October 23, 2006
The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) congratulates the J. Paul Getty Museum for its recent decision to strengthen its acquisition policies for works of art including ancient art and archaeological materials. The revised policy, announced on October 23, 2006, requires that works of ancient art and archaeological materials being considered for acquisition must have been documented outside of their countries of origin by November 17, 1970. Alternatively, documentation must be provided to show that such works were legally exported from their countries of origin after November 17, 1970. This is the date of the adoption of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. By taking this stand, the Getty brings greater transparency to its process of acquisition by posting its policy on its website and by making provenance information concerning its acquisitions available to the public. Download PDF of new Getty policy.
This new policy goes well beyond the guidelines recommended by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and brings the Getty largely into line with the essential elements of a museum acquisitions policy advocated by the AIA. The AIA applauds the Getty Museum for taking this principled stand to avoid acquiring undocumented antiquities that are the likely product of recent site looting, and hopes that other museums will soon follow suit.