“The Fleischmann Collection was just a front” - updates on the Marion True trial

The latest hearing in the Marion True trial links Getty to convicted dealer, again



The latest hearings in the trial of former Getty antiquities curator, Marion True, and dealer Robert Hecht, both charged with conspiring to receive illegally excavated antiquities, took place in Rome on 15 and 20 February.

At the centre of the hearings was the allegation that the Fleischmann Collection of antiquities, from which the Getty acquired many works, was a front. In 1991 Ms Fleischmann sold Ms True nine pieces because she said she needed money. The prosecution asked why she then continued to acquire more objects only to hand everything over to the Getty as a partial gift in 1996.

Archaeological consultant, Daniela Rizzo, who has advised prosecutor Paolo Giorgio Ferri throughout the trial took the stand again. Ms Rizzo compared documents from the Getty with documents seized from Giacomo Medici, the Italian art dealer found guilty in 2004 of selling looted antiquities; he remains free pending appeal. She alleged that vessels acquired by the Getty were also recorded in Medici’s files. In some cases, Medici’s photographs showed Getty pieces with traces of fresh soil as though recently excavated.

The court also heard that, in most instances, the Getty pieced together Attic vessels from fragments acquired from disparate sources over several years. Ms Rizzo alleged that the shards could be traced to one source, Giacomo Medici, and that Ms True was aware of this. The Getty’s method of acquisition, fragment by fragment, was designed to cover up the pieces’ dubious origins, alleged Ms Rizzo. The next hearing is set for 14 March.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as '“The Fleischmann Collection was just a front”'