Art Law Report

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

Knoedler Forgery Cases Foretell New Battleground Over Art Dealer Diligence

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

For more than two years now, the collapse of the M. Knoedler & Co. Gallery in New York amidst allegations of forged paintings by well-known 20th Century artists has sent ripples in all directions: legal, art historical, legislative, and connoisseurship. Several recent developments have drawn focus to the likely litigation fallout among those affected by the scandal.

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Topics: Andy Warhol Foundation, Daedalus Foundation, William K. Rashabaum, Forgery, Knoedler, Ann Freedman, Wolfgang Belctracchi, Marco Grassi, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Patricia Cohen, The New Yorker, Litigation, Glafira Rosales, New York Times, M. Knoedler & Co., connoisseurship, New York Magazine, National Public Radio

Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Amendment Coverage Continues to Miss the Mark: NPR Report Claims Bill Could "Thwart Return of Holocaust Art"

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Is it time to invoke the Corollary to Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies (i.e., as a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler increases, and once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically the argument ) concerning Senate Bill 2212, the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act?

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Topics: Legislation, Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies, Holocaust art claims, David Maxon, Dan Monroe, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Morning Edition, Association of Art Museum Directors, Restitution, Senate Bill 2212, World War II, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, Immunity from Seizure Act, Peabody Essex Museum, WNYC, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, National Public Radio

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