DePaul Law Professor Patty Gerstenblith discussed the J. Paul Getty Museum's "Victorious Youth" statue for the LA Times piece "The Getty's Victorious Youth' is subject of a custody fight":
Patty Gerstenblith, a leading advocate of protecting archaeological sites and sending looted art back to nations of origin, said that "Victorious Youth" shouldn't be considered a looted work and needn't be returned. Italy never had a legally valid ownership claim, she said, because the statue wasn't found in Italian waters or on Italian soil, and it wasn't made or owned by modern Italy's Roman and Etruscan forebears.
Known informally as the "Getty Bronze," the statue is no stranger to legal battles. It was discovered in 1964 in international waters off the coast of Italy and has been on display at the Getty since 1978, attracting more than 400,000 visitors a year. Italian authorities have repeatedly tried -- and failed -- to claim the Getty Bronze as state property, beginning in the late 1960s.
In recent years, an Italian prosecutor filed a new claim and a decision by the Court of Cassation in Rome is currently pending.
Professor Gerstenblith also had a letter to the editor published in a recent Saturday edition of the newspaper. Her letter was written in response to an opinion piece, "More laws, less treasure," which argued that cultural property laws lead to a decline in archaeological discoveries. In response, Professor Gerstenblith noted that the author of the opinion piece confused correlation with causation and also failed to distinguish between national ownership laws and other "patrimonial" laws such as export controls.