In a recent effort to become more transparent, the Getty is currently attempting to verify the origins of the antiquities within its broad collection. According to recent reports, the Getty hopes to not only verify some 45,000 items in its collection, but also create an online database to house their findings.
Of the undertaking, Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig stated, “In this effort, and in all our work, when we identify objects that warrant further discussion and research, we conduct the necessary research to determine whether an item should be returned.” The Getty came under fire recently after publishing a catalog, “Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum.” The ambers in the catalog were soon revealed to have been looted from northern Italy.
Although noble, this verification process will no doubt prove to be lengthy and problematic. Since 2007, the Getty has returned a mere 50 looted objects to their respective countries of origin. The verification process is likely to reveal many more. According to various interviews, hundreds of objects were acquired by the Getty under false or questionable pretenses.