May 2019.
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Spring has Sprung: NYC Fair Season
Frieze, TEFAF, Superfine! Art Fair, CADAF, The Other Art Fair... May is usually the time when the art world puts on its fancy walking shoes and struts around the many New York art fairs. To be fair (pun intended), there is so much to see, and very little time. So, if you happen to have a few complimentary tickets to any of these art shows... sharing is caring!

To echo art critic Jerry Saltz: "[We] hope a lot of artists and galleries make money [...] the good, the bad and the very bad ones. [We] want all artists to make money." 
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On Our Agenda

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art and Law: Copyright Basics for Artists
May 9, 2019
Mana Contemporary (NJ)
Join Louise Carron, Executive Director at the Center for Art Law, for a workshop covering the basics of copyright law as it applies to visual artists, including copyright registration, works made for hire, and moral rights. The format will be open and allow for questions. More information here.

The Business of Art Observed
May 21, 2019
The Roosevelt Hotel (NY)
Observer’s inaugural The Business of Art Observed event is an opportunity for art professionals to connect, discuss, network and collaborate on the top issues facing the art industry and community. The event includes a half day Forum with an agenda of topical sessions from industry leaders, vetted by the Editors of the Observer, as well as an Event Advisory Board composed of accomplished industry executives from high profile companies and organizations within the art world. More information here.

NEW Money Laundering in the Art World
May 22, 2019
New York City Bar Association (NY)
This program will center around the discussion of recent art-related financial crimes, the impact of regulations on art dealers and the art community, and what kinds of risk-based measures this kind of regulation and oversight will lead to in the future. More information here.

NEW Building a Responsible Art Market
May 23, 2019
Columbia University (NY)
The Responsible Art Market (RAM) Initiative is coming to New York! RAM is the first of its kind, non-profit, cross-market initiative formed in Geneva, Switzerland in 2015. Its mission is to raise awareness amongst art businesses of risks faced by the art industry and to provide practical guidance and a platform for the sharing of best practices to address those risks. RAM’s founding members span the entire spectrum of the art market and include art businesses, institutions and attorneys. More information here.

NEW Art Law Short Course – Part 1
May 30-31, 2019
Sotheby's Institute of Art London (UK)
Observer’s inaugural The Business of Art Observed event is an opportunity for art professionals to connect, discuss, network and collaborate on the top issues facing the art industry and community. The event includes a half day Forum with an agenda of topical sessions from industry leaders, vetted by the Editors of the Observer, as well as an Event Advisory Board composed of accomplished industry executives from high profile companies and organizations within the art world. More information here.

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Mixer @ VLA – Getting Real: Authenticity and the Law 
June 11, 2019
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NY)
Center for Art Law invites you to our 5th Annual Art Law Mixer at the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NY). This summer, it will be all about fakes and forgeries – with an added bonus for attorneys (a.k.a. CLE credits). More information here.

More Events
What's New in Art Law

What a Journey. In 2018, a Paul Signac painting entitled “Port de la Rochelle” (1915) was stolen from Museum of Fine Arts in Nancy, France. Ukranian Police have recovered the painting in Kiev at the home of a Ukranian man who is wanted on suspicion of murdering a jeweler. Ukranian officials are working with Austrian authorities to see if there is a link between the stolen Signac and the theft of a Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Vienna in 2018.

There's No Coming Back from the UK. The UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright told the Times that he believes it is more important for the UK to display cultural artifacts in one location than repatriate them to their home countries. Accordingly, he stated that the UK will not introduce any primary legislation forcing national museums to restitute cultural artifacts. This contrasts with France’s 2018 commitment to return looted objects to Africa.

International Cooperation Peak. Italy announced the return of 796 artifacts to China, representing the largest repatriation of Chinese artifacts in the past two decades. This agreement between the two countries is meant to strengthen their cultural and political alliances and was signed by Chinese Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang and the Italian Minister of Culture, Alberto Bonisoli. The works will then go on display in China to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

An American Criminal in Paris. Last month, the Paris criminal court found American art dealer Gary Snell guilty of selling illegal Rodin reproductions. Additionally, Snell’s business associate and Parisian art dealer, Robert Crouzet, received a four-month prison sentence. Both Snell and Crouzet were also ordered to pay a fine of $5.5K, in damages and interest, to the Muséee Rodin. 

Losing Their Marbles. In a speech at the Acropolis Museum in April, the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos called the British Museum a “murky prison,”  referencing the British Museum’s refusal to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece. Throughout the decade-long battle, Greece has maintained that it is the rightful owner and protector of this invaluable cultural heritage.

The Treasure Under the Flames. Over 30,000 artifacts have been discovered at the RioZoo in Rio de Janiero’s Quinta da Boa Vista park in São Cristóvão. The park is also the site where the National Museum caught flames in September 2018 due to a faulty air conditioning system. Archaeologists are eager to uncover more and piece together how these artifacts are related to the location. The objects will be given to the National Museum, which lost over 20,000 pieces from its collection in the 2018 fire.

A Win for the Streets. Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has launched an official mural registry to protect street artists’ artwork, on both private and public property. The Department’s team is comprised of three people, who review applications and ensure that the murals are commissioned or sanctioned by the property owner. On the affiliated public database, visitors can learn more about the artwork and the artist. So far, 150 murals have been approved by the registry.

Freeport Troubles. Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, rejects allegations of fraud concerning Le Freeport Luxembourg. German Member of European Parliament (MEP), Wolf Klinz, highlighted suspicious activity stemming from the storage facility, which may allow for money laundering and tax evasion. New anti-money laundering laws from 2015 require Le Freeport’s users to identify the owner of the goods, rather than allowing them to remain anonymous as they had before.

Department Store Feud. The heirs of Jewish department store owner Max James Emden have been fighting for 15 years to recover two paintings purchased by Adolf Hitler during World War II. Emden was forced to flee Hamburg and his property was seized by the Nazis between 1934-35. In 1937, he sold his art collection for far below market value including two paintings by Belotto to art dealer Karl Haberstock who purchased the works for Hitler in 1938. 

Book Return Past Due. Around 150 books, originally from the Bonn’s Library, were discovered when a Belgian woman tried to consign them to Sotheby’s. She had inherited some 600 books from her father, but specialists noticed that library stamps and title pages were removed, leading them to believe they had been purposefully concealed. The consignor then revealed she had 450 more books in her garage. The library is working to conserve the returned property.

Life in Prison. Mehdi Nemmouche, who shot four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, has been sentenced to life in prison. Nacer Bendrer, the man who provided weapons to Nemmouche, received a 15-year sentence.
Life out of Prison. Kurdish Artist Zehra Dogan, who was arrested in Turkey in 2017, was released in late February 2019. Dogan was a journalist who painted a watercolor of Turkish security forces setting fire to a Kurdish district. The Turkish government claimed the watercolor linked her to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Following Dogan’s arrest, Banksy painted a tribute to the artist in New York, on Houston street.

Van Gogh-ing Back. Two of Van Gogh’s paintings were returned to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on April 17th. According to Martin Bailey, "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" (1882) and "Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen" (1884-5) were stolen in 2002 and recovered in 2016. After the works were stolen, the broken paint fragments were flushed down a toilet and their original canvases were thrown into the canal. They were smuggled across Europe to the outskirts of Naples, where they ended up in the possession of Raffaele Imperiale, leader of the Neapolitan Camorra crime family. A story worthy of a movie...

FBI Investigation. The FBI’s art crime team is currently investigating thousands of objects seized from a farm in Indiana in 2014. More than 40,000 objects were discovered and approximately 8,000 were confiscated, including human remains. These artifacts came from various countries, including China, Colombia, Mexico, Cambodia, and Iraq.

Yemen Artifacts at Risk. In March, Yemeni officials visited Washington, D.C. and New York to ask for help from the Trump Administration in preventing looted cultural heritage from leaving the country. Specifically, they asked that the United States put an emergency order to prevent the import of Yemeni artifacts without special documentation.

Sacrebleu. The heirs of Jewish art collector and Resistance hero René Gimpel are suing the French Museum Authority to retrieve his paintings seized during the Second World War. They are arguing that the Service des Musées de France has refused to return the paintings. 

Bottom Line: Don't Keep Art on Your Boat. Dutch investigator and "art world Indiana Jones," Arthur Brand, recovered Pablo Picasso’s “Buste de Femme” (1938), a portrait of Dora Maar, which was stolen in 1999 from the yacht of Saudi Prince, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh. The painting disappeared while the boat was docked in Antibes, France. The work has been used as collateral on the black market and had changed hands many times.

What's in Storage. The laboratories of Scientific Analysis of Fine Art (SAFA) are moving to ARCIS’s storage facilities. SAFA was founded in 2007 to answer critical questions about authentication, attribution, provenance, state of preservation, and mechanisms of degradation in works of art. 

Say “Aloha” to Trademarking “Aloha”. In 2018, a string of Native Hawaiian restaurants in Hawaii and Alaska received cease-and-desist letters from a Chicago based chain-food restaurant, the Aloha Poke Co. The letters claimed the chain had trademarked “Aloha Poke” and insisted the restaurants cease their use. In response, the Hawaii legislature passed a resolution, creating a task-force which will develop legal protections for Native Hawaiian intellectual property, in order to combat the misappropriation of their cultural knowledge.

Art Market Monopoly. Larry Gagosian stretches further into the art market as he launches his first art advisory firm in New York with the help of former Christie’s employee, Laura Paulson. Gagosian also promoted his director, Andrew Fabricant to the new position of chief operating officer. Ultimately, Gagosian hopes the advisory branch will enhance client relations and extend the gallery’s global reach. 

Italy Seeking Missal. Italian prosecutor, Giovanni Giorgio, claims that the Morgan Library & Museum in New York is harboring an 11th-century missal that was stolen in 1925 from a church in Apiro, Italy. The missal has been in the Morgan’s collection since 1963 and was gifted to the museum in 1984 by William S. Glazier, who acquired it in good faith. Giorgio believes that if the work were to return to Italy, it would help boost tourism.

Notre-iously Injured. As the world watched the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral burst into flames, most of the cathedral's artifacts were saved from the fire, preserving centuries of history. However, the fire also raises questions of liability, as the cathedral was under construction, and was not insured. 

Priceless Garbage. Artist Gerhard Richter discovered that a man was scavenging his rejected sketches from the trash outside his home in Cologne in 2016. A judge in Cologne ruled that, even though the works were discarded, they still belonged to the artist. The man was found guilty of theft and fined. The thief had aroused suspicion when he approached the director of the Gerhard Richter Archive,  Dietmar Elger.  Elger authenticated the works but observed that the sketches were unsigned and unframed, which was uncharacteristic of Richter.

AiWeiWei Sues Volkswagen. Famous Chinese artist AiWeiWei announced on his Instagram account that he will be suing Volkswagen in Denmark for creating an advertisement using his art without his permission. AiWeiWei says he “was astonished by Volkwagens’s brazen violations of [his] intellectual property and moral rights.”

Dream Jobs
Summer internship – Irving Penn Foundation (NY)
The Foundation is seeking a summer intern to work closely with staff for a two month period, assisting with projects involving the photography collection. Responsibilities will include the inventory and organization of artworks and their preparation for transport. More info...
Antiquities Trafficking Analyst – District Attorney's Office (NY)
The New York County District Attorney's Office (DANY) has an opening for an Antiquities Trafficking Analyst. In this position, under the supervision of a lead prosecutor, the analyst is responsible for providing critical analytical support to the Office. More info... 
Art Director – Goodwin (NY)
Goodwin, a global AmLaw 50 law firm, seeks a highly qualified Art Director for the Core Marketing Team. The Art Director is responsible for the imperatives of all creative as it relates to internal and external branding, content marketing, business development and communications team initiatives. More info... 
Faculty, Art Market Studies Department – Fashion Institute of Technology (NY)
FIT is looking for a full-time faculty member to teach the Master of Arts program in Art Market Studies, which provides students with the knowledge and skills to successfully navigate the global art world. More info... 
Center for Art Law is Growing:
Meet our New Board Members
Learn More
Case Law Corner

Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Found., No. 05-CV-03459 (C.D. Cal. April 30, 2019). Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza has won ownership of the long-disputed Camille Pissarro painting, "Rue St. Honoré, Après Midi, Effet de Pluie" (1882). The original owner, Lily Cassirer, was forced to sell the painting while fleeing from the Nazis and her heirs have been struggling to reclaim the work in US federal court for the past 14 years. Judge John Walker wrote that had US law been applied in the case, the Cassirer’s would have successfully claimed ownership because thieves cannot pass good title, even if purchased in good faith. However, the case was determined using Spanish law which holds that since the painting was purchased in good faith, the ownership was valid. This decision is available upon request.

The People of the State of N.Y. v. Sorokin, No. 02441/2018 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. April 25, 2019). Anna Sorokin, a/k/a Anna Delvey, was found guilty for eight counts, including three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny in the first degree, for convincing investors that she was a German heiress attempting to raise money to establish an art foundation. Sorokin is expected to be sentenced on May 9, 2019.

Mercedes Benz USA LLC v. Daniel Bombardier, No. 2:19-cv-10951 (E.D. Mich. filed on March 29, 2019). Mercedes is seeking a declaratory judgment to validate their use of a street mural created by artist Daniel Bombardier, also known as DENIAL. The feud started over Instagram when the company posted a series of pictures featuring its G 500 Series truck in front of the Detroit mural. The street artist threatened Mercedes with a copyright lawsuit, to which they replied that they “respect artists and the arts” and that “it regularly partners with cultural institutions and supports art festivals to advance the arts.” Complaint available here.

U.S. v. Rohana, 2:18-cr-00100 (E.D. Pa. 2019). The case against shoe-salesman Michael Rohana ended on April 12, 2019, in a mistrial due to a jury split on acquittal. The case was brought after an incident that occurred in December of 2017, when Rohana attended an ugly-sweater party at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Apparently drunk and disoriented, Rohana entered a closed terracotta warrior exhibition and broke the thumb off of one of the statues, subsequently keeping the thumb in his desk drawer. Rohana was charged with two federal crimes: theft and concealment of a cultural heritage item. Rohana’s lawyer argued that the law used to prosecute his client was established for art heists and thieves, not drunken misdeeds. Order available upon request.

Portland Museum of Art v. Germain, No. CV- 17-299 (Me. Super. Ct. Cumberland County Ct., 2018). The Portland Museum of Art (PAM) in Maine is suing Anne Marie Germain, the caretaker of art collector and museum donor, Eleanor G. Potter. Until 2015, the museum was Potter’s primary beneficiary of $2 million. However, in 2015, Potter amended her will leaving the bulk of her estate to Germain. Potter subsequently passed away in March, at the age of 89. The museum has accused Germain of elder abuse and claims that she manipulated Potter into changing her will. Germain maintains that she was a friend of Potter and was without ill-intention when acting on her behalf.

Lindgren v. State of Iowa, 4:2018-CV-00404 (S.D. Ind. Nov.1, 2018); Leonard Gregory et al. v. State of Iowa, CVCV-057085 (S.D. Ind. filed Sep. 26, 2018). Two lawsuits have been brought against the State of Iowa challenging a state statute passed in 2018 which banned materials containing sexually explicit or nude images. While the law was passed to ban pornography from prisons, the statute is overbroad and deprives Iowa prisoners of access to mainstream publications such as National Geographic, The Art Newspaper, and Medical Journals. Therefore, the prisoners claim that the law has violated their First Amendment rights. Judge Rosenberg, presiding over the Gregory suit, determined on April 3, that there would be a hold on the enforcement of the ban for material containing "mere, non-sexually explicit, nudity."

A few good firms who participated in our Summer Intern Fund! 
Publications
Liu Heung Shing, A Life in A Sea of Red (Steidl, 2019). This book contains the two most important bodies of work by Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Liu Heung Shing: photos of the pivotal decades of Communism in China and Russia, made between 1976 and 2017. The photojournalist was present throughout the protests in Tiananmen Square which began on April 15, 1989 and did not end until June 4th. The images by the artist have never been displayed in China, due to the government’s censorship. Available here
Hanns Christian Löhr, Kuns als Waffe: der Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2018). In his book, Hanns Christian Löhr writes about the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) a special task force of Reichs Minister Rosenberg created in 1940 under Alfred Rosenberg. The task force was responsible for organized looting of paintings and other cultural artifacts. The book is mainly centered on the ERR rather than the distribution and storage of the works as well as their restitution following the end of the war. Available here.

Kathrin Hoffman-Curtius, Judenmord: Art and the Holocaust in Post-war Germany (University of Chicago Press, 2018). In this book originally published in German and now available in English, Hoffman Curtius sheds light on works of German art made 20 years after WWII that address the Holocaust and its aftermath. Available here

More Publications
Interesting Finds
Law Student Writing Competition: Cultural Heritage

The Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation is welcoming submissions for the 2019 Law Student Writing Competition, to encourage scholarship in cultural heritage law by recognizing law students for exceptional writing in the field. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, June 30, 2019. More information here.

Podcast: Estate Planning for Artists


Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian talks to two artist estate experts, who share their inisghts on necessary steps after an artist’s death. More information here, podcast available on all major platforms. 

On the Blog

Case Review: Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation
By Timothy Chung. The topic of art restitution is no easy subject to broach. The objects in question frequently carry with them grim histories, often filled with heartache and tragedy in equal measure. Too often, looted objects can never be reunited with their owners or rightful heirs before the proper chain of title is discovered. The artwork in dispute in Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation is no exception in this regard. Its story is one steeped in melancholy, and like many other cases concerning Nazi-looted art, it begins with a museum. 

Spotlight: IRS Art Advisory Panel
By Rica Zeitoune. Determining the value of art is typically an equivocal venture. The difficulties related to the elusive nature of art have also directly affected the functions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), more specifically, the Art Appraisal Service (AAS). 

WYWH: Inaugural Business of Art Observed Conference
By Hannah Tager. On the morning of Tuesday, May 21st, the arts and culture news outlet Observer hosted its inaugural event, the Business of Art Observed conference. 

Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Limits of International Cultural Property Law
By Kavita Oza. In 2003, the Baghdad Museum suffered tremendous damage due to looting during the US-led invasion of Iraq. Years before, Afghanistan’s National Museum went through a similar loss in 1989, after the end of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. 
Browse More

See Art, Think Art Law (TM)
– ongoing and upcoming exhibitions with a law nexus –

Cultural Heritage Protection


The Classical World in Context: Palmyra Loss & Remembrance
April 18, 2018 - May 27, 2019
Getty Villa (Malibu, CA)

More info...

Street Art and the Law


Art of Vandalism?
May 4-26, 2019
Brescia (Italy)
 

More info...

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