29 October 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Bitterly contested trove of Crimean gold artefacts must return to Ukraine, not Russia, Dutch court rules: A Dutch appeals court has ruled that Ukraine has legal control over a contested collection of Crimean gold artefacts that was on loan to an Amsterdam museum when the Black Sea peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014. The decision on Tuesday means the treasures will not return to the four Crimean museums which loaned them, all of which are now under Russian control.

27.10.2021, The Arts Newspaper: Bitterly contested trove of Crimean gold artefacts must return to Ukraine, not Russia, Dutch court rules
27.10.2021, Le Journal des Arts: Dutch justice orders return of Crimean archaeological treasures to Ukraine

Six jailed in Spain for selling fakes of Goya and other artists online: Six people have been jailed in the eastern Spanish region of Valencia after police broke up a criminal gang that was using the internet to sell crudely forged paintings attributed to artists including Francisco de Goya, José Benlliure y Gil and Nicolás Falcó.

25.10.2021, The Guardian: Six jailed in Spain for selling fakes of Goya and other artists online

England’s culture sector to receive £850m in extra funding from Treasury: The culture sector in England will receive £850m in extra funding from the Treasury in the Budget to be announced this week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. “The country’s most cherished museums and galleries will benefit from a £850m post-pandemic funding boost to breathe life back into our world-renowned cultural and heritage hotspots, the Chancellor is expected to announce [on 27 October],” says a statement from the UK Treasury.

25.10.2021, The Art Newspaper: England’s culture sector to receive £850m in extra funding from Treasury

Roman villa with world’s only Caravaggio mural up for sale: A sprawling villa in Rome containing the only ceiling mural ever painted by the Italian master Caravaggio is being put up for sale for almost €500m (£422m). The 2.75-metre wide painting Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte in the 16th century to adorn the ceiling in his alchemy laboratory at Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, better known as Villa Aurora.

25.10.2021, The GuardianRoman villa with world’s only Caravaggio mural up for sale

25.10.2021, The Art NewspaperRome villa with Caravaggio’s only ceiling painting announced for auction with a €471m price tag

26.10.2021, ArtnetThe only ceiling mural Caravaggio ever painted could fetch more than half a billion dollars at auction—and it comes with a house

Looted objects to go on view in France ahead of ‘historic’ return to Benin: Ahead of their long-awaited repatriation to Benin, 26 looted objects will go on view for one last time at Paris’s Musée du Quai Branly before departing France for good. The five-day special presentation opens on Tuesday and comes ahead of a planned return set for early November. The objects were stolen from the Kingdom of Dahomey in 1892 by members of the French military.

25.10.2021, Art NewsLooted objects to go on view in France ahead of ‘historic’ return to Benin

25.10.2021, Le Journal des ArtsSpecial exhibition of 26 works of art from Benin at Quai Branly before their return home

Tate has brokered its first-ever deal to acquire ‘custodianship’ of an artwork in a novel agreement with a Mayan artist and his tribe: In a first for the institution, Tate has acquired custodianship of an artwork—as well as the Mayan ritual needed to install it. Purchased at Frieze London in a deal brokered between the Tate Fund, the artist Edgar Calel, the Kaqchikel people, and his gallery, the museum has agreed to not only purchase custodianship of the installation, but also support the peoples whose ritual completes it.

22.10.2021, Artnet: Tate has brokered its first-ever deal to acquire ‘custodianship’ of an artwork in a novel agreement with a Mayan artist and his tribe

United States

Andy Valmorbida, collector and promoter of Richard Hambleton, admits to range of crimes in court: An art dealer the New York Times once called “young pop-up exhibitionist and cocky Australian-born art entrepreneur” implicated himself in a Jersey court of law, admitting that he forged documents to present himself as the owner of and make profits on works by Francis Bacon, Basquiat, George Condo and Frank Auerbach.

26.10.2021, The Art Newspaper: Andy Valmorbida, collector and promoter of Richard Hambleton, admits to range of crimes in court

This prankster art collective is making an elaborate commentary on authenticity by hawking 999 fake Warhols (plus one real one): “I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts,” Andy Warhol once said.  In a gesture that the artist himself would have likely endorsed, the art and design collective MSCHF has purchased an early sketch by Warhol, created 999 exact replicas, and then mixed all the artworks altogether, effectively rendering the original indistinguishable from the facsimiles. Starting today, they’re selling them for $250 a pop. 

25.10.2021, ArtnetThis prankster art collective is making an elaborate commentary on authenticity by hawking 999 fake Warhols (plus one real one)

26.10.2021, CNN Style: 1,000 Warhol artworks are on sale for just $250 each. But only one is real

A district court rules that the Vermont Law School can conceal a divisive mural on campus without violating the artist’s rights: A U.S. district court in Vermont has ruled that Vermont Law School can conceal a large public artwork about slavery that has divided viewers for years because of imagery that some deem offensive and cartoonish. The judge rejected the artist’s argument that doing so would violate his rights under VARA, or the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

22.10.2021, Artnet: A district court rules that the Vermont Law School can conceal a divisive mural on campus without violating the artist’s rights

During routine maintenance, conservators discovered an unknown Arshile Gorky painting hidden behind a work on paper: When the Arshile Gorky Foundation sent a work by the early Abstract Expressionist out for routine conservation, they got more than they bargained for: The single work came back as two after conservators discovered a painting hidden behind the later work on paper.

21.10.2021, Artnet: During routine maintenance, conservators discovered an unknown Arshile Gorky painting hidden behind a work on paper

A trove of recently rediscovered watercolors by Hilma af Klint are being sold by David Zwirner, but only an institution can buy them: A 2018 exhibition on the pioneering spiritual abstractionist Hilma af Klint’s (1862–1944) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York essentially rewrote the art history books, recognizing the Swedish artist at long last as the inventor of abstraction in Western art. Now, her work is returning to the Upper East Side, where David Zwirner will unveil a recently discovered group of eight watercolors.

21.10.2021, Artnet: A trove of recently rediscovered watercolors by Hilma af Klint are being sold by David Zwirner, but only an institution can buy them

22.10.2021, The Smithsonian Magazine: See newly discovered works by trailblazing painter Hilma af Klint

World

Ancient gold ewer returned to Turkey after V&A expert links it to illicit antiquities trade: A 4,250-year-old gold ewer looted in Anatolia has just been returned to Turkey by the Gilbert Collection, which is housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). The ewer had been acquired in 1989 by Arthur Gilbert from a Los Angeles dealer who is now known to have handled illicit antiquities.

26.10.2021, The Art Newspaper: Ancient gold ewer returned to Turkey after V&A expert links it to illicit antiquities trade

A private collector is returning a Mayan artifact to Guatemala: A private collector has returned a Mayan artifact to Guatemala after it was initially slated for auction in 2019. The stone fragment depicts a bird headdress belonging to an ancient ruler of Piedras Negras, the capital of a Mayan kingdom that flourished between 4th century BC and 9th century AD and is located in what’s now north western Guatemala.

26.10.2021, CNN StyleA private collector is returning a Mayan artifact to Guatemala 

25.10.2021, Le Journal des ArtsLooted Mayan stele returned to Guatemala by French collector

Italian city defies Beijing censorship against dissident artist: A city in northern Italy on Friday announced it was maintaining a dissident Chinese artist’s exhibition despite attempts by the Chinese embassy to have it cancelled.

25.10.2021, Le Journal des Arts: Italian city defies Beijing censorship against dissident artist

26.10.2021, The Art Newspaper: Beijing v Brescia: Italian city fights Chinese demands to censor exhibition of dissident artist

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is reviewing 45 antiquities that Cambodian officials believe were stolen from the country: Government officials from Cambodia are calling on the Metropolitan Museum of Art to review a collection of ancient artifacts they believe were stolen from the country in the late 20th century.

25.10.2021, ArtnetThe Metropolitan Museum of Art is reviewing 45 antiquities that Cambodian officials believe were stolen from the country

24.10.2021, The New York TimesCambodia says the Met Museum has dozens of its looted antiquities

Illegal excavations of cultural property surged during pandemic: Interpol survey: Illegal activity involving cultural property has spiked during the global Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey by the international police organization Interpol. In 2020, the rate of illegal excavations of cultural heritage increased across the world beyond pre-pandemic levels, according to Interpol’s “Assessing Crimes Against Cultural Property” report. Africa saw an increase in offenses related to digs, up from 44 incidents in 2019 to 153 in 2020. The starkest increase occurred in Asia and the South Pacific, from 42 to 1,563.

20.10.2021, Art News: Illegal excavations of cultural property surged during pandemic: Interpol survey

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