Category Archives: International Issues

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Last Wishes, First Impression: Potential legal issues arise after Munich recluse passes away, bequeathing Nazi-looted art to a Swiss museum

Cornelius Gurlitt’s notarized will, which did not surface until after his unexpected death this past May, lists the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland as the heir to his vast art collection, which included works by Matisse, Dix, and Chagall. The unusual legal issue here: one month before his death, Conelius Gurlitt agreed to return all Nazi-looted … Continue Reading

French Court Supports Freedom of Authentication: A Win for Art Experts

Recently, the high court of appeals in Paris upheld an art expert’s right to refuse to authenticate a work of art.  While this decision took nine years to come to fruition, it validates an art expert’s freedom to make an authenticity determination that he or she sees fit, free from the pressures of legal liability … Continue Reading

The Year In Review

By Lano Williams and Christine Steiner The past year was packed with litigation that ranged from broad constitutional questions to the ever present scourge of forgeries. Art Law Gallery presents highlights of some of the most important cases:  … Continue Reading

Doing Business at ART HK: Better, Bigger, Faster, Stronger

By Jessica Kantor Click here to read the Chinese version of this article. On the verge of becoming an international institution, the recent Hong Kong International Art Fair, known as "ART HK," represents an exciting development in the state of the art world in China. This growth has critical, yet profoundly inspiring, implications upon the international … Continue Reading

Forbidden Art Nyet! Russian Curator and Exhibitor Convicted for Controversial Art Exhibit

In March 2007, the exhibition "Forbidden Art-2006" opened at the Sakharov Museum in Moscow, featuring twenty-three provocative works previously banned throughout Russia. Andrei Erofeev, known as Russia’s most provocative curator, organized the exhibition and Yuri Samodurov, former director of the Sakharov Museum, provided the exhibit’s venue. Both have been found guilty under Russia’s Criminal Code … Continue Reading

Bilbao Guggenheim Expansion Meets With Political Opposition

Political tension concerning the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao intensified following the museum’s announcement in late 2009 that it planned to build a new museum in Urdaibai area. The Basque government, particularly Secretary of Culture Blanca Urgell, was strongly opposed to the extension plan allegedly because of a financial controversy involving the museum. Early in 2010, she commissioned … Continue Reading

Grandma Robbed by Nazis – Grandson Sues Spain to Recover Stolen Paintings

In August, 2009, the Ninth Circuit decided en banc by 9-2 that a California resident Claude Cassirer can sue Spain to recover his grandmother’s oil painting "Rue Saint-Honore, apres-midi, effet de pluie," painted by the French impressionist Camille Pissarro and taken by the Nazi government. (Cassirer v. Kingdom of Spain, 2010 U.S. App. 2010 WL 3169570 … Continue Reading

Say it Isn’t PicasSo – Paris Art Theft Raises Security and Title Concerns

A major art heist this past week raises considerable issues regarding art security and title. At the Paris Museum of Modern Art, a brazen thief made off with five paintings, valued together in excess of $120 million. The masked intruder’s plunder included significant works by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and Léger. Officials in Paris decried … Continue Reading

The European Droit de Suite – An EU Effort to Strengthen the US Contemporary Arts Market?

In 2001, the European Parliament passed Directive 2001/84/EG, which requires all EU Member States to incorporate a so called “Droit de Suite” into their respective national copyright law codes by December 31, 2009. A key goal of the Directive is to eliminate competitive barriers that existed in the contemporary and modern art market between Member States … Continue Reading

Does Finders-Keepers Bring Piracy to New Depths?

For over 200 years, $500 million in gold and silver cargo sat undisturbed on a seabed off the coast of Portugal. Then, in May of 2007, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration announced the discovery of a vast treasure at an undisclosed location it called "the Black Swan." Within weeks, Spanish officials identified the Swan as the Spanish colonial-era … Continue Reading
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