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The Fleischman Collection and the Getty

In response to:

'The Medici Conspiracy': An Exchange from the July 13, 2006 issue

To the Editors:

It was distressing and troubling to read in the July 13 edition’s letters to the editors a totally false statement regarding my husband and me by Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini.

It is stated that the Getty had been negotiating to acquire the Fleischman collection since 1992. Nothing could be further from the truth!

For some years our strong allegiance had been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which I still strongly support) and our notion was that ultimately the collection might go to that institution.

We met Marion True and John Walsh in late 1991 at a Getty symposium. Shortly thereafter they visited our collection and asked to exhibit it in conjunction with other museums that had expressed interest. During the exhibition, which was shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Getty in 1994, we were struck by the installation, creativity, skills, and educational outreach of Dr. True and her staff.

In February 1996, my husband proposed to me that we offer the collection to the Getty. His thought, with which I enthusiastically concurred, was that the museums in the East were so rich in their antiquities collections that it might be more fun to enrich a fine but smaller collection on the West Coast.

Then, and only then, did we call John Walsh and Marion True to inform them of our intent. Never had the disposition of our collection been discussed with anyone!

It would have been journalistically appropriate if the writers had merely come to me to try to confirm their incorrect statement instead of merely printing an untruth. Is this authentic journalism or masking a political agenda? I must praise Mr. Eakin for his conscientious persistence in illuminating the truth about so many of the issues incorrectly stated in the letter.

Barbara G. Fleischman

New York City

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