Friday, December 30, 2005

OpinionJournal - Taste-Finders Keepers?-'Antiquities Gotcha' threatens some of the world's best museums.

OpinionJournal - Taste: "DE GUSTIBUS

Finders Keepers?
'Antiquities Gotcha' threatens some of the world's best museums.

Friday, December 30, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

The parlor game of the moment is 'Antiquities Gotcha.' The aim is to ask pointed questions that cast doubt on the collections of any number of elite institutions. For instance: 'Did the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, say, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts really come about their holdings of antique vases and statuary in a lawful manner?' Or: 'Will former Getty curator Marion True, on trial in Rome for conspiring to traffic in looted art, go to jail?' Or, most momentously: 'Will the Met and other museums have to return items in their collections to a country of origin?'

These are hardly unimportant questions, to be sure. Museums stand for many things in our society, and one of the most fundamental is probity. In theory, no object enters their collections when its authenticity is in doubt. And museums are required to exercise due diligence when they receive a new object, checking its ownership history."

No comments: