Art Law Report

New Publication: Éthique et patrimoine culturel—Regard croisés

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 2, 2017 at 10:56 AM

L'Harmattan has published a new volume entitled Éthique et patrimoine culturel—Regard croisés (Ethics and Cultural Patrimony: Viewpoints), which is a collection of papers presented at a conference in October, 2015 at L'Ecole du Louvre in Paris.  I spoke at the conference and submitted the full treatment of my remarks to the book entitled "Public Trust or Private Business? Deaccessioning Law and Ethics in the United States."  My co-presenters were eloquent and their expanded research and essays are well worth reading.  Copies can be ordered here.

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Topics: cultural property, Denis Michel Boëll, Ecole du Louvre, National Consultative Ethics Committee, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Marie Cornu, Musée de la Marine, Council of Voluntary Sales, Tehran, Baptiste Brown, Marie Berducou, Stéphane Duroy, University of Toulouse Capitole, Michel Van Praët, University of Shahid Beheshti, Philippe Durey, Arnaud Beaufort, University of Poitiers, University Western Bretagne, Nathalie Heinich, Milan, Julien Chapuis, Pinacoteca di Brera, French National Commission for UNESCO, Philippe-Henri Dutheil, University Rennes, Vincent Negri, Céline Castets- Fox, Astrid Müller Katzenburg, Sophie Vigneron, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, University of Kent, Museum for Byzantine Sculpture Collections and Art, Noëlle Timbart, Dominique Jarrassé, Claire Barbillon, Gilles Ragot, University of Montreal, State Museums in Berlin, International Society For Law Research of Cultural, Edouard Planche, Emmanuelle Polack, Université Paris Sud, EY Société d’avocats, Janet Blake, Jacques Bittoun, Catherine Chadelat, Jérôme Fromageau, Vincent Gautrais, Geraldine Goffaux Callebaut, Daniel Janicot

Symposium: "Ethics and Cultural Patrimony - Viewpoints," in Paris October 20-21, 2015

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 24, 2015 at 8:22 AM

I am looking forward to participating next month in a symposium entitled :"Ethics and Cultural Patrimony: Viewpoints" at L'Ecole du Louvre in Paris on October 20-21, 2015. The event is organized by L’Institut Droit Ethique Patrimoine (Institute of Law, Ethics and Heritage), in partnership with l’Institut d’Etudes de droit public (Institute of Public Law Studies) and l’Ecole du Louvre, and take place at the Ecole du Louvre, Palais du Louvre, porte Jaujard, place du Carrousel, 75001 Paris. The conference website (with registration) can be found here, and the brochure can be opened here.

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Topics: Bordeaux University Montaigne, cultural property, Lafferière-François Julien, Denis Michel Boëll, Ecole du Louvre, National Consultative Ethics Committee, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Marie Cornu, James Bradburne, Geraldine Goffaux Callebau, Musée de la Marine, Council of Voluntary Sales, Tehran, Astrid Müller-Katzenberg, Baptiste Brown, Conservation, ICOM, Marie Berducou, Stéphane Duroy, University of Toulouse Capitole, National Heritage Institute, Michel Van Praët, University of Shahid Beheshti, Paris, Philippe Durey, Arnaud Beaufort, University of Poitiers, University Western Bretagne, Nathalie Heinich, Milan, Julien Chapuis, Pinacoteca di Brera, French National Commission for UNESCO, Philippe-Henri Dutheil, University Rennes, Vincent Negri, Durey Philippe, Céline Castets- Fox, Gurlitt, Restitution, Sophie Vigneron, Bittoun Jacques, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, University Institute of France, University of Kent, Museum for Byzantine Sculpture Collections and Art, National Library of France, Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of, Noëlle Timbart, Chadelat Catherine, Dominique Jarrassé, Claire Barbillon, Janicot Daniel, Gilles Ragot, University of Montreal, State Museums in Berlin, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, International Society For Law Research of Cultural, Edouard Planche, Emmanuelle Polack, Fromageau Jérôme, Université Paris Sud, EY Société d’avocats, Gautrais Vincent, Janet Blake

...or maybe not. Detroit Institute of Arts Backs Off Van Gogh Deaccessioning

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 14, 2015 at 9:58 AM

The Detroit News ran a story today (in which I'm quoted) about the proposed deaccession of an early Van Gogh from the Detroit Institute of Arts, a topic we've covered recently. Somewhat surprisingly, after the museum made its case for the sale of the painting, those plans have apparently changed. From today's article by Laura Berman concerning director Graham W.J. Beal's statements about the museum's plans:

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Topics: Deaccession, Graham W. J. Beal, Laura Berman, Pamela Marcil, Van Gogh, Detroit Institute of Arts, Museums, Detroit Bankruptcy

Detroit and Deaccessioning—the Museum Responds

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 11, 2015 at 8:24 AM

We mused recently about (and tried to clarify) the possible tension between the Detroit Institute of Arts’ successful scuttling of any plans to consider selling its collection to satisfy the city’s debts in the Detroit Bankruptcy. The purpose of the post was not guileful: it seemed likely that many readers might be confused about how Detroit could propose to sell artwork when so much coverage had been addressed to the idea of not selling artwork. In fact, the two ideas are entirely consistent with the consensus of museum governance ethics, but we thought it was an occasion to prompt discussion about the policy behind those ethical guidelines. After all, apart from New York, the rules of deaccessioning are not actually law, they are enforced essentially through collective opprobrium. To facilate that discussion, I quoted Donn Zaretsky, a prominent critic of the status quo, for readers to consider on the one hand, against the guidelines themselves on the other hand.

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Deaccession, Detroit bank, Graham W. J. Beal, Randy Kennedy, Deaccessioning, Van Gogh, Detroit Institute of Arts, DIA, Museums, New York Times, Chagall, Detroit Bankruptcy, Art Law Report

Deaccessioning in Detroit?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 14, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Readers will no doubt be puzzled by the news this week that the Detroit Institute of Arts—fresh off of the Grand Bargain, in which an infusion of donations and fundraising led to the transfer of the collection’s ownership back to the museum and off the table in the context of the Detroit Bankruptcyis moving ahead with plans to deaccession works of art in its collection, a Van Gogh in particular. There are a number of things going on in this latest development, which need to be distinguished.

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Topics: Graham Beal, Deaccession, Delaware Museum of Art, American Alliance of Museums, Donn Zaretzky, Deaccessioning, AAM, Van Gogh, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Association of Art Museum Directors, Museums, Detroit Bankruptcy, AAMD, grand bargain

10, 9, 8…the Biggest Art Law Report Stories of 2014 and a Look Ahead

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 31, 2014 at 5:00 AM

As the ball teeters above Times Square, and the Glühwein begins to mull on the Art Law Report stove (don’t forget the cinnamon!), a gimmicky but apropos act of reflection is to look back at the biggest stories of 2014, both in art law generally and for yours truly and Sullivan & Worcester LLP. In highly subjective, unverifiable, and immediately criticizeable order, here they are. Thanks as always for reading, and best wishes for in interesting, prosperous New Year. If you agree, disagree, or otherwise, please continue to stay in touch and carry the conversation forward.

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Topics: Comedy Central, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Charitable Foundations, National Gallery of Art, Knoedler, Cornelius Gurlitt, Blogs, authentication, authenticity, parody, William Corcoran, Moral Rights, Above the Law, Germany, George Washington University, Glühwein, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Norton Simon, Graffiti Art, Superior Court, Cy Pres, Washington DC, VARA, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Dumb Starbucks, Preemption, Asher Edelman, DIA, Restitution, Marei Von Saher, Artmentum GmbH, Bavaria, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, World War II, Copyright, Times Square, Art Fairs, Kunstmuseum Bern, Corcoran Gallery, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Museums, Raubkunst, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use, Münchner Kunstfund, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, Graffiti, Civil Forfeiture, Art Law Report

The Art Law Report Turns Three: the Training Wheels are Off

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 15, 2014 at 5:36 AM

As I have before, I wanted to mark the third anniversary of this blog since we posted three articles on September 15, 2011. In the last year, you (the reader) have helped the Report grow beyond our most optimistic hopes. We have done our best to cover significant events like the Gurlitt saga and restitution issues, the Detroit bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery merger, auction houses and privacy in New York, the Beastie Boys GoldieBlox and copyright/fair use, the “flea market Renoir” case, and so much more. Our monthly traffic in year three has almost surpassed the readers in all of year one, and the sky is the limit. As always, the goal remains to present a fresh perspecive on these legal issues affecting the visual arts and its institutions, of use and interest both to the lawyer and non-lawyer alike.

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Topics: Deaccession, Gurlitt Collection, Cy Pres, the Art Law Report, Gurlitt, Restitution, GoldieBlox, Copyright, Detroit Instiute of Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Beastie Boys, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use

All Sides Show Their Cards on Detroit Institute of Arts Collection as Bankruptcy Trial Begins

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 4, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Opening statements concluded in the Detroit Bankruptcy trial yesterday, and as expected, the role of the art at the Detroit Institute of Arts played a central role. Although opening statements constitute nothing of evidentiary value, they obviously show the road map that the various sides intend to follow. Thanks to courtroom reporting, we have a number of clues about the themes that the lawyers intend to develop.

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Topics: Deaccession, Syncora Capital, Kate Wells, Detroit Institute of Arts, DIA, Detroit Bankruptcy, grand bargain

Corcoran Merger Approved, Cy Prés Ruling Treats Deaccession as Non-Starter in Concluding that Status Quo is Untenable

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 19, 2014 at 8:05 AM

As reported initially, Judge Robert Okun of the District of Columbia Superior Court allowed yesterday the cy prés petition by the trustees of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The full opinion can be read here. The petition asked to reform the trust of William Corcoran to permit a merger with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, a merger that will now proceed. The ruling addresses the financial condition of the Corcoran at length, but what is perhaps most interesting is the court’s acceptance of a central argument made by the Corcoran that selling its artwork to shore up its finances was an unacceptable way to proceed. This adopts the view, espoused most prominently by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), that deaccessioning for anything other than the purchase or care of art is anathema. Right or wrong, that acceptance in this opinion should have long lasting effects. Framing the question in this way was a work of skilled lawyering by the Corcoran’s attorneys, and kudos must go as well to the interveners and their counsel, without whom the other side of the story would have had no advocates at the trial. Those interveners have stated that they do not intend to appeal, meaning the case is over. Jayme McLellan, founder of Save the Corcoran, issued a statement after the ruling that “The Corcoran as we know it is gone. We fought the good fight." Incidentally, in response to our earlier reporting of McLellan’s role, I received an e-mail yesterday from Mimi Carter, the Corcoran’s Vice President, Marketing & Communication. Ms. Carter stated “Jayme McLellan was not fired from the Corcoran. She resigned in 2012, as mentioned on the first day of court hearings, citing differences with leadership. While there was a miscommunication with Ms. McLellan because of a lack of internal systems, due to a diminished staff and finances, she was not offered a contract to teach this coming Fall. Statements of retaliation are simply false.”

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Middles States Commission on Higher Education, Harry Hopper III, Anne Smith, Deaccession, Kathy Raffa, National Gallery of Art, Chiara Trabucchi, Industrial Economics, Jayme McLellan, William Corcoran, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, sanctions, Corcoran Merger, University of Maryland, Deaccessioning, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, District of Columbia Superior Court, AAM Code of Ethics, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Lauren Stack, Alexander Haas, Paul Johnson, Trusts, Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Steven Knapp, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, New York Times, Sean O’Connor, Caroline Lacey, MSCHE, Dr. Wallach Loh, Deaccessioning Blog, Art Law Report, Mimi Carter, National Public Radio

Court Grants Corcoran Cy Pres Petition to Merge with National Gallery and George Washington University

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 18, 2014 at 2:13 PM

News broke this afternoon that Judge Robert Okun has allowed the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College of Art + Design’s News broke this afternoon that Judge Robert Okun has allowed the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College of Art + Design’s cy prés petition to modify their governing trust to merge operations with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington university. I do not have a copy of the opinion yet, but Rebecca Cooper at the Washington Business Journal quotes the opinion as follows:

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Topics: Deaccession, Washington Business Journal, National Gallery of Art, George Washington University, Rebecca Cooper, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Trusts, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, The Atlantic, Corcoran

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