The museum mentions that the work was housed in Pompejanum, a replica of a Roman villa in Ashfenberg, Bavaria, Germany. Allied bombers targeted Askafenberg during World War II and severely damaged Pompeii in January 1944. The U.S. military later set up a military base in Ashkenazi after the war ended, and the museum speculated that a returning soldier may have brought the sculpture to Texas.
“We are delighted that a part of Bavarian history that we thought was lost has reappeared and will soon be able to return to its rightful place,” said Bernd Schreiber, president of the Bavarian administration, state-owned palaces, gardens and lakes, in a statement.
Another incredible aspect of this story is that it wasn’t Young’s first big score from a Goodwill store. He told The Art Newspaper that he once bought a cheap Chinese painting from Goodwill and later sold it to Christie’s for 63,000.
“I’ve found a lot of interesting things in Goodwill in the past,” he said.
However, he will not gain a tidy off this marble bust. He said it was “bitter sweet” to hand over, “since I knew I could not keep or sell (the bust).”
But the story is invaluable, and Young said he was glad he was able to be a small part of the statue’s long and complex history. “And he looked great at home when I was with him,” he added.