Art Law Report

No Buried Nazi Gold Train After All?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 17, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Back in September, we voiced curious skepticism about breathless reports of a buried train near Wrocław, formerly Breslau, in Poland.  Rumors of this “Nazi gold train” supposedly concealed at the end of World War II and filled with either gold, art, or both, had an odd mixture of plausibility and absurdity.  Yet Polish officials went on record confirming…something.  On August 28, 2015, Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski stated at a press conference that he is “99 percent sure” that the government had located the train allegedly loaded with gold, gems, and perhaps artwork that was buried as the Soviet Red Army encircled Breslau in the last months of World War II.  “The train is 100 meters long and is protected,” Zuchowski said.

Read More

Topics: Soviet, Breslau, Wrocław, Piotr Koper, Red Army, Nazi Gold Train, Walbrzych, Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski, World War II, Poland, Washington Post, Janusz Madej, Andreas Richter, New York Times

Corcoran Trustees Respond to “Save the Corcoran” Motion to Intervene, Argue That Challengers Lack Distinct Interest

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 15, 2014 at 7:43 AM

The trustees of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art +Design have responded to the recent motion by a group of students, faculty, staff, and interested supporters have filed a motion to intervene in the Corcoran’s cy prés petition to merge with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. The proposed interveners, led by a group called “Save the Corcoran,” argues that the modification is unjustified and fails to take alternatives into account. More seriously, the motion to intervene accuses the trustees of “peculiar and egregious mismanagement.” We reviewed the motion when it was filed. While it goes over the case against merger, the challenge they face is demonstrating a specific and particular interest not already represented by a party to the case. One never knows, but that seemed unlikely to us. Even if unsuccessful, however, the motion lays out a passionate case against the merger that will be in the record one way or another.

Read More

Topics: Deaccession, National Gallery of Art, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, Cy Pres, Corcoran College of Art + Design, District Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Trusts, Washington Post, Corcoran Gallery, District of Columbia, Museums

“Flea Market Renoir” Possibly Taken from Baltimore Museum Heads to Court

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 8, 2013 at 6:03 AM

The 1879 Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting entitled “Paysage Bords de Seine” that was discovered at a Virgina flea market, but which may also have been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art more than sixty years ago, is now the subject of a federal court case in Alexandria, Virginia. The United States has seized the painting and filed an action, known as "interpleader," to sort out the proper ownership of the work.

Read More

Topics: Sadie A. May, Fireman’s Fund Insurance, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, interpleader, Seine, Amalie Adler Ascher, Rule 22 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Virginia, Herbert L. May, Manassas, Baltimore Museum of Art, 28 U.S.C. § 1335, Doreen Bulger, Adams Davidson Galle, The Potomack Company, Washington Post, Museums, Marcia “Martha” Fuqua, Paysage Bords de Seine, Civil Forfeiture, Ted Cooper

“Flea Market Renoir” May Have Been Stolen Decades Ago, Confusion Abounds

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM

What was the feel-good, ersatz Antiques-Roadshow story of the summer may soon be one of the most prominent art law issues in the country. A painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled “Paysage Bords de Seine” that was purchased at a flea market in 2010 for $7 and authenticated this year as genuine may turn out to have been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Read More

Topics: Forgery, Sadie May Collection, Antiques Roadshow, Renoir, Doreen Bolger, Collections, Baltimore Museum of Art, Standing, Washington Post, connoisseurship, Paysage Bords de Seine, Potomack Co.

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

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all