10 June 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Number of art thefts in Italy plummets—partly thanks to drones: Fewer art and cultural heritage works were stolen in Italy in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to the annual report of the Carabinieri TPC, the country’s police force dedicated to recovering stolen art. The drop was partly caused by the pandemic, which also forced dealers in stolen art online, but is part of a longer-term downward trend driven by increasingly high-tech security and surveillance technology, General Roberto Riccardi, the head of the unit, tells The Art Newspaper.

07.06.2021, The Art Newspaper: Number of art thefts in Italy plummets—partly thanks to drones

Bonhams consignor withdraws looted Nepalese sculptures from auction: A consignor has withdrawn five gilded bronze Nepalese figures from an online auction of Himalayan and Buddhist art at Bonhams in Paris after they were identified as looted from the temple gate of a royal palace in the Kathmandu Valley.

04.06.2021, The Art Newspaper: Bonhams consignor withdraws looted Nepalese sculptures from auction

Recently restituted Nazi-looted paintings to be auctioned by Christie’s: Two 17th-century Dutch paintings sold under duress by their original Dutch Jewish owner during World War II are coming to auction. The works—Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s Banquet Scene with Musicians and Shuffle Board Players (1628) and Dirk Hals and Dirck van Delen’s A Merry Company in a palatial interior (ca. 17th century)—were restituted in 2019 by the Dutch government to the original owner’s heirs.  04.06.2021, Art News: Recently restituted Nazi-looted paintings to be auctioned by Christie’s

Belgian experts frustrated at ‘lack of initiative from museums and government’ call for restitution of colonial-era acquisitions: An independent panel of scholars and experts has called on Belgian museums to restitute artefacts acquired in a colonial context and urged the government to create a neutral commission to evaluate restitution requests, an independent institute for provenance research, and a new law to facilitate returns.

03.06.2021, The Art Newspaper: Belgian experts frustrated at ‘lack of initiative from museums and government’ call for restitution of colonial-era acquisitions

German state returns 19th-century painting looted by Nazis: The Bavarian State Painting Collections have restituted a painting by 19th-century Austrian painter Joseph Wopfner looted by the Nazis. Munich’s Neue Pinakothek, one of Bavaria’s state-run galleries, told the German press agency dpa that the painting, Fischerboote bei Frauenchiemsee (1884), was bought by Nazi Party leader Martin Bormann in 1924 for the Reich’s Munich headquarters. Bormann, Hitler’s functionary, was among the highest-profile war criminals arraigned at the Nuremberg trials in 1945, though he disappeared abroad before facing his sentence.

01.06.2021, Art News: German state returns 19th-century painting looted by Nazis

Green light for Hermitage Barcelona: The board of directors of the Port of Barcelona has approved construction of the Hermitage Barcelona, a cultural institution centered around art, architecture, and design that will be the latest addition to the State Hermitage Museum network. Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Toyo Ito, the multilevel structure is scheduled to be completed in 2024. The new museum is intended to revitalize the Port of Barcelona and its surrounding environs and to foster cross-cultural dialogue.

27.05.2021, Artforum: Green light for Hermitage Barcelona

United States

Artist says NYPD’s graffiti removal flouts First Amendment rights: Artist Michael McLeer – also known as Kaves – has sued the New York Police Department, alleging the NYPD’s “haphazard” graffiti cleanup campaign has destroyed valuable, legally permitted artwork.

02.06.2021, Reuters: Artist says NYPD’s graffiti removal flouts First Amendment rights

After warnings that a third of US museums could close, a survey indicates that just 15% are at significant risk: Despite poll researchers’ warnings last year that a third of US museums could shut down permanently by this autumn because of financial troubles related to the coronavirus pandemic, the picture has improved somewhat. In a recent survey of 1,004 museums, only 15% of museum directors said that there was a “significant risk” of closing permanently in the next six months or that they were unsure whether they would survive through that period.

01.06.2021, The Art Newspaper: After warnings that a third of US museums could close, a survey indicates that just 15% are at significant risk

French heir gives Pissarro stolen by the Nazis to a U.S. University: A Jewish family whose relatives had their artworks looted by the Nazis said they were giving up their claim to a Pissarro painting and transferring ownership to the University of Oklahoma, where it had been on display until 2017.

01.06.2021, The New York Times: French heir gives Pissarro stolen by the Nazis to a U.S. University

World

Mexican authorities halt illegal development near Teotihuacán: Mexican authorities have blocked the illegal construction of an ecotourism park near the Mesoamerican ruins of Teotihuacán, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Mexican national guard seized the 17-acre property this week and criminal charges have been filed against the unidentified developer, which local residents believe could have ties to the politician René Monterrubio, the former municipal president of San Juan Teotihuacán.

01.06.2021, The Art Newspaper: Mexican authorities halt illegal development near Teotihuacán

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