Clock Runs Out on Trial of Antiquities Dealer

  • January 31, 2012 12:12

  • Email
Cult Statue of a Goddess (the "Aphrodite" aka "Morgantina Venus"), 425-400 B.C., Greek, recently was returned to Sicily by the J. Paul Getty Museum

A three-judge panel in Rome threw out the trial of American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, 92, ruling that the statue of limitations on the alleged crimes had run out.

Accused of receiving artifacts illegally looted from Italy and conspiring to deal in them, Hecht was on trial for six years, concurrently with Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, who was indicted on similar charges. Her trial ended when the statue of limitations expired in 2010.

Hecht sold ancient treasures to museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His lawyer was dismayed that Hecht was not exonerated while the prosecutor, Paolo Ferri, was frustrated, saying that the Italian justice system was slow. "It is mortifying," said Ferri.

Since the Marion True trial, many museums have adopted more rigourous policies for researching the provenance of antiquities.

Several museums have also agreed with the Italian government to return contested antiquities. Notably, the Getty Villa in Malibu sent its prized "Cult Statue of a Goddess" back to Italy last year. Although the Getty never admitted wrongdoing in their purchase, Sicilian authorities contend the over 7-foot goddess, thought to represent Persephone or Aphrodite, was illegally excavated in the late 1970s. The museum had paid $18 million for the piece in 1988.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was the first American museum to have a dedicated Curator of Provenance, a full-time provenance research position now held by Victoria Reed, who studies the history of ownership of works currently in the MFA's collection and verifies clear title to new acquisitions.

Read more at New York Times


  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) Sunset, 1830-5.

After 13 Years, ARTFIXdaily to Cease Daily News Service

  • ArtfixDaily / August 15th, 2022

ARTFIXdaily will end weekday e-newsletter service after 13 years of publishing art world press releases, events and ...

Read More...
Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Critical Mass, 2002 (Courtesy of the Cheech Marin Collection and Riverside Art Museum).

Inaugural Exhibition at The Cheech Highlights Groundbreaking Chicano Artists

  • ArtfixDaily / July 7th, 2022

One of the nation’s first permanent spaces dedicated to showcasing Chicano art and culture opened on June ...

Read More...
Jacob Lawrence,.  .  .  is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?—Patrick Henry,1775 , Panel 1, 1955, from Struggle: From the History of the American People, 1954–56, egg tempera on hardboard.  Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross.  © 2022 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Crystal Bridges Explores the U.S. Constitution Through Art in New Exhibition 'We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy'

  • ArtfixDaily / July 7th, 2022

Original print of the U.S. Constitution headlines exhibition sponsored by Ken Griffin (who purchased it for $43.2 ...

Read More...
Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), Christ of St John of the Cross, 1951, oil on canvas © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Dalí / El Greco Side-by-Side Exhibit Prompts: 'Are They Really Paintings of the Same Thing?'

  • ArtfixDaily / July 6th, 2022

From July 9 to December 4, 2022, The Auckland Project in the U.K. will unite two Spanish masterpieces from British ...

Read More...

Related Press Releases

ARTFIXdaily Artwire