Art Law Report

Rich Man/Poor Man?  The Berkshire Museum and Why Deaccessioning is so Frustrating

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 23, 2017 at 6:11 PM

Two wonderful museums recently announced plans to sell major works of art.  In one case, some 40 paintings, American masterpieces among them, will be sold at auction.  In another, more than 400 photographs will also be sold.  The former case has prompted a nationwide outcry, the latter…effectively nothing.  The differences and similarities between the two underscore the aspirational rules that govern what is known as “deaccessioning,” but also remind us that principles and the goals they are meant to reach are not always the same thing. 

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Topics: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Delaware Museum of Art, American Alliance of Museums, Lee Rosenbaum, MoMA, Deaccessioning, AAM, Norman Rockwell, Association of Art Museum Directors, Alexander Calder, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, AAMD, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Pittsfield, General Electric, Waconah Park, Berkshire Museum, Housatonic, Lake Onota, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, Zenas Crane, Williamstown, Lenox, North Adams, Mass MoCA, Felix Salmon

Deaccessioning in Detroit?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 14, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Readers will no doubt be puzzled by the news this week that the Detroit Institute of Arts—fresh off of the Grand Bargain, in which an infusion of donations and fundraising led to the transfer of the collection’s ownership back to the museum and off the table in the context of the Detroit Bankruptcyis moving ahead with plans to deaccession works of art in its collection, a Van Gogh in particular. There are a number of things going on in this latest development, which need to be distinguished.

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Topics: Graham Beal, Deaccession, Delaware Museum of Art, American Alliance of Museums, Donn Zaretzky, Deaccessioning, AAM, Van Gogh, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, Association of Art Museum Directors, Museums, Detroit Bankruptcy, AAMD, grand bargain

Léone Meyer’s Claims for Pissarro Transferred to Oklahoma

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM

A U.S. District Court judge has taken the recent invitation of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and transferred to Oklahoma a lawsuit by Léone Meyer over ownership of a Camille Pissarro painting at the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum at the University of Oklahoma. The case will now proceed in Oklahoma, where the museum seems likely to assert both sovereign immunity under Oklahoma law, as well as an argument that transfers in Switzerland conferred legal title to the museum as a successor to those transfers. However counterintuitive it seems, it may yet be that a court could agree with Meyer that the painting was stolen, but agree with Oklahoma that a Swiss litigation in the 1950s about whether it was sold to a good faith buyer means that Oklahoma holds full title and ownership.

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Topics: David Findlay Jr. Inc., due process, third party beneficiary, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Raoul Meyer, Nazi Occupation, American Alliance of Museums, University of Oklahoma, Aaron and Clara Weitzenhofer, Judge Colleen McMahon, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, AAM, Vichy, La bergère rentrent des moutons, Association of Art Museum Directors, Restitution, David Findlay Galleries, World War II, CPLR 301, Switzerland, Leone Meyer, long art statute, Camille Pissarro, Museums, personal jurisdiction, AAMD, Christoph Bernoulli, Swiss judgment, Rep. Mike Reynolds

REMINDER—Art Law Day Next Friday, November 7, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 29, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Art Law Day at the Appraisers Association of America’s annual conference is next Friday, November 7, 2014 at NYU's Kimmel Center. Sullivan & Worcester LLP will be sponsoring the event as a Friend of Art Law Day this year, about which we are very excited.

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Topics: The Changing Laws for the Sale of Endangered Speci, Monica Kreshik, NYU SCPS, International Director of Restitution, The Frick Collection, miGavel Auctions/Lark Mason Associates, Resale Royalties, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Betty Krulik Fine Art Limited, American Royalties Too Act, Michael McCullough, Pearlstein & McCullough LLP, authentication, IRS/Tax Free Exchange, Richard Levin, New York University, American Alliance of Museums, Suzanne Goldstein Baker, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Art Law Day, Department of Environmental Conservation, Ulf Biscof, New Legislation for Authentication Experts, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, Jerrold Nadler, Christie's, Appraisal, Detroit Institute of Arts, Amy Goldrich, Betty Krulik, Restitution, Randi Schuster, Events, Christopher Marinello Art Recovery International L, Cahill Partners LLP, Elizabeth von Habsburg Winston Art Group, Monica Dugot, Copyright, Appraisers Association of America, Marianne Rosenberg, Terry Shtob, Antiquities, Ford W. Bell, Craig Hoover, Bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, Lark Mason, Kimmel Center, Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch, Detroit Bankruptcy, Diane Wierbicki, Investment Property Exchange Services, Samuel Sachs II, Biscof & Paetow Rechtsanwälte, Withers Bergman LLP, Judith Bresler, Paul Rosenberg

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, American Royalties, Too Act Sponsor, Added to Speakers at Appraisers Association of America Art Law Day on November 7, 2014 at NYU

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 8, 2014 at 5:34 AM

Art Law Day at the Appraisers Association of America’s annual conference is now less than a month away. Held at the NYU Kimmel Center, this year’s event will be held on Friday November 7, 2014. Sullivan & Worcester LLP is excited to be a Friend of Art Law Day this year.

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Topics: Legislation, The Changing Laws for the Sale of Endangered Speci, Monica Kreshik, NYU SCPS, International Director of Restitution, The Frick Collection, miGavel Auctions/Lark Mason Associates, Resale Royalties, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Betty Krulik Fine Art Limited, American Royalties Too Act, Michael McCullough, Pearlstein & McCullough LLP, authentication, IRS/Tax Free Exchange, Richard Levin, New York University, American Alliance of Museums, Suzanne Goldstein Baker, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Art Law Day, Department of Environmental Conservation, Ulf Biscof, New Legislation for Authentication Experts, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, Christie's, Appraisal, Detroit Institute of Arts, Amy Goldrich, Betty Krulik, Restitution, Randi Schuster, Events, Christopher Marinello Art Recovery International L, Cahill Partners LLP, Elizabeth von Habsburg Winston Art Group, Monica Dugot, Appraisers Association of America, Marianne Rosenberg, Terry Shtob, Ford W. Bell, Craig Hoover, Bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, Lark Mason, Kimmel Center, Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch, Detroit Bankruptcy, Diane Wierbicki, Investment Property Exchange Services, Samuel Sachs II, Biscof & Paetow Rechtsanwälte, Withers Bergman LLP, Judith Bresler, Paul Rosenberg

Sullivan & Worcester LLP Pleased To Become a Friend of the Appraisers Association of America Art Law Day on November 7, 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 21, 2014 at 3:50 AM

I'm pleased to announce that Sullivan & Worcester LLP has signed on as a Friend of Art Law Day at the annual conference of the Appraisers Association of America. The schedule has recently been released and registration is now available. Held once against at New York University Kimmel Center, this year’s event will be held on Friday November 7, 2014. The schedule is below and promises to be a fascinating day. Hope to see you there!

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Topics: The Changing Laws for the Sale of Endangered Speci, Monica Kreshik, NYU SCPS, International Director of Restitution, The Frick Collection, miGavel Auctions/Lark Mason Associates, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Betty Krulik Fine Art Limited, Michael McCullough, Pearlstein & McCullough LLP, authentication, IRS/Tax Free Exchange, Richard Levin, New York University, American Alliance of Museums, Suzanne Goldstein Baker, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Art Law Day, Department of Environmental Conservation, Ulf Biscof, New Legislation for Authentication Experts, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, Christie's, Detroit Institute of Arts, Amy Goldrich, Betty Krulik, Restitution, Randi Schuster, Events, Christopher Marinello Art Recovery International L, Cahill Partners LLP, Elizabeth von Habsburg Winston Art Group, Monica Dugot, Appraisers Association of America, Marianne Rosenberg, Terry Shtob, Ford W. Bell, Craig Hoover, Bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, Lark Mason, Kimmel Center, Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch, Detroit Bankruptcy, Diane Wierbicki, Investment Property Exchange Services, Samuel Sachs II, Biscof & Paetow Rechtsanwälte, Withers Bergman LLP, Judith Bresler, Paul Rosenberg

Lauder Wall Street Journal Nazi-Looted Art Editorial, Art Law Report Post, and the Response: Some Clarification and Context

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 18, 2014 at 5:32 AM

Two weeks ago, we posted an article entitled “Lauder Editorial on Stolen Art Fails the Glass House Test.” The metaphor was not intended to be complicated: it seemed inconsistent, to put it politely, for the honorary board chairman of a museum that has resisted restitution claims by asserting, for example, the statute of limitations and the laches defense, now to say that museums that do just that are “immoral.” Ultimately, we posited that restitution decisions are complicated and hard. It seemed an open question for example as to what, exactly, Ronald S. Lauder’s editorial "Time to Evict Nazi-Looted Art From Museums" was designed to draw attention. Right on cue, another article appeared calling for the return of the Camille Pissarro in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation museum in Madrid (Rue St. Honoré, effet de pluie) claimed by the heirs of Lilly Cassirer. It is clear that the June 30, 2014 Art Law Report raised more than a few hackles, but we welcome discussion and criticism. An exchange of ideas is what we are here to foster, after all. In the end, however, some clarification shows that there is not really a disagreement here, but rather that the response highlights frustration with civil law countries' treatment of stolen art.

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Topics: Cristoph Bernoulli, Ronald S. Lauder, La bérgère, Norton Simon Museum, Paul Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jr. Museum of Art, Holocaust Art Restitution Project, Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscat, American Alliance of Museums, Fred Jones, University of Oklahoma, David Findlay Jr. Gallery, Judge Colleen McMahon, MoMA, Plundered Art, specific jurisdiction, Madame Soler, N.Y. Civ. P. Law & Rules § 301, Adam, general jurisdiction, AAM, Museum of Modern Art, World Jewish Congress, Restitution, Marei Von Saher, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, David Findlay Galleries, N.Y. Civ. P. Law & Rules § 302, Free State of Bavaria, Wall Street Journal, World War II, Switzerland, Pinakothek der Moderne, Leone Meyer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Wally, Freistaat Bayern, Weitzenhoffer, Camille Pissarro, Pablo Picasso, AAMD, Association of Museum Directors, Eve, New York, Time to Evict Nazi-Looted Art From Museums

Remaining Claims Against AAM, AAMD Related to Pissarro “La Bergere” in Oklahoma Are Dismissed

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 23, 2014 at 5:34 AM

As we reported last week, the U.S. District Court dismissed claims against the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art, the University of Oklahoma, and associated Oklahoma defendants, over title to the Camille Pissarro painting La bergère rentrent des moutons (a case in which I represented the David Findlay Jr. Gallery).

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Topics: David Findlay Jr. Inc., due process, third party beneficiary, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Raoul Meyer, Nazi Occupation, American Alliance of Museums, University of Oklahoma, Aaron and Clara Weitzenhofer, Judge Colleen McMahon, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, AAM, Vichy, La bergère rentrent des moutons, Association of Art Museum Directors, Restitution, David Findlay Galleries, World War II, CPLR 301, Switzerland, Leone Meyer, long art statute, Camille Pissarro, Museums, personal jurisdiction, AAMD, Christoph Bernoulli, Swiss judgment

Claims Against University of Oklahoma Over Pissarro "La bergère" Dismissed on Jurisdictional Grounds

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed the much-publicized claims by Leone Meyer against the University of Oklahoma and related Oklahoma public officials and insitutions for the return of La bergère rentrent des moutons by Camille Pissarro, currently in the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art. In full disclosure: I represented David Findlay, Jr., Inc. in the action, who was dismissed from the action last year by agreement.

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Topics: David Findlay Jr. Inc., due process, third party beneficiary, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Raoul Meyer, Nazi Occupation, American Alliance of Museums, University of Oklahoma, Aaron and Clara Weitzenhofer, Judge Colleen McMahon, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, AAM, Vichy, La bergère rentrent des moutons, Association of Art Museum Directors, Restitution, David Findlay Galleries, World War II, CPLR 301, Switzerland, Leone Meyer, long art statute, Camille Pissarro, personal jurisdiction, AAMD, Christoph Bernoulli, Swiss judgment

Legal Issues in Museum Administration, March 19-21, 2014 in Philadelphia

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 13, 2014 at 4:25 AM

Registration is open for the annual Legal Issues in Museum Administration conference organized by the American Law Institute’s Continuing Legal Education. Year after year, this conference brings together top practitioners and museum professionals for important updates and presentations, and always engaging discussions. Hope to see you there.

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Topics: Henry S. (Harry) Bryans, Smithsonian Institution, Brendan Connell Jr., India Pinkney, The Frick Collection, Jiyun Cameron Lee, The Barnes Foundation, Dallas Museum of Art, Marianna Horton Mermin, Lawrence H. Berger, Robert W. Clarida, Alison Lonshein, James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology, Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of Miami School of Law, American Alliance of Museums, Stephen W. Clark, Library of Congress, Stephen K. Urice, Yayoi Shionoiri, Michael J. Cooney, Lauryn H. Guttenplan, Karen Coe, Julie Hart, Roger I. Ideishi, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marsha Shaines, Cristina Del Valle, Judith E. Leonard, Eryn Starun, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Nicholas S. Holmes, Temple University, Sara Geelan, The J. Paul Getty Trust, John R. Cahill, Events, Jonathan A. Segal, Rachelle Browne, University of Pennsylvania, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Franklin Institute, Adine Varah, Eric J. Snyder, City and County of San Francisco, C. Brian Rose, National Endowment for the Arts, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Maxwell L. Anderson, Whitney Museum of American Art, Larry Dubinski, Leslie Johnston, Farleigh Earhart

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