Modern Antiquities: The Looted and the Faked

Start: May 21, 2013 02:00 PM

Location: Room 612, Institute of Archaeology

Modern Antiquities: The Looted and the Faked

David A. Scott (UCLA/Getty Conservation Programme) will give a lecture regarding aspects of the acquisition of art at the Institute on 21 May.


This talk discusses some of the issues regarding the acquisition of art and the different philosophical views of some of the main protagonists regarding the reclaiming of art by nation states, following American museums acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO convention, using examples from the Getty Museum and the Metropolitan. The mediation of NAGPRA claims by conservators is often an important component of the dialogue between Museums and Native Indian communities.  The philosophical and art historical opinions regarding the value of copies and reproductions of works of art has oscillated from promulgation in the 1860’s to outright rejection by the 1920’s, and is now in a modernist sense, once again open to reevaluation as host nations demand back more originals than ever before. Arguments against the claims of nationalist-retentionist countries and those advanced in favour of the claims of Nation-States regarding the repatriation of their art are discussed. The problems created by looted art in association with the ever-increasing number of fakes is highlighted, with examples of the issues surrounding pre-Columbian art and some classical antiquities.  The utility of copies in relation to the protective value on the authentic is discussed in the context of Museum examples in which the concept of the utilization of copies for Museum display has been accepted in certain cases as desirable.

The paper resulting from this talk has been published in the latest issue of International Journal of Cultural Property.


Dr David A. Scott is Professor, Department of Art History, UCLA, and Founding Director, (2003-2011) UCLA/Getty Conservation Programme. He took his PhD from the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 1981 and then lectured at the Institute until 1987 when he left to take up the position of Head, Getty Museum Research Lab based in Malibu.  He left that position to head up the new conservation training programme based at UCLA which began to accept students in 2005.  The program is now recognised for its strengths in archaeological and ethnographic conservation work.  Dr Scott is the author of over 120 articles and eight books, he now intends to enjoy himself working on the subjects of fakes, authenticity and metallography.

Any enquiries about this event may be directed to Elizabeth Pye