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Corsair or Connoisseur?

October 02, 1988

Stephen Braun's article, "Going After the Getty" (Sept. 17), was admirable for its incisiveness and detail, but far too gentlemanly in tone. Thomas Hoving is a cultural pirate. His tenure as head of the Metropolitan Museum in New York was colored not merely by bad judgment, but by his amoral modus operandi. That he should pose as judge and jury over the acquisition policies of the Getty Museum is absurd.

Thomas Hoving was not even considered for a directorial post at the Getty Museum, undoubtedly due to his ill-disguised "swap meet" mentality. After all, as director of the Getty, who's to say he wouldn't trade off a classical statue or two for a couple of more Rembrandts? Better yet, why not swap the Getty Museum for the Cloisters?

New Yorkers, of course, would soon notice the difference, but as Hoving reassures us, "being a connoisseur is merely the art of appreciating what you've got."

THEODORE CRANE

Los Angeles

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