New York Gallery Files Suit to Block Return of Ancient Artifact to Italy

Nov 16, 2019 279

BY: Tessa Salomon

A New York gallery won’t return an ancient bust of Alexander the Great to Italy without a legal fight. On Wednesday, Manhattan’s Safani Gallery filed a suit against the Republic of Italy in the city’s Southern District Court with the hope of stopping the bust—an artifact dating back to the first century—from heading back to its home country.

Dubbed the Head of Alexander, the sculpture was seized last February from the gallery by the Manhattan district attorney amid allegations that it had been excavated and illegally exported from Italy in violation of the country’s cultural heritage law. In the suit, the gallery claimed that the return of the object to Italy was “unlawful” and demanded that the court declare Safani the sole owner of the bust.

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