Blog

01 July 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Ministers block export of 18th century watercolour by “genius” landscape artist: An 18th century watercolour by the artist who John… Read More »01 July 2019

17 August 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe How recent anti-racism protests have pushed a longstanding debate about colonial looting in Europe: The conversation around the removal of monuments… Read More »17 August 2020

27 July 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum seeks to recover ancient Egyptian jars before auction: A lawyer for Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum has called on a… Read More »27 July 2020

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… Read More »20 July 2020

13 July 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Sotheby’s to auction £4m restituted Bellotto painting that Jewish retail magnate was forced to sell to Hitler: A painting considered one of Bernado… Read More »13 July 2020

6 July 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Coronavirus: Arts sector applauds £1.6bn bailout: Cultural leaders have welcomed an unprecedented billion-pound bailout of the arts, which was hailed as… Read More »6 July 2020

29 June 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Paris dealer who sold golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum charged with fraud and money laundering: The French dealer Christophe… Read More »29 June 2020

23 June 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Experts call for regulation after latest botched art restoration in Spain: Conservation experts in Spain have called for a tightening of… Read More »23 June 2020

1 June 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Research on Gurlitt Trove of art possibly looted by Nazis concludes, offering few answers: One of the most publicised cases of potentially Nazi-looted art began in 2010, when… Read More »1 June 2020

18 May 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Italian museums start to reopen from today after €55bn lifeline from government: Italy’s museums have taken a financial blow over the… Read More »18 May 2020

4 May 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe French galleries and ‘small museums’ to re-open in stages from 11 May: Galleries and “small museums” in France could reopen from… Read More »4 May 2020

27 April 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Museums wrangle to extend exhibition loans beyond lockdown: The closure of museums worldwide due to Coronavirus has raised the complicated question of… Read More »27 April 2020

20 April 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Art galleries in Germany to reopen this week: Last Wednesday, the German government announced that it would begin to lift the country’s lockdown. As… Read More »20 April 2020

06 April 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe British museum set to return sacred artefacts that belonged to indigenous Canadian chief: The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is reportedly planning… Read More »06 April 2020

30 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Our Response to the Coronavirus Crisis Like organisations around the globe, Constantine Cannon is taking steps to remain fully operational while responding to… Read More »30 March 2020

23 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Christie’s switches focus to private sales and postpones auctions to deal with coronavirus: Christie’s London office closed at the end of the… Read More »23 March 2020

16 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Historic, high-value paintings stolen from Oxford college gallery: Three high-value paintings have been stolen in a burglary at Christ Church Picture… Read More »16 March 2020

9 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Fairs in a time of coronavirus: trepidation turns to relief at a quieter—but not disastrous—Tefaf Maastricht: Trepidation among the 285 exhibitors was palpable… Read More »9 March 2020

2 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Newly attributed Artemisia Gentileschi painting of David and Goliath revealed in London: Ahead of the first major UK exhibition of the… Read More »2 March 2020

03 June 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Consultation on the trade in non-elephant ivory launched by government: A consultation into the trade of non-elephant ivory has been… Read More »03 June 2019

20 May 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Judge dismisses appeal against Simon de Pury in court case over ‘gentleman’s agreement’: Lord Justice Lewison dismissed the appeal at… Read More »20 May 2019

13 May 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Locked out via legal loophole: artists evicted from London studios following ‘administrative error’: Twenty-five London-based artists have been locked out… Read More »13 May 2019

05 May 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Photo London rescinds partnership with Brunei’s Dorchester Collection after protests: Photo London is scrambling to distance itself from a partnership… Read More »05 May 2019

14 April 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Kamel Mennour to show controversial ‘rediscovered’ Caravaggio in Paris gallery: The painting of Judith beheading Holofernes, somewhat controversially attributed to… Read More »14 April 2019

11 March 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Italian scholars unveil Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘only surviving sculpture’: The curators of an exhibition in Florence have this week unveiled… Read More »11 March 2019

25 July 2018

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Italian police recover two stolen paintings attributed to masters Rubens and Renoir: Police in northern Italy have located paintings attributed to Peter… Read More »25 July 2018

5 July 2018

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Cézanne’s Heirs and the Kunstmuseum Bern Reach a Historic Agreement Over a Mysterious Cézanne in the Gurlitt Trove: Paul Cézanne’s family has reached… Read More »5 July 2018

21 June 2018

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe Art dealers slam proposed European Union licence regulations: The European Union is considering stringent new import licence regulations on cultural goods… Read More »21 June 2018

3 May 2018

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon Europe European Union tightens anti-money-laundering rules in the art market: On 19 April, the European Parliament adopted the fifth Anti-Money-Laundering directive, which… Read More »3 May 2018

Crack down on Bribery: a warning to galleries and dealers

The payment of bribes to foreign customs officials to facilitate the importation of goods in a foreign country has recently been in the spotlight after the Ralph Lauren Corporation made facilitation payments to Argentinian customs officials in connection with the importation of goods into the country.

On 22 April 2013, it was reported that the Ralph Lauren Corporation (a US company) would pay over USD 1.6 million to US authorities as part of a settlement for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This followed the discovery that the Argentinian subsidiary of the corporation paid bribes and made gifts to Argentinian customs officials between 2005 and 2009, to ensure that goods were imported into the country without inspection and without necessary paperwork. The corporation discovered the misconduct during an internal review and promptly reported it to the regulators. As a result of its co-operation with the authorities, the Ralph Lauren Corporation has not been charged with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Read More »Crack down on Bribery: a warning to galleries and dealers

The Importation of Video and Light Installations

The Customs Information Paper introducing changes to the temporary removal of goods from Customs Warehousing (see the article on this blog on Changes to the UK Bonded Warehousing Regime) refers to a previous Customs Information Paper (Ref: (10) 44 effective 18 June 2010).  The Annex to that Customs Information Paper seeks to clarify certain procedures for the importation of works of art and antiques for display at galleries, fairs and exhibitions.

The second paragraph of the Annex reads: “Some art works currently being imported into the UK are described as “art installations” or “light installations”.  These typically include some form of audio visual presentations or light display and current practice was to classify these installations according to their constituent parts and not as “art” in Chapter 97 of the Tariff”.  This is a reference to HMRC’s inept argument that a video installation (e.g. by artist Bill Viola) or a light installation (e.g. by artist Dan Flavin) cannot be imported in the UK as an artwork simply because it is disassembled and crated for shipping.  The fact that these art pieces are imported packed in boxes means, so argues HMRC, that they must be taxed as light bulbs, video screens and electric wires, because this is how these artworks appear to HMRC officials when they are wheeled through Customs.  The sub-text is that HMRC officials are so devoid of natural intelligence that they cannot make the difference between an artwork by a world-famous artist (even when it is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist) and a bunch of wires.  Tax should be levied, HMRC go on to say, at the rate applied to electrical and video apparatus, i.e. currently 20% instead of 5% for works of art.  Customs duty should be levied too, as it applies to electrical and video equipment, not to works of art.  This might have been mildly ridiculous, had HMRC not also argued that the higher rate of tax and duty should be applied not on the retail value of the electrical or video equipment (a few hundred pounds) but on the value declared by the importer being the value of an artwork by the artist (typically several hundred thousand pounds).Read More »The Importation of Video and Light Installations