International Law

CA Museum Returns Allegedly Stolen Art

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Ending a long-standing dispute over the ownership of some of the most prized art works in its collection, the J.P. Getty Museum has agreed to return to the Italian government 40 antiquities illegally excavated and exported from that country.

The draft agreement is still being finalized, but will return to Italy masterpieces such as a statue of Aphrodite from the 5th century B.C., reports the Los Angeles Times. It has already been the subject of a complaint from the museum’s former antiquities curator, Marion True, who is now on trial in Rome on charges of having trafficked in looted art and whose “pursuit of the Aphrodite has been a major focus of her trial,” the article says.

True is the only museum official charged, although all the purchases she recommended were also approved by the museum’s director and board of trustees, the Times reports. In a recent letter, the newspaper says, “True complained bitterly that the Getty’s return of objects involved in her criminal case had hurt her defense.”

“Marion’s situation is tragic,” says Ron Hartwig, a Getty spokesman. “We have, however, tried throughout this process to keep the two issues separate, and focus on resolving the claims for the objects with Italy with the great hope that it would have a positive impact on Marion’s situation.”

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