18 March 2019

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Lyon & Turnbull latest auction house to stop selling rhino horn: It joins Sotheby’s and Bonhams in recently banning the sale of these items. Christie’s stopped selling rhino-horn related objects more than six years ago. While it is still possible to trade in worked rhino horn acquired or prepared prior to 1947, L&T referred to the campaign by BADA (The British Antique Dealers Association) for tougher regulation to “ensure that modern poached rhino is prevented from entering the UK and that rhino horn already in the UK cannot be ground down and exported for whatever reason”. 

15.03.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Lyon & Turnbull latest auction house to stop selling rhino horn  

Poland Threatens Prison for Man Refusing to Return Nazi-Looted Art: When World War II ended, with Warsaw in rubble, an 18th-century rococo oil painting by the French master Antoine Pesne, “Girl With a Dove,” was one of hundreds of thousands of artworks in Poland that had gone missing. The painting, which was stolen from a Polish museum in 1943, was hardly the most valuable work of art lost, with an appraised value today of no more than $22,000. But since Polish authorities learned of its whereabouts nine years ago, it has set off an oddly furious battle over its return. 

15.03.2019, The New York Times: Poland Threatens Prison for Man Refusing to Return Nazi-Looted Art  

Germany Sets Guidelines for Repatriating Colonial-Era Artifacts: The cultural authorities in Germany have agreed on a set of guidelines for the return of artifacts taken from the country’s former colonies. In signing the eight-page agreement on Wednesday, Germany’s 16 state cultural ministries, the foreign office, and associations representing cities and municipalities agreed to work with museums to make sure that wrongfully obtained artifacts are given back to their rightful owners. 

15.03.2019, The New York Times: Germany Sets Guidelines for Repatriating Colonial-Era Artifacts  

14.03.2019, Artnet: In a Landmark Resolution, German Culture Ministers Pledge to Lay the Groundwork to Return Colonial-Era Art  

14.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Culture ministers from 16 German states agree to repatriate artefacts looted in colonial era  

16.03.2019, Le Journal des Arts: Colonialisme : Berlin va accélérer les restitutions de restes humains et d’art  

Thieves Trying to Steal Precious Painting Get Worthless Copy: The thieves who took “The Crucifixion,” a painting by the Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel the Younger, from a church in a Northern Italian town on Wednesday, knew what they were doing. They planned the heist at the church, Santa Maria Maddalena, for lunchtime, when the parish priest was sure to be out. They worked quickly, smashing the showcase protecting the 17th-century work with a hammer, before jumping into a getaway car (a white Peugeot, according to Italian news media reports) that screeched out of town. The speeding car attracted the attention of a resident, who saw that the church door was wide open (unusually so), and raised the alarm. 

14.03.2019, The New York Times: Thieves Trying to Steal Precious Painting Get Worthless Copy  

14.03.2019, CNN Style: Thieves steal fake Bruegel masterpiece in police sting  

13.03.2019, Artnet: Thieves Stole a $3.4 Million Brueghel From a Remote Italian Church—or So They Thought. Here’s How the Village Tricked Them  

Tefaf Toughens Its Barriers Against Fakes: Everything that goes on view at TEFAF is vetted to ensure that it is authentic, and that process has always been a point of pride for the fair. Now, measures are being taken to make the vetting even stronger and more independent as about 275 dealers show their wares from Saturday to March 24 at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Center. The policy also applies to Tefaf’s other fairs, which take place in New York twice a year. 

14.03.2019, The New York Times: Tefaf Toughens Its Barriers Against Fakes  

Italian Police May Have Solved the Mystery of Who Was Behind an Exhibition of Fake Modigliani Paintings in Genoa: Art thieves stole a 17th-century masterpiece worth $3.4 million from a church earlier this week in northern Italy — or at least they thought they had. 

14.03.2019, Artnet: Italian Police May Have Solved the Mystery of Who Was Behind an Exhibition of Fake Modigliani Paintings in Genoa  

Signac painting in Gurlitt hoard identified as Nazi loot: A painting by Paul Signac that was discovered in the possession of Cornelius Gurlitt, a reclusive art hoarder who died in 2014, has been identified as looted by the Nazis, and talks on returning it to the descendants of the original owner are underway, the German Lost Art Foundation said. 

14.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Signac painting in Gurlitt hoard identified as Nazi loot   

Is this Leonardo’s only surviving sculpture?: Given the splendour of the new exhibition devoted to Verrocchio in Florence, the first question has to be: why has there never been one before? The Quattrocento master is far from unknown. But chiefly he is famed as the master to whom Leonardo da Vinci was apprenticed. As to his own works, his name has been mainly associated with grand monuments that cannot be moved from their original location, such as the equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice. As for the painting most associated with his name — “The Baptism of Christ”, now in the Uffizi in Florence — it is thought to have been the work of hands besides his own. 

13.03.2019, The Financial Times: Is this Leonardo’s only surviving sculpture? 

Rijksmuseum laments Dutch failure to return stolen colonial art: One of the Netherlands’ most venerated institutions, the Rijksmuseum, has described the country’s failure to return artefacts stolen from former colonies as a “disgrace” as it opened talks with Sri Lanka and Indonesia. 

13.03.2019, The Guardian: Rijksmuseum laments Dutch failure to return stolen colonial art  

13.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Dutch museums take initiative to repatriate colonial-era artefacts  

Jean-Claude Juncker dismisses claims that freeports are ‘systematically used to commit fraud’: The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has rejected allegations of fraud and irregularities related to the management of Le Freeport Luxembourg, which is owned by the Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. 

12.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Jean-Claude Juncker dismisses claims that freeports are ‘systematically used to commit fraud’  

Savoy-Sarr report fails to dent tribal market, says Tefaf exhibitor: Despite fears that the so-called Savoy-Sarr report could dampen the trade of African art, Didier Claes, a Brussels-based tribal art dealer and Tefaf Maastricht exhibitor, who was consulted for the study, says that the restitution debate is in fact invigorating the market. 

11.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Savoy-Sarr report fails to dent tribal market, says Tefaf exhibitor

United States

A Contested Caravaggio Found in a French Attic Will Travel to New York Before It Hits the Auction Block for an Estimated $170 Million: Five years ago, a long-lost painting experts claim is the work of Caravaggio was found in an attic. Now, it’s going to New York. Judith Beheading Holofernes (circa 1607), which has divided scholars and captivated art-watchers the world over, will go on view at Adam Williams Fine Art in New York from May 10 to 17. It’s the painting’s only stop in North America before heading to auction in Toulouse in June, where it is estimated to sell for between $114 million and $171 million. 

14.03.2019, Artnet: A Contested Caravaggio Found in a French Attic Will Travel to New York Before It Hits the Auction Block for an Estimated $170 Million  

Stolen-and-Found de Kooning to Be Shown Off Before Restoration: The great mystery of who stole the Willem de Kooning painting “Woman-Ochre” by cutting the canvas out of its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art in 1985 has still not been solved. But the issue of where the painting has been — and why it’s been out of public view since its 2017 discovery by a New Mexico antiques dealer, has become clearer. It turns out that the work, said to be worth at least $100 million, has been in museum storage for months, awaiting approval from the F.B.I. to send it for restoration. 

13.03.2019, The New York times: Stolen-and-Found de Kooning to Be Shown Off Before Restoration  

15.03.2019, The Art Newspaper: Stolen in 1985, a recovered de Kooning will undergo conservation treatment  

Pro-Trump Artist Julian Raven Is Waging Legal War Against the Smithsonian for Rejecting His Magnum Opus: A Trump portraitist whose lawsuit against the Smithsonian Institution and National Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet was thrown out in December is appealing the district court’s decision, arguing that his work deserves to be shown in the hallowed institution. 

13.03.2019, Artnet: Pro-Trump Artist Julian Raven Is Waging Legal War Against the Smithsonian for Rejecting His Magnum Opus  

A Poetic Artwork by Eric Mack Was Destroyed at Desert X. Was It an ‘Act of Hate’?: Desert X, the outdoor biennial that opened its second edition in the Coachella Valley last month, may have been hit by a vandal. 

13.03.2019, Artnet: An Artwork by Eric Mack Was Destroyed at Desert X. Was It an ‘Act of Hate’?  

Court claim challenging New York ivory laws reinstated in the US: In early February US district judge Lorna Schofield dismissed the case but on February 26 the case was reinstated after an amended complaint was filed which is now proceeding through the court.  

12.02.2019, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Court claim challenging New York ivory laws reinstated in the US

World

China’s private museums struggle with costs: China’s many private museums, whose owners have proved a boon to the art market in recent years, face an uncertain future. So finds this year’s Art Market Report on the country, written by Kejia Wu, a faculty member of Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a columnist for Financial Times Chinese. The report was commissioned by the Tefaf art fair, which opened in Maastricht this week. The exact number of private museums in China is something of a moving feast, but Kejia reckons on at least 1,500 (of 5,000 total museums), based on an announcement last November from China’s Ministry of Culture. 

15.03.2019, The Financial Times: China’s private museums struggle with costs  

‘It’s a Nightmare’: The Venezuelan Art Community Struggles to Stay Afloat Amid a National Political Upheaval: For the past week, the country has been in a blackout. People are going without food. The director of a major artist’s foundation builds shields from cardboard and carpets to protect protesters from the police’s plastic bullets while canvases by Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Antoni Tàpies hang in dark, hot museums. 

13.03.2019, Artnet: ‘It’s a Nightmare’: The Venezuelan Art Community Struggles to Stay Afloat Amid a National Political Upheaval 

Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi’s £4m art collection to be sold off by Indian tax authorities: The Indian tax authorities are to sell millions of dollars of art works this month that belonged to Nirav Modi, India’s most wanted man, The Telegraph can reveal. Sixty-eight of his Indian paintings with an estimated value of $5 million (£3.84 million) are to be sold by leading Indian art auctioneers Saffronart, in Mumbai on March 26 on behalf of the Tax Recovery Officer of the Government of India. Saffronart is not allowed to discuss details of who the works were seized from, but they are familiar to Indian art market insiders. 

11.03.2019, The Telegraph: Fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi’s £4m art collection to be sold off by Indian tax authorities 

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