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Italian judge orders Getty Museum to return prized bronze statue

An Italian judge ordered the seizure today of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s iconic statue of a bronze athlete, citing the museum’s “grave negligence” in its acquisition of the piece in 1977.

As The Times reported last month, the Getty bought the ancient statue despite the legal concerns of the museum’s founder, who insisted its purchase be cleared with Italian authorities. The statue was acquired after his death.

The ruling is the first time an Italian court has demanded the return of the statue, which has been the subject of heated negotiations between Italy’s culture ministry and the Getty since the 1970s.

The Getty vowed today to appeal the ruling to Italy’s highest court, noting that previous Italian courts have thrown out Italy’s demand for the statue, which was found by Italian fishermen in international waters in 1964 and smuggled out of the country sometime after.

If the ruling is upheld, Italy will have to convince a U.S. court that it should be enforced under American law. 

-- Jason Felch

RELATED:

Culture Monster blog: Judge in Italy orders return of Getty Bronze

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

I don't want to see the statue leave Los Angeles, but if it does, shouldn't it go back to its original place of origin - Greece?

The italians have no real claim to this statue. The Getty should do everything in it's power to keep it. Many of the italian government's claims are questionable concerning art at a lot of the museums around the world. This is an easy way to claim art without having to compete with richer nations.


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