Art Law Report

Event—Deaccessioning: Art, Morals, and the Law

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 4, 2018 at 5:00 PM

I will be speaking to the Copyright Society of the USA on Thursday May 10, 2018 at 5:30 pm at Northeastern University Law School at 250 Dockser Hall – 65 Forsythe Street in Boston.  The presentation will discuss the legal and ethical implications of recent sales or proposed sales by museums of works of art in their collections, including the Barnes Foundation, the Corcoran, and the Berkshire Museum.  The event is free of charge and open to the public.  RSVP is preferred but not required, see attached flyer for details.  the event is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and Northeastern’s Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity.

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Topics: Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Deaccessioning, Corcoran Gallery, Barnes Foundation, Berkshire Museum, Northeastern University Law School

Corcoran Cy Pres Petition Challenged by Students, Staff and Community Group. Will “Save the Corcoran” Be Another “Friends of the Barnes” Case?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 8, 2014 at 10:52 AM

After months of uncertainty about the future of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Corcoran’s Trustee’s filed a petition on June 17, 2014 for cy pres—to revise the terms of the trust that administers the museum and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The Corcoran’s financial condition, they argue, make the current situation untenable and in the long run impossible, to sustain. The petition proposes an arrangement with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) for the bulk of the artwork, and with George Washington University (GW) for the college functions, all to sustain the mission of the trust “as nearly as possible.”

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Topics: Frank Gehry, Deaccession, National Gallery of Art, William Corcoran, George Washington University, Philadelphia, Rule 24, Renwick Building, Cy Pres, Washington DC, Flagg Building, Corcoran College of Art + Design, William Flagg, Trusts, Museums, Friends of the Barnes, Corcoran Gallery of Art, intervention, Senator William Clark, Barnes Foundation

A Trust For The Benefit of the Public is Not “the Public Trust”—The Deaccessioning Debate and the Detroit Institute of Arts

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 4, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Reflecting on the recent argument by the Detroit Institute of Arts that the city of Detroit cannot legally sell, let alone be forced to sell, the artwork in the museum to satisfy creditor, some overlapping terminology creates the possibility of an important confusion. Particularly in the realm of deaccessioning, this distinctions are quite important. Meanwhile, the state of Michigan today approved its part of the “Grand Bargain” to subsidize the bankruptcy to avoid sale or encumbrance of the artwork.

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Rose Art Museum, Lee Rosenbaum, Columbia University, Deaccessioning, Detroit Institute of Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Association of Art Museum Directors, Michigan, Albright-Knox Gallery, New York Times, Detroit Bankruptcy, AAMD, Edward Hopper, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, grand bargain, Brandeis University, Barnes Foundation

Happy (early) Birthday to the Art Law Report!

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 14, 2012 at 6:18 AM

We launched the Art Law Report one year ago tomorrow. Several dozen posts, thousands of visitors and many more views later, a very special thank you to everyone who has read and followed the blog. The connections made literally all around the world are humbling and enlightening. We continue to strive to provide an interesting selection of legal updates and issues, while offering an opinion and perspective that tries to improve the understanding both of those familiar with legal concepts, and those less so. The continuing developments in copyright, FSIA, immunity from seizure, and other resitution issues in particular are certainly keeping us on our toes, and collections issues like the Barnes case are never too far away either. Your links and comments are appriated, and we will keep linking to all those viewpoints from which we are learning too. Here's to another year of substantive conversation.

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Topics: cultural property, Immunity from Seizure, Collections, FSIA, Restitution, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, Copyright, Immunity from Seizure Act, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, Art Law Report, Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation Relocation Under Attack Again but Unlikely to Come Out Differently

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM

The Barnes relocation, and challenges to it, are both in the news again. Apparently former Barnes CEO Kimberly Camp—who held that office when much of the push was made to justify the need to relocate to Center City in Philadelphia—posted a blog entry about the financial condition of the Foundation at the time. She writes:

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Lee Rosenbaum, Kimberly Camp, Cy Pres, Collections, Friends of the Barnes, Barnes Foundation

Barnes Relocation Case Sanctions Award Upheld, But Also Reduced

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 13, 2012 at 6:16 AM

Montgomery County Orphan’s Court Judge Stanley R. Ott, the presiding judge in the unsuccessful challenge to the Barnes Foundation’s move to Center City in Philadelphia has upheld his award of sanctions against the plaintiffs challenging the move. After a recent hearing, the judge awarded the Barnes $25,000 in attorneys' fees from the Friends of the Barnes, and a separate $15,000 form a lawyer who had filed a challenge in his own right.

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Topics: Montgomery County Orphan's Court, Charitable Foundations, The Art of the Steal, Philadelphia, Stanley Ott, attorneys' fees, Center City, Estate Planning, Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation Case Dismissed, Relocation to Philadelphia Will Proceed

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 7, 2011 at 5:50 AM

To paraphrase the famous Saturday Night Live skit about General Francisco Franco: this just in: Museum members and supporters still cannot go to court to challenge the administration of the institution. The Barnes Foundation has defeated the latest challenge to its right to move from its original home in Lower Merion outside of Philadelphia to its new home in the center of the city. The relocation will go forward.

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Topics: Albert Barnes, Art of the Steal, Rose Art Museum, Philadelphia, Saturday Night Live, Cy Pres, Collections, General Francisco Franco, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Trust reformation, Lincoln University, Lower Merion, Trusts, Standing, Barnes Foundation

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