Art Law Report

When Will We Get There?  The World Gathers in London to Consider the State of Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art.

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 15, 2017 at 5:13 PM

The National Gallery London hosted on September 12, 2017 the much-anticipated conference “70 Years and Counting: the Final Opportunity?” organized by the United Kingdom Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCCS), and the Commission for Looted Art in Europe (CLAE). Delegates from numerous countries gathered to consider the state of progress on the efforts to identify and return works of art lost during the Nazi era.  While the event had a truly international flair, the discussion centered primarily on the five countries that have created some sort of process to consider assertions of looted art in response to the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art: England, France, Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany. 

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Topics: National Gallery London, Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport, DCCS, Commission for Looted Art in Europe, CLAE, 70 Years and Counting: the Final Opportunity?, Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, Advisory Commission, Gabriele Finaldi, David Lewis, John Glen, Minister for the Arts Heritage and Tourism, UK Spoliation Advisory Panel, Sir Paul Jenkins, Dr. Antonia Boström, Victoria and Albert Museum, Imke Gielen, von Trott zu Solz Lammek, Simon Goodman, The Orpheus Clock, Sir Donnell Deeny, Jan Bank, Restitutions Committee of the Netherlands, Dr. Reinhard Binder-Krieglstein, Art Restitution Advisory Board, Kunstrückgabebeirat, Professor Dr. Reinhard Rürup, Jean-Pierre Bady, Commission pour l’indemnisation des victimes, CVIS, Richard Aronowitz-Mercer, Sotheby's, Christie's, Dr. Christian Fuhrmeister, British Library, Johannes Nathan, Nathan Fine Art, Margreet Soeting, Stedelijk Museum, Pierre Valentine, Constantine Cannon LLP, Monica Dugot, Martin Levy, H. Blairman & Sons Ltd., Katrin Stoll, Neumeister Auction House, Tony Baumgartner, Clyde & Co., Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

U.S. Museums and Looted Art—Is it Whether you Win or How you Play?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 9, 2015 at 7:26 AM

A recent report by the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) has made strong criticisms of American museums with respect to their handling of Nazi-looted art claims. In particular, the report criticizes the assertion of timeliness defenses such as statutes of limitations. The report focuses in particular on cases involving the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, the Toledo Museum of Art, and the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum at the University of Oklahoma. There is no state control over the vast proportion of art in America the way there is in most European countries, and thus, no possibility of singular, nationalized approaches. In response to the report, some of the museums mentioned have defended their strategies, though in some cases the players are talking past each other. What is undeniable is that whether as a function of the nature of U.S. museums (largely private, rather than public), it is hard to say there is a coordinated approach to the issue, good or bad. The report is lengthy and detailed, and well worth a read in depth that space here does not permit. In some ways, the question it poses boils down to this: is determining the historical truth the obligation of everyone involved or is there some room to prevail without addressing the larger issues?

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Topics: Toledo Museum of Art, Street Scene in Tahiti, Léone Meyer’s, American Association of Museums, Two Nudes, La bérgère, AAMD Task Force on the Spoliation of Art during th, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Rue St. Honoré après-midi êffet de pluie, University of Oklahoma, Cassirer, Nazi-looted art, Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, Fred Jones Jr. Museum, Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, World Jewish Restitution Organization, WJRO, Association of Art Museum Directors, Restitution, American Alliance of Museums AAM, World War II, Paul Gaugin, Camille Pissarro, Oskar Kokoschka, Museums, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, AAMD, Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena

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