The Authors

This blog is written and maintained by Jason Felch. The book Chasing Aphrodite was written by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino.

Jason is an award-winning author and investigative reporter who has spent a decade researching the illicit antiquities trade. He has also written on topics such as arms trafficking, forensic DNA, disaster fraud, money laundering, and public education.

In 2006, Felch and Frammolino were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for exposing the role of the J. Paul Getty Museum and other American museums in the black market for looted antiquities. Their book on the topic, Chasing Aphrodite, was a Los Angeles Times best-seller and has been awarded the California Book Award, the SAFE Beacon Award and the ARCA Award for Art Crime Scholarship.


Jason is available for speaking engagements on topics including museum ethics; the illicit antiquities trade; art crime and international law enforcement; the ethics and law of collecting; the history of the J. Paul Getty Museum; crisis management; and investigative journalism.

The museum scandals described in the book have local relevance for cities including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Princeton, Dallas/Ft. Worth, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, New Haven, and Washington DC.


Please send inquiries to:

21 responses to “The Authors

  1. Pingback: ‘Chasing Aprhodite’ authors Jason Felch, Ralph Frammolino: Live Chat, May 23 : Reynolds Center for Business Journalism

  2. I have information about how items are smuggled as I lived and worked overseas for decades with a major U.S. Bank. I wanted Mr.. Ralph Frammolino to be aware of some of the things I first-hand experienced with the pervasive stealing that goes on. Just read his article in the Nov. 2011 Smithsonian on “A Goddess Goes Home” and have a few experiences to add for his purview. Please pass on my name/e-mail and I will bring some items to his attention that I know from both the former USSR and from Egypt. I worked in both places for several years. Thanks. Karl Biniarz

  3. to the authors:
    I was in the first class of trained docents at the Getty and remember what a wonderful time we all had (innocents in the museum world). I remember Jiri Frel very well—an imposing enthusiastic figure–always striding thru the galleries and very friendly. Your book had me astonished at what was going on under our very noses, but kept me glued to the story as any thrilling detective story would. (I am a detective story addict).
    I have been to both the Getty Center and have revisited the new Getty Villa (once my frequent destination when I lived in Pacific Palisades),but now live in Arizona—–not too far to visit again!
    Many Thank yous for your monumental investigation and enthralling story!
    Sally Cole, Carefree, Arizona

  4. I remember Christo Michaelidis and Robin Symes very well, they collected my paintings and unfortunately many of the works they bought I no longer no who owns them. Some details are included in my bio on my website If anyone knows of the whereabouts of those paintings please contact me. Thank you!

  5. This is a great website/idea.
    There are many internet websites that sell antiquities. They source from countries like India, bring them out of India despite the 1972 law against removing any statues/antiques older than 100 years and offer them at great prices on their internet sites. How can we put an end to such sites? Closing them down would discourage their thievery.

  6. Bravo for revealing the AGNSW Ardhanarishvara provenance, and tracking the story. The relevant curator/s need not have even walked 7 minutes to the state library. Barrett’s book is in the AGNSW library. Shame on the AGNSW and the NGA. They never thought they would be caught.

  7. Thank you for investigating into the Dancing Shiva Nataraja stolen idol.

  8. Very pleased to now of yuor webside yet i think is all almost iilecal i may say .i am a cypriot and feel very prout of aphrodite been my countrys emlem basically before anybody Else.please contact me and i have very very good news to share for yours and mine interest and for the ewhole word .please note my email ,kind greeting from the island of love the goddess of love cyprus

  9. Pingback: How Terrorists Tap a Black Market Fueled by Stolen Antiquities | NEWS.GNOM.ES

  10. Sirs,you are here talking in such way that all antiquity dealers look like bandits which is not the case since most of the pieces in the market are in fact legal in regards to Unesco convention.Only a fraction is as you say and honestly knowing many collectors in this field I don’t know one NOT ONE that will buy stolen,war related or any other illegal pieces.So you are hell of intelligent people that take this subject as extreme a the ISIS people you talk about.Best regards,AC (expert In this field)

    • ………..things are not what they seem my friend. I have seen what goes on while there. Sure, it was back in 1982-1984 and things have changed since then. But it exists, it lives, and it thrives. And OWNERSHIP IS EVERYTHING. That is why these things occur. For no other reason.

  11. Pingback: The lessons of Palmyra: Islamic state and iconoclasm in the era of clickbait | Original Art Online

  12. For all interested in fighting illicit travel, your website is a globally important landing page. As shown recently in the Kapoor case, it can help to make a world a bit better and museums a bit more reliant.

    Dr, Christian Mueller-Straten
    Art Historian, editor EXPOTIME! , author of “Fälschungserkennung” [Fake detection] , 2 vols. Munich, Germany and blogger of “The Fake Blog”.

  13. Karl J. Biniarz

    Like I mentioned in my original message a couple of years ago:
    “And the beat goes on” —- a never ending story with the thefts; encouraged by the greed of the residents of the country that want to enrich themselves like their leaders have for decades.

  14. Hello, my name is kiri. Recently a piece of art was stolen from the temple of preah vinhear during pandemic. It was a bronze statue of goddess. Can send photo. If there’s anyway you could write an article about the piece or post something so people will know it is looted. Estimated value is 4.3 million. Thanks you very much. If needed more information please send me a phone number to call. And I will reach out

  15. Pingback: Organized Crimes Series: Antiquities and Stolen Art Trafficking

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