Monday, August 29, 2005

Getty Museum ownership disputes

The Getty Museum, home to a world class collection of art and antiquities, is facing allegations from the Italian government that it obtained items which were looted and smuggled. The article also contains a comment and update on the situaton with Egypt's claims against the museum. Earlier in the year Zahi Hawass wrote to request the return of a piece: "But the claim was sketchy and confusing, says Suzanne Hall, spokeswoman for the Virginia museum. Hawass' letter described the piece, supposedly looted from a temple at Behbeit el-Hagara, as a depiction of the god Hapi — but it's the museum's belief that the relief, purchased in 1963 from a dealer in New York, shows a different god, Khonsu. Hall says the museum researched the sculpture's provenance, checked the Art Loss Register, a leading database of lost and stolen objects, and found no evidence that there was a problem. Museum attorneys twice wrote to the Egyptian government asking for more information, and received no answer, she says. When he was in Los Angeles in mid-June for the opening of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hawass told The Times that the theft apparently had not been reported properly when it occurred and that his staff was gathering information to support the claim against the Virginia museum".
See the article for more about the Getty Museum allegations.

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