Art Law Report

Nicholas O'Donnell

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Members of the Berkshire Museum File Appeal Papers to Stop Museum's Planned Sale of 40 Works from its Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 16, 2018 at 6:56 PM

 (Boston, MA, January 16, 2018) Sullivan & Worcester LLP has filed its papers in the appeal by its clients, the members of the Berkshire Museum who sued to enjoin the museum’s sale of 40 works of art and sculpture.  The appeal was brought as a result of the Berkshire County Superior Court’s November 7, 2017 denial of their request for an injunction, and dismissal of the case.  That order denied not only the members’ request, but also a motion by another group that includes Norman Rockwell’s sons and the motion by Attorney General Maura Healey to pause the sale originally scheduled for November 13, 2017 at Sotheby’s in New York—a sale that would have included Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop and other masterpieces. 

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Topics: Norman Rockwell, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Sotheby's, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Pittsfield, Berkshire Museum, Zenas Crane, Hudson River School, Frederic Edwin Church, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, Maura Healey, Massachusetts Appeals Court

“Building an Art Market 2.0”—Responsible Art Market Initiative Event February 2, 2018 in Geneva

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 8, 2018 at 4:41 PM

Readers of the Art Law Report will know that we have regularly touted the collaborative efforts of the Art Law Centre of the University of Geneva, the Fondation pour le Droit d’Art (Art Law Foundation), and now the Responsible Art Market Initiative to develop a center of gravity in Geneva around practical, real-world solutions in the commercial art market.  This has resulted in a number of terrific and informative events about which we have written before.

The new year brings another exciting event.  Later this month, I will be in Geneva for the next Responsible Art Market event: “Building an Art Market 2.0.”  Scheduled as in the past to coincide with the artgenève fair at the Palexpo, it will be an interesting and informative session.  I was honored to be part of the taskforce for the “Art Due Diligence” toolkit project that will be finalized before the event later this month and look forward to sharing it with commentators and participants.  If you can make it (register here), I hope you will join us there!  From the program:

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Topics: AXA Art Insurance Corporation, Art Law Foundation, artgenève, Johannes Nathan, Art Law Centre, University of Geneva,  Heidi Amrein,  Alexandre Catsicas, The Fine Art Group, Deloitte AG,  Thomas Belohlavek,  Laura Gowen,  Marco Grossi,  Emilie Mermillod, Seydoux & Associés Fine Art SA,  Freya Stewart, Artmyn SA

"A Tragic Fate" named to Kirkus Reviews 100 Best of 2017

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 18, 2017 at 2:39 PM

I am pleased to report that A Tragic Fate—Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art (Ankerwycke) has been named one of Kirkus Reviews’ 100 Best Indie books of 2017.

A Tragic Fate received a star review from Kirkus in June, one of only 10% of reviews to receive that designation.  Now, A Tragic Fate has been honored as a selected “Best of 2017” from among those small number of starred review.

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

Injunction Against Berkshire Museum Sale Is Extended

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 13, 2017 at 11:08 AM

The Single Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (Joseph A. Trainor) has extended the injunction against the Berkshire Museum's proposed sale of 40 works of art in its collection until at least January 29, 2018.  In its order today in response to the Attorney General's status report, the justice stated:

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Topics: Berkshire Museum, Attorney General, Maura Healey, Single justice, Massachusetts Appeals Court, Joseph A. Trainor

Key Tax Deferral Tool for Art Sales on the Chopping Block in U.S. Legislation Proposals

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 11, 2017 at 9:40 AM

The following appeared in Apollo magazine online on December 4, 2017

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Topics: Legislation, 1031 Exchange, Apollo Magazine, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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

Event—Wealth Management Strategies for Art Collectors

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 27, 2017 at 9:34 AM

I’m looking forward to taking part in an event on Thursday hosted by Fortress Museum Quality Storage in Boston discussing art collecting in the context of wealth management.  Panelists are listed below, RSVPs can be sent to info@artadvisors.org by today.

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Topics: Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Fortress Museum Quality Storage, The College Club of Boston, Margaret Bussiere, U.S Trust, Henry B. Greenberg, Megan Fox Kelly, Thomas Burns

Members of the Berkshire Museum Appeal Ruling on Planned Sale of Critical Pieces of its Collection

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 20, 2017 at 10:22 AM

Sullivan & Worcester LLP has filed an appeal on behalf of its clients, the members of the Berkshire Museum who sued to enjoin the museum’s sale of 40 works of art and sculpture.  The appeal is brought as a result of the Berkshire County Superior Court’s November 7, 2017 denial of their request for an injunction, and dismissal of the case (before the Appeals Court utlimately enjoined the sale until at least December).  That Superior Court order denied not only the members’ request, but also a motion by another group that include Norman Rockwell’s sons and the motion by Attorney General Maura Healey to pause the sale originally scheduled for November 13, 2017 at Sotheby’s in New York—a sale that would have included Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop and other masterpieces. 

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Topics: Norman Rockwell, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Sotheby's, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Berkshire Museum, Zenas Crane, Shuffleton’s Barbershop, Attorney General, Maura Healey, Berkshire County Superior Court

Appeals Court Stays Sale of Berkshire Museum Paintings

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 10, 2017 at 10:43 PM

Attorney General’s Motion, Supported by Private Plaintiffs, is Allowed on the Eve of Auction

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has stopped the imminent auction of paintings owned by the Berkshire Museum.  Late Friday, a single justice of the Appeals Court issued the following order:

ORDER: After reviewing the parties' submissions, the request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendant, Trustees of the Berkshire Museum from selling, auctioning, or otherwise disposing of any of the artworks that have been listed for auction commencing on November 13, 2017, is allowed. The balance of the risk of irreparable harm to the petitioner and the respondent in light of each party's chance of success on the merits weighs in favor of the petitioner.

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Topics: Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Pittsfield, Berkshire Museum, Attorney General, Maura Healey

Massachusetts AG Asks Appeals Court to Halt Monday's Berkshire Museum Sale

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 10, 2017 at 2:21 PM

The Massachusetts Attorney General has moved the Appeals Court of Massachusetts for an emergency injunction pending appeal of the November 7, 2017 decision denying the motions by the AG, my clients, and others, seeking to enjoin the auctions beginning Monday of 40 paintings and works of art belonging to the Berkshire Museum.

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Topics: Norman Rockwell, Berkshire Museum, Attorney General

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