The Italian Almanac

Getty museum

Italian News - May 20

In a long-running legal battle with broad implications for museum collections worldwide, a senior curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has been indicted in Italy on criminal charges involving the acquisition of precious antiquities in this archaeologically rich country, authorities in Rome said.

Marion True, 56, curator for antiquities at the prestigious museum and director of the Getty Villa, an adjunct site near Malibu that once was home to the main museum, is accused of criminal conspiracy to receive stolen goods and illicit receipt of archaeological items. It also is alleged that True essentially laundered goods that were purchased by a private collection and then sold to the Getty in paper transactions that created phony documentation.

If the prosecution is successful, the Italians intend to pursue additional cases at other museums. The plunder of Italy for its artwork is a crime tantamount to "stealing history," the indictment reads in part. By attempting to prosecute an official from the world's richest art museum, Italian authorities hope to send a clear message that they no longer will tolerate the vast and systematic robbing of antiquities from a country so replete with historical treasures.