March 26, 2009 | Prosecutions of art dealers in U.S. and foreign courts for trading in antiquities are on the rise, but only one criminal case so far involves an American museum official. Last week, for the first time since her trial for conspiracy to traffic in stolen antiquities began four years ago, former J. Paul Getty Museum curator Marion True spoke out in open court. Responding to testimony by archaeologist Daniela Rizzo that a person with True's expertise should have recognized that objects were looted, True calmly stated that she had always acted properly in contacting Italian cultural authorities to inquire about objects under consideration for purchase by the Getty. True also noted that the museum had returned artworks if there was any proof they had come from illegal excavations, regardless of any statute of limitations. True's statement hints at the defense's future strategy in this already convoluted case: to review the museum's acquisition of each allegedly looted object and place at least some of the burden on the Italian government to explain how its cultural authorities dropped the ball.
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All