Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 24, 2011 - Art - 384 pages
3 Reviews
In recent years, several of America’s leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? 

The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller—the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO—but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail. 

Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Scarchin - LibraryThing

Fascinating and appalling account of how the Getty museum (along with most other major US museums) contributed to the looting of European antiquities through an elaborate system of corruption among the wealthy elites. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tammydotts - LibraryThing

The surprisingly hard-to-put-down Chasing Aphrodite traces how the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles built its impressive collection of classic artifacts along with its impressive reputation, only ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
Part I Windfalls and Coverups
7
Part II The Temptation of Marion True
111
Part III After Such Knowledge What Forgiveness?
194
Beyond Ownership
309
Acknowledgments
315
Notes
318
Further Reading
360
Index
362
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

JASON FELCH is an investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times. In 2006 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for exposing the role of the J. Paul Getty Museum and other American museums in the black market for looted antiquities. His work has also been honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Education Writers Association, the National Association of Science Writers, and the Society for Environmental Journalism. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife and son.

RALPH FRAMMOLINO reported for nearly 25 years at the Los Angeles Times, where he and former colleague Jason Felch were finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their articles about the J.Paul Getty Museum and looted antiquities. His work has also appeared in the New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review. Frammolino is now a media consultant for various aid projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, where he trains working journalists on investigative reporting techniques and right to information laws.

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