Getty Museum Will Return 2 Antiquities to Greece
September 17, 2006
After months of intense scrutiny of its collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles said today that it had agreed to relinquish ownership of two of four rare ancient works that the government of Greece says were illegally removed from within its borders.
The compromise accord, which was initially reached in May at a meeting in Athens between the museum’s director, Michael Brand, and the Greek culture minister, Georgios A. Voulgarakis, provides for the return to Greece of a large stele, or grave marker, acquired by the museum in 1993 and a small marble relief from the island of Thasos bought by the museum’s founder, the oil magnate J. Paul Getty, in 1955.
The Getty has not yet worked out the formal arrangement under which the stele and the relief will be repatriated, but officials said the accord might include a provision for long-term loans from Greece. Talks are continuing on the other two objects sought by the Greek government, with goal of reaching an accord by late August, officials said.
Mr. Brand said the museum decided to give up title to the stele and votive relief even though negotiations are incomplete because the Getty was eager to establish a new working relationship with Greece.
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