13 January 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Why do courts lack conviction in art cases?: The collapse of a high-profile case in November surrounding the theft of paintings a decade ago from the UK home of the cider-making Bulmer family highlights the challenges facing many art-related cases that fail to get through court.

13.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: Why do courts lack conviction in art cases?

Nazi loot expert joins Louvre to investigate its wartime acquisitions: The Musée du Louvre has appointed an expert in the French art market under the Nazi occupation, Emmanuelle Polack, to investigate its acquisitions during the period 1933-45. 

13.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: Nazi loot expert joins Louvre to investigate its wartime acquisitions 

Disneyfication at the National Gallery? Plus, the problem with deaccessioning in the UK: The stigma around state museums selling works means that other institutions dare not buy them.

13.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: Disneyfication at the National Gallery? Plus, the problem with deaccessioning in the UK

Have the Thieves Behind the Jewel Heist at Dresden’s Green Vault Made a $10 Million Ransom Demand?: The thieves who stole priceless jewels from the Dresden Green Vault treasury at the end of last year are allegedly trying to sell some of the loot on the dark web. Investigators from an Israeli security company claim they made contact with the criminals online, but authorities in Germany say it has received no evidence of the ransom demand.

13.01.2020, Artnet: Have the Thieves Behind the Jewel Heist at Dresden’s Green Vault Made a $10 Million Ransom Demand?  

Poland Urged to Look for Nazi-Looted Art Still Held in Its Museums: Despite the Polish government’s efforts to recover cultural objects lost during World War II, researchers say its museums hold stolen items left behind by the Nazis.

12.01.2020, The New York Times: Poland Urged to Look for Nazi-Looted Art Still Held in Its Museums 

French masterpieces looted by Nazis set to fetch £20m at auction: Three neo-impressionist masterpieces that were looted by the Nazis from the homes of a Jewish collector during the German occupation of France are to be auctioned in London.

11.01.2020, The Guardian: French masterpieces looted by Nazis set to fetch £20m at auction 

Combatting Money Laundering in the Art Trade: Changes for Europe and the UK: Important changes are imminent for the art market as the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive entered into force in the UK last Friday, the 10th of January 2020. The directive has been hurriedly transposed into UK law through the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before Parliament on the 20th December 2019.

10.01.2020, The Institute of Art and Law: Combatting Money Laundering in the Art Trade: Changes for Europe and the UK 

08.01.2020, Bloomberg: U.K. Law to Combat Dirty Money in Art Market Set to Take Effect 

09.01.2020, Apollo: A legal guide to the new anti-money laundering rules in the UK 

10.01.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Anti-money laundering regulation – the art market must begin compliance 

10.01.2020, The New York Times: Britain Moves to Regulate Its Art Trade. Bring Your ID. 

Shakespeare First Folio to be auctioned for first time in 20 years: A complete First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays is to be auctioned for the first time in nearly 20 years, with an estimated value of $4m to $6m.

10.01.2020, The Financial Times: Shakespeare First Folio to be auctioned for first time in 20 years 

Sotheby’s Has Hockney’s $39.2 M. ‘Splash’ for London Sales: Sotheby’s has announcing that one of the most famous images from David Hockney’s career will be offered with an estimate of £20 million–£30 million ($26.1 million–$39.2 million) during its contemporary art evening sale in London on February 11. The Splash (1966) is a companion work to the Tate Modern museum’s famous A Bigger Splash (1967) which is one of the best known works by Hockney and a key image from the 1960s.

10.01.2020, Art News: Sotheby’s Has Hockney’s $39.2 M. ‘Splash’ for London Sales 

Possible Dürer discovered above souvenir shop in Vienna’s cathedral: Disguised by centuries of accumulated dirt, a wall above the souvenir shop in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna has just been found to have a painting with an unusually fine underdrawing. Specialists believe the drawing is by Albrecht Dürer. If so, it means that the Renaissance master of Nuremberg paid an unrecorded visit to Vienna.

10.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: Possible Dürer discovered above souvenir shop in Vienna’s cathedral 

10.01.2020, Artnet: Astounded Scholars Just Found What Appears to Be a Previously Unknown Work by Albrecht Dürer in a Church’s Gift Shop 

Germany Opens an Official ‘Help Desk’ for Those Seeking to Reclaim Nazi-Looted Art, Simplifying a Long-Opaque Process: Germany has launched a specialised office to help people reclaim art and other cultural assets seized by the Nazis during WWII. The official “help desk” has been established in Berlin by the German Lost Art Foundation, the state-funded organization that oversees all matters pertaining to the illegal seizure of cultural assets during the Nazi regime.

09.01.2020, Artnet: Germany Opens an Official ‘Help Desk’ for Those Seeking to Reclaim Nazi-Looted Art, Simplifying a Long-Opaque Process 

27 individuals investigated in Italy involved in online transactions of illicit objects plus a curious research method for identifying illicit antiquities: Those who purchase illicit art works come in all walks of life.  Some buyers are medical professionals, some are lawyers, and some are wealthy entrepreneurs.  These are just a few of the profiles of the 27 individuals from Bari and Foggia under investigation following an operation carried out by the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection Unit in Bari.

08.01.2020, The Art Newspaper: 27 individuals investigated in Italy involved in online transactions of illicit objects plus a curious research method for identifying illicit antiquities 

For the First Time in Its History, the Netherlands Is Returning an Enormous Trove of Artifacts to Its Former Colonial Territory of Indonesia: The government of the Netherlands has repatriated 1,500 historical artifacts to Indonesia, a former Dutch colony. The objects come from the Nusantara Museum, a 100-year-old institution in Delft dedicated to art from Indonesia, which closed in 2013 due to financial difficulties. After the museum shuttered, the objects were transferred to the nearby Prinsenhof Museum.

08.01.2020, Artnet: For the First Time in Its History, the Netherlands Is Returning an Enormous Trove of Artifacts to Its Former Colonial Territory of Indonesia 

10.01.2020, Le Journal des Arts: Les Pays-Bas restituent 1 500 œuvres d’art à l’Indonésie  

Has the Sarr-Savoy report had any effect since it was first published?: Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy’s groundbreaking report called for French museums to return to their countries of origin artefacts that had been taken without consent. What influence have their proposals had a year later?

06.01.2020, Apollo: Has the Sarr-Savoy report had any effect since it was first published?

United States

New evidence cited in restitution claim for Panama Papers Modigliani: Representatives of the art dealer Oscar Stettiner’s grandson say a document that has come to light in a Paris archive strengthens his long-running legal campaign to recover Amedeo Modigliani’s Seated Man with a Cane (1918), a painting they say was looted by the Nazis and is currently in the possession of the billionaire art dealer David Nahmad. 

09.01.2020, The Art NewspaperNew evidence cited in restitution claim for Panama Papers Modigliani  

US tariffs on Chinese art “diverts market elsewhere”, says Sotheby’s: Sotheby’s has added its weight to the art market’s response against President Donald Trump’s imposition of import tariffs on Chinese works of art in the US. 

08.01.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteUS tariffs on Chinese art “diverts market elsewhere”, says Sotheby’s  

Following international outcry, Pentagon dismisses Trump’s threats against Iran’s cultural sites: US President Donald Trump’s decision to include cultural sites in a list of fifty-two targets he threatened to attack if Iran retaliates over the killing of top military leader Major General Qassim Suleimani has sparked international outrage. In an attempt to quell the backlash, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper acknowledged that any action carried out against historic sites would constitute a war crime under international law, since they are areas with no military value, at a press conference held at the Pentagon on Monday. He said: “We will follow the laws of armed conflict” in future military engagements.  

07.01.2020, ArtforumFollowing international outcry, Pentagon dismisses Trump’s threats against Iran’s cultural sites 

08.01.2020, ApolloTrump backs away from military confrontation with Iran 

07.01.2020, The Art Newspaper‘The normalisation of cultural warfare cannot go unanswered’  

World

Why Africa’s future museums should forget Western models: In 1992, President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali declared that Africans needed to “kill” the Western model of the museum. He was addressing the International Council of Museums, of which he was president at the time. Since then, the only real counterpart to his inflammatory manifesto has been the 2018 report on restitution by Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr. Their coup is to have reversed the juridical position of requests for repatriation; it is no longer up to the African party to prove ownership but for French museums to substantiate the legitimacy of their acquisition. 

13.01.2020, The Art NewspaperWhy Africa’s future museums should forget Western models 

A German Museum Director Tracked Down 6 Missing Works by Anselm Kiefer in a Chinese Warehouse. But China Is Blocking Their Return: The German museum director Beate Reifenscheid was relieved to personally track down six important works by Anselm Kiefer in an art storage facility in China last month. Lent for a major touring exhibition, which the artist angrily disowned and failed to stop, the Kiefers from the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz had been missing for almost a year. 

09.01.2020, ArtnetA German Museum Director Tracked Down 6 Missing Works by Anselm Kiefer in a Chinese Warehouse. But China Is Blocking Their Return  

The Kariye Museum in Istanbul – a Byzantine masterpiece under threat: In one way or another, all nations exploit their cultural heritage for political reasons. Perhaps the most extreme contemporary example is Turkey where, in November 2019, the country’s top administrative court ruled the use of the Kariye Camii (mosque) in Istanbul as a museum unlawful on the grounds that it violates the Ottoman decree dedicating it to Muslim worship. 

07.01.2020, ApolloThe Kariye Museum in Istanbul – a Byzantine masterpiece under threat 

Angola freezes assets of billionaire and her art collector husband: Angola has frozen the assets and bank accounts of Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of the country’s former president, and her husband, the Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo who has worked for years to repatriate African art to the continent from Western collections. 

07.01.2020, The Art NewspaperAngola freezes assets of billionaire and her art collector husband  

07.01.2020, Art NewsAngola Freezes Assets of Sindika Dokolo, Closely Watched Collector and African Repatriation Activist

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