Art@Law | Constantine Cannon
Leaked document on EU import licensing proposals is deeply concerning, say dealer associations: The European Parliament has delayed a vote on the contentious EU import licensing proposals, initially due in July, until September. But the contents of a leaked confidential document have “deeply concerned” both the International Federation of Dealer Associations (CINOA) and the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA), two of the trade associations that have fiercely opposed the new regulations.
03.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Leaked document on EU import licensing proposals is deeply concerning, say dealer associations
06.08.2018, Antiques Trade Gazette: EU proposals for the crackdown on cultural goods imports delayed
Prosecutor drops investigation into Documenta financial management: The Kassel state prosecutor’s office has dropped an investigation into misuse of funds by the management of the 2017 edition of Documenta, which overshot its budget and caused a financial shortfall of €5.4m. The investigation into Annette Kulenkampff’s financial management of Documenta was prompted by a legal complaint issued by members of Germany’s right-wing Alternativ für Deutschland party in Kassel’s city council. The prosecutor found no evidence of embezzlement, a statement says.
10.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Prosecutor drops investigation into Documenta financial management
The British Museum Returns Iraqi Antiquities Looted During the US Invasion: The British Museum has repatriated a trove of 5,000-year-old antiquities that were looted from Iraq shortly after the US invasion in 2003. The eight objects, including jewellery, inscribed cones, a decorated seal, and a mace head, were seized and impounded by British police from a London dealer who is suspected of illicit antiquities trading. At the British Museum, where the artefacts were subsequently transferred for identification, staff recognised Sumerian inscriptions indicating that the items had been removed from the Eninnu temple in the ancient city of Girsu (now Tello).
10.08.2018, Artnet: The British Museum Returns Iraqi Antiquities Looted During the US Invasion
09.08.2018, The Independent: British Museum to return antiquities looted during 2003 invasion of Iraq
Who Really Painted ‘Salvator Mundi’? An Oxford Art Historian Says It Was Leonardo’s Assistant: Was Salvator Mundi, the painting that sold for a sensational $450 million at Christie’s last year, misattributed to Leonardo da Vinci? That’s what Oxford art historian Matthew Landrus argues in a forthcoming book. Instead, he thinks the record-breaking work was painted primarily by Leonardo’s assistant, Bernardino Luini, whose auction record is a mere $654,545. The appropriate attribution of the work, says Landrus, should be “a Leonardo studio painting”.
The Battle Over the Norton Simon Museum’s Nazi-Looted Cranach Paintings Isn’t Over as Lawyers File for a Rehearing: The legal battle for Lucas Cranach the Elder’s paintings Adam and Eve (both c. 1530), which has raged for over a decade, looks poised to continue in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A late July ruling found that the Nazi-looted canvases rightfully belonged to Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum, but Marei von Saher, the heir of former owner Jacques Goudstikker, filed last week asking the court to rehear the case.
14.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Goudstikker heir files petition for rare rehearing of Cranach claim
A New ‘Trade-War Tax’ on Chinese Art Has US Dealers Up in Arms: “Stupid,” “counterproductive,” “senseless,” and “detrimental.” These are a few of the descriptors being thrown around by art dealers and experts in response to the Trump administration’s decision to add art and antiques to the lengthy list of Chinese products it plans to hit with a 25 percent import tariff. The new tax—on art and hundreds of other products— could become effective as soon as 23 August. US dealers who specialize in Chinese art and antiques are alarmed by the news, saying it would be extremely harmful to their bottom line.
13.08.2018, Artnet: A New ‘Trade-War Tax’ on Chinese Art Has US Dealers Up in Arms
21.08.2018, Antiques Trade Gazette: US lawyer to argue art market’s case against President Trump’s Chinese tariff
A US Collector Has Returned 12 Ancient Treasures to Thailand as Part of a Crackdown on Looted Artifacts: An American antiquities collector has returned a dozen looted ancient artefacts—including decorated pottery and bronze jewellery—to Thailand, which has been campaigning in recent years for the return of smuggled treasures. The objects are believed to have been produced by an ancient civilization in Ban Chiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeast Thailand, between 1,800 and 4,300 years ago. It remains unclear how the collector, Katherine Ayers-Mannix, obtained the antiquities, which she turned over to the Thai Embassy in Washington, DC.
One of America’s Top Art Collectors Was Duped Into Buying Fake Leon Golub Paintings. Now, He’s Getting His Day in Court: A high-profile forgery case involving the late American artist Leon Golub and hedge-fund manager and art collector Andrew Hall is getting its day in court. A judge recently refused to dismiss Hall’s case against Lorettann Gascard, an artist and art history professor who studied with Golub, and her son Nikolas Gascard, who between them sold Hall 24 paintings that were purportedly by Golub and now appear to be fakes. The case is expected to head to trial in October.
US ‘library theft’ case postponed until October: The hearing in the case of two men accused of a massive US library theft has been postponed until 12 October. Greg Priore, 61, the archivist and manager of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s special collections since 1992, and John Schulman, 54, a well-known US dealer, were charged in July with multiple offences in connection with the alleged theft of rare books worth $8m. Priore and Schulman were originally due to appear in court on 15 August.
13.08.2018, Antiques Trade Gazette: US ‘library theft’ case postponed until October
Is the Art Market Ready to Embrace Work Made by Artificial Intelligence? Christie’s Will Test the Waters This Fall: Christie’s New York will make history this fall when it becomes the first auction house to sell a work of art made by artificial intelligence. The print on canvas, a product of the algorithm developed by the French art collective Obvious, will be included in the auction house’s prints and multiples sale between 23 and 25 October. Hugo Caselles-Dupré, a member of the Paris-based collective, told artnet News that they were interested in “the philosophical approach behind this”, stating that if an algorithm can be creative “this algorithm is the closest to the human mind’s creativity.”
Petitions and protests as art world rallies to free imprisoned photographer Shahidul Alam: Artists, curators and writers have expressed their support for the Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam, who has been detained and charged by police in Dhaka for criticising the government’s handling of the road safety demonstrations which engulfed the city earlier this month. On 5 August, more than 20 law enforcement officers arrested Alam at his home, and footage subsequently posted on Facebook shows him visibly limping on the way to court. It is understood that a high court judge ordered the Bangladeshi government to take Alam—who says that he has been tortured in prison—to hospital. He has since been returned to custody.
09.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Petitions and protests as art world rallies to free imprisoned photographer Shahidul Alam
07.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Arts and human rights organisations denounce arrest of Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam
20.08.2018, The New York Times: Who Is Afraid of Shahidul Alam?
Is China Going Rogue to Reclaim Its Looted Art? A Recent String of Museum Heists Is Raising Suspicions: China has been fighting hard in recent years to reclaim art looted from the country, which may amount to as many as 10 million antiquities since 1840. But what if the government isn’t content to go through official channels? An investigation in GQ looks at a recent string of high-profile museum robberies targeting Chinese antiquities since 2010 and wonders if China itself is responsible for the crimes—or, as it may see it, rogue repatriations.
Parviz Tanavoli banned from leaving Iran over legal dispute with former gallery owner: The Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli has been prevented from leaving his home country after a Tehran art dealer brought lengthy legal proceedings against him. Maryam Goudarzi claims that Tanavoli, who holds the auction record for a Middle Eastern artist, should return six 1972 sculptures worth $6m to her, but the artist says that they were swapped legally for five newer works. Tanavoli tried to leave Tehran in late July on a British Airways flight to London, but his passport was confiscated at the airport by Iranian authorities.
13.08.2018, The Art Newspaper: Parviz Tanavoli banned from leaving Iran over legal dispute with former gallery owner
The British Museum Has Kept an Easter Island Statue for 150 Years. Now, the Rapa Nui People Want It Back: The indigenous population of Easter Island, the Rapa Nui, have enlisted the help of the Chilean government to petition for the return of a monumental Moai statue from the British Museum. The seven-foot-tall statue is called Hoa Hakananai’a, which translates to “the stolen or hidden friend,” and is considered a sacred object by the local people. In the Rapa Nui culture, the Moai sculptures are believed to be inhabited by protective spirits or mana. Hoa Hakananai’a was removed from the island in 1868 by a Royal Navy captain, Richard Powell, and presented as a gift to Queen Victoria.
Tania Bruguera, Coco Fusco, More Pen Open Letter Regarding Cuban Decree They Say Limits Artists’ Rights: In an open letter posted to the activism website Avaaz, artists Tania Bruguera and Coco Fusco; Laritza Diversent, the director of human rights organization Cubalex; curator Yanelys Nuñez Leyva; and writer Enrique Risco speak out against Decree 349, which the Cuban government issued in July to address “violations by individuals of the regulations regarding the provision of artistic services.” Their missive argues that the decree will “restrict the creativity of the Cuban people and criminalize independently produced art,” ultimately giving way to “the impoverishment of Cuban culture.”
The Chinese Art Market Is Reviving But Nonpayments Increasingly Plague the Sector, An Exclusive Auction Report Reveals: There are several bright spots in the global market for Chinese art and antiquities, including growth in overall volume of sales and price performance at the very high end, according to recent results. But other weak areas remain, particularly at the low and middle end of the market, while buyer defaults on pricey auction lots still continue to plague the sector.
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