Art Law Report

Something’s Rotten in Düsseldorf—Max Stern Exhibition Cancelled in Response to Restitution Claim

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM

As Germany puts on the much-anticipated exhibition in Bonn of Cornelius Gurlitt’s disputed collection, a strange story has developed not too far away in Düsseldorf.  The Stadtmuseum, which is administered by the city itself, had organized—but now cancelled—“Max Stern: from Düsseldorf to Montreal.”   The exhibition was scheduled to open in February in Düsseldorf, before traveling to the Haifa art museum in September of 2018 and to the McCord Museum in Montreal in 2019.  The city’s acknowledgement that the decision was based on a claim for restitution from the Max Stern Estate is a disturbing development that provides no sound reason to cancel a show about an important dealer who, it is undisputed, was a seminal figure of Nazi persecution. 

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Topics: Nuremberg laws, Cologne, Cornelius Gurlitt, Germany, The Art Newspaper, Köln, Nazi-looted art, Düsseldorf, The New York Times, A Tragic Fate, Max Stern from Düsseldorf to Montreal, McCord Museum, Reichskammer der bildenden Künste, Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern Foundation, Max Stern Restitution Project, Girl from the Sabine Mountains, Max Stern, Haifa, Francis Xavier Winterhalter, Mädchen aus den Sabiner Bergen, The Artist’s Children, Wilhelm von Schadow, Düsseldorf Kunstpalast, Andreas Achenbach, Sicilian Landscape, Norwegian Landscape, Galerie Max Stern, Mayor Thomas Geisel

Anish Kapoor in Versailles: Requiring Removal of Graffiti Turns Into Compelled Speech

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 22, 2015 at 6:27 AM

Back in June, sculptor Anish Kapoor installed the sculpture Dirty Corner on the grounds of the famous palace there. Kapoor, who can’t seem to avoid public controversy over his work, saw the sculpture first become the object of debate with regard to its form itself, specifically, the suggestion that the shape of the large work was anatomical. Kapoor coyly fostered speculations about what it was meant to represent, but ultimately demurred that his “work has multiple interpretive possibilities." With recent vandalism and a court order that he remove the graffiti, however, the story has turned into one more about free expression and compelled speech. So far, it does not have a happy ending.

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Topics: Yahoo, Rock Fan, Versailles, The Art Newspaper, Fabien Bouglé, Ku Klux Klan, Dirty Corner, Graffiti Art, France, Williams College, Fleur Pellerin, Nazis, Palace of Versailles, Confederate Flag, Richard Serra, Catherine Pégard, refugee crisis, Williams College Museum of Art, First Amendment, Yardbird Suite, Anish Kapoor, François Hollande, vandalism, anti-Semitic, Graffiti, Amherst College, Tilted Arc

Restitution of Constable Painting at the Tate Moves Ahead Again

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 16, 2015 at 10:02 AM

After putting on hold its prior recommendation back in March of this year, the United Kingdom Spoliation Advisory Panel has recommended that the Tate Gallery in London should return Beaching a Boat, Brighton by John Constable to heirs of Budapest-based (and Jewish) Baron Ferenc Hatvany. The Art Newspaper reports that the Spoliation Panel concluded that the 1946 export license at issue in the springtime uncertainty (located from the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts) was insufficient to overcome the conclusion that title to the looted painting had not passed lawfully.

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Topics: John Constable, Soviet, Budapest, Worcestershire, Hungary, London, The Art Newspaper, Beaching a Boat Brighton, Nazi-looted art, Red Army, Mrs P.M. Rainsford, Broadway Art Gallery, Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, Restitution, World War II, Baron Ferenc Hatvany, Tate Gallery, Museums, United Kingdom Spoliation Advisory Panel

Tate Backtracks on Restitution of Constable Painting

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 31, 2015 at 5:58 AM

As if there weren't enough controversy with national advisory commissions' recommendations about Nazi-looted art, the Tate Gallery in London is apparently reconsidering a recommendation last year by the United Kingdom’s Spoliation Advisory Panel that Beaching a Boat, Brighton (1824) by John Constable should be restituted to heirs of Budapest-based Baron Ferenc Hatvany, who was Jewish.

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Topics: John Constable, Soviet, Budapest, Worcestershire, London, The Art Newspaper, Beaching a Boat Brighton, Nazi-looted art, Red Army, Mrs P.M. Rainsford, Broadway Art Gallery, Restitution, World War II, Baron Ferenc Hatvany, Tate Gallery, Washington Principles, United Kingdom Spoliation Advisory Panel

Guelph Treasure Claims—Coverage and Analysis

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 8, 2015 at 5:45 PM

It has been almost two weeks since I filed my clients’ claims for restitution of the Guelph Treasure (Welfenschatz).

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Topics: Maria Altmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, National Socialists, Third Reich, artdaily.org, Reuters, United States Supreme Court, Guelph Treasure, Gestapo, Haaretz, Deutschlandradio. Deutsche Presse Agentur, Robin Young, the Guardian, The Art Newspaper, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, The Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Welle, Santa Fe, KRQE News 13, the Observer, Markus Stoetzel, Die Erle, Mel Urbach, Nazis, Advisory Commission, 3SAT, ZDF, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Washington DC, Hermann Goering, Private Wealth, Restitution, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Here & Now, Gerald Stiebel, World War II, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, flight tax, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Adolf Hitler, United States District Court, The New York Times, Federal Republic of Germany, BBC News Europe, Alan Phillip, Welfenschatz, NPR, PrivateArtInvestor, ArtNet news

Immunity from Seizure in Focus—Loans from Cuba for Exhibitions on Hold

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 5, 2015 at 6:39 AM

A recent story in The Art Newspaper spotlights a number of lingering issues related to stolen art, the power of U.S. courts to seize property to satisfy liability, and the role of the Immunity from Seizure Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2459 (IFSA). As we discussed recently, the prospect of a material change in U.S.-Cuba relations, which as a commercial matter haven’t existed for more than 50 years, has broad implications for the art market. Just as importantly, there are many, many unanswered questions about the fate of property in Cuba that changed hands or was nationalized as part of the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s and onward. Simply put, there are thousands of claims worth billions of dollars for all sorts of property that exiles left behind or had taken from them. While it is still a long way off, one impact of potentially normalized relations is the prospect of sorting through those claims.

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Topics: Legislation, Malevich, Atlanta, Boston College Law School, The Art Newspaper, Immunity from Seizure, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds, 22 U.S.C. § 2459, City of Amsterdam, High Museum, McMullen Museum at Boston College, IFSA, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, Portrait of Wally, Immunity from Seizure Act, Museums, Chabad, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, State Department, Cuba

Finance, Art and Law—How Does Fine Art Shape Up as an Asset?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 30, 2015 at 8:48 AM

The Art Law Foundation in Geneva (Fondation pour le droit de l’art), together with the Banking Law Centre at the University of Geneva, hosted a sterling event on Monday in Geneva. This was the second part in a series spearheaded by the Foundation, the first day was held in London in November. While I was not able to attend the London event, it was very well received, and together with this week’s event it must be said that the organization is up to great things. Their events page (here) is something anyone interested should book mark. In particular, these events have showcased sophisticated insights into market-based aspects of art and law, which whether we like it or not is what is driving the discussion (and will continue to). A real hats off to the organizers, in particular Attorneys Sandrine Giroud of Lalive, and Pierre Gabus of Gabus Avocats, a director and president, respectively, of the Foundation.

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Topics: China, Pierre Gabus, Art Finance, Sotheby’s Financial Services, Fremdverwaltung, leverage, Xavier Oberson, Alexandre Quiquerez, Philip Hoffman, Frédéric Dawance, Art Business and Research Unit at Sotheby’s Instit, authenticity, Art Law Foundation, Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act, The Art Newspaper, Geneva, artgenève, Fine Arts Expert Institute, Manuela de Kerchove, Sandrine Giroud, Lalive, Supervised Qualified Investors, Natural Le Coultre, Yan Walther, feeder funds, Jan Prasens, Abel Avocats, Farrer & Co LLP, Lombard Odier, Events, Tutela Capital, James Carleton, Sotheby's, U.C.C., Yves Bouvier, Schroders, Fabian Bocart, Fine Art Fund Group, Art Finance And Law Conference Series

Reminder: “Art Finance and Law” in Geneva Monday January 26, 2015

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 8, 2015 at 7:14 AM

A reminder of this month’s marquee event in Geneva, the second in a two part series “Art Finance and Law” organized by the Art Law Foundation at the University of Geneva (the first, in London last November, is recapped here). My ticket is booked, so I hope to see you there. If you’ll be in attendance, drop me a line so we can connect either at the conference or in Genveva. Bon voyage!

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Topics: Pierre Gabus, William Pearlstein, Prof. Xavier Oberson, Université Lyon, Art Finance, Sotheby’s Financial Services, Alexandre Quiquerez, Philip Hoffman, Myret Zaki, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, Frédéric Dawance, Tim Hunter, Art Business and Research Unit at Sotheby’s Instit, Art Law Foundation, London, Melanie Gerlis, David Arendt, The Art Newspaper, Geneva, The Fine Art Fund, Fine Arts Expert Institute, Philipp Fischer, Oblyon Art Business Intelligence, Manuela de Kerchove, Banque Lombard Odier & Cie SA, Luc Thévenoz, Sandrine Giroud, Lalive, Natural Le Coultre, Yan Walther, Jan Prasens, Farrer & Co LLP, Paul Aitken, Marco Mercanti, Falcon Fine Art, Events, Sebastian Fahey, Stefanie Berloffa-Spadafora, Rebecca Hawkins, Bilan, Tutela Capital, Private Art Investor, Abels Avocats, James Carleton, Sotheby's, borro, Li Jun Xian, Université de Genève, Yves Bouvier, Schroders, The Luxembourg Freeport, Fabian Bocart, Fine Art Fund Group, Art Finance And Law Conference Series

First Ripples in Greece from Parthenon Marble Loan to Russia

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 8, 2015 at 6:10 AM

Last month it was revealed that the British Museum had loaned a sculpture from the Parthenon, a/k/a Elgin, Marbles to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Reaction ranged from puzzlement to fury. Lee Rosenbaum pondered whether the loan was in fact a trial balloon to prepare for litigation, specifically, to rebut Greece’s claim that the sculptures are a single unified work that should be returned with an argument that the collection of individual objects is more complicated. My reaction really boiled down to the “law” of unintended consequences: once the UK put any of the objects outside its territorial control—let alone in Russia, which has shown little interest in the niceties of international loans and restitution—the British Museum may find itself in a Portrait of Wally situation. 

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Topics: cultural property, Defining Beauty: the Body in ancient Greek Art, Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, The Art Newspaper, Lee Rosenbaum, Elgin Marbles, Parthenon Marbles, Restitution, British Museum, Events, State Hermitage Museum, Portrait of Wally, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Litigation

Art Finance and Investment, London Recap and January 26, 2015 Geneva Preview

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Last month we posted word of an exciting two-part series hosted by The Art Law Foundation. The first session of “Art Finance and Law” took place on November 26, 2014 in London. The Thanksgiving holiday kept me from attending, but a thorough recap has been written by Rebecca Hawkins at Private Art Investor of the day’s conference, entitled “Risk, Rules and Opportunities in Art Investment.” Hawkins writes, “The key themes that reoccurred throughout the day’s discussions were those of regulation and reputation.” To put it another way, the conference seems to have focused on the timely issues of where art fits into financial planning and secured finance as an asset class, and on a discussion on the proper role of regulation (there being a decided lack of it, compared to other asset classes in the same order of magnitude). The conference also made the presentations themselves available, here. The recap reminded me that I wished I had been able to attend.

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Topics: William Pearlstein, Art Finance, Sotheby’s Financial Services, Philip Hoffman, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, Tim Hunter, Art Business and Research Unit at Sotheby’s Instit, Art Law Foundation, London, Melanie Gerlis, David Arendt, The Art Newspaper, Geneva, Oblyon Art Business Intelligence, Lalive, Paul Aitken, Marco Mercanti, Falcon Fine Art, Events, Sebastian Fahey, Stefanie Berloffa-Spadafora, Rebecca Hawkins, Anna Dempster, Bilan, Private Art Investor, Sotheby's, borro, Li Jun Xian, The Luxembourg Freeport, Fine Art Fund Group, Art Finance And Law Conference Series

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