Author Archives: Alexander Herman

About Alexander Herman

Alexander is the Assistant Director of the Institute of Art and Law.

The incredible copyright legacy of Vivian Maier

Posted on: May 24, 2019 by Alexander Herman

For those who haven’t heard of her, Vivian Maier was a secret photographer. She lived and worked in Chicago throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s largely as a nanny in well-to-do suburbs. She had no close family of her own and died in 2009 with little fanfare. But she had spent most of her adult […]

Caillebotte storm is quelled, twice over

Posted on: April 17, 2019 by Alexander Herman

Last June, a Federal Court decision in Canada caused quite a stir. It related to the export control system that applies in Canada for cultural property and the definition of the term ‘national importance’. As we reported in September, the case involved the attempted export from Canada of an oil painting by French Impressionist Gustave […]

Our submission to the DCMS consultation on UK export controls

Posted on: March 8, 2019 by Alexander Herman

The IAL recently submitted a response to a consultation on export controls released by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The consultation related to a recent proposal to introduce a legally binding offer into the mechanism by which would-be exporters are required to accept fair matching offers from UK institutions (or […]

Looking ahead to 2019

Posted on: January 4, 2019 by Alexander Herman

Welcome to 2019. In many ways, this year may reverse some of the developments of 2018 – at least insofar as the art law world is concerned. The reason for this is that a number of important cases decided in 2018 are under appeal, with the appeals to be heard (and likely decided) in the […]

Law, Restitution and the Benin Bronzes

Posted on: December 23, 2018 by Alexander Herman

In 1897, British troops marched on Benin City, capital of the fabled West African kingdom of Benin, ruled over by a powerful Oba. The attack was called a ‘punitive expedition’ because it was a retaliatory response to the Oba having massacred a British delegation of eight officials, two traders and local escorts the previous month. […]

Recent American Restitutions

Posted on: December 14, 2018 by Alexander Herman

American prosecutors have been busy of late. Not only has New York Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos been active over the past 18 months in seeking seizure and forfeiture orders for stolen or looted property, but the US Attorney’s office has been busy as well. Added to this is the favourable stance the US courts […]

French report calls for massive restitution of African artefacts

Posted on: November 28, 2018 by Alexander Herman

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron received the report he commissioned in March on the restitution of African artefacts currently held in French Museums. The commission followed the President’s speech in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, delivered one year ago today, in which he had called for “the conditions to be met within five years for the […]

Latest issue of Art Antiquity and Law out now

Posted on: November 19, 2018 by Alexander Herman

We are happy to announce that the latest issue of Art Antiquity and Law is out. The issue features thought-provoking articles on a number of legal issues new and old. This includes Sydney lawyer Elizabeth Pearson’s article ‘Colonial Statutes and Statues: Rethinking the Law on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in New South Wales’, which considers the […]

Major sale of restituted Nazi-spoliated works tonight

Posted on: November 12, 2018 by Alexander Herman

Tonight, Sotheby’s auction house in New York will hold a major sale of early 20th century European masterworks, including pieces by Kandinsky, Monet, Magritte and Miró. But perhaps most exceptional will be three restituted works that had been spoliated during the Nazi period. Two of these were returned to the heirs of Alfred Flechtheim, a […]

Art, AI and copyright

Posted on: November 9, 2018 by Alexander Herman

A big splash was made when a lot sold at Christie’s New York last month for $432,500. That sort of amount is usually small change for the major international auction house, but not when it comes to a particular sort of artwork: one made by artificial intelligence (or AI). In fact, this was reported to […]