Art Law Report

New Publication: Éthique et patrimoine culturel—Regard croisés

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 2, 2017 at 10:56 AM

L'Harmattan has published a new volume entitled Éthique et patrimoine culturel—Regard croisés (Ethics and Cultural Patrimony: Viewpoints), which is a collection of papers presented at a conference in October, 2015 at L'Ecole du Louvre in Paris.  I spoke at the conference and submitted the full treatment of my remarks to the book entitled "Public Trust or Private Business? Deaccessioning Law and Ethics in the United States."  My co-presenters were eloquent and their expanded research and essays are well worth reading.  Copies can be ordered here.

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Topics: cultural property, Denis Michel Boëll, Ecole du Louvre, National Consultative Ethics Committee, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Marie Cornu, Musée de la Marine, Council of Voluntary Sales, Tehran, Baptiste Brown, Marie Berducou, Stéphane Duroy, University of Toulouse Capitole, Michel Van Praët, University of Shahid Beheshti, Philippe Durey, Arnaud Beaufort, University of Poitiers, University Western Bretagne, Nathalie Heinich, Milan, Julien Chapuis, Pinacoteca di Brera, French National Commission for UNESCO, Philippe-Henri Dutheil, University Rennes, Vincent Negri, Céline Castets- Fox, Astrid Müller Katzenburg, Sophie Vigneron, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, University of Kent, Museum for Byzantine Sculpture Collections and Art, Noëlle Timbart, Dominique Jarrassé, Claire Barbillon, Gilles Ragot, University of Montreal, State Museums in Berlin, International Society For Law Research of Cultural, Edouard Planche, Emmanuelle Polack, Université Paris Sud, EY Société d’avocats, Janet Blake, Jacques Bittoun, Catherine Chadelat, Jérôme Fromageau, Vincent Gautrais, Geraldine Goffaux Callebaut, Daniel Janicot

Gerhard Richter and German Cultural Heritage Protection Law—Brooklyn Law School February 3, 2016

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 25, 2016 at 11:04 AM

I will be speaking next week at Brooklyn Law School at an event about Gerhard Richter organized by the Center for Art Law and the Brooklyn Law School Art Law Association. Entitled “You’ve Been Served: Gerhard Richter Painting (2011), the event on February 3, 2016 at 6:30 will begin with a screening of the documentary Gerhard Richter Painting (2011).  After the movie, I will discuss Richter’s prominence in the recent controversy over Germany’s proposed amendment to its cultural heritage protection laws, of which I have been critical and in response to which Richter threatened to remove his painting from his home country. 

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Topics: cultural property, Events, Gerhard Richter

Despite Universal Criticism, German Cabinet Approves Stricter Cultural Heritage Law

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 16, 2015 at 5:40 AM

The German federal cabinet has approved a revision to its cultural heritage protection law notwithstanding overwhelming opposition by essentially everyone who commented, putting the draft on the fast track to legislative enactment next year.

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Topics: cultural property, Guelph Treasure, VAT, Georg Baselitz, Germany, Minister of Culture Monika Grütters, EU, Artforum, Kulturgutschutzgesetz, Gerhard Richter, cultural heritage protection law, Michael Werner, Welfenschatz

Gurlitt Collection May be Displayed Next Year, Real Progress Still Elusive as Focus Remains on Public Relations

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 13, 2015 at 7:43 AM

After months of relative inactivity, there was news this week in the saga of Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive German man from whose apartments in Munich and Salzburg more than 1,280 objects were seized as part of a tax investigation, objects that came under suspicion of Nazi looting because of the privileged position held by his father Hildebrand Gurlitt. Unfortunately, the latest news continues a string of public relations efforts that bespeak no real progress as we approach the second anniversary of the public awareness of the story. Quite unlike the plaudits that were thrown around by many last year (though not by us) concerning Germany’s agreement with Gurlitt’s named heir, the reaction has been appropriately skeptical this time.

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Topics: cultural property, Sepp Dürr, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Hildebrand Gurlitt, Art Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Cornelius Gurlitt, Bonn Minister of Culture, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Entartete Kunst, Munich, World Jewish Congress, Salzburg, Restitution, Müncher Kunstfund, Der Spiegel, World War II, Task Force, Kunstmuseum Bern, Museums, Monika Grütters, Raubkunst, Green Party, Kunsthalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Ronald Lauder

Symposium: "Ethics and Cultural Patrimony - Viewpoints," in Paris October 20-21, 2015

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 24, 2015 at 8:22 AM

I am looking forward to participating next month in a symposium entitled :"Ethics and Cultural Patrimony: Viewpoints" at L'Ecole du Louvre in Paris on October 20-21, 2015. The event is organized by L’Institut Droit Ethique Patrimoine (Institute of Law, Ethics and Heritage), in partnership with l’Institut d’Etudes de droit public (Institute of Public Law Studies) and l’Ecole du Louvre, and take place at the Ecole du Louvre, Palais du Louvre, porte Jaujard, place du Carrousel, 75001 Paris. The conference website (with registration) can be found here, and the brochure can be opened here.

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Topics: Bordeaux University Montaigne, cultural property, Lafferière-François Julien, Denis Michel Boëll, Ecole du Louvre, National Consultative Ethics Committee, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Marie Cornu, James Bradburne, Geraldine Goffaux Callebau, Musée de la Marine, Council of Voluntary Sales, Tehran, Astrid Müller-Katzenberg, Baptiste Brown, Conservation, ICOM, Marie Berducou, Stéphane Duroy, University of Toulouse Capitole, National Heritage Institute, Michel Van Praët, University of Shahid Beheshti, Paris, Philippe Durey, Arnaud Beaufort, University of Poitiers, University Western Bretagne, Nathalie Heinich, Milan, Julien Chapuis, Pinacoteca di Brera, French National Commission for UNESCO, Philippe-Henri Dutheil, University Rennes, Vincent Negri, Durey Philippe, Céline Castets- Fox, Gurlitt, Restitution, Sophie Vigneron, Bittoun Jacques, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Events, University Institute of France, University of Kent, Museum for Byzantine Sculpture Collections and Art, National Library of France, Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of, Noëlle Timbart, Chadelat Catherine, Dominique Jarrassé, Claire Barbillon, Janicot Daniel, Gilles Ragot, University of Montreal, State Museums in Berlin, Nicholas M. O'Donnell, International Society For Law Research of Cultural, Edouard Planche, Emmanuelle Polack, Fromageau Jérôme, Université Paris Sud, EY Société d’avocats, Gautrais Vincent, Janet Blake

Backwards, Not Forwards: German Cultural Ministry Submits Revised Cultural Heritage Protection Law

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 21, 2015 at 6:50 AM

After two months of scathing criticism, the German Ministry of Culture has submitted a watered-down, but still problematic, revision to its Cultural Heritage Protection Law. Back in July, Minister of Culture Monika Grütters announced the initial proposal to amend Germany’s law, or Kulturgutschutzgesetz. The revision, however, is optical at best, and seems targeted only to soften criticism while still taking a regressive view of cultural property that is more at home in the 18th century than the 21st. It will probably pass, to the detriment of forward thinking art market players who will move their trade elsewhere.

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Topics: cultural property, Guelph Treasure, Georg Baselitz, German Cultural Ministry, U.S., Restitution, UNESCO, Switzerland, Austria, Kulturgutschutzgesetz, Gerhard Richter, Museums, Andy Warhol, Monika Grütters, Cultural Heritage Protection, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation, NAGPRA

Germany Walks Back On Proposed Cultural Property Law

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 16, 2015 at 7:00 AM

After sharp criticism of the proposed strengthening of Germany’s cultural property and heritage protection law, German Minister of Culture Monika Grütters told Die Welt yesterday that she is reevaluating the proposal.

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Topics: Legislation, cultural property, Germany, Bundesländer, Museums, Monika Grütters

European Cultural Protection Laws and Export Licenses—the Atlantic Gulf Widens

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 10, 2015 at 7:37 AM

Germany has proposed a revision to its cultural protection legislation that would further restrict exports of objects more than 50 years old. While worries that it is the equivalent to state expropriation are overblown, it does indicate a mindset that is in many ways incompatible with the modern art market—even if it is only an effort to harmonize German and EU law. The struggles of Germany’s efforts to keep pace with other centers of art trade may only be compounded if this becomes law.

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Topics: Legislation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, cultural property, Roman antiquity, Germany, Cultural Protection Laws, England, Joshua Reynolds, European, Rome, 5th Amendment, Bundesländer, Italy, Monika Grütters, regulatory taking

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

Parthenon Sculpture Loan to Russia: Legal and Diplomatic Fallout Could be Far-Reaching

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 9, 2014 at 6:55 AM

The British Museum has announced that it has loaned to Russia one of the sculptures from the Parthenon that widely known as the “Elgin Marbles” after Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin who oversaw their removal from then-Ottoman occupied Greece in 1811-12. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is the recipient of the loan, specifically, the sculpture of the river god Ilissos from the west pediment of the Parthenon.

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Topics: cultural property, Pandora’s box, the 7th Earl of Elgin, Temple of Zeus at Olympia, George Clooney, Russia, Thomas Bruce, Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, Elgin Marbles, river god Ilissos, Museum of Modern Art, Greece, The British Museum, Restitution, Pausanias, Parthenon Sculpture, Portrait of Wally, Austria, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Ottoman Empire, Museums, Attica, New York

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