Art Law Report

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.

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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

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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.

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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

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?”

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

Cornelius Gurlitt’s Lawyers File Privacy Complaint

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 3, 2014 at 11:24 AM

In one of the first affirmative steps taken by Cornelius Gurlitt since the revelation of the seizure of a large number of artworks with possible Nazi-seizure connections, Gurlitt has filed a criminal complaint concerning his allegations of violations of his privacy rights. According to Gurlitt’s attorney, “The surrender of investigative information to the press, and with it the severe damage to his personal rights is not tolerable in any way for Mr. Gurlitt. . . . This is a blatant violation of official secrecy.” Another of his lawyers went on to express concern for trust in the process in which details were being given to the media. In particular, Gurlitt’s team were most upset about photographs in the Focus piece that broke the story of Gurlitt’s apartment.

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Topics: Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, veschollene Kunst, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, S. Lane Faison, Universität Heidelberg, Augsburg, Institute for Jewish Studies Heidelberg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Willi Korte, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Monuments Man, Gurlitt Task Force, Germany, Fall Gurlitt, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, CSU, Williams College, Judische Allgemeine, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Nürnberger Institut, Rückgabe, Rhein-Neckar Morgenweb, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Magdeburg, Daniel Krochmalnik, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Art Loss Recovery Unit, Jim Tobias, Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, Fritz Backhaus, Gurlitt, Bavaria, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Lucas Elmenhorst, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Boston, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Verjährung, Vienna, Münchner Kunstfund, New York, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

Recap of Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt (Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case): January 26, 2014 in Heidelberg

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 28, 2014 at 9:24 AM

I’ve just returned from my presentation in Heidelberg at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg at the conference Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt; Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case. The presentations were, without exception, outstanding. They ranged from rarely-told case stories, to sharp insights of some of the overarching principles that guide the the Gurlitt case and similar events. As the discussions made clear, this case will not be easily resolved. That in turn makes recent reports that Cornelius Gurlitt has indicated a willingess to discuss the art's return all the more significant.

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Topics: Maria Altmann, Leopold Reidemester, Ministerin für Justiz und Kultur, Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, veschollene Kunst, Focus, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Aschbach Castle, Mussolini, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Monte Cassino, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, S. Lane Faison, Breslau, Universität Heidelberg, Augsburg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Willi Korte, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Monuments Man, Jud Süss, Wrocław, Dresden, Gurlitt Task Force, Germany, Silesia, Fall Gurlitt, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Schloss Aschbach, Die Welt, Kurpfälzische Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Karl Haberstock, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, CSU, Williams College, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Württemberg, Schlesien, Nürnberger Institut, Hamburg, Otto Förster, Rückgabe, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Magdeburg, Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Art Loss Recovery Unit, Jim Tobias, Hermitage, Gurlitt, Bavaria, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Lucas Elmenhorst, Events, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, Justizminister, Göring, www.lostart.de, Nazi art, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Verjährung, Vienna, Claudius Krausharr, Münchner Kunstfund, Zwickau, Kajetan Mühlmann, New York, Werner Haftmann, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

“Appropriated Art—the Gurlitt Case,” Heidelberg, Germany January 26, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

The Institute for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg (the Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg) will host a one-day conference on January 26, 2014 entitled “Appropriated Art—The Gurlitt Case” (Ersessene Kunst—Der Fall Gurlitt). Leading academics, journalists, and researchers will put the Gurlitt find into a historical and legal perspective. As listed below, the depth of topics that will be presented is outstanding. Last, and very much least, I will present on the efficacy, challenges, and policy considerations in U.S. art restitution litigation.

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Topics: Stuttgart, Das Alte Schauspielhaus, Cologne, Irina Alter, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Wiedergutmachung, Annette Weber, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Cornelius Gurlitt, Corinna Budras, Universität Heidelberg, Institute for Jewish Studies Heidelberg, Aryanization, Anat Feinberg, Fall Gurlitt, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Henry Keazor, Gurlitt Collection, Appropriated Art the Gurlitt Case, Kurpfälzische Museum Heidelberg, Hochschule für Judische Studien Heidelberg, Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen, Emily Löffler, Entartete Kunst, Universität Zürich, Arisierung, Lehrstuhl für Römisches Recht und Privatrecht, Nürnberger Institut, Rückgabe, Beutekunst, 'Stürmer-Bibliothek', Daniel Krochmalnik, Ersessene Kunst, Katja Terlau, Jim Tobias, Fritz Backhaus, Johannes Heil, Wien, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Nürnberg, Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, Looted Art, „Sturmer-Library“, degenerate art, Boston, Seminar für Neuere Geschichte, Wolfgang Ernst, Raubkunst, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Frieder Hepp, Vienna, Münchner Kunstfund, New York, FAZ Frankfurt, Felicitas Heiman-Jellinek

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