27 January 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

‘Like Noah’s ark’: Polish art collection with chequered history back on show: The fate of the Czartoryski collection has been a mirror of Polish history: begun in lieu of a national museum at a time when Polish independence was under threat, it was taken to Paris when the country disappeared from the map in the 19th century. Parts were later seized by the Nazis, then grabbed back by the Soviets. The chequered story has continued into the present and a bitter dispute is currently ongoing over a €100m deal in which the Polish state bought the collection from the heir of the Czartoryski family. 

24.01.2020, The Guardian‘Like Noah’s ark’: Polish art collection with chequered history back on show  

Two Iran exhibitions in Germany put on ice amid political tensions: Two German museums have indefinitely postponed exhibitions planned in cooperation with Iran for later this year, after insurers refused to provide cover for artefacts on loan because of heightened political tensions between Iran and the West. 

24.01.2020, The Art NewspaperTwo Iran exhibitions in Germany put on ice amid political tensions  

Art Historian Identifies Ten Nazi-Looted Paintings in the Louvre’s Collections: When World War II broke out, Parisian lawyer Armand Dorville owned a collection of more than 450 works by famed artists like Pierre Bonnard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Manet. But after the Nazis invaded Paris in 1940, the Jewish lawyer was forced to abandon this trove, fleeing to his chateau in the country’s southern “free zone,” where he died of natural causes one year later. In Dorville’s absence, the Nazis seized his collection and auctioned it off in Nice over the course of four days in 1942. 

23.01.2020, The SmithsonianArt Historian Identifies Ten Nazi-Looted Paintings in the Louvre’s Collections  

23.01.2020, The Art NewspaperThree Nazi-looted works bought by Gurlitt return to Jewish collector’s heirs 

Action at last? France renews promise to return looted artefacts to Benin: President Emmanuel Macron originally promised to return 26 artefacts, currently held in the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris, to Benin in 2018. These objects were taken as spoils from the Kingdom of Dahomey in 1892, as part of French colonial military action. Macron’s promise was made in response to the publication of the Sarr-Savoy report: ‘The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics’. The IAL blog has followed the progress of these French promises, noting that the recommendations of Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr have not been universally supported and that there has not yet been a successful and complete restitution (on a permanent basis) from a French public institution to an African country. 

23.01.2020, The Institute of Art and LawAction at last? France renews promise to return looted artefacts to Benin  

Lowry hits the heights at Christie’s: An unrecorded painting by Laurence Stephen Lowry sold for £2.2m at Christie’s last Tuesday (£2.7m with fees), more than doubling its £1m high estimate. 

22.01.2020, The Financial TimesLowry hits the heights at Christie’s  

24.01.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteMedical researcher’s mill scene by LS Lowry sells for £2.2m at Christie’s  

German socialite Angela Gulbenkian faces second criminal case over Warhol print: Another criminal case has been filed against the German art dealer, collector and socialite Angela Gulbenkian, this time over a work by Andy Warhol worth £115,000. 

22.01.2020, The Art NewspaperGerman socialite Angela Gulbenkian faces second criminal case over Warhol print  

Alleged Bronzino Seized in France in Connection to Old Masters Forgery Ring: In the latest development in an ongoing international scandal involving possibly forged Old Masters works, French customs officials have seized an alleged piece by Italian Mannerist Agnolo di Cosimo, aka Bronzino, that was on display in Paris. The painting, Saint Cosmas (ca. 1544), was on loan from the U.S.-based Alana Collection Masterpieces of Italian Painting to the Jacquemart André Museum for an exhibition that closed last week. Authorities notified museum staff that the work would be barred from export upon the show’s end. 

21.01.2020, Art NewsAlleged Bronzino Seized in France in Connection to Old Masters Forgery Ring  

21.01.2020, The Art NewspaperAlleged Bronzino seized from the Alana Collection in connection with ongoing Old Master scandal  

Van Gogh Self-Portrait Painted While the Artist Experienced Psychosis Is Authenticated by Experts: A painting created by Vincent van Gogh while he experienced psychosis has been authenticated by experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The work, titled Self-Portrait (1889), has been in the collection of the Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo since 1910, and it depicts the artist’s face rendered in subdued yellows, greens, and blues. Van Gogh admitted himself to an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, a few months before the piece was made. 

21.01.2020, Art NewsVan Gogh Self-Portrait Painted While the Artist Experienced Psychosis Is Authenticated by Experts  

UK buyer sought for £2.5m collection of botanical drawings blocked from export: The works collection comprises two volumes of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands by Mark Catesby (1683-1749) and a copy of A Commonplace Book by botanist and philanthropist Peter Collinson. 

21.01.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteUK buyer sought for £2.5m collection of botanical drawings blocked from export  

Klimt art thieves confess to stealing then returning painting: Two men have confessed to stealing, and then returning, a painting by Gustav Klimt in a bizarre twist to one of Italy’s most mysterious cases of stolen art. 

21.01.2020, The GuardianKlimt art thieves confess to stealing then returning painting  

24.01.2020, Le Journal des ArtsLes voleurs présumés du Klimt affirment qu’ils voulaient le rendre   

When fakes and false provenance go hand in hand.: At the end of this month a German dentist from Neuss will answer to allegations of fraud in the Düsseldorf District Court for allegedly trying to pass off twenty paintings as original works by the artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).  According to German news, the defendant, is alleged to have arranged meetings with art authenticators at the NH Düsseldorf Königsallee hotel, located in one of the main shopping streets and next to the tourist sites in the western german city. 

21.01.2020, ARCAWhen fakes and false provenance go hand in hand.  

United States

Rothschild heirs sue Vienna over trust seized by Nazis: Heirs to the Austrian branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty have accused the city of Vienna of “perpetuating” Nazi aryanisation laws by plundering a long-forgotten charitable trust, set up in 1905 to endow the Austrian capital with pioneering psychiatric hospitals.  

24.01.2020, The Art NewspaperRothschild heirs sue Vienna over trust seized by Nazis  

Mona Lisa for $60K? The curious market for Old Masters replicas: To an untrained eye, the “Mona Lisa” up for auction at Sotheby’s next week is indistinguishable from its namesake hanging in the Louvre. The columns painted either side of the canvas are just a small giveaway that this isn’t Leonardo da Vinci’s original. But there is another, more noticeable difference: the price tag. 

24.01.2020, CNN StyleMona Lisa for $60K? The curious market for Old Masters replicas  

Florida Court Temporarily Forbids Yayoi Kusama ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ at Center of Inigo Philbrick Suit from Leaving Miami-Dade County: With various claims to ownership currently being litigated, a large Yayoi Kusama work on view in Miami through the city’s Institute of Contemporary Art cannot leave Miami-Dade County for now, a Florida court said. 

23.01.2020, Art NewsFlorida Court Temporarily Forbids Yayoi Kusama ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ at Center of Inigo Philbrick Suit from Leaving Miami-Dade County  

The US–China Trade Agreement Has Been Hailed as a Boon for Business—But Buyers Will Still Have to Pay Steep Tariffs on Chinese Art: In Washington last week, the US and China finally agreed on the first phase of a trade deal that effectively ended a 20-month standoff between the two countries. The initial agreement did nothing to eliminate or decrease the 15 percent import tax that the Trump administration imposed onto $120 billion worth of Chinese goods last September.   

23.01.2020, ArtnetThe US–China Trade Agreement Has Been Hailed as a Boon for Business—But Buyers Will Still Have to Pay Steep Tariffs on Chinese Art  

Supreme Court delays Guelph Treasure appeal so US government can add its views to case: The US Supreme Court has delayed its decision on whether to hear an appeal brought by the German state museums against a claim on the prized trove of medieval church reliquaries known as the Guelph Treasure, estimated to be worth at least €200m. This means the case could remain in legal limbo for the next several months, while the court waits for the Solicitor General to add the views of the US government. 

21.01.2020, The Art NewspaperSupreme Court delays Guelph Treasure appeal so US government can add its views to case 

World

Art Basel in Hong Kong exhibitors call for 50% discount as concerns mount over a drop off in collectors and freedom of expression: Twenty-four top level galleries including Lévy Gorvy, Lisson and Paula Cooper have written a letter to the organisers of Art Basel in Hong Kong expressing concerns over a drop off in the number of collectors and patrons attending the fair this year, as well as threats to freedom of expression due to increased Chinese control in the semi-autonomous region. 

24.01.2020, The Art NewspaperArt Basel in Hong Kong exhibitors call for 50% discount as concerns mount over a drop off in collectors and freedom of expression  

Art Experts Warn of a Surging Market in Fake Prints: Spurred by advances in photomechanical reproduction, forgers are increasingly selling unauthorized copies of famous works on the internet, and elsewhere. 

24.01.2020, The Art NewspaperArt Experts Warn of a Surging Market in Fake Prints  

This Art Was Looted 123 Years Ago. Will It Ever Be Returned?: Nigerian government officials have played down the need for items to be permanently returned. Mr. Obaseki, the state governor, said at a news conference at the British Museum last year: “These works are ambassadors. They represent who we are, and we feel we should take advantage of them to create a connection with the world.” His message: Nigeria wants them on display in the world’s museums, not just in Benin City. 

23.01.2020, The New York TimesThis Art Was Looted 123 Years Ago. Will It Ever Be Returned?  

Sneakerheads Are the Targets of a New Million-Dollar Category for Auction Houses. Can a Shoe Be a Work of Art?: This past July, Sotheby’s sold 100 pairs of old sneakers at auction for $1.29 million, including 1972 Nike track cleats that more than doubled the previous record for a pair of athletic shoes. The buyer, a Canadian investor named Miles Nadal, said he planned to display the shoes in his private museum in Toronto. He told Sotheby’s, “I think sneaker culture and collecting is on the verge of a breakout moment.” 

23.01.2020, Art NewsSneakerheads Are the Targets of a New Million-Dollar Category for Auction Houses. Can a Shoe Be a Work of Art?  

Christie’s cancels Dubai sale of Middle Eastern art: Christie’s has cancelled its annual Middle Eastern art sale in Dubai this year, citing a “new auction format” for 2021, alongside a squeezed supply of works and a “more focused” market. The sale was due to take place in March. 

23.01.2020, The Art NewspaperChristie’s cancels Dubai sale of Middle Eastern art  

Cairo Criminal Court in Abdin convicts former Italian diplomat for antiquities smuggling: Today the Cairo Criminal Court in Abdin convicted Cav. Ladislav Otker Skakal, the former honorary consul of Italy in Luxor, in absentia.  In doing so the courts sentenced the former diplomat to 15 years imprisonment for the smuggling of Egyptian antiquities out of Egypt.   

21.01.2020, ARCACairo Criminal Court in Abdin convicts former Italian diplomat for antiquities smuggling  

22.01.2020, Le Journal des ArtsVol d’antiquités en Egypte : un diplomate italien condamné à 15 ans de prison par contumace

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