Art@Law | Constantine Cannon
Cézanne’s Heirs and the Kunstmuseum Bern Reach a Historic Agreement Over a Mysterious Cézanne in the Gurlitt Trove: Paul Cézanne’s family has reached a settlement with the Kunstmuseum Bern over the painting La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1897), arguably the most famous of Cornelius Gurlitt’s hoard of Nazi-looted paintings. The family has agreed to acknowledge the Swiss museum as the rightful owner of the work in exchange for the ability to exhibit it on a regular basis at the smaller Musée Granet in Cézanne’s home town of Aix-en-Provence.
03.07.2018, The Art Newspaper: Cézanne painting from Gurlitt hoard goes on show for first time since before Second World War
The Billionaire Wildenstein Art-Dealing Dynasty Is Cleared in France’s Biggest Tax-Fraud Case (Again): On 29 June, the surviving members of the art-dealing Wildenstein clan were cleared, for the second time, of money laundering and defrauding the French state out of hundreds of millions of euros in inheritance tax. The presiding judge in Paris’s court of appeals upheld the decision reached after a previous trial in January 2017, acquitting the three heirs of the Wildenstein fortune—Guy Wildenstein, his nephew Alec Jr., and his former sister-in-law, Liouba Stoupakova.
02.07.2018, The Art Newspaper: Guy Wildenstein cleared of tax evasion for a second time in Paris
Greece’s Prime Minister Asks Theresa May to Return the Elgin Marbles—Again: Alexis Tsipras used his first official visit to the UK to revive the case that the UK should return the 2,500-year-old marbles at the British Museum that were taken from the Acropolis in the 19th century. Known as the Elgin Marbles for the British diplomat who removed them, the stones once comprised roughly half of a 500-foot frieze on the Parthenon.
27.06.2018, Artnet: Greece’s Prime Minister Asks Theresa May to Return the Elgin Marbles—Again
British Museum accepts collection of 500-plus ivory works—ahead of tough new UK regulations to protect elephants: The British Museum has accepted a donation of 556 ivory items collected between 1915 and 1927 by the Sir Victor Sassoon Chinese Ivories Trust. The Chinese ivories, which date from the second millennium BC to the very early 20th century, include Buddhist and Daoist figurines and scholars objects, such as brush pots and table screens.
27.06.2018, The Art Newspaper: British Museum accepts collection of 500-plus ivory works—ahead of tough new UK regulations to protect elephants
28.06.2018, Antiques Trade Gazette: British Museum accepts 550-piece collection of ivory works of art ahead of UK trade ban
The UK’s ban on ivory sales will not protect the elephants: The great majority of ivory in the UK is worked ivory dating from the 18th to early 20th centuries and is from long-dead elephants. Richard Thomas, the official spokesman for Traffic, the most respected collectors and interpreters of data about the trade in ivory, claims that banning the sale of antique, worked ivory in the UK will not make any difference to the market for new ivory in Asia, and hence the poaching of elephants. Thomas’s statement goes against the premise underlying the bill to ban the UK trade in ivory, which had its second reading in parliament on 4 June.
02.07.2018, The Art Newspaper: The UK’s ban on ivory sales will not protect the elephants
Is a Painted Tile Leonardo da Vinci’s Earliest Known Artwork? Experts Are at Odds: A small painted tile is causing a big commotion among art-world academics. That’s because some scholars believe that the recently discovered piece is the earliest known artwork by Leonardo da Vinci: a self-portrait in which the artist depicts himself as the Archangel Gabriel. The work has been dated to 1471, when Leonardo would have been just 18 years old.
Restitution Suit Pits Owner of 18th-Century Painting Against Polish Government: In a lawsuit filed last week in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Alexander Khochinsky, an American art dealer who owns the Antoine Pesne painting Girl with Dove (1754), alleged that Poland retaliated against him after he approached officials there with a claim that the work may have been looted by the Nazis during World War II. Khochinsky is now seeking a court order declaring his ownership of Girl with Dove, repayment of his legal fees, and damages to compensate for the physical, mental, and financial stresses the extradition case caused.
27.06.2018, ARTnews: Restitution Suit Pits Owner of 18th-Century Painting Against Polish Government
29.06.2018, The Art Newspaper: Art dealer sues Poland over its failed efforts to extradite him from the US
Jeff Koons and Larry Gagosian file motion to dismiss collector’s ‘impatient’ demands for work he did not receive: The artist Jeff Koons and Gagosian Gallery submitted a motion on 20 June to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the collector Steven Tananbaum earlier this year over the non-delivery of three stainless steel sculptures he agreed to purchase for $22.5m, called Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta), Balloon Eros and Eros Diana.
22.06.2018, The Art Newspaper: Jeff Koons and Larry Gagosian file motion to dismiss collector’s ‘impatient’ demands for work he did not receive
Russian Billionaire Rybolovlev Wins Access to a Trove of Confidential Documents in His Ongoing Crusade Against Yves Bouvier: The Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is demanding that the auction house Sotheby’s produce confidential documents revealing its dealings with Yves Bouvier to show that the Swiss dealer defrauded him by adding as much as $1 billion in illicit markups to 38 artworks. On 11 June, the US District Court in New York granted Rybolovlev permission to use some, but not all, of the documents he had requested for criminal proceedings in Monaco and Switzerland.
Old Master saga: expert hired by vendor to prove Saint Jerome’s authenticity says it is a fake: A second expert analysis by the Italian Maurizio Seracini has confirmed that a painting of Saint Jerome, sold by Sotheby’s New York in 2012 and attributed to the 16th-century master Parmigianino, is a 20th-century fabrication. The painting had previously been owned by the French art dealer Giuliano Ruffini.
03.07.2018, The Art Newspaper: Old Master saga: expert hired by vendor to prove Saint Jerome’s authenticity says it is a fake
The US Postal Service Must Pay an Artist $3.5 Million After Accidentally Printing His Version of the Statue of Liberty on Billions of Stamps: A judge ordered the US Postal Service to pay sculptor Robert Davidson $3.5 million in compensation after the government agency accidentally printed an image of his rendition of the Statue of Liberty—which stands outside a New York-themed hotel in Las Vegas—on more than three billion stamps since 2010. While the original 1886 statue is in the public domain and can be legally photographed and replicated, the artist said that he made some key changes to his version of Lady Liberty, which differentiate it from the New York statue.
The art world reacts to US Supreme Court’s travel ban decision: On 26 June, the US Supreme Court voted to uphold the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, a decision that has potentially stifling implications for cultural exchange in America. Christine Anagnos, the director of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), which co-signed an amicus brief challenging the legality of the ban with more than 100 major institutions, says the court’s decision raises “concerns that a number of programmes and events our member museums have in place—and, more importantly, are planning for the future—will be affected”.
27.06.2018, The Art Newspaper: The art world reacts to US Supreme Court’s travel ban decision
Ethiopia claims Ten Commandments tablet hidden in Westminster Abbey: The Ethiopian government is calling for the restitution of a sacred object that is sealed inside an altar in London’s Westminster Abbey. The object, known as a tabot, is a tablet that symbolically represents the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments. Westminster Abbey’s tabot was looted at the battle of Maqdala (formerly Magdala) in 1868, when British troops attacked the forces of the Ethiopian emperor Tewodros.
02.07.2018, The Art Newspaper: Ethiopia claims Ten Commandments tablet hidden in Westminster Abbey
People Across the Globe Want Their Cultural Heritage Back. Canada May Offer a Blueprint for How to Get There: In February, Canadian politician Bill Casey introduced a bill called the Aboriginal Cultural Property Repatriation Act (also known as Bill C-391) that will implement a national strategy to help Indigenous communities reclaim cultural heritage objects at home and abroad. The bill was unanimously voted forward through two rounds, most recently on 7 June. Now, it will go to a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for further study.
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