Art: Case of the Looted Relics

Once highflying, the Getty is beset by charges of stolen antiquities and profligate executive perks

Great art museums are in part about the beautiful display of money: dearly acquired works shown in costly surroundings. By that standard, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is among the greatest. It occupies a Richard Meier-designed campus of Italian travertine high in the Santa Monica Mountains. It husbands a $5 billion-plus endowment. With that war chest--the legacy of oil mogul J. Paul Getty, who died in 1976--it built in a few decades a collection that would have taken another museum generations.

Now the Getty is getting attention for the kinds of spending that museums don't brag about. Next...

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