1 February 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Geneva to close probe into Russian billionaire’s art complaint: Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier won another victory in his long-running feud with Russian billionaire client Dmitry Rybolovlev, after Geneva prosecutors announced their intention to close a probe into Rybolovlev’s accusations of fraud.

26.01.2021, Bloomberg: Geneva to close probe into Russian billionaire’s art complaint

29.01.2021, The Guardian: Bouvier affair: Swiss prosecutors to close legal dispute over art

28.01.2021, Artnet: In a victory for art dealer Yves Bouvier, Swiss prosecutors are closing the book on claims brought against him by a Russian oligarch

Wrangle over valuable art uncovered in Cypriot ghost town: The valuable and very rare concrete relief by Christoforos Savva, Cyprus’ most avant-garde artist of the 1960s, had lain hidden for decades in the underground recesses of the Perroquet nightclub in abandoned Varosha — an inaccessible ghost town that had been under Turkish military control since a 1974 war ethnically cleaved the island nation. But with Varosha’s controversial partial opening last November, the artwork has again come to light following a report by local newspaper Politis. Now, the man who says he commissioned the art from Savva is asking authorities for help to have it removed and transported to the country’s national gallery for all to see.

31.01.2021, The Associated Press: Wrangle over valuable art uncovered in Cypriot ghost town

Nazi looted art: Dispute over Guarneri violin: A violin crafted by the famous violin maker Joseph Guarneri stands at the centre of an ongoing dispute between a foundation and the heirs about whether it falls within the category of “Nazi looted property” or was sold without coercion before 1945.

27.01.2021, Deutsche Welle: Nazi looted art: Dispute over Guarneri violin

United States

Museum of the Bible returns artifacts to Egypt: The Museum of the Bible in Washington, which has been bedeviled since its inception in 2017 by claims that it acquired thousands of biblical artifacts on the black market, has quietly repatriated 5,000 manuscripts and bits of papyrus to Egypt, which has long asserted the items were ferreted from the country in 2011 amid the upheavals of the Arab Spring.

29.01.2021, The New York Times: Museum of the Bible returns artifacts to Egypt

Rare Rembrandt withdrawn from Sotheby’s New York auction: Rembrandt van Rijn’s Abraham and the Angels (1646), estimated at $20m-$30m, is one of four works withdrawn from a Sotheby’s Old Master sale. A reason for the withdrawal was not given.

28.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: Rare Rembrandt withdrawn from Sotheby’s New York auction

A Botticelli portrait sells for $92 million at Sotheby’s auction: A small painting by Sandro Botticelli fetched $92.2 million at auction at Sotheby’s last Thursday, in the art market’s first big test of the new year. The result, an auction record for the Renaissance painter, was also the highest price paid for an Old Master work since Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million in 2017. It also represented a windfall for the foundation of the billionaire Sheldon Solow, who had bought it for about $1.3 million in 1982. The proceeds from the sale may be used to establish a private museum in Manhattan.

28.01.2021, The New York Times: A Botticelli portrait sells for $92 million at Sotheby’s auction

28.01.2021, Bloomberg: The finest Botticelli in private hands sells for a record $92 million

28.01.2021, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Sandro Botticelli portrait takes $80m at Sotheby’s Old Master auction in New York

28.01.2021, Art News: Botticelli portrait goes for $92 M., becoming second-most expensive Old Masters work ever auctioned

29.01.2021, The Guardian: Highest price ever for a Botticelli painting, $92.2m, paid at auction

25.01.2021, The Smithsonian: One of the last privately owned Botticelli portraits just sold for $92 Million

Massachusetts man arrested for breaking into Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with a stolen painting: The man allegedly opened an emergency door at the museum and threw in a painting he had stolen from a nearby gallery days earlier.

27.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: Massachusetts man arrested for breaking into Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with a stolen painting

26.01.2021, NBC Boston: Man arrested after allegedly breaking into Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Locals in upstate New York defend Nick Cave installation at appeal hearing over its removal: Is it art or illegal signage? While the controversy continues over Nick Cave’s art installation: Truth Be Told at Jack Shainman’s upstate New York outpost The School, the local public weighed-in overwhelmingly on the side of art during a zoning board appeal hearing last Monday night in the Hudson Valley village of Kinderhook.

26.01.2021, The Art NewspaperLocals in upstate New York defend Nick Cave installation at appeal hearing over its removal

Its attribution restored, a Rembrandt portrait goes on view in Pennsylvania: Just over 50 years ago, the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania suffered a blow when the Rembrandt Research Project, an arbiter of what paintings can be firmly attributed to the artist, ruled that its 1632 Portrait of a Young Woman was probably a product of Rembrandt’s studio rather than the master himself.

26.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: Its attribution restored, a Rembrandt portrait goes on view in Pennsylvania

World

Azerbaijan refuses to hand over 1,500 artworks after seizing ‘cultural capital’ in Nagorno-Karabakh: The Republic of Artsakh—also known as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic—has appealed to Russia to help safeguard around 1,500 art objects in the war-torn and culturally significant city of Shusha (called Shushi by Armenians).

29.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: Azerbaijan refuses to hand over 1,500 artworks after seizing ‘cultural capital’ in Nagorno-Karabakh

Pandemic tests business commitment to arts sponsorship: Theatres and museums have been forced to close their doors, businesses have gone under and creative professionals have struggled financially. Companies that back the arts have had to choose whether to maintain this funding as the restrictions have dragged on. Many arts directors say their business supporters have stuck with them through the worst of the crisis, even as the traditional benefits of opening nights and corporate networking events have been severely curtailed.

27.01.2021, The Financial TimesPandemic tests business commitment to arts sponsorship

Do museums need a shopping network for art donations?: For art collectors interested in donating a work, one worry has long been that their gift, a valuable, possibly beloved, painting would end up in a museum basement, where many items from permanent collections reside, unseen.

21.01.2021, The New York Times: Do museums need a shopping network for art donations?

NOTE: Please note that most excerpts come from the original publication and any credit must go to the author of the publication, not to Constantine Cannon LLP.  Any views or opinions expressed in the excerpts and/or articles belong solely to the author of the publication.  Constantine Cannon LLP does not approve or endorse any view or opinion contained therein.  Due to some copyright restrictions, please doot redistribute this email without our consent.  Should you like to include someone in the mailing list, please let us know.  We will be happy to do it! If you do not wish to receive the Art Law News Update, please unsubscribe through the link below.