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Understanding statue's history

January 07, 2007

Re "The Getty's troubled goddess," Jan. 3

The article on the Getty Museum's Cult Statue of a Goddess underscores how new information can change assumptions about the provenance of antiquities. The statue was acquired based on information available at the time. The Italian government was notified and the statue was placed on public display. Italy only made a request for return of the statue last year.

Our research into the Cult Statue has involved art historical research, a review of documents and opinions from museum professionals. We informed the Italian Ministry of Culture that we would share our information and work with them to expand the search for additional information.

In October, we proposed shared ownership while we collaborated on research, with arbitration available should research fail to produce conclusive evidence about ownership of the statue. The ministry rejected this approach. In November, we offered to transfer full title to the statue during the study period, but this didn't work either.

I'm disappointed The Times did not include these facts.

We want to understand the complex history of the Cult Statue and resolve this matter. The Getty and Italy share common interests and we must find a way to put differences behind us.

MICHAEL BRAND

Director

J. Paul Getty Museum

Brentwood

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