07 January 2019

Europe

Musée d’Orsay Closes Amid Yellow Vests Protest in Paris: On Saturday, a protest by the Yellow Vests in Paris led the Musée d’Orsay to close early for the day. The museum said on Twitter that it had cancelled its “nocturne,” or nighttime viewing period, for its exhibition “Picasso. Blue and Rose.” (That show, which focuses on works made during Pablo Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods, was to have been open until 11 p.m. this evening.) But the closure will not last long—the museum said it plans to reopen on Sunday.

05.01.2019, Art News: Musée d’Orsay Closes Amid Yellow Vests Protest in Paris

Now that the UK ivory ban has become law, how will it work in practice?: It is no surprise that cross-party support saw the Ivory Bill sail smoothly through the United Kingdom Parliament and finally, on 20 December 2018, receive Royal Assent. Make no mistake, this ‘almost total ban’ on the trade in ivory is a triumph for populist politics and a good win for a beleaguered government, as well as for the Secretary of State at the Department for Food, Environment & Rural Affairs (Defra). One has to hope that the new law will contribute to the eradication of the illicit trade in poached ivory, and that the Government will demonstrate its true commitment to elephant conservation by investing all available resources into actively supporting work on the front line, across the African continent.

03.01.2019, Apollo: Now that the UK ivory ban has become law, how will it work in practice?

French antiquities dealers slam ‘shocking’ report on restituting African art: France’s syndicate of antique dealers has demanded a meeting with the country’s new culture minister Franck Reister after the organisation was not consulted on the recent Savoy-Sarr restitution report, which recommends the return of African works to the continent.

03.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: French antiquities dealers slam ‘shocking’ report on restituting African art

Florence museum demands Germany return artwork stolen by Nazis: The Uffizi Gallery in Florence on Tuesday appealed to Berlin for help in retrieving a stolen 18th century Dutch painting from a German family. “An appeal to Germany for 2019: We wish that the famous ‘Vase of Flowers’ by Dutch painter Jan van Huysum that was stolen by Nazi soldiers be returned to the Uffizi Gallery,” the museum’s German director Eike Schmidt said.

01.01.2019, The Times of Israel: Florence museum demands Germany return artwork stolen by Nazis

02.01.2019, BBC News: Italy’s Uffizi Gallery demands back Nazi-stolen painting

02.01.2019, CNN Style: Italy’s Uffizi Gallery wants Nazi-looted artwork back from Germany

02.01.2019, Le Journal des Arts: Le musée de Florence réclame le retour d’un tableau volé par les nazis

03.01.2019, Frieze: Florence’s Uffizi Gallery Says Germany has ‘Moral Duty’ to Return Nazi-Looted Painting

Christie’s France wins the artist resale royalty battle: The long-running legal battle over who pays droit de suite—resale royalties that go to artists or their heirs—in France has taken a new turn after the French supreme court ruled in November that the buyer (whether private or professional) rather than the seller of a work of art can be charged the levy in individual cases.

31.12.2018, The Art Newspaper: Christie’s France wins the artist resale royalty battle

United States

How the government shutdown affects museums: “We’re sorry,” it reads. “Due to the shutdown of the federal government, the Washington DC facility is closed.” This museum is not alone; government-funded Smithsonian museums in New York and Washington, as well as the National Zoo, are closed due to a partial government shutdown, which kicked off on 22 December over border security issues, forcing thousands of federal workers to work without pay or take unpaid time off.

05.01.2019, The Guardian: How the government shutdown affects museums

African-American fakes are on the rise: The recent boom in museum shows devoted to African-American artists and the increasing amount of attention paid to these artists in the market has led to a significant rise in forgeries, a prominent dealer is warning. In the past few weeks alone, the New York-based gallerist Michael Rosenfeld, who has long championed the work of many African-American Modernists, has seen fakes purporting to be the work of Alma Thomas, Beauford Delaney, Charles White, Romare Bearden and Bob Thompson.

04.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: African-American fakes are on the rise

Why American artists should benefit from the resale of their works: In the US, authors, musicians, actors, and others in the creative industries have royalties and residuals that reward their enduring stake in the redistribution of their intellectual property, when properly enforced. Yet while visual artists are entitled to royalties on commercial reproduction, there is currently little to no legal recourse for them to benefit from the resale of their work.

04.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Why American artists should benefit from the resale of their works

Trump’s tax Act offers potential tax havens for art: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump in December 2017 saw the elimination of 1031s, or “like-kind exchanges”, a tax vehicle that has been a powerful driver of the US art market in recent years.

03.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: Trump’s tax Act offers potential tax havens for art

National Gallery of Art Closes to the Public, Latest Victim of U.S. Government Shutdown: The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has gone dark. The museum closed to the public on Thursday as the result of the partial shutdown of the federal government that began on December 22. Its employees have been furloughed, and even its online shop has been deactivated.

03.01.2019, Art News: National Gallery of Art Closes to the Public, Latest Victim of U.S. Government Shutdown

The Smithsonian Museums Have Fallen Victim to the Government Shutdown, Closing Until Further Notice: Since the partial government shut down in the US took affect on December 22, the Smithsonian Institution has limped along, staying open by using leftover funds from prior year. As the lapse in funding continues, all 19 Smithsonian museums in New York and Washington, DC, have been forced to close their doors.

02.01.2019, Artnet: The Smithsonian Museums Have Fallen Victim to the Government Shutdown, Closing Until Further Notice

World

Artwork Taken From Africa, Returning to a Home Transformed: When Emmanuel Macron, the French president, told students in Burkina Faso in 2017 that he wanted to see a “temporary or permanent restitution” of African art in French collections, no one in the museum world could be sure whether it would happen. Then came publication on Nov. 21 of a blockbuster report, written for Mr. Macron by Bénédicte Savoy of France and Felwine Sarr of Senegal, which calls for  the return of possibly thousands of works of art. Suddenly, the door was opening to what could be the largest shake-up ever of European museums with objects acquired during the colonial era.

03.01.2019, The New York Times: Artwork Taken From Africa, Returning to a Home Transformed

Too little, too late? The battle to save Tripoli’s futuristic fairground: It could collapse at any time,” says the architect and activist Wassim Naghi. The facade of the unfinished, subterranean space museum in Tripoli, Lebanon, is visibly decaying and its steel reinforcements are rusted – but that may not be its biggest problem. “The ageing concrete’s carbonation is invisible,” explains Naghi when we meet in his office in the centre of the city. “We don’t know how bad it really is.”

03.01.2019, The Guardian: Too little, too late? The battle to save Tripoli’s futuristic fairground

The camera never lies but AI is catching up: Computer scientists say that artificial intelligence has led to the creation of bogus photos that are indistinguishable from real ones and could make the spread of fake news easier.An experiment at Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggested that portraits created by generative adversarial networks (GANs) were so sophisticated that people were duped more than 30 per cent of the time.

02.01.2019, The Times: The camera never lies but AI is catching up

Art stolen by the Nazis is still missing. Here’s how we can recover it: During World War II, the Nazis looted some 600,000 paintings from Jews, at least 100,000 of which are still missing. The looting was not only designed to enrich the Third Reich but also integral to the Holocaust’s goal of eliminating all vestiges of Jewish identity and culture. The Allies warned neutral nations in the 1943 London Declaration against trafficking in Nazi-looted art. Art experts, the storied “ Monuments Men ,” were embedded in the liberating U.S. Army. The looted wealth they preserved was returned to the countries where it had been stolen in the expectation that the original owners or their heirs would receive it. That hope was misplaced: Most items were sold or incorporated into public and private collections, lost to their rightful owners.

02.01.2019, The Washington Post: Art stolen by the Nazis is still missing. Here’s how we can recover it.

Rethinking the restitution of African artefacts: The Africa Museum in Tervuren, just outside Brussels, reopened last month, an event that received widespread international coverage. The renovation of the museum is a global story, and not just because its collections include so many objects that came to Belgium as a result of the country’s brutal colonial exploitation of central Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has captured the world’s attention because the past, present, and above all the future status of cultural material originating from sub-Saharan Africa is in the public spotlight as never before.

02.01.2019, Apollo: Rethinking the restitution of African artefacts

Argentine Authorities Seize More Than 30 Works of Art From Former President Cristina Kirchner in Corruption Probe: A court in Argentina has ordered the seizure of more than 30 paintings from the country’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is currently a senator, as part of an ongoing corruption investigation. The works, which have not been identified publicly, are reportedly worth $4 million.

02.01.2019, Artnet: Argentine Authorities Seize More Than 30 Works of Art From Former President Cristina Kirchner in Corruption Probe

‘Hundreds’ of cultural figures caught up in China’s Uyghur persecution: The recent detention of the photographer Lu Guang in north-west China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has sparked a global outpouring of protest. Lu Guang, who is known for his work documenting the ecological and human devastation of development in remote regions in China, is the first cultural figure from the Han Chinese majority population to disappear into the prisons of Xinjiang. But most of the region’s Uyghur writers, artists and scholars have already been imprisoned. “So many have been taken away,” says Tahir Hamut, a Uyghur poet and film-maker who escaped to the US. “Most of the more famous [Uyghur] cultural figures have all been arrested. Their families won’t say for certain, because their families are afraid.”

02.01.2019, The Art Newspaper: ‘Hundreds’ of cultural figures caught up in China’s Uyghur persecution

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