Treating you to Art Law Blasts since 2010.
 
February is on the Docket.
Enjoy our first 2016 issue entitled, "The Red and the Black." 
What's New:
  
Gurlitt Case Impacts the Swiss Confederation: The Swiss Confederation is revving up its provenance support! The strong focus on providing financial assistance was probably influenced by the infamous Gurlitt art trove discovery, where Germany is facing criticism for its scarce results and findings despite a two-year, nearly $2 million provenance investigation by the special task force was created to determine the origins of an art collection amassed by the nazi-era dealer, Hildebrand Gurlitt. The rightful owners of only five works have been identified!
 
Looking back at 2015: What a year! One international conference, three post-graduates, five legal interns, seven art law mixers, dozens of articles, and thousands of readers! Thanks to all active contributors and active participants in our work last year! The best is yet to come -- just think the first civil Knoedler trial is ON!

MoMA Makes Rightful Return: After a ten-year long provenance investigation, the painting Sand Hills in Engadine (1917-18) by German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner will be returned to the heirs of Max Fischer. The painting's return was made possible by new evidence paired with the rectification of inaccurate provenance information. The fascinating details of these historical inaccuracies and the painting's return can be found here.

Missing Matisse Restitution Refusal: Descendants of the subject in Henri Matisse’s 1908 painting Portrait of Greta Moll threatened London's National Gallery with legal action, claiming the work was stolen during WWII. Greta and Oskar Moll, who had original possession of the piece, were condemned by the Nazis during the war as “degenerate” artists and were forced to send their collection to Switzerland for safekeeping. This Matisse portrait went missing, and then in 1949 the now discredited and defunct Knoedler Gallery acquired it for its stock. After changing hands several more times in the following decades, Matisse was purchased by the National Gallery in 1979. The National Gallery has rejected the family’s claim, adding that even if the work had been stolen, they would be under no obligation to return it. Nevertheless, the question remains as to why the National Gallery did not conduct a full provenance survey at the time of the paintings acquisition. 

Modigliani Masterpiece Requests  Remittance: After many go arounds in a family's attempt to reclaim a Modigliani portrait they assert was taken by the Nazis and is now in the possession of the Helly Nahmad Gallery, a new claim has been filed in the New York State Supreme Court. The painting's owner at the time of dispossession was Oscar Stettiner, a Jewish Art dealer, who sought return of this work as early as 1946. Complicating the matter are allegations of a shell business holding the painting in a Swiss freeport, a claim which the defense finds preposterous. The dispute was first initiated in 2011.

Spies Spies SolutionA French court has overturned the 2013 decision that would have seen art historian Werner Spies paying (literally) for the misplaced authentication of a work thought to be by Max Ernst. Spies and dealer Jacques de la Béraudière were ordered to pay the purchase price of the painting in 2013 when it was discovered to be a fake, but the newest ruling states that “the author of a catalogue raisonné who expresses an opinion outside of a determined transaction cannot be charged with a responsibility equivalent to that of an expert consulted in the context of a sale.” 

Trafficker Transfers Tainted Antiquities: Despite numerous convictions and all evidence stacked against him, pre-Colombia antiquities dealer Leonardo Patterson maintains that he does not traffic illicit works of art. Patterson's most recent conviction came last week from a German court which found him guilty of selling fakes and possessing looted objects. Patterson has been investigated by numerous countries and agencies since first being charged with attempting to sell fakes in 1984. The most recent case seems to indicate that Patterson's lucrative career as an art smuggler may be coming to a quick end.

Dutch Hostages in Ukraine: Twenty four paintings from the Dutch Golden Age Era have been discovered in Ukraine, a decade after their theft from the Westfries Museum. The paintings are thought to be in the hands of an "ultra-nationalist militia" who most recently attempted to collect a $5 million euro ransom for them. Some worry the paintings are now being sold, or have been sold already. Some fear the effect this will have on already strained diplomatic relations in Europe.

Italy's Cultural Patrimony: Auction houses are lobbying for a change to Italy's cultural heritage rules, which currently prohibits the sale of works of art older than fifty years without first being reviewed by the government. Such regulations are in place to keep important items that reflect Italy's cultural heritage in the country, but has recently caused a bit of uproar when the sale of a Dalì--who was not Italian--painting was blocked. The lobbyists are advocating for a one hundred year rule, but it looks like the issue might be settled somewhere in the middle at seventy years. The proposal also excludes any work valued under 150,000 euros, which critics find extremely problematic since the market, rather than significance, is used in the valuation of cultural heritage.
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Upcoming Events
 

The new year brings many exciting art law events! To help you plan your art law calendar, check out the full listing of and upcoming events on our radar.

 
*February 3, 2016 -- You've Been Served: "Gerard Richter Painting" (Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY)

The first film in the "You've Been Served" 2016 Series is the 2011 documentary, Gerard Richter Painting which follows the renowned German visual artist as he tries to create new work and discusses the future of his career. Following the film, Nicolas O’Donnell, a partner in the Litigation Department of Sullivan & Worcester LLP , will discuss the controversy and the revisions ultimately adopted in the 2015-2016 German cultural law on patrimony. Mr. O’Donnell is the editor of the Art Law Report, a widely acclaimed art law blog, and in his practice he frequently represents clients with art related needs.

February 26-27, 2016 -- DePaul College of Law National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition  (Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, Chicago, IL)

The seventh annual Moot Court Competition will focus on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in relation to the case brought against the British Museum in U.S. court by the Acropolis Museum in its quest for repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Other related procedural issues will be addressed.
*Feb. 28, 2016 -- Art & Law CALL FOR PAPERS - Art in Peril conference CFP (Cambridge University, Cambridge UK)  

Art & Law: Art in Peril is an interdisciplinary conference convened to discuss varying perspectives on questions of art and law and to break down the barriers of specialization. To apply, a 300 word abstract is due by February 28, 2016.The conference will be taking place at the University of Cambridge on June 23, 2016.

*March 2, 2016 -- Art Law Mixer:  (Minus Space, Brooklyn, NY) 8:30AM - 6:00PM
Legal issues involving real estate are an important part of the New York City artscape. Who wouldn’t benefit from learning about landlord-tenant matters, negotiating and interpreting real estate (studio, gallery and commercial) leases and subleases?!
 
Join us for a discussion of the New York City initiatives to provide affordable housing and studio space for artists as well as an introduction to the basics of real estate transactions affecting visual arts. Our guests to include: 
  • Kristen Sakoda, Deputy General of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs;
  • Alan S. Kleiman, member of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.; and
  • Martin Shell, member of Stropheus LLC.

*March 26-27, 2016 -- LCCHP (Fordham University, New York, NY) 8:30AM - 6:00PM

Join the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and Fordham Law School for LCCHP's seventh annual conference. Conflict-related destruction of cultural heritage and digital heritage are amongst this year's topics.
more here...
 
*April 6-8, 2016 -- American Law Institute Legal Issues in Museum Administration (Live Webcast or Loews Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood, CA)

This annual event is THE conference on the legal aspects of museum administration. 2016 program highlights include:
  • Keynote address by Dr. James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Current copyright issues by David Nimmer, the nation’s foremost copyright law expert
  • Guidance on publicity and privacy rights in museum collections
  • Practical sessions on hot topics:  cybersecurity, diversity, mobile technologies
  • All Wednesday sessions at the Getty Center
  • Receptions at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
NOTE: These  events are appearing in the Newsletter for the first time.
 
 

ART LAW MIXERS Return in 2016

Art Law Mixer: Brute/Real/Estate/Bklyn
March 2, 2016 (Minus Space, Brooklyn)

RSVP


Hosts for Art Law Mixers WANTED!


 
Is Case Law Corner your favorite section of Center for Art Law's newsletter ?
Don't wait for our next email to get your fix. Read more case law here now!

 
  • Mueller v. Michael Janssen Gallery, No. 1:15-cv-04827 (S.D.N.Y. June 22, 2015) -- Ohio-based collector Scott Mueller has filed suit in federal court alleging several causes of action arising from his purchase of Cady Noland's "Log Cabin" from a German gallery. Noland objected to the sale when she learned that Mueller planned to restore the 1990 work. Mueller then exercised his contractual rights under the buy-back option. However, the seller has returned only $600,000 of the $1.4 million purchase price.
  • Williams v. Roberto Cavalli S.p.A., CV 14-06659-AB JEMX (C.D. Cal. 2015)    -- A federal court in California denied defendant Roberto Cavalli's motion to dismiss claims by three San Francisco street artists that the Italian designer appropriated the plaintiffs' artwork for use in its clothing designs. In addition to alleging copying, the artists also claimed that their stylized signatures were replaced by the "Just Cavalli" mark on the final designs, constituting unlawful removal of copyright management information and a false designation of origin.
  • Tierney v. Moschino S.p.A., No. 2:15-cv-05900 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2015) -- Brooklyn graffiti writer "Rime" has filed suit against Moschino and Jeremy Scott in federal court, alleging that the designers reproduced his 2012 mural "Vandal Eyes" on their high-profile apparel. Plaintiff further alleges that the defendants added his name and falsified his "Rime" signature on the clothing and in advertisements.
  • The Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure Limited [2015] EWHC 2556 (Ch) -- England's High Court of Justice recently held that a tenant was not entitled to remove a Banksy mural from its exterior walls. Although the work was painted without consent, the court held that, in cutting the mural out from the wall and planning to sell it in the United States, the tenant was not merely carrying out its repair obligations under the lease agreement but unlawfully removing a valuable chattel from the premises without the landlord's consent.
 Publications
For a full list of books and articles featured previously, please visit our Publications page.
 
Erin Thompson, Possession: The Curious History of Private Collectors from Antiquity to the Present (May 2016) - Art Crime Professor at John Jay College, who guided the special tour of The Missing on January 27, 2016, is proud to present her first book about owning cultural heritage.

From the publisher: "Whether it's the discovery of $1.6 billion in Nazi-looted art or the news that Syrian rebels are looting UNESCO archaeological sites to buy arms, art crime commands headlines. Erin Thompson, America's only professor of art crime, explores the dark history of looting, smuggling, and forgery that lies at the heart of many private art collections and many of the world's most renowned museums. ... Enlivened by fascinating personalities and scandalous events, Possession shows how collecting antiquities has been a way of creating identity, informed by a desire to annex the past while providing an illicit thrill along the way."

 
Alison Young, Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination (2014) -  Since the late 1990s, a distinctive cultural practice has emerged in many cities: street art, involving the placement of unsolicited artworks in public places. Sometimes regarded as a variant of graffiti, sometimes called a new art movement, its practitioners engage in illicit activities while at the same time the resulting artworks can command high prices at auction and have become collectable aesthetic commodities. Such paradoxical responses show that street art challenges conventional understandings of culture, law, crime and art.
Headlines
 
Excerpts:

The Cost of Donating Artwork: Can Artists Afford to Donate Their Own Artwork?

  By Emma Kleiner* At the Tucson Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, the Healing Art Program’s mission is to fill the hospital with art that lifts the spirits of the patients and creates a serene environment. Lauren Rabb, the Curator of the Healing Art Program, manages that task, which includes arranging works from the hospital’s…Read more The Cost of Donating Artwork: Can Artists Afford to Donate Their Own Artwork?
Read on »

Let’s Get Digital!

By David Honig, Esq. In 1946 the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering unveiled the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) introducing the world to what is often referred to as the first general purpose reprogrammable computer. Although ENIAC’s origins were military, the development of ENIAC was funded by the United States Army,…Read more Let’s Get Digital!
Read on »

15 Years Later: Marking a Milestone for the Holocaust Claims Restitution Practicum

By Irina Tarsis, Esq.* 2015 marked the fifteenth Anniversary of the Holocaust Claims Restitution Practicum (HCRP, the Practicum) at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Cardozo). The program was inaugurated in the spring of 2000, less than two years after the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, which brought together representatives from over 40…Read more 15 Years Later: Marking a Milestone for the Holocaust Claims Restitution Practicum
Read on »

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