28 September 2020

ArtLaw Newsletter

Constantine | Cannon

Europe

Ancient sculpture put up for auction in UK to be returned to Iraq: An ancient sculpture is to be returned to Iraq after it was secretly smuggled out of the country and offered for sale in the UK – only to be seized by the Metropolitan police.

27.09.2020, The Guardian: Ancient sculpture put up for auction in UK to be returned to Iraq

Royal Academy of Arts considers selling Michelangelo marble to plug financial hole—and not for the first time: The threatened sell-off by London’s Royal Academy of Arts of its great Michelangelo sculpture is nothing new. Over 40 years ago its secretary, Sidney Hutchison, told the RA’s banker that a sale was possible. Once again, last week, there has been talk of selling the Michelangelo to deal with the current Covid-19 financial deficit.

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Royal Academy of Arts considers selling Michelangelo marble to plug financial hole—and not for the first time

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Done right, selling museum pieces can work—but probably not with Michelangelos

20.09.2020, The Guardian: Royal Academy’s cruel dilemma: sell a Michelangelo or lose 150 jobs

Germany is boosting its culture budget by $140 million next year—bringing the ministry’s total spend to $2.2 billion: The German federal government has announced that it will increase its culture and media budget by more than €120 million in 2021, bringing the culture ministry’s total budget up to €1.94 billion.

24.09.2020, Artnet: Germany is boosting its culture budget by $140 million next year—bringing the ministry’s total spend to $2.2 billion

Austria’s biggest art fair is forging ahead with an in-person edition despite growing restrictions on travel: Against seemingly all odds, the annual Vienna Contemporary art fair will be one of a handful of industry events to have an in-person edition this year, even as Europe braces for what may be further lockdowns in the days and weeks to come.

22.09.2020, Artnet: Austria’s biggest art fair is forging ahead with an in-person edition despite growing restrictions on travel

Indian bronzes returned by Met’s Art and Antiques Unit: The Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit have helped recover three 15th century Indian bronze sculptures after one was identified in the possession of a UK dealer.

22.09.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Indian bronzes returned by Met’s Art and Antiques Unit

New £25m fund aims to help UK museums ‘get back on their feet’: Cultural institutions in the UK struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic can apply for grants from a new £25m fund set up by the Garfield Weston foundation. The one-off Weston Culture fund will give out grants ranging from £100,000 up to a maximum of £2m based on the size of the organisation; applications can be submitted from 5 October.

21.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: New £25m fund aims to help UK museums ‘get back on their feet’

To protest colonialism, he takes artifacts from museums: Mwazulu Diyabanza will appear in a Paris court this month after he tried to make off with an African treasure he says was looted. France and its attitude to the colonial past will be on trial, too.

21.09.2020, The New York Times: To protest colonialism, he takes artifacts from museums

United States

Paddle8 bankruptcy trustee launches $6 million suit against former member of board of directors: Megan Noh, Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee of defunct online auction house Paddle8, last week filed suit in US Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, against John Textor, an alleged member of the company’s board of directors, Artnews reports. The suit seeks $6 million plus interest from Textor and an additional $1 million plus interest from companies with which he has been affiliated, on claims that Textor showed a “reckless disregard for his duties” by placing the interests of his own companies ahead of those of Paddle8’s shareholders and creditors.

25.09.2020, Artforum: Paddle8 bankruptcy trustee launches $6 million suit against former member of board of directors

25.09.2020, Art News: Paddle8 bankruptcy trustee sues John Textor for $6 m.

The only way is ethics: US museums should not neglect provenance research in the funding crisis: Museums in the United States face a grim financial outlook. Most are privately funded entities and Covid-19 closures have decimated revenues, leading to widespread staff furloughs, salary cuts and freezes, and layoffs. According to a recent survey by the American Alliance of Museums of more than 750 museum directors, one-third are concerned that their institutions may permanently close without external funding in the coming year.

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: The only way is ethics: US museums should not neglect provenance research in the funding crisis

Cowan’s auction house returns indigenous war god sculpture to a Zuni Pueblo: The Cincinnati-based auction house Cowan’s has returned a hand carved wooden statue of the Zuni War God Ahayu: da to the Zuni Pueblo of New Mexico. The sacred 15-inch figure was removed years ago from a holy shrine before turning up in an Ohio estate and eventually being consigned to Cowan’s. The firm’s director of Native American, prehistoric and tribal art, Danica Farnand, recognised the figure as the Zuni War God and promptly initiated the repatriation process, which was completed in late August.

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Cowan’s auction house returns indigenous war god sculpture to a Zuni Pueblo

Amid pandemic, foundations marshal $156m to support minority arts organisations in the US: A coalition of 16 donors have announced an “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative to grant more than $156m to support Black, Indigenous, Asian and Latino arts organisations in the US in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastation it has wrought in the arts landscape. Chief among the donors is the Ford Foundation, which is pledging $85m toward the effort.

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Amid pandemic, foundations marshal $156m to support minority arts organisations in the US

Insurers fight $107m claim for Modigliani paintings seized by Italian police: A group of paintings that were confiscated by Italian authorities in 2017 as suspected fakes are now at the centre of an insurance tussle in New York. Six European insurance brokers have asked a Manhattan federal court to throw out a lawsuit brought by a US dealer, who is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in coverage from them for paintings attributed to Amedeo Modigliani and Moïse Kisling.

24.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Insurers fight $107m claim for Modigliani paintings seized by Italian police

National Trust for Historic Preservation lists 11 most endangered historic sites in US: The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the US. They range from a California home owned by Japanese immigrants who were forcibly incarcerated in 1942 to the church in Chicago where Emmett Till’s body was displayed after his 1955 killing on a visit to Mississippi, helping to ignite the civil rights movement.

24.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: National Trust for Historic Preservation lists 11 most endangered historic sites in US

Sandro Botticelli portrait comes to Sotheby’s with $80m estimate: While few fully-attributed works by the great Renaissance artist have ever emerged at auction, Young Man Holding a Roundel has been described by the auction house as comparable “in its inventiveness and superb quality” to some of Botticelli’s finest portraits. It will be offered as part of Sotheby’s Old Master sales series in January.

24.09.2020, The Antiques Trade Gazette: Sandro Botticelli portrait comes to Sotheby’s with $80m estimate

24.09.2020, Art News: Rare $80 M. Botticelli portrait poised to break records at Sotheby’s auction

24.09.2020, CNN Style: One of the last privately-owned Botticelli portraits could sell for over $80M

25.09.2020, The Smithsonian Magazine: One of the last privately owned Botticelli portraits could fetch $80 million

Artist Shantell Martin ponders legal action after a wine brand allegedly stole her work for its label: The label for the company’s Aminga Malbec features drawings that appear to be lifted directly from a site-specific drawing Martin created for her 2017 solo show “Someday We Can” at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. At the time, the work was registered with the US Copyright office.

24.09.2020, Artnet: Artist Shantell Martin ponders legal action after a wine brand allegedly stole her work for its label

Two Manhattan antiquities dealers arrested on charges of fraud: Two New York-based antiquities dealers have been arrested for fraud, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

23.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Two Manhattan antiquities dealers arrested on charges of fraud

22.09.2020, Artnet: The FBI has arrested two New York antiquities dealers for falsifying ownership histories using dead collectors’ names

World

Quebec Culture Minister promises overhaul of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts after independent report cites governance issues: Quebec’s Culture Minister Nathalie Roy has vowed to implement changes to the management of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, following the release of an independent report that concluded the institution has a clear governance problem. “As the ministry in charge—we give C$16 million per year—it is imperative to make corrections,” she told the daily newspaper Le Devoir, adding: “I don’t want to turn it into a state museum, but I want to be able to ensure accountability.”

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Quebec Culture Minister promises overhaul of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts after independent report cites governance issues

Art Basel in Hong Kong and Art Central—under one roof in 2021: Art Central, the fair which has run concurrent to Art Basel in Hong Kong (ABHK) since 2014, has announced that it will move its 2021 edition (22-26 March) from temporary tents along the Central Harbourfront to within the same premises as ABHK, the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

25.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Art Basel in Hong Kong and Art Central—under one roof in 2021

‘The future of the art world is direct-to-consumer’: as the market shifts online, a growing number of artists are thriving without the middle man: The artist Sara Erenthal, like most New Yorkers, had a rough March. She contracted what she suspects was COVID-19 and had to self-quarantine at her home in Brooklyn. But there was an upside too: By the time she was on the mend, sales of her work were surging. The artist, who has never had gallery representation, made more money in April than she had in the first three months of the year combined.

23.09.2020, Artnet: ‘The future of the art world is direct-to-consumer’: as the market shifts online, a growing number of artists are thriving without the middle man

Court-ordered auction of works from disgraced Brazilian banker’s collection prompts new controversy: An auction of works left over from the collection of the bankrupt Banco Santos and its owner, Edemar Cid Ferreira, has caused controversy in Brazil, with one of the country’s most important contemporary art museums alleging that they are due R$20m ($3.6m) for the preservation and storage of the vast majority of the works up for sale.

22.09.2020, The Art Newspaper: Court-ordered auction of works from disgraced Brazilian banker’s collection prompts new controversy

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