9 November 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

For the arts in Europe, lockdown feels different this time: Just as cultural life in Europe was learning to adapt to social distancing, small audiences and the need to wear face masks, along have come new lockdowns.

05.11.2020, The New York Times: For the arts in Europe, lockdown feels different this time

French Senate votes unanimously for restitution to Benin and Senegal in ‘act of friendship and trust’: In a unanimous vote on 4 November, 343 French senators approved a bill to return 27 colonial-era objects in museum collections to Benin and Senegal within one year. The bill concerns 26 royal artefacts plundered in 1892 by French troops from the palace of Abomey in present-day Benin, which are held at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris, and the sword of a west African military commander, which is currently on loan to the Museum of Black Civilisations in Dakar from France’s Army Museum.

05.11.2020, The Art Newspaper: French Senate votes unanimously for restitution to Benin and Senegal in ‘act of friendship and trust’

05.11.2020, Artforum: France to return artefacts to Benin and Senegal within a year

05.11.2020, Art News: France will return objects to Benin and Senegal within a year

05.11.2020, Artnet: France has approved the return of 27 artworks to Benin and Senegal, signalling what may be a new era for restitution

Thieves swipe Nazi uniforms from a Danish museum, the latest in a bizarre wave of World War II memorabilia robberies: Thieves have stolen some 20 Nazi artefacts, including an SS uniform and a boy’s Hitler Youth outfit, from the Deutsches Museum Nordschleswig in Sønderborg, Denmark. It is the latest in a disturbing and growing string of robberies at war museums across Europe targeting artefacts linked to the Nazi regime.

04.11.2020, Artnet: Thieves swipe Nazi uniforms from a Danish museum, the latest in a bizarre wave of World War II memorabilia robberies

Prominent Spanish artist decries his work’s appearance at government briefings: A prominent artist has spoken out about the frequent appearance of one of his works in the Spanish government’s televised briefings about the pandemic. According to a report by the newspaper El País, the painter and sculptor Miquel Barceló is none too pleased that his work L’atelier aux sculptures (The Sculpture Studio), 1993, has been on display behind Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and other officials during their recent press conferences.

04.11.2020, Art News: Prominent Spanish artist decries his work’s appearance at government briefings

High Court orders London gallery to provide information about stolen Signac: A Norwich Pharmacal order was recently made against a London gallery requiring it to disclose information concerning a painting which the claimant contended had been stolen from her. In doing so the court refused to accept the argument on behalf of the gallery that no order should be made on account of the custom and practice of confidentiality in the art world to the effect that the identity of a private buyer or owner of a painting should not be revealed.

03.11.2020, The Institute of Art and Law: High Court orders London gallery to provide information about stolen Signac

Dutch Jewish family allege bias over refusal to return €20m painting: A Jewish family suing for the return of a €20m (£18m) painting by Wassily Kandinsky obtained by Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands has accused an official advisory committee of bias after ruling against them.

02.11.2020, The Guardian: Dutch Jewish family allege bias over refusal to return €20m painting

United States

California arts professionals are teaming up with local mayors to lobby for eased restrictions on museums: Museums across California are pushing back against the state’s lockdown restrictions, which are among the most stringent in the United States.

04.11.2020, Artnet: California arts professionals are teaming up with local mayors to lobby for eased restrictions on museums

In a sign of growing art-market scrutiny, the US treasury department issued a warning to art businesses to keep track of buyers’ identities: The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is urging museums, galleries, auction houses, and other art businesses to establish compliance programs to prevent individuals from using high-value artworks to evade US sanctions.

03.11.2020, Artnet: In a sign of growing art-market scrutiny, the US treasury department issued a warning to art businesses to keep track of buyers’ identities

World

How can I tell if my Warhol is fake? Here are five tell-tale clues, according to an expert: Andy Warhol is one of the most famous artists of the modern era—which means he’s one of the most commonly faked, too. Thanks to the Pop artist’s mechanical photo-silkscreen technique, virtually anyone with a little training—and the right acetate—can learn how to make an Andy Warhol.

05.11.2020, Artnet: How can I tell if my Warhol is fake? Here are five tell-tale clues, according to an expert

Uyghur civilisation in China continues to be erased as part of chilling mission: In a recent report on the destruction of Uyghur cultural heritage by the Chinese state in the Xinjiang region, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released some devastating numbers. Drawing on satellite imagery, data analysis and on-the-ground reporting, the think tank estimated that, since 2017, 65% of the region’s mosques and 58% of its important Islamic sites—including shrines (mazars) and cemeteries—have been either destroyed or damaged.

03.11.2020, The Art Newspaper: Uyghur civilisation in China continues to be erased as part of chilling mission

Australia pledges millions towards repatriation of Aboriginal artefacts from overseas collections: The Australian government has committed A$10.1m ($7.2m) over four years from 2020-21 to support the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage overseas to traditional owners. The funding extends a A$2m ($1.4m) pilot project that was launched in 2018 by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), a government agency, whose latest report reveals the scale of ambition held for repatriation in this field.

03.11.2020, The Art Newspaper: Australia pledges millions towards repatriation of Aboriginal artefacts from overseas collections

09.11.2020, Le Journal des Arts: L’Australie veut accélérer le retour de restes et biens aborigènes

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