ArtNowLA" />

Getty To Return Ancient Bronze Head To Turkey

Head from a Statue of a Youth, ca. 100 BCE–100 CE.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announced that it would return to Turkey an ancient life-size bronze sculpture of a young man’s head. The museum acquired the work, which dates to 100 BCE–100 CE, in 1971 from dealer Nicolas Koutoulakis, who was later discovered to have sold to the Getty other artifacts that had been looted. The institution said it had recently received from Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s office information confirming that the object had been illegally excavated. The head has been taken off view at the Getty and will be returned at a future date.

“In light of new information recently provided by Matthew Bogdanos and the Antiquities Trafficking Unit of the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicating the illegal excavation of this bronze head, we agreed that the object needed to be returned to Türkiye,” said Getty director Timothy Potts in a statement. Neither Potts nor the DA’s office has provided details regarding the new information.

Thought to have been removed from the archaeological site of Roman-era Bubon in southwestern Turkey’s Burdur province, from which many antiquities were looted in the 1960s, the head appears to have been a separately cast portion of a life-size figure, which has not yet been discovered. Also unknown is the identity of the individual it portrays, though the letter A, inscribed on the neck’s interior, may turn out to provide a clue.

This is not the first of the Getty’s treasures purchased from Koutoulakis that it has had to return. The New York Times reports that it repatriated a carved object to Greece in 2011 after that country’s investigators determined it had been part of a funerary wreath in one of its museums.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!