16 June 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon


Trial of Paris gallery over stolen Picasso works delayed until next year due to coronavirus court backlog: The trial of the Parisian gallery Belle et Belle on charges of concealing a hoard of stolen works by Picasso, Miro, Giacometti and other artists which was due to start at the city’s criminal court on 4 June has been postponed until 2 to 4 June 20201 due to coronavirus. The trial, when it happens, will examine the complaint filed almost ten years ago by Catherine Hutin, Jacqueline Picasso’s daughter, and Sylvie Baltazart-Eon—the daughter of the art dealer Aimé Maeght—from whom hundreds of works on paper by Picasso and other artists were stolen by a handyman. 

15.06.2020, The Art NewspaperTrial of Paris gallery over stolen Picasso works delayed until next year due to coronavirus court backlog  

Protestors seize African artefact from Paris’s Quai Branly museum in bid to ‘bring to Africa what was taken’: A group of demonstrators who stormed the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris last Friday say they tried to seize an African funeral pole from the museum because “most of the works were taken during colonialism and we want justice”. The five protesters were stopped before they could leave the museum with the work. 

15.06.2020, The Art NewspaperProtestors seize African artefact from Paris’s Quai Branly museum in bid to ‘bring to Africa what was taken’  

15.06.2020, ArtnetFive activists were arrested after trying to steal a 19th-century artefact from Paris’s Quai Branly museum and return it to Africa   

15.06.2020, Le Journal des ArtsIls voulaient « récupérer » une œuvre africaine au Quai Branly : 5 militants jugés fin septembre  

Raid on eBay seller’s ‘fake medal factory’ run from garden shed leaves market reeling: The fake medal and poppy badge-making operation ran from a garden shed and a spare bedroom. An investigation that began in 2016 was concluded last week with a successful prosecution. 

15.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteRaid on eBay seller’s ‘fake medal factory’ run from garden shed leaves market reeling  

British Airways to sell artworks worth millions by major British stars in bid to save costs during Covid meltdown: British Airways is quietly selling off millions of pounds of its art collection as it battles to survive the coronavirus crisis, the Evening Standard has learned. The airline has a large art collection by mostly British artists including works by Damien Hirst and Peter Doig, of which one is known to be well over £1 million and have been displayed in its lounges for 30 or 40 years. The collection has increased in value significantly over the years. 

13.06.2020, The Evening StandardBritish Airways to sell artworks worth millions by major British stars in bid to save costs during Covid meltdown  

Old Master dealers consign works directly to Sotheby’s for dedicated online auctions: The dedicated sales will be held concurrently from June 18-25 with one run out of London, the other from New York. The idea was conceived by Otto Naumann, a longstanding Old Master dealer himself who joined Sotheby’s in 2018 and is now the company’s client development director for this category. He described the initiative as “our own version of an art fair”. 

12.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteOld Master dealers consign works directly to Sotheby’s for dedicated online auctions  

Prized $45.6 m. Gauguin painting at Spanish museum may be sold amid dispute – report: Earlier this month, Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum became one of the many major European museums that began allowing visitors into its galleries after a months-long temporary closure related to the coronavirus pandemic. The cause for celebration was tempered by an unexpected shift in programming: one of the masterpieces that was once on view at the museum, a Paul Gauguin painting called Mata Mua (In Olden Times), from 1892, was no longer there—and it is possible it may never return. 

11.06.2020, Art NewsPrized $45.6 m. Gauguin painting at Spanish museum may be sold amid dispute – report 

Art historian calls out Christie’s for selling objects taken from Nigeria: ‘public sales of these objects should stop’: Ahead of an African art sale due to take place at Christie’s Paris salesroom in June, an art historian has claimed that the auction house needs to reconsider selling a pair of sculptures taken from Nigeria during the country’s civil war. 

10.06.2020, Art NewsArt historian calls out Christie’s for selling objects taken from Nigeria: ‘public sales of these objects should stop’ 

Banksy mural stolen from Bataclan in Paris is recovered in Italy: Italian authorities announced that they have recovered a Banksy work honouring the victims of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks that was stolen from Bataclan concert hall in 2019. The British street artist painted an image of a young girl in mourning on a door of the Parisian music venue after gunman stormed a concert, leaving 90 concertgoers dead and 413 injured. The door had been removed in 2019. 

10.06.2020, Art NewsBanksy mural stolen from Bataclan in Paris is recovered in Italy 

11.06.2020, ARCABanksy’s “the Sorrowful Girl”, stolen from Bataclan Concert Hall has been recovered.  

11.06.2020, ArtnetA year after it was stolen, Banksy’s Paris mural for the Bataclan theatre has been found in an Italian farmhouse 

Statues of slavers around London could be pulled down under mayor’s new diversity plan: The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will launch a new commission to review and improve “the diversity of London’s public landmarks” after Black Lives Matter protestors tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol. 

09.06.2020, The Art NewspaperStatues of slavers around London could be pulled down under mayor’s new diversity plan  

La Biennale Paris dealers will offer objects at an online auction at Christie’s this autumn: La Biennale Paris and dealer association Syndicat National des Antiquaires have organised an online auction at Christie’s. Objects from more than 50 dealers who would have shown at the now postponed Paris fair will be part of this sale on September 10-21.  

09.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteLa Biennale Paris dealers will offer objects at an online auction at Christie’s this autumn  

Rembrandt self-portrait up for auction in London: A self-portrait of the 26-year-old Rembrandt van Rijn, painted at a crucial juncture in his career, is to go under the hammer in London next month. One of only three self-portraits by the 17th century Dutch master that remains in private hands, the painting has been given an auction estimate of £12m-£16m ($15m-$20m) by Sotheby’s. 

07.06.2020, The Financial TimesRembrandt self-portrait up for auction in London  

08.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteRare Rembrandt self-portrait comes to auction at Sotheby’s  

07.06.2020, Art NewsRare $15 m. Rembrandt self-portrait to lead Sotheby’s first cross-category London evening sale 

United States

Christie’s quietly pulls Greek and Roman antiquities from an online auction after evidence suggests they may have been looted: Christie’s has pulled four Greek and Roman antiquities from an online auction after new evidence arose suggesting they may have been looted. The four lots—a Roman marble hare, a bronze Roman eagle, and two Attic vases—were quietly withdrawn from the antiquities sale, which ends tomorrow, following “new information by the appropriate authorities from archives currently still unavailable to our researchers,” a Christie’s spokesperson told the Guardian. 

15.06.2020, ArtnetChristie’s quietly pulls Greek and Roman antiquities from an online auction after evidence suggests they may have been looted 

14.06.2020, The GuardianChristie’s withdraws ‘looted’ Greek and Roman treasures  

5Pointz case stayed pending petition to U.S. Supreme Court: A nearly seven-year long legal battle over the rights of aerosol artists that played out before the New York courts and resulted in a $6.75 million judgment in favour of the artists has taken yet another turn.  

12.06.2020, The Institute of Art and Law5Pointz case stayed pending petition to U.S. Supreme Court  

New artist resale rights contract in the US has a charitable twist: More than 70 countries around the world have some form of resale royalty law, also known as droit de suite, that allows for redistribution of a percentage of secondary market sales back to the original artist. But in the US, visual artists have never been guaranteed to receive profits from the resale of their work. California was the only state with such a law on the books but it was effectively struck down in a 2018 court decision. Since then, Joseph Del Pesco, the international director of the foundation Kadist in San Francisco and Paris, has been researching artist contracts and collaborating with scholars, lawyers and artists to come up with a new way to get artists their fair share when the market for their work booms. 

10.06.2020, The Art NewspaperNew artist resale rights contract in the US has a charitable twist  

Sotheby’s cannot sue Greece over bronze horse, US court rules: The US Court of Appeals ruled that Sotheby’s cannot sue the Greek government after the country demanded that an ancient equestrian statue be withdrawn from a May 2018 sale and returned to the country due to questionable provenance. The ruling, levied 9 June, could have repercussions for the US antiquities market given that it states that legal charges against the country cannot be pressed because it was not acting out of commercial interests. 

10.06.2020, The Art NewspaperSotheby’s cannot sue Greece over bronze horse, US court rules  

10.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteSotheby’s loses New York court case against Greece over ancient horse figurine  

10.06.2020, ArtnetSotheby’s just lost its lawsuit against Greece over an 8th-century horse statue—and the decision may have lasting implications for the trade  

12.06.2020, Le Journal des ArtsA Greek horse in the US courts  

10.06.2020, ARCALa Grèce espère la restitution d’une statuette antique après un litige avec Sotheby’s  

Art Historian Sues Wildenstein Plattner Institute for Holding Modigliani Research ‘Hostage’: In a suit filed in New York Southern District Court on June 9, art historian Marc Restellini alleges that the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, a non-profit organization that supports the production of digital catalogues raisonnés and archives, has made copies of and disseminated his research on the artist Amedeo Modigliani without his permission. The French newspaper Le Monde first reported the news. 

10.06.2020, Art NewsArt historian sues Wildenstein Plattner Institute for holding Modigliani research ‘hostage’  

10.06.2020, The New York TimesModigliani expert says a non-profit is holding his research ‘hostage’  

10.06.2020, ArtnetAuthenticating Modigliani is big business. That’s why one expert is suing an organization that wants to put research online for free  

10.06.2020, Le MondeUne plainte déposée contre The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.  

A court has temporarily blocked Virginia’s governor from removing its notorious Robert E. Lee monument: Last week, the governor of Virginia pledged to take down a notorious 130-year-old monument memorialising Confederate commander Robert E. Lee in Richmond. But it looks like the statue—and those who support it—won’t go down without a fight. Following a lawsuit brought by a descendant of an old Virginia family, a judge has temporarily blocked the state from removing it. 

09.06.2020, ArtnetA court has temporarily blocked Virginia’s governor from removing its notorious Robert E. Lee monument


Market for illicit antiquities valued ‘in millions not billions’: Tracking and Disrupting the Illicit Antiquities Trade with Open- Source Data was penned by US policy think tank Rand Corporation. The 145-page document concludes that the “market for all antiquities, both licit and illicit is… at most, a few hundred million dollars annually rather than the billions of dollars claimed in some other estimates”. It adds that the approach hitherto adopted had “damaged legitimate market interests”. 

15.06.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteMarket for illicit antiquities valued ‘in millions not billions’  

The search for Alberto Giacometti’s lost sculptures: “Bas Relief” is an early work of famed Swiss-born sculptor Alberto Giacometti, who is best known for the spindly “Walking Man” figures he made after World War II. Following the divorce of the couple who commissioned it, “Bas Relief” vanished. 

15.06.2020, CNN StyleThe search for Alberto Giacometti’s lost sculptures 

Art Basel’s Marc Spiegler: ‘The future of the art world is not digital’: In fairness to the futurists, the locked-down art market has not been dead. In many cases, galleries have been pleasantly surprised at the sort of sales they can make via Zoom rooms, FaceTime and social media campaigns. Does that prove the market can move more fully to digital? No. Because when you talk in depth to gallerists and collectors about the quarantine times, what becomes clear is that existing relationships tend to be the surest driver of digital sales. In that sense, a gallery’s success during lockdown tends to be the direct result of relentless travel before the jets suddenly went quiet in March. None of which means that once the crisis passes we will return to the art market we knew before. The skills that gallerists have developed under duress will not be unlearned, nor will their investments in online operations be abandoned. And it’s been amazing to watch the art world rapidly innovate. 

13.06.2020, The Financial TimesArt Basel’s Marc Spiegler: ‘The future of the art world is not digital’  

Owner of Asia’s ‘Fort Knox’ Sues Over Failed Freeport Sale: Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier is suing a group of businessmen who he alleges agreed to buy his Singapore freeport for about $60 million before repeatedly delaying and ultimately reneging on the deal. Jaime Ordonez and two associates caused Tayrona Pacific Star Pte to breach the terms of an October 2019 contract to buy Le Freeport, according to a lawsuit filed in Singapore’s High Court. They pushed the deal completion date back on four separate occasions, citing among other things a negative article about Bouvier’s business on one occasion and concerns about the condition of Le Freeport’s infrastructure on another, the lawsuit alleges. 

12.06.2020, BloombergOwner of Asia’s ‘Fort Knox’ Sues Over Failed Freeport Sale  

Fugitive art dealer Inigo Philbrick found on Pacific Island, charged with $20m fraud scheme: Fugitive London and Miami-based art dealer Inigo Philbrick has been arrested by the FBI on the South Pacific Island of Vanuatu and charged with running a $20m art fraud scheme. Philbrick, 33, was arrested on Thursday after Vanuatu authorities expelled him at the request of the US Embassy in Papua New Guinea and he has now been taken to Guam, where he is due to appear in federal court on 15 June. 

12.06.2020, The Art NewspaperFugitive art dealer Inigo Philbrick found on Pacific Island, charged with $20m fraud scheme  

Graffiti for grown-ups: how street art is pushing up house values: One day in February, Kelly Woodruff woke to discover that a mural had appeared on the side of a rental property owned by her father in Barton Hill, one of Bristol’s most deprived areas. “We were all extremely excited on that first day,” she says. “When it was confirmed as a Banksy, though, reality hit.” 

12.06.2020, The Financial TimesGraffiti for grown-ups: how street art is pushing up house values  

Collectors’ toolkit: why is art finance a growing business?: At the beginning of coronavirus lockdown, Bloomberg and other outlets ran articles on an uptick in business in the art finance sector. The major auctions are set to happen in the forthcoming weeks, and they will act as the first major benchmark for the market since the coronavirus crises began. But the growth of art finance is a sign that business is still going strong. 

12.06.2020, Art NewsCollectors’ toolkit: why is art finance a growing business? 

Recent report on the illicit antiquities trade receives mixed response: A UNESCO-backed research project into the illicit trade in cultural property in Germany has recently released its final report. The ‘ILLICID Project’, launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aimed to increase understanding of illicit trafficking networks and financial flows linked to organised crime and terrorism. However, the findings of the final report have attracted critical comments from members of both the museum and trade community. When it comes to the murky world of heritage crime, it appears that drawing definite conclusions is not easy. 

10.06.2020, The Institute of Art and LawRecent report on the illicit antiquities trade receives mixed response  


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