01 April 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Norway Will Return Thousands of Objects to Easter Island That Were Taken by an Explorer More than 60 Years Ago: The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo is repatriating thousands of artifacts of the native Rapa Nui people to Easter Island. The objects were collected in the 1940s and ’50s by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific Ocean on the balsawood raft Kon-Tiki in an effort to prove that ancient South American people settled Polynesia. 

29.03.2019, Artnet: Norway Will Return Thousands of Objects to Easter Island That Were Taken by an Explorer More than 60 Years Ago  

The French Government Is Launching a Task Force Dedicated to Researching and Returning Nazi-Era Loot From Its National Collections: The French government is about to launch an official mission for the research and restitution of Nazi-looted art held in French museums. The newly dedicated office within the ministry of culture will have a five-person staff and an annual budget of around €200,000 to seek out the rightful owners or heirs of artworks stolen or sold under duress during the country’s occupation. Around 2,000 “homeless” artworks came into the French government’s possession after the Second World War, and the country has long been subject to criticism that it has mishandled the repatriation process. 

29.03.2019, Artnet: The French Government Is Launching a Task Force Dedicated to Researching and Returning Nazi-Era Loot From Its National Collections  

Fake Botticelli Turns Out to Be Real Botticelli, Confounding Experts: Art experts in Britain have discovered that a painting long thought to be a fake Sandro Botticelli in fact came from the master’s own Florence workshop. 

28.03.2019, Bloomberg: Fake Botticelli Turns Out to Be Real Botticelli, Confounding Experts  

28.03.2019, BBC News: ‘Fake’ Botticelli painting is from artist’s studio, English Heritage says  

Panel urges return of Hitler’s Bellotto paintings to heirs of Jewish retail magnate: Two paintings by the 18th-century painter Bernardo Bellotto that Adolf Hitler purchased should be returned to the descendants of Max James Emden, a Jewish department-store magnate from Hamburg who lost much of his wealth as a result of Nazi persecution, a German government panel has ruled. 

27.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Panel urges return of Hitler’s Bellotto paintings to heirs of Jewish retail magnate  

Italy and China team up to fight looting: The Italian culture ministry has agreed to oversee the return of some Italy and China have agreed to join forces and fight the illegal trafficking of antiquities as part of a historic agreement signed between the two countries. The Italian government also announced it will return 796 objects that had been illegally exported to Italy from China—including a third millennium BC Majiayao red clay pot—after a court in Milan ruled last November that the items should be repatriated. According to Hyperallergic, the artefacts were first intercepted by Italy’s Carabinieri art police at a market in 2007. 

27.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Italy and China team up to fight looting  

25.03.2019, Artnet: Amid Strengthening Political Ties With China, Italy Gives the Go-Ahead to Repatriate 800 Chinese Cultural Artifacts  

24.03.2019, South China Morning Post: Italy agrees to return nearly 800 Chinese cultural relics in goodwill gesture during Xi Jinping visit  

Stolen Picasso Painting Is Recovered in Amsterdam, Investigator Says: An art crimes investigator in the Netherlands said Tuesday that he had recovered Pablo Picasso’s 1938 painting “Portrait of Dora Maar,” which was stolen from the yacht of its Saudi Arabian owner in the south of France in 1999. 

26.03.2019, The New York Times: Stolen Picasso Painting Is Recovered in Amsterdam, Investigator Says  

26.03.2019, Artnet: The ‘Indiana Jones of the Art World’ Has Found a $28 Million Picasso Stolen From a Saudi Prince’s Yacht Two Decades Ago  

26.03.2019, ARCA: Recovered: Picasso portrait of Dora Maar  

29.03.2019, The Guardian: Art detective Arthur Brand: how I found a stolen Picasso 

MEPs raise concerns over ‘freeports’ for storing art: Members of the European Parliament on a special committee for financial crime and tax evasion have warned of the art market potentially being used as “a suitable vehicle for illegal activity”, according to a report. 

25.03.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: MEPs raise concerns over ‘freeports’ for storing art 

Amid Mounting Pressure and Numerous Lawsuits, the Sackler Trust Halts Philanthropic Giving: The Sackler Trust and the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation plan to halt philanthropic giving amid mounting lawsuits against members of the Sackler family in the United States. Since 2010, the UK-based Sackler Trust has committed £60 million ($79 million) to the arts, medical research, and education. But in recent months, the trust has been under intense scrutiny due to its association with Purdue Pharma, the maker of the controversial painkiller OxyContin. 

25.03.2019, Artnet: Amid Mounting Pressure and Numerous Lawsuits, the Sackler Trust Halts Philanthropic Giving  

25.03.2019, Frieze: Sackler Trust Suspends Donations as Galleries Cut Ties Over Opioid Links 

United States

Dueling documentaries take aim at one of the biggest scams in recent art history: More than three years have passed since a high-profile trial in New York offered a glimpse behind the scenes of a forgery scandal that rocked the Knoedler Gallery, which closed in 2011 after selling dozens of Modernist fakes painted by an artist who fled to China. But there is still interest in the case—perhaps because so many details remain unknown—and three documentary film-makers are vying to release productions that examine the scam. 

28.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Dueling documentaries take aim at one of the biggest scams in recent art history  

‘Morally, Harvard Has No Grounds’: Inside the Explosive Lawsuit That Accuses the University of Profiting From Images of Slavery: A thorny lawsuit making its way through the courts pits Harvard University against a woman who claims she is the direct descendant of slaves depicted in several 19th-century daguerreotypes owned by the school’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. 

28.03.2019, Artnet: ‘Morally, Harvard Has No Grounds’: Inside the Explosive Lawsuit That Accuses the University of Profiting From Images of Slavery 

Judge Dismisses Libel Suit Over Wall Street Journal Article: A libel lawsuit brought by a leading antiquities dealer against Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was dismissed in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday. The dealer, Hicham Aboutaam, sued Dow Jones in 2017 asserting that he had been damaged by a Journal article published earlier that year that reported that law enforcement officials were investigating whether he had trafficked in artifacts that were looted by ISIS. 

26.03.2019, The New York Times: Judge Dismisses Libel Suit Over Wall Street Journal Article  

26.03.2019, ARCA: Court dismisses Hicham Aboutaam complaint against Dow Jones & Company’s for Benoit Faucon and Georgi Kantchev’s Wall Street Journal article discussing the family’s ancient art business  

Protesters, influencers and AI: what museums need to think about today: Do social media influencers promoting museums come with strings attached? Can a director’s Twitter page be a public forum for free speech? And can a museum do whatever it wants with the AI it generates? These were among the many legal questions discussed at an annual conference held this year in Washington, DC, cosponsored by the American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education and the Smithsonian Institution (19-21 March). 

26.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Protesters, influencers and AI: what museums need to think about today

World

A Leonardo Made a $450 Million Splash. Now There’s No Sign of It.: The Louvre Abu Dhabi might seem to have all you could ask for in a world-class museum. Its acclaimed design shades its galleries under a vast dome that appears to hover over the waters of the Persian Gulf. Inside are works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, Monet and van Gogh, Mondrian and Basquiat. 

30.03.2019, The New York Times: A Leonardo Made a $450 Million Splash. Now There’s No Sign of It.  

Self-censorship on the rise as Hong Kong grows closer to China: Fears are growing over Hong Kong’s artistic freedom, including instances of self-censorship, as China rolls out its Greater Bay Area integration scheme. The controversial plan aims to merge Hong Kong and Macau—its fellow Special Administrative Region (SAR)—with nine nearby cities on the mainland into a mega-hub, encompassing around 68 million people with a shared GDP of US$1.39 trillion. 

27.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Self-censorship on the rise as Hong Kong grows closer to China  

Works by major Indian Modernists lead $8m sale of jailed diamond dealer’s art collection: A sale by the Mumbai-based auction house Saffronart raised a total of INR 54.84 (around $8.07m) yesterday for the country’s Income Tax Department, marking the first time that an Indian auction house has sold works of art on behalf of a government agency. 

27.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Works by major Indian Modernists lead $8m sale of jailed diamond dealer’s art collection  

Turkish photojournalist Cagdas Erdogan to stand trial on terrorism charges: Cagdas Erdogan is due to stand before a judge in Caglayan, Turkey’s highest court on 26 March. The 27-year-old photographer is accused by the Turkish government of terrorism. If the prosecution gets its way, Erdogan will not be granted his freedom until close to his 50th birthday. 

25.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Turkish photojournalist Cagdas Erdogan to stand trial on terrorism charges  

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