20 July 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

We are pleased to report that Chambers and Partners has ranked Constantine Cannon Art & Cultural Property Team in the top tier “Band 1” of the “High Net Worth, Art and Cultural Property Law” category.  We congratulate Pierre Valentin for his individual Band 1 ranking, Azmina Jasani and Fionnuala Rogers for their new Band 2 rankings, and Till Vere-Hodge for his recognition as an Associate to watch. 


France takes first legal step towards restitutions to Benin and Senegal as cabinet examines new law: The French cabinet discussed a draft law last Wednesday allowing the restitution of 26 looted artefacts to Benin and a historic sword to Senegal, the first legislative step towards fulfilling French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 pledge to return African heritage taken during the colonial era. 

16.07.2020, The Art NewspaperFrance takes first legal step towards restitutions to Benin and Senegal as cabinet examines new law  

16.07.2020, ArtnetIn a historic move, France has taken a major step towards fully restituting 27 looted African objects to Senegal and Benin  

16.07.2020, ArtforumFrance takes legal steps toward restitution of African objects 

16.07.2020, Le Journal des ArtsLa France acte la restitution d’objets d’art au Sénégal et au Bénin  

Frieze cancels major London art fairs: The fate of London’s Frieze fairs was sealed this week when organisers made the unfortunate but inevitable decision to cancel the events planned for October. “Due to considerable logistical challenges regarding Covid-19 (coronavirus), including continued restrictions placed on events and the complications around travel quarantine, we have no choice,” wrote the Frieze directors in an email to exhibitors this week. UK government guidance is slim on the future of mass events but socialising indoors is currently limited to two households while larger gatherings for, say, weddings or funerals are restricted to 30 people. 

16.07.2020, The Financial TimesFrieze cancels major London art fairs  

14.07.2020, FriezeFrieze London and Frieze Masters 2020 cancellation  

15.07.2020, Le Journal des ArtsFrieze annule ses deux éditions d’octobre prochain  

Contemporary art from British Airways collection heads to Sotheby’s: Seventeen works from the collection of British Airways will be offered across two Sotheby’s auctions in London this month as the embattled airline seeks to raise cash after its business was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

16.07.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteContemporary art from British Airways collection heads to Sotheby’s  

14.07.2020, The Art NewspaperSotheby’s to sell Bridget Riley painting from Heathrow executive lounge as British Airways ‘fights for survival’  

Auction Alert: Gorny & Mosch – four canopic jars of Djed-Ka-Re, Vizier of Upper Egypt: ICOM Österreich in Vienna has reported that the German auction house Gorny & Mosch Gorny is offering a set of suspect Egyptian canopic jars in its upcoming Auction 272: Ancient Art, Africa, Asiatica (among others from the Dr. Wiedner collection which is scheduled to take place on 22 July 2020. 

15.07.2020, ARCAAuction Alert: Gorny & Mosch – four canopic jars of Djed-Ka-Re, Vizier of Upper Egypt  

Germany will disband one of the biggest cultural organisations in Europe in a bid to make museums more autonomous: The Prussian Culture Heritage Foundation, the German state body that oversees 15 collections including some of the world’s most famous museums, such as the Hamburger Bahnhof, the Pergamon Museum, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, will be disbanded by the government. 

14.07.2020, ArtnetGermany will disband one of the biggest cultural organisations in Europe in a bid to make museums more autonomous 

14.07.2020, ArtforumGermany’s largest arts employer to dissolve, giving museums more autonomy 

16.07.2020, Le Journal des ArtsUn rapport officiel préconise de démanteler la Fondation du patrimoine culturel de Prusse  

Royal art warehouse expected to get green light despite concerns raised by Historic England: The construction of a Royal Collection storage facility in the grounds of Windsor Castle was expected to get the go-ahead last week despite concerns raised by Historic England over its “detrimental” impact. 

13.07.2020, The TelegraphRoyal art warehouse expected to get green light despite concerns raised by Historic England  

Rare Spanish Armada maps blocked from export in the hope a UK buyer can pay £600,000 to save them for the nation: A group of 10 drawings that depict the Elizabethan naval battle have been temporarily prevented from being exported in the hope an institutional buyer can raise funds to keep them in the UK. 

13.07.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteRare Spanish Armada maps blocked from export in the hope a UK buyer can pay £600,000 to save them for the nation

United States

Experts weigh in on alleged art forgery ring in Michigan: Earlier this month, the FBI raided a home near Traverse City, Michigan as part of an investigation into what it described as a national crime ring, according to the Detroit News. The property belongs to the artist Donald Henkel, 60, who authorities accused in a sealed affidavit of allegedly selling counterfeit paintings and sports memorabilia in a multi-million-dollar, years-long scheme, with conspirators in California, Florida and Virginia, although no arrests have been made. What makes this case interesting is that, unlike the forgeries that contributed to the demise of the Knoedler gallery in 2011, which included fakes of blue-chip artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, these involved the work of artists who—while important art historically and with rising markets—do not attract the same public attention. 

17.07.2020, The Art NewspaperExperts weigh in on alleged art forgery ring in Michigan  

Tefaf cancels postponed autumn edition in New York: The autumn is shaping up much like the spring as major art fairs, postponed by the pandemic, continue to cancel in-person events. Tefaf announced today that it will not hold its New York edition, which was due to run from 31 October to 4 November at the Park Avenue Armory. The news follows the recent cancellation of Frieze London and Frieze Masters, also scheduled for October. Tefaf exhibitors will be issued a full refund for their booth costs. 

17.07.2020, The Art NewspaperTefaf cancels postponed autumn edition in New York  

California man sentenced in $6 M. art forgery operation involving fake Warhol, Basquiat works: A California man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for attempting to sell over $6 million worth of forged paintings he claimed were by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others. Last Wednesday Philip Righter, who resides in West Hollywood, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and tax fraud, per the Associated Press. He received a five-year prison sentence for the attempted sale of forgeries to an art gallery in Miami. 

16.07.2020, Art NewsCalifornia man sentenced in $6 M. art forgery operation involving fake Warhol, Basquiat works 

San Francisco university in talks with US government about preserving New Deal-era murals slated for destruction: The US government’s General Services Administration, which oversees works of art created under New Deal art programmes, has told the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that it considers a series of murals at risk of demolition to be federal property on loan to the school. The two are now discussing the government’s potential involvement in the murals’ preservation, the university says. 

16.07.2020, The Art NewspaperSan Francisco university in talks with US government about preserving New Deal-era murals slated for destruction   

Complaint faults museum director for hanging his in-law’s El Greco: A whistle-blower accusation argues that conflict-of-interest rules to prevent self-dealing have been skirted at the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

15.07.2020, The New York TimesComplaint faults museum director for hanging his in-law’s El Greco 

Metropolitan Museum of Art to reopen five days a week in August: The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that its landmark location on Fifth Avenue will welcome visitors five days a week, Thursday through Monday, when it reopens to the public on Aug. 29. 

15.07.2020, The New York TimesMetropolitan Museum of Art to reopen five days a week in August


A bad year for art is looking like a good year for art-backed loans: The private-banking divisions of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup that extend loans against art should be kept busy. As this year’s crisis started to unfold, wealthy clients with existing credit lines against their painting collections drew them down, according to a banker familiar with the matter.  

17.07.2020, The Wall Street JournalA bad year for art is looking like a good year for art-backed loans 

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