Advice to the Getty: Ownership is not the answer

Michael Kimmelman’s vision for the much-troubled and much-maligned Getty in the 21st century (New York Times, “Departure at Getty Trust Highlights Intrinsic Flaws,” 2/13/06) is one that would mirror that of the Met a century ago: to purchase great art and, gradually, to become a great museum.

But times have changed, and nowhere more obviously than in the area of classical antiquities. Why shouldn’t the Getty Trust, with its spectacular wealth, its enormous prominence among the world’s art centers, and its relative institutional youth, challenge the very notion of art ownership?