Art Controversy: The J. Paul Getty Museum
Agrees to Change Its Policy on the Purchase of Antiquities
10/26/2006 - In a recent art
controversy with Italian authorities, the J. Paul
Getty Museum has agreed to return disputed antiquities.
This art controversy has caused the Getty to change its
acquisition policy and only buy those works which have
been in the United States for at last 36 years or those
works legally exported.
This accords with rules designed to avoid art controversy
used by U.K museums in an effort to reduce the link between
museum sites and illegal antiquities traffic of looted
According to the Getty's new rules in resolving this art
controversy, legal exports are those leaving their home country
after Nov. 17, 1970 with proper documentation, an idea which
was first adopted by a U.N convention.
Former Getty curator, Marion True, embroiled in this art
controversy for more than a year, has been brought up for trial
in Rome on charges that she obtained ancient art which was
illegal excavated for the museum. She denies the charges
claiming that she obtained them in good faith.
Art Controversy Over Euphronios Krater Resolved with its
Return to Italy
Like the Getty, the Metropolitan Museum has recently
resolved its own similar art controversy regarding illicit
antiquities when it returned the famous Euphronios
Krater to Italy last year. The Euphronios Krater
is a Greek red-figure vessel excavated in Italy for mixing
wine, and there are only 27 vessels by Euphronios known to
After an investigation into this art controversy, it was
determined that the Metropolitan had purchased the krater from
Robert Hecht, an antiquities dealer based in Rome, who in turn
had acquired it in 1972 from Giocomo Medici, an Italian dealer
convicted in 2006 of selling stolen artifacts.
Brenda Harness, Art Historian