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Turkey to major museums: return art looted from us

March 31, 2012

A bronze head of a youth at the Getty is among the items that Turkey has requested. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa / March 31, 2012).

Turkey is ramping up demands for art they claim was illicitly excavated and sold to major museums. The Art Newspaper and Los Angeles Times report Turkey has not only requested the return of dozens of artifacts from the Getty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but they’re also blocking loans to exhibitions at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the Met until the works are repatriated.

Already the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has returned the so-called “Weary Herakles” and pressure is increasing on Washington, DC’s Dumbarton Oaks to return the Sion Treasure, a collection they purchased in 1966 and which Turkish officials have been seeking to reclaim since 1968. Turkey is getting more strenuous in enforcing a law that claims all artifacts discovered from 1906 onward is national property.  Italy and Greece have waged successful multi-year campaigns that have resulted in the return of dozens of antiquities, among them the Euphronius Krater, a prized acquisition by the Met.

Excellent coverage at the  Chasing Aphrodite blog includes a published list of artifacts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection currently owned by the Met that Turkey wants returned. Here’s a sampling:

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