Art Law Report

Widespread Criticism Continues from Historians Over Germany’s and SPK’s Revisionism Concerning Holocaust and Forced Sales of Art

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 19, 2015 at 12:48 PM

We reported last week on the outrage over the decision by Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) to argue in their motion to dismiss my clients’ claims to the Welfenschatz that a commercial interaction between German Jews and a cabal instigated by Hermann Goering in 1935 “predated the Holocaust by several years.” As we noted last week, the suggestion that the Holocaust was a distant possibility in 1935 was an indefensible statement, factually, historically, and ethically. The initial reaction was swift and severe. As Germany gets ready to host the First Conference of the German Centre for Cultural Property Losses next week, its policies are hurtling in the wrong direction.

Read More

Topics: Jewish Week Mel Urbach, Hermann Goering First Conference of the German Cen, Guelph Treasure, Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums, Henning Kahmann, Atlanta, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Varda Neumann Federal Administrative Court, Yale University, Marion Kaplan, New York University, Germany, Nazi-looted art, Hitler, Kristallnacht Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Markus Stoetzel, Emory University, Behrens, Holocaust, Bloodlands, SPK, Advisory Commission, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Restitution, Los Angeles, World War II, Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil, Washington, Raubkunst, Timothy Snyder, Welfenschatz

Holocaust Revisionism in German Motion to Dismiss Guelph Claim Elicits Condemnation

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 9, 2015 at 6:28 AM

Germany Runs Counter to 20 Years of International Commitments

As readers know, my clients Alan Philipp and Gerald Stiebel sued the Federal Republic of Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) in February for restitution of the Guelph Treasure (or Welfenschatz as it is known in Germany), assisted by my co-counsel Mel Urbach, Esq. and Markus Stötzel of Marburg, Germany. As my co-counsel speak to an event tonight hosted by Congresswoman Grace Meng on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, an event inextricable to the persecution of Jews in Europe, Germany’s response to the Complaint advances a stunning revisionism about the Holocaust and the international commitments that Germany has made. While paying lip service to the seriousness of Jewish suffering, the papers filed in court are nothing less than an attempt to move the goalposts to exempt a historical period from responsibility about which there can be no serious debate. Independent condemnation was not far behind the filing.

Read More

Topics: Guelph Treasure, Grace Meng, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Shoah, Adolph von Menzel, Hans Sachs, Washington Principles on Nazi-Looted Art, 1943 London Inter-Allied Declaration, Dachau, Holocaust, Mel Urbach, SPK, George Eduard Behrens, Nuremberg race laws, Holocaust revisionism, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Marburg, Restitution, Los Angeles, Gerald Stiebel, World War II, Markus Stötzel, Saemy Rosenberg, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Reichskristallnacht, Isaac Rosenbaum, Lucie Ruth Hackenbroch, Federal Republic of Germany, Zacharias Hackenbroch, Pariser Wochentag, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Paris Weekday, Alan Philipp, Welfenschatz, Military Government Law 59, Frankfurt

Von Saher Claims for Cranach Paintings Survive Another Motion to Dismiss

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 3, 2015 at 6:45 AM

The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has denied yet another motion by the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena to dismiss claims by Marei von Saher to ownership of the Lucas Cranach paintings Adam and Eve. Ruling on the most recent argument that the claim was brought too late, the court held that the case was within California’s often-revised statute of limitations. Remarkably, even though last year’s remand from the Ninth Circuit raised the question of the application of the Act of State Doctrine, that issue went mentioned but unresolved. That could mean yet another motion before the case can proceed to trial (or even discovery).

Read More

Topics: Netherlands, Norton Simon Museum, Nazi Germany, Von Saher, Nazi-looted art, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338, Pasadena, Adam, conflict preemption, Lucas Cranach, Cranach, Restitution, field preemption, Marei Von Saher, Statute of Limitations, Goudstikker, Los Angeles, World War II, Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum, Cassirer v. Kingdom of Spain, Museums, Eve, California Code of Civil Procedure 354.3

Pure Love of Art versus Mere Investment in London March 26-27, 2015

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 23, 2015 at 5:07 AM

The Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Committee of the International Bar Association (of which I am a member) will be sponsoring an event March 26-27, 2015 at Sotheby’s in London. The IBA Individual Tax and Private Client Committee is also a co-sponsor, in connection with the IBA European Regional Forum. Sotheby’s is located at 34-35 New Bond Street in London.

Read More

Topics: Raul-Angelo Papotti, Farrer & Co, Karen Sanig, Daniel Simon Collyer Bristow, Helly Nahmed Gallery, The Princely Collections, Lucian Simmons Steven Thomas, Art Finance, Mary Romano, Rina Pantalony, Philip Hoffman, International Julius Baer, Luke Dugdale, Helly Nahmad, UGGC Avocats, Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati, Mark Cornell, UK Government Art Collection, ICOM, Daniel Tunkel Howard Kennedy, Peter Polak, David Arendt, Adrian Parkhouse, Diana Wierbicki, Paris, Guy Simonius, Bloomberg, Johann Kräftner, Art Cultural Institutions and Heritage Committee o, Columbia University, Geneva; Wendy Philips, Herrick, ARIS Title, Melanie Gerlis The Art Newspaper, Jasper Sharp, Sandrine Giroud, Cadell & Co, Scotland Yard, Lalive, Jean-Francois Canat, Houston Francesca von Habsburg, 1858 Ltd Art Advisory, Viola Reikhel-Bolot, UCLA School of Law, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Stephen D Brodie, Fine Art Wealth Management, The Fine Art Fund Group, Marlborough Contemporary, Los Angeles, Randall Willette, Events, Massimo Sterpi, Luxembourg, Sherri North Cohen, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Le Freeport, Kunsthistorisches Museum, LIECHTENSTEIN, Adrian George, Fabrizio Moretti, Alfredo Perez, Mishcon de Reya¸ George Bailey, TEFAF Maastricht, Mark Stephens, Dick Ellis, IBA Individual Tax and Private Client Committee, Goldsmiths London University, Andrew Renton, Withers, Sotheby's, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, Vaduz, Zürich, IBA, Vienna, Pure Love of Art versus Mere Investment, New York

About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities.

Meet the Editor

Learn more about our Art & Museum Law practice

Subscribe to Blog

Posts by Topic

see all