02 December 2019

Europe

Minister: I’ll stop Magna Carta being sold abroad: An export ban could be placed on the sale of a version of Magna Carta from 1300 amid fears that a wealthy foreign collector could buy it for £20m. Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, said she was “extremely concerned” about the possibility of the historic document being sold abroad and vowed to stop it leaving the UK.

01.12.2019, The Sunday Times: Minister: I’ll stop Magna Carta being sold abroad 

Artist’s signature and thumbprint among discoveries in Pieter de Hooch paintings: Three discoveries have been made about the paintings by Pieter de Hooch, as a result of the first exhibition of his work in his hometown of Delft. 

29.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Artist’s signature and thumbprint among discoveries in Pieter de Hooch paintings 

Germany returns indigenous remains of 45 ancestors to Australia in ‘long overdue step’: The German state of Saxony returned the remains of 45 indigenous ancestors stolen in grave robberies or from victims of violence to communities in Australia at a ceremony at the Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig on 28 November, the second such repatriation from Germany this year.

29.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Germany returns indigenous remains of 45 ancestors to Australia in ‘long overdue step’ 

Have You Seen a Benin Bronze in an Art Museum? The Guardian Launches a Campaign to Locate and Return African Art: The British Museum and other UK institutions with Benin bronzes in their collections are facing growing pressure to return them to Africa. Now, the Guardian newspaper has increased the heat by launching a public appeal to map the location of sculptures looted in the late 19th century.

29.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Have You Seen a Benin Bronze in an Art Museum? The Guardian Launches a Campaign to Locate and Return African Art 

28.11.2019, The Guardian: Help us locate Benin bronze statues in the UK

Looted bronze cockerel will be returned home to Nigeria: After decades in the Cambridge dining room of Jesus College the bronze cockerel from Benin is crowing for home. The Okukor, looted in 1897 by the British and bequeathed to the college, is to be returned to Nigeria after a three-year campaign by students who said that it glorified Britain’s colonial past.

28.11.2019, The Times: Looted bronze cockerel will be returned home to Nigeria 

28.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Cambridge college returns Benin bronze to Nigeria 

Florence’s Uffizi Recognizes Rediscovered Bronze as 16th-Century Sculpture, Igniting Fierce Debate Among Experts: The authentication of artworks has long been a contentious battle in the art world. These days, such debates mainly concern modern and contemporary artworks, though an ongoing, decades-long dispute currently being waged in Italy centers around a work believed by some to be done by a Renaissance master.

26.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Florence’s Uffizi Recognizes Rediscovered Bronze as 16th-Century Sculpture, Igniting Fierce Debate Among Experts 

Police Plan to Seize a Rotterdam Museum’s 16th-Century Altarpiece Fragments After a Church Claimed They Were Stolen: Police have said they plan to seize six religious sculptures that are on display at an art museum in the Belgian town of Leuven. The authorities acted following a complaint by a Belgian church that has long sought to reclaim the fragments of a 16th-century altarpiece, which were stolen at the outbreak of World War I.  

26.11.2019, Artnet: Police Plan to Seize a Rotterdam Museum’s 16th-Century Altarpiece Fragments After a Church Claimed They Were Stolen 

‘Priceless’ Jewelry, Artifacts Stolen From German Museum: Thieves made off with jewelry and artifacts worth a reported $1.1 billion after an early-morning burglary at a German museum.

25.11.2019, Bloomberg: ‘Priceless’ Jewelry, Artifacts Stolen From German Museum

25.11.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Thieves steal precious baroque treasures from German museum 

26.11.2019, CNN Style: Dresden museum heist: What we know about the stolen jewels 

28.11.2019, Monopol: Police Announce a $550,000 Reward to Hunt Down Dresden’s Jewel Thieves

Could national museums in the UK do more to be truly national?: The United Kingdom has one of the greatest publicly owned art collections in the world, but it faces an unprecedented crisis. Some of the collections are indeed beautifully displayed, in busy museums with world-class facilities. Yet much of it is shown in regional museums which struggle to keep the lights on. And of course most of it – more than 80 per cent for oil paintings – is kept in storage.

25.11.2019, Apollo: Could national museums in the UK do more to be truly national? 

Expert Urges Christie’s to Cancel Sale of Roman Statue, Citing Potentially Faulty Provenance: Christie’s has come under fire for selling a ca. first-century statue of the Greek god Eros that has allegedly passed through the hands of antiquities dealers who may have been involved in illegal trade practices. The piece is featured on the cover of a catalogue for a sale due to take place in an antiquities auction in London on December 4, and it is estimated to sell for as much as £800,000.

25.11.2019, Art News: Expert Urges Christie’s to Cancel Sale of Roman Statue, Citing Potentially Faulty Provenance 26.11.2019, Artnet: Christie’s Stands by Its Decision to Sell a $1 Million Roman Sculpture Despite Its Links to a Disgraced Dealer

United States

Rediscovered Rubens to star in Sotheby’s Old Masters sale in New York: A painting depicting the Holy Family in an evening landscape has been owned by a Manhattan family for more than 60 years. 

29.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Rediscovered Rubens to star in Sotheby’s Old Masters sale in New York 

Multi-million Dollar Award Under Appeal In Divisive 5Pointz Case: Ninety days versus $6.75 million. That’s what the 5Pointz case currently on appeal in the US before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals boils down to. Twenty-one artists should have been given a ninety-day notice to remove their art from the façade of a real estate developer’s property before he whitewashed the works, according to the first instance judge, the Honorable Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York. The developer failed to give the artists that window of opportunity to salvage their work, and now he must pay a multi-million dollar statutory damages award. Or does he? The Second Circuit will soon answer that question.

28.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Multi-million Dollar Award Under Appeal In Divisive 5Pointz Case

New Art Dealers Alliance — how galleries and artists can work together: The New Art Dealers Alliance, a New York-based non-profit membership organisation, was founded in 2002 for emerging galleries, along with independent curators, artists and other art world professionals. This year 27 galleries will make their debut at Nada’s Miami fair. The 17th edition of Nada Miami — which opens next week, as one of the Art Basel Miami Beach satellite fairs — will feature 135 exhibitors from around the world.

28.11.2019, The Financial Times: New Art Dealers Alliance — how galleries and artists can work together 

Antiquities Expert Charged With Trafficking in Cambodian Artifacts: Investigators have charged Douglas A. J. Latchford, a leading expert on Khmer antiquities, with smuggling looted Cambodian relics and helping to sell them on the international art market by concealing their tainted histories with falsified documentation.

27.11.2019, The New York Times: Antiquities Expert Charged With Trafficking in Cambodian Artifacts 

27.11.2019, ARCA: “Hold on to your hat”: Antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford, a/k/a “Pakpong Kriangsak” 

A Whistleblower Busted the Lincoln Museum for Improperly Renting a Copy of the Gettysburg Address to Glenn Beck for $50,000: Conservative media personality Glenn Beck, who for years propagated wild conspiracy theories on Fox News and later via his company the Blaze, has gotten a museum director in hot water by paying the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, Illinois, $50,000 to rent a copy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.26.11.2019, Artnet: A Whistleblower Busted the Lincoln Museum for Improperly Renting a Copy of the Gettysburg Address to Glenn Beck for $50,000

World

Fakes! Why are we seeing so many counterfeits?: Fake art has been with us since Roman times, but just recently some new stories have emerged concerning counterfeits.

27.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Fakes! Why are we seeing so many counterfeits? 

The most notorious modern-day jewelry heists: Tales of criminal masterminds swindling away diamonds, rubies and emeralds in elaborate robberies have captured Hollywood’s imagination for decades. But this week, a raid on a castle vault in Germany has reminded us that real-life jewelry heists are an unfortunate reality.

27.11.2019, CNN Style: The most notorious modern-day jewelry heists 

Art Basel cancels $15,000 per ticket Abu Dhabi conference: Art Basel has cancelled an exclusive $15,000 three-day summit in Abu Dhabi, planned to take place from 14 to 16 February 2020.

27.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Art Basel cancels $15,000 per ticket Abu Dhabi conference 

The Fierce Legal Battle Over Who Owns ‘Fearless Girl’ Has Now Re-Emerged Halfway Around the World, in Australia: Fearless Girl, the bronze sculpture whose feminist message first appeared in Manhattan, has spread all over the world. Lawyers for Kristen Visbal, the Delaware-based artist, are up against State Street Global Advisors, who say they own the sculpture’s image and name. The opposing teams most recently appeared in a courtroom in Melbourne, Australia to plead their cases. State Street has brought a case against Visbal and Melbourne personal injury firm Maurice Blackburn, which commissioned a copy of Fearless Girl and placed it in that city’s Federation Square.

27.11.2019, Artnet: The Fierce Legal Battle Over Who Owns ‘Fearless Girl’ Has Now Re-Emerged Halfway Around the World, in Australia 

Russia and Syria sign agreement to restore ancient city of Palmyra: Russia and Syria will team up to create a masterplan to restore the National Museum of Palmyra as a basis for reviving the ancient city in Syria. The State Hermitage Museum and Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences signed agreements in Damascus with Syria’s Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM).

27.11.2019, The Art Newspaper: Russia and Syria sign agreement to restore ancient city of Palmyra 29.11.2019, Artforum: Russia And Syria To Restore Ancient Syrian City Desecrated By Isis

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