|Getty Museum returns 3 pieces of art to Italy|
Herald Tribune 12/11/2005
Italian cultural officials on Friday welcomed the return to Italy of three important pieces from the antiquities collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Southern California.
The officials spoke of a "shift in thinking" on the part of American museums and greater sensitivity about buying works of art with suspicious credentials.
"The age of trafficking in ancient art pieces is over," Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione told reporters at a news conference.
In September, the Getty agreed to return a 2,300-year old vase believed to have been painted by Asteas; a fifth century B.C. bronze Etruscan candelabrum; and a sixth century B.C. stone inscription. The vase was the object of a forfeiture complaint filed last year by the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, which alleged that it been illegally excavated in Italy.
The return of the objects coincides with the resumption of the trail of Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the Getty, and Robert Hecht Jr., a prominent U.S. art dealer. They are standing trial in Rome on charges of conspiring to import illegally excavated antiquities.
A prosecutor, Paolo Ferri, said the pieces returned this week were not part of the specific case against True or Hecht.