Talks between Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee and benefactor Shelby White have bogged down, says the New York Times, over White’s demand for a lifetime laissez-passe in exchange for nine objects (part of a great antiquities collection created with her late husband, the financier Leon Levy) that Italy contends were illegally looted from its soil. A 1999 study by two British archaeologists found that 93% of the objects in a show of the Levy-White collection lacked provenance. An unidentified Italian official characterized White’s demand as, in effect, a license to pillage. White who has refused my request for an interview for my book on the museum, has never explained what she thought she and her husband were buying but in a recent New York Sun article did allow that the standard for “acceptable provenance is unclear and changing.”