because you can never have too much art law...
What's New:
9-Year Sentence for Smashing Timbuktu Shrines: According to the case information sheet for the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, the first individual to be accused of a war crime in relation to destruction of cultural heritage, the accused first appeared before the court on September 30, 2015. A year later he was found guilty of the crimes perpetuated in 2012 and imprisoned for ordering attacks against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion in Timbuktu, Mali. Who's next?

Israel’s Ministry of Culture Sued by Artists and Museums:  Under threat from policies that limit freedom of expression, a group of Israeli artists, museum directors and art educators filed a lawsuit in July against the country’s Ministry of Culture. As reported by The Art Newspaper, in the lawsuit they demand disclosure of criteria for decision-making from the culture ministry and the Israeli Council for Culture and Art.

It ain't Doig!  In an authentication case that should have been dismissed on a summary judgement motion, Judge Gary Feinerman finally ruled that the living art-defendant in Fletcher v. Doig did not create a landscape painting attributed to him by plaintiff. According to Feinerman any similarities between the desert scene on the claim and Mr. Doig’s paintings were “purely coincidental.”  

Ulay v. Marina Dutch court ruled that Abramović had to pay royalties to her former partner in art and life, Frank Uwe Laysiepen, from profits made on sale of works made jointly. As is true under the US Copyright law, coauthors cannot stop each other from exploiting the works they create but may be held accountable for their share of the proceeds from the sale of the property.
HEAR Act: HEAR stands for Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016. This Bill would provide the victims of Holocaust-era persecution and their heirs a fair opportunity to recover works of art confiscated or misappropriated by the Nazis is making its way through the Congress. On September 29th it was placed  on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 654. 

ISA 2nd Act: Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act that passed Committee on the Judiciary on September 15th has been characterized as placating the Russians who are refusing to loan art works to the United States for fear of having cultural diplomacy turn ugly and give rise to seizures. The bill is proposed to amend Immunity from seizure sections of the United States Code and as such it is widely  lauded by museum administrators but not attorneys who represent individual claimants trying to recover their looted property.

On the Radar: Von Saher v. Norton Simon notifies of appeal to the 9th Cir (Sept. 9, 2016).

To help you plan your art law calendar, check out the full listing of and upcoming events on our radar.
*Oct. 13, 2016 -- You've Been Served: "Exit Through the Gift Shop" (2010) (NYC)

Have you seen "Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film"yet? Let's watch (it again) with the Center for Art Law friends! The screening will be followed by a discussion of copyright and criminal law as related to street art.
Oct. 15, 2016 -- CFP Deadline for: From Refugees to Restitution: The History of Nazi Looted Art in the UK in Transnational and Global Perspective Conference, (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England) 

The aim of this conference is to identify and address the historical continuities and specificities of the history of looted art and restitution in the overlapping contexts of 20th- and 21st-century British, European and World history as well as to assess its scope and relevance in light of present-day good practices and restitution policies in place in the UK and beyond.   *Oct. 17-19, 2016 -- International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property, (Gyeongju, South Korea) 

The 6th International Conference of Experts on the Return of Cultural Property follows the previous conferences held annually since 2011. The conference will consist of a group of experts and professionals who are helping to deepen the current understanding on a variety of topics related to overseas cultural property. 

*Oct. 21-22, 2016  --Heidelberger Kinstrechtstage (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Heidelberg, Germany) 

The 10th annual Heidelberg Art Law Day will bring professionals from the field together for two days of presentations.  

more here... 

*Oct. 25, 2016  -- Welcome to NYC, TEFAF! Art Law Mixer about Nazi0-era looted art and Restitution (Galerie St. Etienne, NY) 

If you cannot make it to Maastricht, you can certainly make it to New York (if not in New York). New venue, old land mines. To welcome the newcomer, let's talk about Nazi-era looted art and restitution. 
NOTE:  Be sure to check out our calendar for more events!
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  • Rouse v. Elliot Stevens, Ltd., 13-CV-01443 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) - British tourist Christopher Rouse is suing an art gallery and antiques shop which sold him allegedly fraudulent art deco sculptures by the artist Demétre Chiparus. The gallery, located in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria, told Rouse that the sculptures were made from molds that were in the artist's possession when he died in the hotel. Rouse later learned that Chipraus actually died in Paris. His suit alleges that the sculptures are Chinese forgeries copied from photographs. DCA
  • U.S. v. Maritime Exchange Museum, 2:2016cv13198 (E.D. Mich. 2016) - The federal government has filed suit against a Michigan museum, seeking a judgment declaring them owners of two 19th century lighthouse lenses in the museum's possession and ordering their return to the government. The complaint describes the lenses as "irreplaceable historic artifact[s] of great beauty" and estimates their value at $600,000 in total. DCA
  • Green v. Nat'l Gallery of Art, London, 1:16-cv-06978 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 7, 2016) - The purported heirs to a Matisse painting, "Portrait of Greta Moll"(1908), are suing the National Gallery of Art, London, for its possession and $30 million in damages. Greta Moll's relatives allege the painting was lost during the Allies' occupation of Germany and, therefore, its acquisition violates international law. The defendants argue that (1) they performed their due diligence in purchasing the painting in 1979, and (2) because the Allied occupation of Germany came after the fall of the Third Reich and end of World War II, the painting is not protected by the international laws on which the plaintiffs rely. DCA
  • Baldwin v. Boone, 654807/2016 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Sep. 12, 2016) -- Actor Alec Baldwin has filed suit in New York against Mary Boone and her eponymous gallery, alleging the defendant intentionally deceived him by delivering to him a copy of Ross Bleckner's painting Sea and Mirror (1996) after he paid her $190,000 to obtain the original for him. Baldwin is seeking treble damages from the plaintiff. DCA
  • Blue Art Ltd. v. Zwirner, 653810/2016 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 2016) Dealer Fabrizio Moretti has filed suit in Manhattan against dealer David Zwirner seeking $6 million in damages, alleging that Zwirner offered to sell him a Jeff Koons sculpture which was still in production at the time of the transaction. However, according to the complaint the exact identity of the work was not agreed upon and it is worth much less than Moretti paid. DCA
  • Magnum Photos Int'l v. Houk Gallery, 16 CV 7030 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 8, 2016) Magnum Photos International has filed a complaint in federal court in Manhattan alleging that Houk Gallery violated its copyrights in several photographs taken by the late Henri Cartier-Bresson. Magnum, as exclusive licensee of the copyrights in the photographs at issue, alleges that Houk, without authorization, used the photos on its website to promote exhibitions in 2009 and 2013. DCA
New Publications:
For a full list of books and articles featured previously,
please visit our Publications page.

New Titles:

Elizabeth Rynecki, Chasing Portraits: A Great-Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy (Sep. 6, 2016) - A story of the author’s life journey who sought to rediscover her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather’s paintings lost during World War II.  From the publishers: Spanning three decades of Elizabeth’s life and three generations of her family, this touching memoir is a compelling narrative of the richness of one man’s art, the devastation of war, and one woman’s unexpected path to healing. Available here.

Amy Whitaker, Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses (Jul. 5, 2016) - A guide by an entrepreneur-in-residence at the New Museum Incubator to help build creative skills you can apply in everyday life and business. From the editors: Art Thinking combines the mind-sets of art and the tools of business to protect space for open-ended exploration and manage risks on your way to success. Available here.

Wolfgang Benz, Peter Eckel and Andreas Nachama, Kunst im NS-Staat: Ideologie – Ästhetik – Protagonisten (Oct. 1, 2015) - The summary of lectures held in Berlin in 2015 gives the latest state of discussions on the arts supported by the Nazis. Available here.

Elana Shapira, Style and Seduction: Jewish Patrons, Architecture, and Design in Fin de Siècle Vienna (Jun. 7, 2016) - The author Elana Shapira delves into the central role of Jewish patrons as shapers of Viennese modernism. Available here.

Tiqui Atencio, Could Have, Would Have, Should Have: Inside the World of the Art Collector (Nov. 29, 2016) - With interviewing more than 80 of the world’s most influential collectors and author’s own background as a prominent collector in contemporary art, she talks how they developed their tastes for collecting art. Available here.

Meike Hoffmann and Nicola Kuhn, Hitlers Kunsthändler: Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895-1956 (Mar. 9, 2016) - A biography of Hildebrand Gurlitt, a German art dealer who worked for the Nazis in the 1930s. Available here.

Older Titles:

Brigitta Hauser-Schaublin and Lyndel V. ProttCultural Property and Contest Ownership: The Trafficking of Artifacts and the Quest for Restitution (2016) - This book explores how highly-valued cultural goods are traded and negotiated among diverging parties and their interests. This interdisciplinary volume provides the first book-length investigation of the changing behaviors resulting from the effect of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Valentina VadiCultural Heritage Law in International Investment and Arbitration (2016) - Vadi maps the relevant investor-state arbitrations concerning cultural elements in an effort to show that arbitrators have increasingly taken cultural concerns into consideration in deciding cases brought before them, eventually contributing to the coalescence of general principles of law demanding the protection of cultural heritage.


Felix M. Michl, Die limitierte Auflage: Rechtsfragen zeitgenössischer Fotokunst (2016) - Over the course of the past decades, photography has become one of the most popular fields of art. This development is also reflected in recent prices for some works of contemporary photography, which fetch up to several million dollars. Such price levels would be unheard of if artists were to take advantage of the opportunity to produce as many prints from the same negative as possible. On the contrary, the prevailing practice in contemporary photography is that of printing photographs in “limited editions”, with some of the most expensive photographs only existing in the low single digits. This study researches the legal implications of artists communicating limited editions to the purchasers of their art with the main question being whether such “promises of exclusivity”.

Christa Roodt,  Private International Law, Art, and Cultural Heritage (2015) -

Edited by Loretta WürtenbergerThe Artist's Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs (2016) - 



Spotlight: The Max Stern Art Restitution Project

By Ryan Igel* The Max Stern Art Restitution Project (the “Project”),  established in 2002, is tasked with locating the paintings Jewish art dealer Max Stern (April 18, 1904 – May 30, 1987) was forced to sell during the Second World War, and return them to his heirs. The Project was established at the direction of…Read more Spotlight: The Max Stern Art Restitution Project
Read on »

Whose Rights? Anish Kapoor’s “Dirty Corner” Exposes A Battle Between Artists’ Moral Rights and The Rights of the Public

By Adrienne Couraud* In 2008, President of the L’Établissement public du château, du musée, et du domaine  national de Versailles, Jean-Jacques Aillagon debuted a series of solo art shows and temporary art installations at the house and gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. Beginning with the summer solo retrospective of American artist Jeff Koons, the…Read more Whose Rights? Anish Kapoor’s “Dirty Corner” Exposes A Battle Between Artists’ Moral Rights and The Rights of the Public
Read on »

In Other News:
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