2 November 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Dispute over Pissarro painting looted by Nazis is back in court: A Holocaust survivor wants to revisit a settlement with an Oklahoma art museum over a painting once owned by her father. The case is scheduled to be heard by a French court in January.

01.11.2020, The New York Times: Dispute over Pissarro painting looted by Nazis is back in court

Historic Book of Lismore returns to Ireland from Britain: One of Ireland’s most important historic books—The Book of Lismore, created in the 15th century—is returning home. The medieval manuscript, compiled for Fínghin Mac Carthaigh, the Lord of Carbery from 1478 to 1505, has been donated to University College Cork (UCC) by the trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement in Derbyshire. The Book of Lismore will be displayed in a Treasures Gallery that UCC plans to develop in its Boole Library.

29.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Historic Book of Lismore returns to Ireland from Britain

Ming dynasty vase recovered in London after Swiss theft: A 15th century Chinese vase valued at around £2.5m has been recovered in London by the Met Police. The Ming dynasty vase had been stolen in a June 2019 burglary from a collection in Switzerland. A specialist crime operation and ongoing investigation into the burglary is being conducted jointly with the Met and the Swiss authorities.

28.10.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Ming dynasty vase recovered in London after Swiss theft

Man tries to take artefact from Louvre—just two weeks after being charged for the same crime at Quai Branly: The Congolese activist Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza has been arrested in Paris for attempting to seize an artefact from the Louvre. Diyabanza’s lawyer, Hakim Chergui, told The Art Newspaper that the incident took place on Thursday 22 October.

26.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Man tries to take artefact from Louvre—just two weeks after being charged for the same crime at Quai Branly

26.10.2020, Artnet: Restitution activist Mwazulu Diyabanza was arrested after he tried to remove an Indonesian sculpture from the Louvre [updated]

United States

US presses for return of two Thai lintels from Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to Thailand: US federal attorneys have filed a civil complaint seeking the return to Thailand of two ornately carved sandstone lintels in the collection of the Asian Art Museum (AAM) of San Francisco. The museum contends that the process for repatriating the objects, which originated in ancient temples, was already underway and that the filing is therefore puzzling.

30.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: US presses for return of two Thai lintels from Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to Thailand

28.10.2020, Artnet: The US government has filed a lawsuit demanding the San Francisco Asian Art Museum return two ancient artifacts to Thailand

28.10.2020, Art News: U.S. Government demands that Asian Art Museum return Thai artifacts

Two Van Gogh fakes in Washington? Strong evidence produced against early drawings at the National Gallery of Art: Two sketches which have been regarded as the first surviving ones done after Vincent van Gogh’s decision to become an artist are “probably” fakes, according to Yves Vasseur, the author of a forthcoming book. He believes they have been misattributed. The drawings of houses were discovered in 1958 in an attic in Cuesmes, in the Belgian Borinage, where Van Gogh served as a preacher among the miners. They were sold at auction and later donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

30.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Two Van Gogh fakes in Washington? Strong evidence produced against early drawings at the National Gallery of Art

Museums must rethink how they use their endowments – or they’ll struggle to rebuild after this crisis: A common argument in the present funding crisis facing museums, particularly in the US, has been: if museums are sitting on millions, and in some cases billions, how can they justify asking for more money while simultaneously selling their collections, creating redundancies, and cutting costs left, right and centre?

30.10.2020, Apollo: Museums must rethink how they use their endowments – or they’ll struggle to rebuild after this crisis

How long can N.Y.C. museums survive at 25 percent capacity?: Over a month after most of New York’s most prestigious museums reopened to the public, they are experiencing an existential crisis, fuelled by the state-mandated reduced capacity of 25 percent. While the public face of New York City museums welcomes back these visitors with a smile and the promise of a safe experience, administrators behind the scenes anxiously wonder how long they can feasibly stay at that meager occupancy without making significant cuts to staffing or programming.

30.10.2020, The New York Times: How long can N.Y.C. museums survive at 25 percent capacity?

Baltimore Museum of Art pauses contentious deaccession hours before auction: After weeks of raging debate surrounding the Baltimore Museum of Art’s decision to auction three major works by Brice Marden, Clyfford Still, and Andy Warhol reached a fever pitch days ago when two ex-board chairs withdrew a planned $50 million donation and two artists—Amy Sherald and Adam Pendleton—stepped down from the board in protest of the sale, the museum said that it was calling off the deaccession. The surprising move was publicized just two hours before the auction was to take place at Sotheby’s in New York. The sale’s estimated $65 million would go toward staff salaries and equipment to be used in the care of the museum’s collection.

28.10.2020, Artforum: Baltimore Museum of Art pauses contentious deaccession hours before auction

28.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Baltimore Museum of Art calls off sale of Warhol, Still and Marden after outcry

28.10.2020, Art News: Baltimore Museum of Art calls off controversial deaccession plan hours before sale

30.10.2020, The New York Times: Two museums tried to sell art. Only one caught grief about it.

26.10.2020, Artforum: Baltimore Museum of Art loses $50 million planned gift over deaccession

24.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Assailing leadership, two former board chairmen say they are rescinding $50m in planned gifts to Baltimore Museum of Art

24.10.2020, The Washington Post: Donors rescind $50 million in gifts over Baltimore museum’s planned sale of Warhol painting

US Association of Art Museum Directors sends a warning note to its members on deaccessioning: After relaxing its rules on deaccessioning in April, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) is telegraphing concern about the growing number of museums moving to sell off important works of art.

27.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: US Association of Art Museum Directors sends a warning note to its members on deaccessioning

29.10.2020, The Financial Times: Hard-hit museums warned over flood of public art sales

Cassirer heirs may challenge ruling favouring Spanish foundation over Nazi-plundered Pissarro: The Cassirer heirs recently received another negative ruling in their lawsuit to recover a Nazi-looted painting by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro, but this case has not yet ended. The heirs indicated their intent to request a rehearing of the Ninth Circuit’s holding that, under Spanish law, title to the Pissarro is rightly held by the Spanish foundation that purchased it in the 1970s.

26.10.2020, The Institute of Art and Law: Cassirer heirs may challenge ruling favouring Spanish foundation over Nazi-plundered Pissarro

Germany’s arguments to toss Guelph Treasure case raise concerns from US lawmakers: On 7 December, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether the heirs of German Jewish art dealers can sue in US courts to recover the famous Guelph Treasure from Germany. The dealers’ heirs say the 1935 sale of the collection of medieval church reliquaries, directed by Nazi leader Hermann Goering, was coerced at a reduced price and was part of Germany’s genocide of the Jews, violating “international law”. But the filings already submitted to the court by Germany and the US government have raised concerns from a bipartisan group of Congressional members, who have written letters to the German ambassador and US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

26.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Germany’s arguments to toss Guelph Treasure case raise concerns from US lawmakers

26.10.2020, Artnet: As a lawsuit over the Nazi-looted Guelph treasure goes to the Supreme Court, congressional leaders blast Germany’s attempt to derail it

World

Ghana appoints experts to draw up ‘radical’ new plan for museums and monuments: Ghana has appointed a 13-person committee to advise the government on a “radical” new direction for the country’s museums and cultural heritage sites. The President’s Committee on Museums and Monuments will be run by the Accra-based ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge and chaired by the international development advisor Edward Ayensu, a former senior scientist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

29.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Ghana appoints experts to draw up ‘radical’ new plan for museums and monuments

Sotheby’s sale of Israeli museum artefacts delayed after government pressure: Sotheby’s auctions of 190 artefacts and 68 timepieces from the collection of Jerusalem’s Museum for Islamic Art have been postponed at the 11th hour at the request of the museum’s parent foundation. The move follows mounting public and government pressure in Israel to prevent the deaccessioning of more than 3% of this publicly subsidised institution’s 5,525-object collection, which is unique in the country for its focus on Islamic culture.

27.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Sotheby’s sale of Israeli museum artefacts delayed after government pressure

27.10.2020, Artnet: The Museum of Islamic Arts has halted a planned Sotheby’s sale of its treasures after it was condemned by Israel’s president

26.10.2020, The Times of Israel: Jerusalem Islamic museum scraps Sotheby’s sale of its exhibits following outrage

28.10.2020, Le Journal des Arts: Israël, la vente d’œuvres du Musée d’art islamique fait polémique

Armenian monuments in line of fire in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Heritage and archaeological sites are under renewed threat as fighting resumes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The most recent flare-up comes after a ceasefire appears to have been violated within hours after it was brokered by US authorities yesterday. Two previous ceasefires brokered by Russia also failed to hold. 26.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Armenian monuments in line of fire in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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