Alexa

Ex-Curator Say Getty Aware of Risks

Ex-Curator Say Getty Aware of Risks

Marion True, former J. Paul Getty Museum curator, says the institution is letting her take the fall in a looted art case that has resulted in agreements to return 30 contested antiquities to both Greece and Italy, according to a published report.
True wrote in a letter to the J. Paul Getty Trust that her superiors were aware of the risks of buying antiquities and had approved the acquisitions. The Dec. 18 letter was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
True and art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome for allegedly receiving archaeological treasures stolen from private collections or dug up illicitly. They deny wrongdoing.
True said in the letter that the museum has left her to "carry the burden" for the purchases and complained that the Getty has not publicly defended her innocence or explained her role at the museum.
The Getty's "calculated silence ... has been acknowledged universally, especially in the archaeological countries, as a tacit acceptance of my guilt," True said in the two-page letter addressed to acting Getty Chief Executive Deborah Marrow, Museum Director Michael Brand and Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig.
The Getty is paying for True's defense in Italy and Greece, which also brought charges against her, and has said that True is being unfairly singled out by foreign prosecutors.
"We certainly hope that she will be exonerated, but with her at trial, I don't want to be any more specific that that," Hartwig told the newspaper. Telephone and e-mail messages left for Hartwig by The Associated Press were not immediately returned Friday. The museum was closed for the holidays.
Hartwig acknowledged to the Times that in the past True's criminal problems have complicated negotiations with Greece and Italy over the return of allegedly looted antiquities. He said that current Getty officials hope the recent returns will build a rapport with the governments and have a "therapeutic impact" on her legal situation.
But True said in her letter that giving items back to the countries without any public statement in support of her has not helped her situation.
In recent months, the Getty has agreed to return 30 contested antiquities to both Italy and Greece. Earlier this month, the Getty agreed to return a golden funerary wreath, the focus of the Greek case.
About that latest return, True said: "Once again you have chosen to announce the return of objects that are directly related to criminal charges filed against me by a foreign government ... without a word of support for me, without any explanation of my role in the institution, and without any reference to my innocence."
True was the Getty antiquities curator from 1986 to 2005, when she was asked to retire. She was responsible for recommending what objects the museum should buy from private dealers and at public auctions. Approval of her recommendations rested with the museum director, the Getty Trust's chief executive and members of the board of trustees.
Harry Stang, True's Los Angeles attorney, was not immediately available for comment.


Updated : 2020-12-04 16:14 GMT+08:00