11 January 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

The UK has officially exited the EU with a trade deal. So what exactly does it mean for the art business?: Experts and stakeholders have spent the past week picking over the fine print in the deal, officially dubbed the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, which passed in the House of Commons on December 30. After more than four years of speculation, still not everything is clear—but the changes are likely set in stone. “The devil will be in the details” says Till Vere-Hodge, senior associate at Constantine Cannon.

05.01.2021, Artnet: The UK has officially exited the EU with a trade deal. So what exactly does it mean for the art business?

Will new EU lighting rules pull the plug on neon art?: Among the more obscure aspects of the Brexit negotiations was the question of lighting. Artists from Dan Flavin and Bruce Nauman to Tracey Emin and Olafur Eliasson make extensive use of light in their works, in the form of fluorescent bulbs and, in particular, neon tubing, which contains mercury. The EU’s ecodesign regulations for lighting, which are due to replace the existing rules in September, aim to stop the sale of products that do not meet energy efficiency and safety standards. Most halogen lamps and the traditional fluorescent tube lighting, which are common in offices, will be phased-out from September 2023.

08.01.2021, The Art NewspaperWill new EU lighting rules pull the plug on neon art?

Members of art-dealing Wildenstein family face retrial in French court: Members of the Wildenstein family, possessors of one of the world’s largest collection of Old Masters, have been ordered by France’s highest court to face a retrial after being acquitted of tax fraud in 2018. The new trial will mark the third time the case against French American art dealer Guy Wildenstein; his nephew Alec Wildenstein, Jr.; and Liouba Soupakova, widow of Guy’s brother Alec Wildenstein—collectively referred to in the French press as “les W”—has come before the courts. Also being tried are a notary, a lawyer, and two trust-fund managers.

07.01.2021, Artforum: Members of art-dealing Wildenstein family face retrial in French court

06.01.2021, The Guardian: France’s highest court orders retrial of art-dealing Wildenstein family

07.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: French High Court orders retrial of Wildenstein art dynasty tax fraud case

In a win for UK antiquities dealers, Britain will abandon the EU’s strict regulations on importing cultural heritage now that it has finalised Brexit: In April 2019, the European Union passed an unprecedented set of rules governing the importation of cultural heritage from outside the continent. But whether or not Britain would honor those rules after its departure from the union last month remained an open question.

06.01.2021, Artnet: In a win for UK antiquities dealers, Britain will abandon the EU’s strict regulations on importing cultural heritage now that it has finalised Brexit

In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage: One of the biggest challenges for police and customs officials in combating the illegal trade in looted antiquities is in identifying stolen objects. While drugs or weapons are readily identifiable as illegal imports, stolen antiquities can be passed off as modern copies or legitimate imports if they are accompanied by convincing documentation. Without expert archaeologists on the spot, it is hard for law enforcers to know the difference.

05.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: In the battle against antiquities trafficking, Germany develops app to identify looted cultural heritage

United States

Lawsuit claims $100m damages in tangled case of hidden Russian art worth $60m: A tangled four-year-long legal struggle over $60m worth of Russian art that the financier Rustam Iseev allegedly stole from Shchukin Gallery—which previously had galleries in New York, Paris, and Estonia—has taken a new turn.

07.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: Lawsuit claims $100m damages in tangled case of hidden Russian art worth $60m

San Fransisco Art Institute explore controversial sale of Diego Rivera mural: San Francisco Art Institute is contemplating the sale of its iconic 1931 Diego Rivera mural, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, in order to supplement its endowment, which was alleged to stand at just $10 million in June. Reported to have expressed interest in the $50 million mural is Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas, who is said to want the work for his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, currently under construction in Los Angeles.

06.01.2021, Artforum: San Fransisco Art Institute explore controversial sale of Diego Rivera mural

05.01.2021, The New York Times: San Francisco’s top art school says future hinges on a Diego Rivera muralb

Lawmakers are cracking down on the ‘unregulated’ US art market. Here’s how a new anti-money laundering law will affect dealers: The US antiquities trade is going to face far stricter oversight in 2021 than it has in the past. On January 1, the Senate overrode President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021, a bill that includes a new law requiring antiquities dealers to comply with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act. That means dealers will now have to adopt anti-money laundering programs designed to root out illegal practices.

06.01.2021, Artnet: Lawmakers are cracking down on the ‘unregulated’ US art market. Here’s how a new anti-money laundering law will affect dealers

06.01.2021, The Art Newspaper: How will US money laundering crackdown actually impact the art market? A lawyer explains

World

New tools are making it easier to authenticate paintings: For art historians trying to tell the fake from the real, the Russian avant-garde presents unique challenges. As Soviet rule took hold, adventurous works were spirited abroad and snapped up by collectors. Amid the chaos, forgers abounded. Tracing the early history of a Russian modernist painting—a traditionally genteel business known as provenance study—is tricky. But laboratory tests can help.

09.01.2021, The Economist: New tools are making it easier to authenticate paintings

From lockdowns to looting: how Covid-19 has taken a toll on world’s threatened heritage sites: Lockdowns, stranded workers, a collapse in tourism revenue, the threat of looting: the stewards of cultural heritage sites across the globe have faced harrowing difficulties over the past year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. All are still struggling to meet the challenges as the new year begins.

08.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: From lockdowns to looting: how Covid-19 has taken a toll on world’s threatened heritage sites

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