Art Law Report

New York Event—“Off the Wall: Legal Issues Involving Street Art”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 22, 2017 at 1:50 PM

I am pleased to be among distinguished colleagues and practitioners presenting a CLE at the New York City Bar Association on November 2, 2017.  Entitled “Off the Wall: Legal Issues Involving Street Art,” the panel will cover some of the hot button legal issues affecting the art world today, and this year’s program will center around the legal issues involving street art. This program is intended for those who practice art law, litigation, copyright, and trademark law, as well as those with clients in the art, fashion, advertising, and real estate industries.

Read More

Topics: New York City Bar Association, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Dean Nicyper, Steven R. Schindler, Beryl Jones-Woodin, Amelia K. Brankov, Off the Wall: Legal Issues Involving Street Art

Praise from Kirkus Reviews for "A Tragic Fate"

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 21, 2017 at 12:18 PM

The following is from the Kirkus Reviews starred review of A Tragic Fate--Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art (emphasis added)

A comprehensive review of United States court cases involving art that was plundered by Nazis.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime was always keenly attuned to the power of cultural symbolism and eager to find new ways to disenfranchise Jewish people. These two preoccupations converged in their looting of privately owned art between 1933 and 1945. Some treasures were brazenly confiscated, while others were purchased at steep, coerced discounts. In the last few decades, there’s been growing interest in this large-scale larceny, and yet much of the stolen art will likely never be returned to its original owners. Debut author O’Donnell, an attorney, calls this the “central paradox posed by disputes in the last twenty years.” In this book, he diligently catalogs the many moral and judicial reasons for this absurdity, as well as the evolution of laws regarding claims. His study specifically focuses on cases that resulted in litigation in America, providing an exhaustive account of each and arguing that such litigation can be an effective legal strategy, despite complaints to the contrary. O’Donnell also includes discussions of landmark moments in art-restitution law, such as the London Declaration in 1943, the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets in 1998, and the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The United States emerges in O’Donnell’s account as an early, forceful leader in international art restitution, despite the fact that some of its own laws, and even the Fifth Amendment, can complicate victims’ options. His mastery of the relevant law is nothing short of stunning, and his meticulous parsing of legal detail leaves no stones unturned.

Read More

Topics: Nazi-looted art, Books, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, A Tragic Fate, Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art, Kirkus Reviews

New Book by Nicholas M. O'Donnell: "A Tragic Fate--Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi Looted Art"

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 19, 2017 at 11:46 AM

New book explores the historical, ethical, and legal consequences of stolen art

I am pleased to announce that my book A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art (Ankerwycke/ABA Publishing ) is available for purchase and delivery.  I am proud to have composed the first comprehensive overview of looted art disputes in the United States, grounded in the historical and ethical perspectives that have shaped the debate over time.  This has been a fascinating project that am very excited to share.  As I hope readers of the blog will agree, my effort is always to provide a resource that those of general interest will find engaging but not hypertechincal, and which practioners will find useful as a resource. 

Read More

Topics: Catherine Hickley, Nazi-looted art, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Books, Georgina Adam, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Art Law Report, ABA Publishing, Ankerwycke, A Tragic Fate, Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art

U.S. District Court Issues First of Its Kind Ruling Against Germany Over Renowned Guelph Treasure

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 31, 2017 at 4:32 PM

Under Landmark Ruling, Germany Must Now Defend Nazi-Looted Art Claims in U.S. Court

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2017)- The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that claims over the famed Guelph Treasure can proceed against Germany in a United States court. This is the first time Germany will have to defend itself in the U.S. against allegations of looted Nazi art and artifacts. The claims arise out of the 1935 forced sale by a consortium of Jewish art dealers to Hermann Goering’s minions of the famed collection of medieval artifacts known as the Guelph Treasure.  The claims were filed by clients of Sullivan & Worcester LLP against the Federal Republic of Germany and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, or SPK).  The court rejected the Defendants’ arguments that they are immune from suit and held that the Plaintiffs’ claims can be considered a taking of property in violation of international law for the purpose of evaluating the court’s jurisdiction over Germany and the SPK..  Jed Leiber, Alan Philipp, and Gerald Stiebel may now proceed to litigate their claims for  their property’s rightful return.  Leiber, Philipp, and Stiebel are also represented by S&W’s co-counsel in this matter, Markus Stötzel and Mel Urbach, experienced counselors in the return of Nazi-looted art who have been fighting this case for over eight years and who decried Germany continuing to defend the Nazis’ and Herman Goering’s theft from Jews.

Read More

Topics: Guelph Treasure, Nazi-looted art, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Mel Urbach, SPK, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Hermann Goering, FSIA, expropriation exception”, NS Raubkunst, J.S. Goldschmidt, Markus Stötzel, Saemy Rosenberg, Adolf Hitler, Federal Republic of Germany, Zacharias Hackenbroch, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Welfenschatz, I. Rosenbaum, Paul Körner, Wannsee Conference

Conference in Cambridge—“From Refugees to Restitution: The History of Nazi Looted Art in the UK in Transnational Perspective”

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 31, 2017 at 10:55 AM

I am speaking at a conference on March 23-24, 2017 at the University of Cambridge (UK) entitled “From Refugees to Restitution: The History of Nazi Looted Art in the UK in Transnational Perspective.”  My presentation will address the various national panels created in response to the Washington Conference by European countries to address claims for Nazi-looted art in state collections.  The roster of speakers is impressive (present company excluded), and it promises to be a fascinating two days.  The program is available here, and the conference website is here

Read More

Topics: Wiesbaden, London, Holocaust Art Restitution Project, Paris, Art Recovery Group, Constantine Cannon LLP, Emily Löffler, Pierre Valentin, Events, Johannes Nathan, Karlsruhe, Marc Masurovsky, Sotheby's, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Emmanuelle Polack, Leopold Museum, Frankfurt, Jewish Claims Conference, Victoria Louise Steinwachs, Debbie De Girolamo, Tabitha I. Oost, Bianca Gaudenzi, Jewish Museum Prague, Robert Holzbauer, Tessa Rosebrock, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Laurel Zuckerman, Shlomit Steinberg, Richard Aronowitz-Mercer, Maike Brueggen, Nathalie Neumann, Simone Gigliotti, Royal Holloway University of London, Anne O. Popham, Ulrike Schmiegelt-Rietig, Isabel von Klitzing, Landesmuseum Mainz, Michaela Sidenberg, Mary Kate Cleary, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Fluchtgut, Diana Kostyrko, Elizabeth Campbell, University of Denver, Evelien Campfens, Leiden University, Angelina Giovani, Jennifer Gramer, Agata Wolska, Nathan Fine Art GmbH, Potsdam, Friederike Schwelle, Art Loss Register, Provenance Research & Art Consulting

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.

Read More

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

Audio Now Available of “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?” at Sotheby’s Institute

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 28, 2014 at 6:27 AM

I took part in a panel discussion at the Sotheby’s Institute on May 27, 2014 entitled “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?”

Read More

Topics: Eileen Kinsella, Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section, Kristina Nazarevskaia, Richard, Elizabeth Dee, Events, Edward Winkleman, Art Fairs, Indpendent, New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, galleryIntell, John Haber, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, ArtNet

Reactions and Reviews of “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?” At Sotheby’s Institute Last Week

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 2, 2014 at 6:03 AM

I took part in last week’s panel discussion at the Sotheby’s Institute entitled “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?” Moderated by Judith Prowda, the panel was comprised of Edward Winkleman, Elizabeth Dee, Richard Lehun, and me. We reviewed the financial, practical, ethical, and legal effects that the expansion of art fairs has had on the trade.

Read More

Topics: Eileen Kinsella, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section, Kristina Nazarevskaia, Richard Lehun, Elizabeth Dee, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Stropheus Art Law, Events, Edward Winkleman, Art Fairs, Indpendent, New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, galleryIntell, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, ArtNet

REMINDER: “Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?” at Sotheby’s Institute May 27, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM

A reminder that I’ll be taking part in an event sponsored by the Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, to be held at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art at 570 Lexington Avenue starting at 6:30 p.m. The event description is copied below, and registration is available here. I hope to see you there!

Read More

Topics: Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section, Richard Lehun, Elizabeth Dee, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Stropheus Art Law, Events, Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evol, Edward Winkleman, Art Fairs, Indpendent, New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Profession

“Art Fairs: An Irresistible Force In The Art World?” at Sotheby’s Institute May 27, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 16, 2014 at 8:56 AM

I’m excited to report that I’ll be taking part in an event sponsored by the Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, to be held at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art at 570 Lexington Avenue starting at 6:30 p.m. The event description is copied below, and registration is available here. I hope to see you there!

Read More

Topics: Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section, Richard Lehun, Elizabeth Dee, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Stropheus Art Law, Events, Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evol, Edward Winkleman, Art Fairs, Indpendent, New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Profession

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