Skip to comments.Documents: Getty had clues it was obtaining possibly looted art
Posted on 09/25/2005 12:57:18 PM PDT by BenLurkin
LOS ANGELES (AP) Lawyers for the J. Paul Getty Museum have determined that half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection were bought from dealers suspected of selling artifacts embezzled from Italy, according to a published report Sunday.
Getty officials knew as early as 1985 that several of their suppliers were selling artworks that probably had been looted, but the museum continued the acquisitions, according to hundreds of documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Italian authorities are demanding the return of 42 objects in the Getty collection they believe were stolen, including ancient urns, vases and a 5-foot marble statue of Apollo.
Getty's attorneys found that the museum had bought 82 artworks from dealers and galleries under investigation by Italian officials, including 54 of the 104 ancient artworks that the Getty identified as masterpieces, the Times reported.
The antiquities dealers, Giacomo Medici and Robert E. Hecht Jr., have been charged by Italian authorities with conspiring to traffic in looted antiquities. Medici, who was convicted last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison, remains free during his appeal. The trial for True and Hecht will resume in November in Rome.
In a statement released Friday, the Getty said that it had ``never knowingly acquired an object that had been illegally excavated or exported. ``
Although dealers under investigation ``have been discredited,'' the statement said, that ``does not mean that any object acquired from one of them was illegally excavated or exported.''
In a 1985 memo, Getty officials learned from Medici that three objects the museum had amassed were taken from ruins near Naples decades after Italian law made it illegal, the newspaper said. The museum completed the purchase for $10.2 million.
A year later, an acting curator accused the museum in a resignation letter of ignoring problems in the antiquities department, writing that the Getty's ``curatorial avarice'' would lead to an investigation and the return of looted artifacts.
In correspondence with Getty's chief antiquities curator Marion True, Medici and another dealer, Hecht, described artifacts they were offering in language that suggested they were illegally removed. In one letter, Hecht told True that an ancient urn was being sought by Italian police. The Getty later purchased the object.
In 1993, the Getty bought an ancient gold funerary wreath despite True's initial qualms that the piece was ``too dangerous'' to acquire. The museum later received a copy of an Interpol cable describing the item as having an ``illicit origin,'' the Times reported.
Along with most of the beer...
I've been wanting to go to the Getty for years, but have never made it. Are they still having people park near Westwood Blvd. and be shuttled in?
The Museum wants to clear this up. It is one thing for the oligarchy to bring art to the laboring masses, but if the masses also detect a whiff of illegality--something they suspect at the cellular level when it comes to corporations--the purpose of the museum is cancelled out.
Thanks, my bad.
For your art ping list
Let Sam Cree or I know if you want on or off this list.
Great post; thanks LexBaird for letting me know about it.
I was standing there yesterday. A beautiful place. Lovely stuff, that oil money.
My favourite museum in the world. I am not surprised though. The high end art world is a cesspool. The British Museum and the Louvre are also full of pillaged treasures.
Stark family donates 28 masterpieces to J. Paul Getty Trust
Baltimore Sun | 5/3/05 | Associated Press
Posted on 05/04/2005 6:25:48 AM EDT by Republicanprofessor
Getty fattens its Rubens trove
Los Angeles Times | May 8, 2006 | Christopher Reynolds
Posted on 05/09/2006 9:42:03 AM EDT by Republicanprofessor
CA: Getty Curator on Trial for Acquiring Stolen Antiquities
LA Times a paper hardly read... | 7/18/05 | Tracy Wilkinson
Posted on 07/18/2005 6:57:33 PM EDT by BurbankKarl
Getty to return three ancient pieces to Italy
La Times | Jason Felch
Posted on 10/04/2005 2:00:34 PM EDT by woofie
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.Getty Museum relinquishes ownership of two Greek antiquitiesThe artifacts a sixth-century B.C. votive relief and a fourth-century B.C. carved tombstone will be flown back to Greece by the end of August, a culture ministry official said. Talks will continue "in the near future" in Athens on the possible restitution of another two ancient treasures in the Getty collection a gold wreath dating from about 400 B.C. and a sixth-century B.C. marble statue of a young woman that Greece wants back, the joint statement said... The marble relief, which depicts two women offering gifts to a seated goddess, was found by French archaeologists on the island of Thassos about 100 years ago and stolen from a storeroom. The Getty bought it in 1955. The black stone tombstone, incised with the figure of a young warrior named Athanias, was acquired by the Getty in the early 1990s. Greek authorities say it was illegally excavated near Thebes an antiquities-rich town some 56 miles northwest of Athens between 1992-96.
San Diego Union-Tribune
August 22, 2006
I believe you have Getty confused with someone else though I'm not sure who.
There's just no excuse for all the shenanigans in the curatorial department over the years, though.They knew exactly what they were doing & it's hard to imagine that the board was oblivious.
There's gypsies in the Palace...
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