March 2021 (Volume IX Issue 3)
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Powering Through
Dear <<First Name>>,

Art law is marching on! By popular demand the 2021 Art & Law Auction has been extended for one more week, now's the time to place your winning bids for works of art, books, or experiences and to invite all who share your belief in our mission to get their paddles ready. 

To further synchronize our schedules, check our calendar for info about the upcoming Art Law Lunch Talks on public art, lessons from the fraud in the art trade, the ethics of third-party commissions, and many other topics coming up this spring, as well as two new sessions of the Visual Artists' Immigration Clinic with the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts! 

Finally, it is with great pride that we announce that the Center has received two generous grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, which will allow us to stay at the forefront of art law.
With gratitude to all that support us,

Louise Carron
Executive Director
On Our Calendar
CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Lessons Not Learned, Fraudsters in the Art Market
March 10, 2021
More information >>>

NEW Legal Issues in Museum Administration 2021
March 11-12 2021
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Visual Artists' Immigration Clinic
March 23 and June 8, 2021
Online, with Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Pick a Number and Stick To It
March 31, 2021
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Heavy Lifting in Public Art (RESCHEDULED)
April 21, 2021
More information >>>
See the full calendar
Art Law Digest

Had nuff of NFTs? Christie’s has become the first major auction house to offer a stand-alone Non-Fungible Token (NFT) work of art. This work, called Everydays: The First 5000 Days (2021), was created by Beeple, and consists of 5,000 images artist created every day since May 1, 2007. The auction house has not provided an estimate for the work’s value, given its unprecedented nature, the starting bid for the lot was $100, but many believe that digital artwork is the future of the art market. Bids can be placed online until March 11. Current bid: $3,000,000.

‘Public Relations Disaster.’ The sale of the National Archives Property in Seattle was blocked by U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour on February 12, 2021. J. Coughenour asked Brian Kipnis, an assistant attorney in Seattle, whether anyone on the Public Buildings Reform Board was from the Pacific Northwest, to which Kipnis replied that he did not know. In his decision to block the sale, Coughenour said the feds should have displayed more sensitivity to how the closure would affect the Northwest. 

Big change at Christie’s. Many scholars and dealers are upset over Christie’s decision to stop external access to its archives due to staff cutbacks. Christie’s archive in London, previously available to anyone for the purpose of research, is the largest and most complete archive in the world. Dirk Boll, the president of Christie’s in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and India, holds out hope that Christie’s will remain accessible in the future.

Hilma af Klint Catalogue Raisonné. Hilma af Klint’s extensive career and art collection are being documented into a seven-part catalogue raisonné, published by Bokförlaget Stolpe, and distributed by Artbook | DAP. The first three volumes came out in February 2021 and feature spiritual sketches created by Hilma af Klint, as well as large-scale abstract works.

Demands for DEI rise. Museums across the United State are being criticized for their lack of transparency regarding funding devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion inside the institutions’ doors. Last summer, thousands of people gathered by the doors of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality. Today, employees within this and other museums are still determined to change practices from the inside.

Statute on the Status of Statues. The UK government has proposed new laws that if passed, would require individuals to have planning permission or listed building consent before removing any historical statues. This law was proposed after a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by a crowd of people last summer. While many support this new law, believing that history should not be censored, others, such as current UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, firmly believe that heritage leaders and museums “must defend [British] culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down.”

Hidden Figures. Lawyer David J. Whitcomb discovered a hidden stash of historic photographs in his attic, which included a portrait of Susan B. Anthony. Whitcomb spotted an access panel in his drop ceiling and was able to climb up and look inside, where he discovered picture frames and photographs, tied to photographer Jasper Ellery Hale, who used to live in Whitcomb’s building.

From Professor to Preserver of Heritage. Dr. James Bezjian has been commissioned as a captain of a small team in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, based at Fort Bragg and employed as-needed. The collaboration between the Army Reserves and the Smithsonian Institution in a revival of the Monuments Men was announced by the Pentagon in October 2019.

Dangers of Deaccessioning. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has suggested selling some of its art as it faces a shortfall of $150 million due to the pandemic. Deaccessioning is still viewed as controversial, and this statement incited outrage among many people, as the Met has a $3.3 billion endowment and millionaires on its board. The board will vote on this next month. 

Nude Feud. A watercolor by Egon Schiele will be returned by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne to the descendants of Heinrich Rieger, per a unanimous recommendation from a government panel on Nazi-looted art. Rieger was an avid art collector in Vienna, collecting from young, local artists as compensation for his dental services. The work, "Crouching Female Nude" (1917), was acquired by the museum from a donor in 1966, but it has been recognized that Rieger was forced to sell his collection under duress due to his Jewish identity.

All Hands on Desk. In a court sketch by Art Lien documenting the January impeachment trial of Donald Trump, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) was depicted with a fidget spinner on his desk. Burr, who hosted the Senate GOP lunch for the week, has been known to distribute stimulation toys including fidget spinners and stress balls in preparation for the lengthy hearings.

Au revoir, Ivory. The European Commission published a draft regulation and guidance on January 28, 2021, that will ban the EU trade in ivory. Those who would be affected by this guideline were given the opportunity to submit public feedback on the Commission’s ‘Have your say’ page.

“Don’t Hit the Roof”. A lawsuit has been threatened against the Louvre in the wake of the renovation of the Salle des Bronzes. In 2010, the Abstract Impressionist Cy Twombly painted the ceiling in the wing to complement the displays Greek and Roman statues. The artist’s family and the Cy Twombly Foundation feel that the recontextualization of the work is a disservice to its original intentions.

Statues for review in Chicago. The Chicago Monuments Project Advisory Committee has identified forty-one statues and/or plaques in Chicago as potentially problematic. The committee was formed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot after she removed three statues of Christopher Columbus from the city due to the nationwide protests exposing racial injustice and police brutality. The committee will examine and evaluate the selected monuments to determine the best plan of action for them.

Ethiopian Heritage Under Attack. On November 28, Eritrean soldiers stormed the Church of St. Mary of Zion, Ethiopia’s most sacred Orthodox church, located in the Tigray region, as service was underway. An estimated 800 people were murdered. Numerous reports suggest that “cultural cleansing” is occurring across Ethiopia, cultural sites are being looted, and ancient art objects may end up on the art market.

Wallace Collection Threats of Closure. An internal consultation among senior management at the Wallace Collection in London considered closing the library and archives to the public to save costs, but on February 16th, the Collection announced it would reopen to the public after COVID-19 related restrictions were lifted. However, there are ongoing discussions regarding potential staff redundancies. 

Legal Fracas over The Kiss. A 1909 Constantin Brancusi sculpture titled The Kiss, which was at the heart of Sophie Brocas’ 2020 book, can now be reclaimed by the heirs of the person buried underneath the gravestone in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery where the sculpture now rests, after a ten-year legal battle. However, when the heirs went to take the work in December 2020, the City of Paris refused to hand over the sculpture. Now, the heirs are fighting once again to claim the work.

Damaged Art in US Capitol. A fuller picture has emerged regarding the damage to art and artifacts that occurred during the January 6 insurrection into the US Capitol. The rioters fired chemical spray onto multiple art objects, which will need expert conservation to avoid discoloration. Farar Elliott, the curator in the office of the House Clerk, has also identified eight potentially damaged objects that will need restoration. 

Screaming. Edvard Munch painted four versions of his famous "The Scream" painting between 1893 and 1910, and it is now believed that the artist himself, not a vandal, made a small inscription on one of the paintings owned by the National Museum of Norway at Oslo.

NYC Arts Hit Hard by Pandemic. New data has been published that shows how harshly New York arts and culture have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The arts, entertainment, and recreation economy had enjoyed a 42% growth since 2009, which was abruptly halted due to lockdown. Many of New York City’s museums instituted lay-offs, and the hardest-hit area by far was the Chelsea / Clinton / Midtown Manhattan Business District.

Case Law Corner
  • Rappoport v. Nye & Co., No. 653166/2020 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed July 22, 2020).
  • Accent Delight Int’l Ltd. v. Sotheby’s, No. 1:18-cv-09011 (S.D.N.Y. 2020) (order denying motion to compel production).
  • State of Washington v. Fairweather, No. 2:21-cv-00002 (W.D. Wash. filed Jan. 4, 2021). 
  • Meyer v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Okla., No. 5:15-cv-00403 (W.D. Okla. Jan. 4, 2021). 
  • Edelman Arts, Inc. v. Spoelstra, No. 1:17-cv-04789 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 11, 2021). 
  • Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Christie's Inc., No. 1:20-cv-02239 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 1, 2021). 
  • Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, No. 19-351, slip op. at 1 (U.S. Feb. 3, 2021). 
Read the full Case Law Corner
Interesting Finds
Job | Senior Lecturer in Art Business (Sotheby's Institute of Art, London, UK)
Open to PhD holders or candidates with expert knowledge in areas related to the art business and international art world. Full information... 
As a member of the Amazon Associate Program, the Center for Art Law may earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using the links below to give back to the Center with each book.

Lawrence Kaye and Howard Spiegler, eds., The Art Law Review, Law Business Research (Jan. 2021). Co-edited by the "Deans of Art Law," this is the inaugural edition of The Art Law Review. published with the intention of gathering information from lead art law practitioners from all over the world, including Massimo Sterpi, William Charron, Katharina Garbers-von Boehm, our founder Irina Tarsis and one of our advisors, Yael M Weitz. The Review is divided into two sections, one focusing on select areas of art law, and another focusing on specific jurisdictions (USA, Switzerland, Russia, etc). The field has developed to become a significant specialty in the law, as collectors, galleries, auction houses, museums and everyone else involved with art have expanded their reach throughout the world; this volume compiles many of the advancements in the field. Available here.
*25% discount with the code ITSARTLAW25. 

More Art Law Books
On the Blog

Making a Case for the CASE Act
By David Jenkins. On December 21, 2020 the U.S. Congress passed a COVID-19 relief bill unlocking stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and education funding. It was almost too easy to miss a rather important addendum to that 2,124-page bill: the passage of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, abbreviated to the CASE Act, a […] 

Case Review: A Last Laugh from Frans Hals (UK)
By Eve Gatenby. Most Frans Hals portraits have a kind of swagger to them that suggests that they are enjoying a good joke at the viewer’s expense, from the smirk of “The Laughing Cavalier” (1624), to the full-blown hilarity of “Malle Babbe” (1633-35). The portrait “Unknown Gentleman” purchased by Richard Hedreen’s company EPC Nevada in […] 

Case Review: Abbott Labs v. Feinberg (2020)
By SaBreigha Dixon. Abbott Laboratories v. Feinberg, No. 1:18-cv-08468 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 9, 2020). At the heart of this case involving both art theft and forgery is Abbott Laboratories (“Abbott”), a corporation organized under Illinois state law that specializes in multinational medical devices and healthcare. A longtime patron of the arts, Abbott Laboratories acquired a corporate […] 
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Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Marie Kessel, Gabrielle Discafani, Laura Kaiser.
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