Art @Law

Archive: 2016 (Jan-Dec)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority opens an investigation into auction services

16/12/2016

On 22 November 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an initial investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in relation to the supply of auction services in the UK. In its announcement, the CMA stated that the investigation is focusing on suspected exclusionary and restrictive pricing practices, including most favoured nation provisions (MFNs) in respect of online sales. The CMA has also received an application for interim measures in connection with this case. MFNs (also known as “most favoured

Series on Art Restitution – Nazi Looted Art

07/12/2016

Introduction The field of art restitution generally concerns itself with artworks that were confiscated or seized from, forcibly sold by, or otherwise lost by their previous owners. Generally, these owners were subject to persecution.  There has been an array of (sometimes inconsistent) court decisions and differing opinions on how art restitution claims should be treated. This series of brief articles seeks to provide a non-exhaustive overview of categories of claims that have been considered. Nazi-looted art By Nazi-looted art, we

Series on Art Restitution – Bolshevik Looted Art

07/12/2016

Introduction The field of Art Restitution generally concerns itself with artworks that were confiscated or seized from, forcibly sold by, or otherwise lost by the artworks’ previous owners. Generally, these owners had been subject to persecution or considerable duress.  Given the various categories of potential Art Restitution claims, there appears to have been an array of (sometimes inconsistent) court decisions and differing opinions on how claims should be treated. This series of brief articles seeks to provide a non-exhaustive overview

Series on Art Restitution – Stasi Looted Art

07/12/2016

Introduction The field of Art Restitution generally concerns itself with artworks that were confiscated or seized from, forcibly sold by, or otherwise lost by the artworks’ previous owners. Generally, these owners had been subject to persecution or considerable duress.  Given the various categories of potential Art Restitution claims, there appears to have been an array of (sometimes inconsistent) court decisions and differing opinions on how claims should be treated. This series of brief articles seeks to provide a non-exhaustive overview

Is this a rebellion? No Sir, this is a revolution

06/12/2016

It is said that when a messenger brought the news to Louis XVI that the Bastille had been taken, the monarch asked: is this a rebellion? No Sir, replied a minister standing by, this is a revolution.  Could the same be said of the public announcements made last week by the French auctioneers? On 29 November 2016, the National Union of French (Commercial) Auctioneers (Syndicat National des Maisons de Ventes Volontaires, also known as ‘SYMeV’) publicly called for the abolition

The Tale of the Two Cranachs

04/11/2016

On 9 August 2016, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of California summarily dismissed a lawsuit against the Norton Simon Museum brought by the heirs of a Dutch dealer, Jacques Goudstikker, to recover two sixteenth century oil paintings, entitled “Adam” and “Eve” by Lucas Cranach the Elder.[i]  Granting the Museum’s motion for summary judgment, the court held that the Museum is entitled to keep the Cranachs because the Dutch government “acquired ownership of the Cranachs” and, as a

Update – New German Export Provisions for the “Protection of Cultural Property” now in force

29/09/2016

Earlier this year we reported that Germany’s government was in the process of legislating to protect objects of national heritage and restrict their export from Germany. The new Act for the Protection of Cultural Property automatically (and practically, overnight) adds to the list of items declared as national cultural property, all items: owned by the public and held by a public institution holding cultural property (e.g. a national museum); owned and held by an institution holding cultural objects that is

A new Guarantee Facility for the Culture and Creative Sectors

22/07/2016

On 30 June 2016, the European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) launched a €121 million guarantee initiative, the “Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility”, to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the cultural and creative sectors via financial institutions. The new guarantee facility will be offered through “Creative Europe” (see here), a 7-year programme (2014-2020) aimed at supporting the cultural and creative sectors.  The guarantee facility will be managed by the EIF on behalf of the European

Spain: Competition Authority investigates Art Logistics Companies

05/07/2016

The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (“CNMC”) is the independent authority in charge of both competition and regulatory matters in Spain. Its role is to guarantee and maintain the correct operation and effective competition of all productive sectors and markets in Spain. On 24 June 2016, the CNMC issued a press release (see here) announcing that it is investigating potentially anti-competitive practices carried out by certain companies providing transport, production and assembly services in relation to art

Brexit: the long road ahead

29/06/2016

Less than a week after the British EU Referendum, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the vote to “Leave” has settled nothing. This is because the question on the ballot was fundamentally flawed. The Prime Minister should have delayed the process until the Leave supporters put forward a coherent, persuasive alternative to the status quo and voters should then have been asked to choose between the two alternatives. Instead, the British people have voted against an existing system but not

De Sole v. Knoedler Gallery – A Field of Red Flags

31/03/2016

Last month, collectors Domenico and Eleanore De Sole settled their claims against the now defunct Knoedler Gallery and its former president and director, Ann Freedman. The settlement, though hardly surprising, left many questions unanswered and raised other interesting ones. Unfortunately, we will never know whether, in the eyes of a jury, the De Soles’ reliance on the representations made by Knoedler and Freedman was reasonably justified, and whether Knoedler and Freedman intended to defraud. The Knoedler Gallery, founded in 1846

Protecting national heritage or stifling the German Art Market?

29/03/2016

Since 1955, it has been possible for Germany’s 16 states to register on a list of objects of national cultural importance artworks that are considered of particular cultural significance to the German nation. Once registered, the artwork cannot be permanently exported from Germany. Thus far, some 2,700 artworks have been registered by Germany’s 16 states. Most of these artworks are held in private collections. It has only been possible to register artworks held in public collections since 2007. Naturally, once

Switzerland revisits laws on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing

25/02/2016

Since 1 January 2016, art collectors and art businesses dealing in art, or storing art, in Switzerland must comply with new anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws. Key legislation in Switzerland Money laundering is regulated in Switzerland by the Swiss Criminal Code (“SCC”) which makes money laundering a criminal offence and the Swiss Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Financial Sector (“AMLA”) which sets out the due diligence and reporting obligations which must be complied

Reform of Bills of Sale could offer a welcome boost to England’s Art Lending Market

03/02/2016

Lending against art is on the rise. In a survey conducted by Deloitte and ArtTactic for their Art and Finance Report 2014, 48% of collectors said that they would be interested in using their art collection as collateral for a loan, which according to the report, is an increase from 41% in 2012.  Skate’s Global Art-Loans Market Report, whilst wildly optimistically predicting that “the 2015 art loans book [is] scheduled to grow above $10 billion this year, which is at

The New Code of Ethics of the Museums Association

22/01/2016

In November 2015, the (UK) Museums Association approved a new version of the Code of Ethics for Museums. The Code is one of a series of guidelines on museums’ ethics published by the Museums Association which also include ‘Guidance on the ethics and practicalities of acquisition’ and the ‘Disposal Toolkit’. The Museums Association has been at the forefront of museum ethics since it published its first Code of Practice in 1977. Since then, it has been continually developing museum standards.