The US government says otherwise
Kim Kardashian has been forced to deny that she purchased an Ancient Roman sculpture that had been stolen from Italy, after the US government demanded that she forfeit it.
Kim reportedly bought the work in 2016 from Belgium’s Axel Vervoordt Gallery – run by the same art dealer and designer who decorated Kim and Kanye’s mansion. Known as Fragmen of Myron’s Samian Athena, the piece is from the 1st to 2nd century and depicts a female figure from the waist down.
According to Artnet News, the statue was detained at the US border in 2016 after Kim’s team tried to import it with the wrong documentation. Now, it’s been confirmed that the work was “looted, smuggled, and illegally exported” from Italy.
On April 30, a court declared Kim as the consignee and importer of the sculpture, and demanded that she forfeit it. In a statement, a spokesperson for the star denied her involvement: “Kim never purchased this piece and this is the first she has learned of its existence. We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorisation and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope it gets returned to the rightful owners.”
A spokesperson for Vervoordt told The Mirror: “We’ve been informed only last night that the US government has filed for forfeiture of this Roman piece, sold to our American client and exported to the US in 2016.”
“We have acquired this piece in good faith from a French gallery who had also acquired it in equally good faith from a German auction house. The former collector was English but precise traces seem to stop there. However, there is no evidence that this piece was illegally imported from Italy.”
As reported by Artnet News, Vervoordt purchased the work in 2012 from Galerie Chenel in Paris. However, Italy’s task force for the protection of cultural heritage said it had seen the sculpture in Vervoordt’s gallery booth at the TEFAF Maastricht art fair in 2011 – the director of Galerie Chenel told the publication this was because Vervoordt loaned it before buying it in 2012.
As it was intercepted at the border in 2016, it appears Kim K never actually saw the statue – and now she never will. Her unseasoned house will continue to exist without stolen spice. Except, not really, as all of the Kardashians have an eye-wateringly impressive collection of art and artistic collaborators – from Tracey Emin to Takashi Murakami to Barbara Kruger.