Museums loath to admit that some objects that they hold have dubious provenance or questionable title. From time to time, it is inevitable that one or two pieces may need verification of ownership. In the case of the J. Paul Getty Museum this little house cleaning, verification process will affect 45,000 objects.
Co-author of “Chasing Aphrodite,” Jason Felch, wrote an article about Getty’s plans; it appeared in the January 19, 2013 issue of LA Times. He writes: “In the wake of a scandal over its acquisition of looted antiquities, the J. Paul Getty Museum is trying to verify the ownership histories of 45,000 antiquities and publish the results in the museum’s online collections database. The study, part of the museum’s efforts to be more transparent about the origins of ancient art in its collection, began last summer, said Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig.”
Allegedly, Getty abandoned acquisition of ancient art, but the existing holdings will consume “unparalleled resources” before and if historians succeed in uncovering their provenance history.
Read the full story about the collection with so many objects acquired with problematic ownership here.