Experts say art looted during Armenian genocide a growing issue

KPCC 14 March 2011
By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Experts at a Loyola Law School panel on Friday said a growing number of legal cases involve art looted during the Armenian genocide nearly a century ago.

The most prominent case involves the Getty Museum. Last year, the Southern California-based Armenian Apostolic Church sued the Getty for the return of seven pages ripped from a medieval Armenian bible.

The church says the pages were stolen during the Armenian Genocide near present-day Turkey. The Getty says it legally bought the manuscripts.

That case continues, says Heghnar Watenpaugh, an art scholar at UC Davis. "I’m convinced that this case has inspired a lot of people, has inspired them to think about these issues, to think about their Armenian heritage, to research it, to become aware of it, and I think it will have a broader effect in informing, educating people about Armenian art, so that’s very positive. But also educating museums that they might hold artworks that maybe have questionable background and it should be looking at that."

She spoke at Loyola Law School’s Center for the Study of Law and Genocide, founded with seed money from Armenian-Americans. The Turkish government vehemently opposes the use of the term “genocide.”
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