18 February 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Germany Is Returning Artifacts Stolen From a Namibian Freedom Fighter During Its Colonial Rule: The German city of Stuttgart will return artifacts looted from the country’s colony in what is now Namibia on March 1 during a ceremony with Namibian president Hage Geingobin. 

15.02.2019, Artnet: Germany Is Returning Artifacts Stolen From a Namibian Freedom Fighter During Its Colonial Rule 

Former politician questions authenticity of Fernand Khnopff sculpture in major Paris survey: A former Belgian politician has reiterated her claim that a bronze sculpture by Fernand Khnopff, currently the centrepiece of a major exhibition of the Belgian artist’s work in Paris, is by another sculptor. The piece in question, Tête de Méduse, has been on long-term loan to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium since 2007. 

15.02.2019, The Art Newspaper: Former politician questions authenticity of Fernand Khnopff sculpture in major Paris survey 

UK art galleries prepare for Brexit: As the Brexit clock runs down with no clarity on what comes next, galleries that operate in the UK are beginning to take precautions. A show of fine works by Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana at Tornabuoni Art opened in London last week and is due to run until March 30, the day after the UK is set to leave the EU. Most of the works on show, with a combined value in the tens of millions of euros, come from the gallery’s collection in Italy, so could lose their free circulation status and get slapped with new tariffs. The import rate of art into Italy is 10 per cent. 

15.02.2019, The Financial Times: UK art galleries prepare for Brexit 

My solution to the Parthenon marbles – let’s split them in half: Last month, Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, home to the Parthenon marbles for the past 200 years, gave an interview to the Greek newspaper Ta Nea. He explained why, in his view, the marbles should not be given back to Greece and made the statement that taking objects from their original place into a museum in another part of the world can be a creative act.  

15.02.2019, The Guardian: My solution to the Parthenon marbles – let’s split them in half 

New light on Old Masters: Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum: An engrossing show marking the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death is the first to include all the museum’s works 

14.02.2019, The Financial Times: New light on Old Masters: Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum 

16.02.2019, The Economist: Masterful art: “All the Rembrandts” 

Stunningly preserved fresco of Narcissus discovered in Pompeii: Archaeologists working in a richly decorated house in ancient Pompeii have discovered a stunningly preserved fresco depicting the mythological hunter Narcissus enraptured by his own reflection in a pool of water. 

14.02.2019, The Guardian: Stunningly preserved fresco of Narcissus discovered in Pompeii 

Serial art thief Stéphane Breitwieser arrested—again: Stéphane Breitwieser, the serial art thief who raided museums around France, Switzerland, Germany and other countries on the continent from 2004 to 2011, has been arrested again in his native region of Alsace. He had been under surveillance since 2016 when he offered a 19th-century paperweight on eBay. Several such objects were stolen from the crystalware museum in Saint Louis, owned by the fashion house Hermès. At his house in the city of Marmoutier, police also discovered roman coins from an archeological museum and other pieces from local and German galleries; €163,000 in cash was stashed in buckets at his mother’s home. 

14.02.2019, The Art Newspaper: Serial art thief Stéphane Breitwieser arrested—again 

Christie’s Returned 8 Looted Ancient Artworks to Italy at the Request of the Country’s Government: Christie’s facilitated the restitution of eight artworks to Italy on Tuesday that were due to go on the auction block after the Italian government asked for the lots to be withdrawn. 

13.02.2019, Artnet: Christie’s Returned 8 Looted Ancient Artworks to Italy at the Request of the Country’s Government 

13.02.2019, ARCA: Looted artworks returned to Italy via voluntary forfeiture via Christie’s auction house in London 

15.02.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Christie’s voluntarily returns group of eight looted antiquities to Italy  

Tate Modern wins privacy case brought by owners of £4m flats: One of Tate Modern’s most popular areas, a top-floor terrace that offers spectacular 360-degree views of London, is to remain fully open after neighbours lost a privacy case. 

12.02.2019, The Guardian: Tate Modern wins privacy case brought by owners of £4m flats 

12.02.2019, The Art Newspaper: Glass flats ‘come at the price of privacy’, judge rules in case in favour of Tate Modern against residents 

12.02.2019, BBC News: Tate Modern neighbours lose viewing platform privacy case 

Max Stern: dealer’s heirs still fighting for looted art justice: When the Jewish art dealer Max Stern was forced to sell his inventory and flee Nazi Germany in 1937 with just a suitcase, he left behind a legacy that would continue to stir heated debate among art historians, lawyers, collectors and dealers more than 80 years later. 

11.02.2019, The Art Newspaper: Max Stern: dealer’s heirs still fighting for looted art justice  

Rare manuscripts stolen from London auction house recovered in Italy: A group of illuminated manuscripts valued at £100,000 that were stolen from a London auction house in 2016 have been recovered in Italy. 

11.02.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Rare manuscripts stolen from London auction house recovered in Italy  

Christie’s calm on Brexit as UK chairman says “we will react when we have clarity”: Speaking as the auction house reported total 2018 global sales up 3% to £5.3bn and a 5% rise in UK sales to £1bn, Christie’s UK chairman Orlando Rock said: “The art market is a global market so there are always opportunities for buyers and sellers. Currency fluctuations mean that if one person is facing uncertainty it is another person’s gain. 

11.02.2019, Antiques Trade Gazette: Christie’s calm on Brexit as UK chairman says “we will react when we have clarity”

United States

Met hands over an Egyptian coffin that it says was looted: Less than two years after an acquisition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it had handed over a first-century BC gilded coffin to the Manhattan district attorney for return to the Egyptian government after discovering that it had been looted in 2011. 

15.02.2019, The Art Newspaper: Met hands over an Egyptian coffin that it says was looted 

15.02.2019, The New York Times: Met Museum to Return Prize Artifact Because It Was Stolen 

16.02.2019, ARCA: Met Museum agrees to return its 1st century B.C.E mummiform coffin, inscribed in the name of Nedjemankh, to Egypt 

‘Greed Kills’: Nan Goldin Brings Her Anti-Opioid Fight to the Met and Guggenheim: Artist and founder of activist group P.A.I.N (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), Nan Goldin led an anti-opioid demonstration at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Saturday, 9 February. 

12.02.2019, Frieze: ‘Greed Kills’: Nan Goldin Brings Her Anti-Opioid Fight to the Met and Guggenheim 

Alleging Threat of Legal Action From Truck-Rental Company, Uhaul Gallery in Brooklyn Changes Name: Brooklyn’s Uhaul Gallery has officially changed its name to Haul Gallery after “a certain truck rental company threatened legal action,” the enterprise said in an email on Tuesday. 

12.02.2019, Art News: Alleging Threat of Legal Action From Truck-Rental Company, Uhaul Gallery in Brooklyn Changes Name 

Accused of Data Theft, Former Lehmann Maupin Director Bona Yoo Fires Back With Her Own Lawsuit Against the Gallery: Bona Yoo, who last month was sued by Lehmann Maupin Gallery for allegedly stealing trade secrets before beginning a job with a competitor, has responded to the lawsuit—and countered with a claim of her own. Yoo, who quit last fall to become a sales director at Lévy Gorvy Gallery, filed a formal reply on February 8 in New York federal court. 

11.02.2019, Artnet: Accused of Data Theft, Former Lehmann Maupin Director Bona Yoo Fires Back With Her Own Lawsuit Against the Gallery 

The Gray Market: How the Met’s Artificial Intelligence Initiative Masks the Technology’s Larger Threats: On Monday night, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled a quintet of machine-learning-powered prototypes developed in partnership with MIT and Microsoft. According to the Met, the initiative’s goal is “to imagine and develop scalable new ways for global audiences to discover, learn, and create with one of the world’s foremost art collections through artificial intelligence.” 

11.02.2019, Artnet: The Gray Market: How the Met’s Artificial Intelligence Initiative Masks the Technology’s Larger Threats 

11.02.2019, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met x Microsoft x MIT

World

Art World Addicted to Unpaid Work, Survey Finds: The arts sector is hooked on unpaid labour, and working practices that ‘wouldn’t be tolerated in any other industry’, Arts Professional reports from their 2018 survey of pay and earnings across the cultural industries. The study suggests long periods of unpaid work and expectations of further work outside of official hours have become rife – with those on temporary or freelance contracts bearing the brunt. Among the 224 respondents whose earnings for the 2017/18 fiscal year came from freelance of self-employed labour in the arts sector, the average income came to just GBP£16,000, the survey found. Respondents to the survey also suggested that, in some outfits, working for long hours was regarded as a test of commitment, such that ‘working contracted hours is perceived as not wanting to go the extra mile’. Don’t miss Chris Sharratt writing on recent studies highlighting deep precarity within the art world, alongside a renewed push for fairer compensation and resistance to ‘self-exploitation’. 

15.02.2019, Frieze: Art World Addicted to Unpaid Work, Survey Finds

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