Chasing Aphrodite : The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum
Overview - In recent years, several of America's leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? Read more...
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More About Chasing Aphrodite by Jason Felch; Ralph Frammolino
In recent years, several of America's leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity?
The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world's richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty's dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller--the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO--but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail.
Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite
exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished facade of the museum business.
- ISBN-13: 9780151015016
- ISBN-10: 0151015015
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
- Publish Date: May 2011
- Page Count: 375
- Dimensions: 9.31 x 6.29 x 1.23 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.29 pounds
Books > Antiques & Collectibles > Art
Books > Art > Art & Politics
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In an authoritative account, two reporters who led a Los Angeles Times investigation, reveal the details of the Getty Museum's illicit purchases, from smugglers and fences, of looted Greek and Roman antiquities. In 2005, the Italians indicted former Getty curator Marion True for trafficking in looted antiquities, and by 2007, after protracted negotiations, the Getty agreed to return 40 of 46 artifacts demanded by the Italian government; Italy in turn agreed to loan the Getty comparable objects. One of the major pieces lost by the Getty was an Aphrodite statue purchased by True to put the Getty on the map. But still eluding the Italians is the Getty Bronze, a statue of an athlete hauled out of international waters in 1964 by Italian fishermen; it was the prized acquisition of the Getty's first antiquities curator, Jiri Frel, who brought thousands more looted antiquities into the museum through a tax-fraud scheme. The authors offer an excellent recap of the museum's misdeeds, brimming with tasty details of the scandal that motivated several of America's leading art museums to voluntarily return to Italy and Greece some 100 classical antiquities worth more than half a billion dollars. 8 pages of b&w photos. (May)