Picture of the Etruscan warrior bronze from the Berlin State Museums’ archive.

Missing Ancient Etruscan Bronze Finally Returned to Berlin’s State Museums

An ancient Etruscan bronze statuette that went missing more than seventy years ago, originally purchased by Berlin’s State Museums in 1860, has finally been returned, writes Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper. The sculpture of a young warrior, perhaps from the late sixth or early fifth century BCE, was placed into storage in 1939 to protect it from the ravages of World War II. After the war, it was nowhere to be found, likely taken by thieves. Many missing pieces may have been looted from the museums’ antiquities collection.

The bronze went to an English private collection and was auctioned off in 2015. It then ended up in the hands of London-based art dealers Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch. Forge took the statuette to a professional at the British Museum who identified it as a missing artwork from Berlin’s collection of antiquities. Forge and Lynch returned the work, and the state museums paid them a modest fee “as compensation, not the full market value,” said Martin Maischberger, the deputy director of the Berlin State Museums’ antiquities collection.

A companion warrior piece that also disappeared after the war was recently unearthed at a university museum in Bochum, located in western Germany. Representatives from the state collection are negotiating its return with the university.