19 May 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

The Uffizi Gallery just sold a Michelangelo NFT for $170,000, and now is quickly minting more masterpieces from its collection: The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is turning some of its most prized artworks into NFTs and selling them to raise funds after a cash-strapped year. And it’s starting off with a bang: an encrypted Michelangelo painting of the holy family, Doni Tondo (1505-06), just sold for €140,000 ($170,000).

14.05.2021, Artnet: The Uffizi Gallery just sold a Michelangelo NFT for $170,000, and now is quickly minting more masterpieces from its collection

Tintin heirs lose legal battle over artist’s Edward Hopper mashups: The French artist who was sued by the Tintin creator Hergé’s heirs over his paintings that place the boy adventurer in romantic encounters has won his case after a court deemed them parodies.

12.05.2021, The Guardian: Tintin heirs lose legal battle over artist’s Edward Hopper mashups

11.05.2021, Le Journal des Arts: La justice reconnaît « l’exception de parodie » d’un peintre breton fusionnant l’univers de Tintin avec Hopper

German museums to receive up to €25,000 for research into their Benin bronzes ahead of restitutions next year: The German Lost Art Foundation is offering museums emergency funding to research the provenance of Benin bronzes in their collections after the government and leading museums agreed to begin restituting looted Benin artefacts to Nigeria next year.

12.05.2021, The Art Newspaper: German museums to receive up to €25,000 for research into their Benin bronzes ahead of restitutions next year

Ancient Libyan statue returned home with the help of the British Museum and HMRC: A funerary statue from Cyrene (near present-day Shahhat in Libya) dating to the 2nd century BC is being returned to Libya. The statue was seized by Border Force officials at Heathrow airport several years ago having been illicitly imported into the UK to be offered for sale.

11.05.2021, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Ancient Libyan statue returned home with the help of The British Museum and HMRC

10.05.2021, The Guardian: British Museum helps return 2,000-year-old looted statue to Libya

10.05.2021, The Art Newspaper: Looted Libyan sculpture seized at Heathrow Airport heads back home with help from the British Museum

United States

More than $1.3 billion worth of art sold this week in NYC: “In a way, the headline this week is about diversity in so many ways,” says Bonnie Brennan, president for the Americas at Christie’s. “Not only in the artists themselves, but the [artworks’] medium, style, and price points.” Yes, she continues, there were solid results for established names, “but the more electric moments this week have been around newer and more emerging artists.”

14.05.2021, Bloomberg: More than $1.3 billion worth of art sold this week in NYC

14.05.2021, CNN Style: ‘Tonight we took the pulse of the market — and it is clearly racing’

New York wakes up with $81m Basquiat sale: This week’s bumper set of auctions in New York began in fine form at Christie’s on May 11 when a skull painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat went for $81m ($93.1m with fees, estimate $50m). The powerful “In This Case” (1983) was sold by the co-founder of fashion label Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti, and had sold at auction for a mere $1m in 2002.

13.05.2021, The Financial Times: New York wakes up with $81m Basquiat sale

12.05.2021, The Art Newspaper: A $93.1m Basquiat and reams of records for hot young names kicks off New York auction week at Christie’s

12.05.2021, Le Journal des Arts: Un tableau de Basquiat atteint 93,1 millions de dollars

Heirs sue over ownership of a Pissarro, saying it was seized by Nazis: More than a dozen heirs of a Jewish couple who left Germany as Hitler rose to power have filed a lawsuit in Georgia seeking to recover a Pissarro painting said to have been part of an extensive collection of works seized by Nazis.

13.05.2021, The New York Times: Heirs sue over ownership of a Pissarro, saying it was seized by Nazis

14.05.2021, Art News: Heirs File Suit to Recover Nazi-Looted Pissarro Painting

World

How a ceremonial shrunken head, held by a US university for decades, was finally returned to Ecuador: Researchers have used CT-scans to help prove the authenticity of a south American ceremonial tsantsa, also known as a shrunken head, leading to its repatriation to Ecuador. The head had been in the Mercer University natural history collection in Macon, Georgia, and was brought to the US from Ecuador by a now dead faculty member during the Second World War.

11.05.2021, The Art Newspaper: How a ceremonial shrunken head, held by a US university for decades, was finally returned to Ecuador

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