8 February 2021

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Discoveries at Stonehenge highlight controversial new tunnel’s threat to heritage: Archaeologists excavating at Stonehenge have uncovered prehistoric human remains and ancient artefacts during a recent investigation at the iconic site. The findings have added fuel to the controversy surrounding a new tunnel nearby, that could, it now appears, disturb a whole landscape of archaeology.

05.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: Discoveries at Stonehenge highlight controversial new tunnel’s threat to heritage

Germany proposes law change to ease Nazi-loot returns from private foundations: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has approved a change to the law governing private foundations that the culture ministry said is designed to ease restitution to the heirs of Jewish collectors of cultural property that was looted or lost due to persecution by the Nazis.

05.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: Germany proposes law change to ease Nazi-loot returns from private foundations

Netherlands takes lead in Europe’s efforts to return artefacts to former colonies: The Dutch government has approved a plan to repatriate artefacts removed from former colonies, adopting recommendations by an advisory commission that called for the “recognition that an injustice was done to the local populations of former colonial territories when cultural objects were taken against their will.”

04.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: Netherlands takes lead in Europe’s efforts to return artefacts to former colonies

Roman bust seized in Germany after confusion around import laws for artefacts in transit: Christoph Bacher, a Viennese antiquities dealer, says he was dismayed when German customs authorities seized a Roman bronze bust of Hercules that he had purchased from a US dealer last year. He got it back only after taking legal action.

03.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: Roman bust seized in Germany after confusion around import laws for artefacts in transit

German panel urges restitution of a Heckel painting to the heirs of a Jewish journalist persecuted by the Nazis: Germany’s advisory commission on Nazi-looted art has determined that a painting by the Expressionist artist Erich Heckel in the Karlsruhe Kunsthalle should be returned to the heirs of Max Fischer, a Jewish journalist who left his possessions behind in Berlin when he fled to the US to escape persecution.

02.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: German panel urges restitution of a Heckel painting to the heirs of a Jewish journalist persecuted by the Nazis

02.02.2021, The Associated Press: Painting looted by Nazis to be returned to Jewish heirs

French export licensing thresholds for cultural goods change: France has changed its export licensing system for cultural goods, increasing the value thresholds and removing some red tape.

01.02.2021, The Antiques Trade Gazette: French export licensing thresholds for cultural goods change

United States

Facing deficit, Met considers selling art to help pay the bills: Facing a potential shortfall of $150 million because of the pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has begun conversations with auction houses and its curators about selling some artworks to help pay for care of the collection.

05.02.2021, The New York Times: Facing deficit, Met considers selling art to help pay the bills

US Supreme Court sides with Germany in Guelph Treasure case: In a unanimous opinion that could make it harder for the heirs of Jewish victims to reclaim art through the US justice system, the Supreme Court has sided with Germany in the high-profile Guelph Treasure claim, rejecting the argument that the country can be sued in the US for taking art from its own citizens as part of the Holocaust. The disputed collection at the centre of the case, the medieval Guelph Treasure estimated to be worth at least €200m, will remain for now in Berlin at the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Applied Arts Museum) in Berlin, while the case returns to a lower court.

05.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: US Supreme Court sides with Germany in Guelph Treasure case

05.02.2021, ApolloThe week in art news – US Supreme Court rules for Germany in Guelph Treasure case

03.02.2021, Art News: Supreme Court rules in favour of Germany in dispute over Nazi-Era Guelph Treasure

05.02.2021, Le Journal des Arts: La justice américaine ne tranchera pas le conflit sur un trésor médiéval acquis par les nazis

Nick Cave wins legal battle over “Truth Be Told” artwork in upstate New York: The zoning board of the village of Kinderhook, New York, ruled unanimously that the Nick Cave work Truth Be Told, which consists of the titular phrase rendered in 21-foot high vinyl letters and which spanned the 160-foot-wide brick face of Jack Shainman Gallery outpost the School, is an artwork and not a sign, and therefore cannot be censored. As a result, the village will not attempt to collect from the School the $200-a-day fine threatened by village code enforcer Peter Bujanow for violating the municipality’s signage regulations.

05.02.2021, Artforum: Nick Cave wins legal battle over “Truth Be Told” artwork in upstate New York

04.02.2021, Art News: Nick Cave prevails in legal battle over artwork in upstate New York

05.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: In unanimous decision, Kinderhook zoning board recognises Nick Cave’s Truth Be Told is art not a sign

What a $92 million painting says about new art market values: A Botticelli portrait illustrates how auction houses can test the price for “the best.” In the lead-up to its auction in New York, Sotheby’s sent a 15th century painting by the early Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli on a world tour, traveling from New York to Dubai, London, and Los Angeles in an effort to drum up interest.

04.02.2021, Bloomberg: What a $92 million painting says about new art market values 

U.S. financial crime regulations now reach antiquities trade and beyond: A new year has swept in, bringing with it an expansion of U.S. federal anti-corruption / anti-money laundering laws. On 1 January 2021, America’s annual defense budget known as H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), became law. The wide-reaching and significant reforms included in the NDAA range from corporate ownership disclosures to regulation of the antiquities market, previously described as “the largest unregulated market in the world”, as well as an assessment of whether the U.S. art market should be next in line for regulation.

01.02.2021, The Institute of Art and Law: U.S. financial crime regulations now reach antiquities trade and beyond

World

Accord between US and Turkey to counter illicit trade in artefacts divides historians and preservationists: An agreement between Turkey and the United States to combat the illicit trade in antiquities and other cultural property has divided historians and preservationists over whether the accord will curb smuggling or undermine minority heritage that faces neglect or worse.

03.02.2021, The Art Newspaper: Accord between US and Turkey to counter illicit trade in artefacts divides historians and preservationists

Mexico files legal claim over pre-Columbian art set to be auctioned at Christie’s: The National Institute of Anthropology and History, a division of the Mexico government dedicated to the preservation of cultural artifacts, has filed a legal claim over 33 pre-Columbian objects set to be auctioned at Christie’s on February 9 in Paris.

02.02.2021, Art News: Mexico files legal claim over pre-Columbian art set to be auctioned at Christie’s

01.02.2021,El País: México reclama más de 30 piezas prehispánicas que serán subastadas en Francia

Collection of antiquities dealer accused of looting will return to Cambodia: Nawapan Kriangsak, daughter of controversial antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford, is set to return her late father’s collection of Khmer Empire antiquities to Cambodia. The trove includes more than 100 rare objects dating back to the sixth century A.D.

02.02.2021, Smithsonian Magazine: Collection of antiquities dealer accused of looting will return to Cambodia

29.01.2021, The New York Times: With a gift of art, a daughter honors, if not absolves, her father

05.02.2021, Le Journal des Arts: La fille de Douglas Latchford fait don au Cambodge des antiquités khmères de son père

NOTE: Please note that most excerpts come from the original publication and any credit must go to the author of the publication, not to Constantine Cannon LLP.  Any views or opinions expressed in the excerpts and/or articles belong solely to the author of the publication.  Constantine Cannon LLP does not approve or endorse any view or opinion contained therein.  Due to some copyright restrictions, please doot redistribute this email without our consent.  Should you like to include someone in the mailing list, please let us know.  We will be happy to do it! If you do not wish to receive the Art Law News Update, please unsubscribe through the link below.