21 December 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

French restitution bill passes final hurdle in parliament: France will return 27 colonial-era artefacts in museums to Benin and Senegal within one year, following a unanimous vote by the National Assembly on 17 December. Overriding late opposition from the Senate, the National Assembly gave its final approval to a restitution bill transferring ownership of 26 plundered royal artefacts from the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac to the Republic of Benin and a sword from the Army Museum to Senegal.

17.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: French restitution bill passes final hurdle in parliament

18.12.2020, Le Journal des Arts: Sabre, statues : feu vert parlementaire à des restitutions au Sénégal et au Bénin

17.12.2020, Art News: French National Assembly rules that landmark repatriation of African artifacts must go on

17.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: French Senate and government lock horns on restitution.

17.12.2020, Le Journal des Arts: Arts africains : le Sénat déplore les restitutions sous forme de « cadeaux diplomatiques »

Provenance under discussion at International Catalogue Raisonné Association’s second annual conference: Over 200 delegates from 15 countries tuned in for The International Catalogue Raisonné Association’s second annual conference with the topic under discussion being provenance. The online event, held as a Zoom webinar on December 3, included panel discussions, case-studies and presentations from a range of academics, dealers, auctioneers and lawyers. The six different sessions focused on research, restitutions, forgeries, legal criteria, collecting and the future of provenance.

17.12.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Provenance under discussion at International Catalogue Raisonné Association’s second annual conference

Will a looted Pissarro end up in Oklahoma, or France?: A painting by the French Impressionist artist, with a back story of plunder and family tragedy, is at the center of courtroom battles on both sides of the Atlantic.

17.12.2020, The New York Times:Will a looted Pissarro end up in Oklahoma, or France?

17.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: Can mediation save a sharing settlement over Nazi-looted Pissarro?

16.12.2020, Le Journal des arts: Pissarro spolié par les nazis : le tribunal ordonne une médiation

No additional funds: UK’s £1.57bn emergency arts bailout must last organisations until March 2022: It has now been confirmed that there will be no additional funds beyond the £1.57bn pot, which is expected to last organisations until March 2022. With just over £1bn already allocated, applications for the remaining £400m opened last week.

17.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: No additional funds: UK’s £1.57bn emergency arts bailout must last organisations until March 2022

French authorities seized more than 27,000 potentially looted archaeological artifacts hoarded by a single collector in Belgium: French authorities in Belgium have seized a massive haul of 27,400 Roman coins and artifacts believed to have been illegally excavated throughout eastern France. Following a joint investigation by the two nations, officials found the hoard in the possession of a French man and his mother living in Belgium.

17.12.2020, Artnet:French authorities seized more than 27,000 potentially looted archaeological artifacts hoarded by a single collector in Belgium

17.12.2020, CNN Style:French man investigated over 27,400 item archaeological hoard

Dutch court rules against Jewish heirs on claim for Kandinsky work: In a decision watched closely by restitution experts, a court in Amsterdam ruled that the Stedelijk Museum there can retain a Wassily Kandinsky painting that it acquired during World War II and which came from a Jewish collection.

16.12.2020, The New York Times: Dutch court rules against Jewish heirs on claim for Kandinsky work

16.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: Amsterdam court rejects heirs’ claim for Kandinsky painting in the Stedelijk Museum

16.12.2020, Artnet: In a surprise ruling, a Dutch court said the Stedelijk can keep a Kandinsky that a Jewish family says was sold under duress in 1940

How art world leaders can embrace new money laundering regulations and create a ‘think risk’ culture: The obligations under 5AMLD for the art world’s top decision makers are extensive, and the stakes high. Some organisations will need to dramatically change their day-to-day work culture. 

17.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: How art world leaders can embrace new money laundering regulations and create a ‘think risk’ culture

Brexit: imports and exports from January 1: A number of changes will affect the import and export of goods from January 1, 2021, when items moving between the UK and the EU will have to undergo customs formalities and border control, like any other country.

14.12.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Brexit: imports and exports from January 1

‘Humboldt Forum must have a clear policy that only objects of proper provenance can be used’: The question of restitution as well as a new order of north-south relations should be top of the agenda, says George Abungu an international adviser to the project.

14.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: ‘Humboldt Forum must have a clear policy that only objects of proper provenance can be used’

United States

New York judge dismisses $17 m. lawsuit Involving Phillips sale cancelled by Covid: Earlier this year, a Rudolf Stingel painting set to be auctioned by Phillips never made it to sale. Instead of heading to the block, it became the subject of a lawsuit between Phillips and the work’s consignor. Now, a New York district court judge has dismissed that consignor’s lawsuit.

17.12.2020, Art News:New York judge dismisses $17 m. lawsuit Involving Phillips sale cancelled by Covid

17.12.2020, Artnet:Phillips has the right to cancel a $5 million agreement with art dealer Joseph Nahmad amid pandemic upheaval, judge rules

NYC’s Whitney Museum wins bond-market reprieve from Covid hit: The Whitney Museum of American Art got a reprieve in the bond market. The Manhattan art museum, founded in 1931 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, completed a debt refinancing this week that will prevent a $50 million principal payment from coming due next year by pushing it to 2031 with newly issued bonds, according to Fitch Ratings.

16.12.2020, Bloomberg: NYC’s Whitney Museum wins bond-market reprieve from Covid hit

World

Asian art market flies in the face of coronavirus: While the Western art market is still in recovery mode, the Asian market is forging ahead. Frantic bidding in Hong Kong in December saw new records set at Phillips and at Christie’s for young artists, from Salman Toor, Nicolas Party, Amoako Boafo, Shara Hughes, Dana Schutz and (predictably) the late Matthew Wong, as well as strong prices for older names such as Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara and Bernard Frize.

16.12.2020, The Art Newspaper: Asian art market flies in the face of coronavirus

A disrupted and disruptive year for visual arts: Like Abbé Sieyès explaining what he did during the Terror that followed the French Revolution — “I survived” — art has come through 2020: struggling, disrupted, reconfigured and resilient. 

15.12.2020, The Financial Times: A disrupted and disruptive year for visual arts

18.12.2020, Bloomberg: How 2020 changed the auction market for the better

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