Category Archives: Art Theft

New York Appellate Court Upholds Purpose of HEAR Act: Austrian Performer’s Heirs Found to Have Superior Right to Looted Schiele Works

Posted on: August 23, 2019 by Stephanie Drawdy

Fritz Grünbaum was a clear target for the Nazis. He was a Jewish law school graduate and decorated World War I veteran turned pacifist and an outspoken man of the arts with a platform as a Viennese cabaret performer. On the day Hitler invaded Vienna, he entertained nightclub guests as he groped onto a darkened […]

To deal or not to deal: provenance and morality in recent sale at Christie’s

Posted on: July 26, 2019 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

Earlier this month, controversy surrounded one particular lot in the ‘The Exceptional Sale’ at Christie’s in London. The object of the controversy was ‘An Egyptian Brown Quartzite Head of the God Amen with the features of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen’, dated to the Reign of Tutankhamen, c. 1333-1323 BC, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty. The lot (no. 110) […]

Protecting cultural heritage: a lawyer’s view

Posted on: April 29, 2019 by Emily Gould

In the most recent of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum’s excellent Culture in Crisis lecture series, Leila Aminnedoleh, New York-based art and cultural heritage lawyer, shared some fascinating insights into stories of theft, looting and restitution through the ages in a talk last Thursday, 25th April 2019. Leila practices in the art law field and […]

Tightening the screws against money laundering – will the art world be hung out to dry?

Posted on: February 4, 2019 by Emily Gould

It is rare that the somewhat dry and complex topic of anti-money laundering regulation hits the headlines in the art world. Introduce an A-list celebrity and a couple of paintings by names such as Basquiat and Picasso, however, and the stakes are raised. In June 2017 the online forum artnet news reported on an investigation […]

Progress on the Washington Principles: a glass half full after 20 years?

Posted on: December 5, 2018 by Emily Gould

The adoption of the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art by 44 nations in 1998 marked a deeply significant moment in the development of cultural policy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Whilst the extent of looting perpetrated by the Nazis during the 1933-45 period was fairly well understood at that stage, few would have […]

Addressing the challenges in international cultural property crime

Posted on: July 1, 2018 by Emily Gould

The 2018 Transatlantic Cultural Property Crime Symposium held on 28th and 29th June 2018 promised a varied and wide-ranging approach to current issues in heritage crime. It certainly did not disappoint on that score. The conference, organised jointly by Queen Mary University of London, Mount Saint Mary College, New York and the University of Maryland […]

The portrait of Greta Moll, the National Gallery and ‘quintessentially’ British statements

Posted on: January 16, 2018 by Hélène Deslauriers

Oskar and Greta Moll were two German students of Henri Matisse. In 1908, they purchased a portrait of Greta painted by the Master himself (the Portrait). Later, having survived the Second World War but concerned of the impeding partition of Germany, they decided to move to Wales in 1946. In preparation for the move, Greta […]

New York seizure of a “recovered” Persian artefact

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by Alexander Herman and Holly Woodhouse

Last month, on the 21st of October, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (along with local police) seized an ancient Achaemenid Persian bas-relief from the European Fine Art Fair at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The item was being offered for sale by the London-based art dealer Robert Wace for roughly $1.2 million. The […]

Nazi-looted art lecture by Nicholas O’Donnell

Posted on: September 14, 2017 by Alexander Herman

Along with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, we were happy to host US attorney Nicholas O’Donnell last night for a talk on Nazi-looted art and the ongoing attempts at reclaiming lost works from museums and private collections in the US. Nicholas was in London promoting his new book, […]

Combating heritage crime: the international perspective

Posted on: August 9, 2017 by Emily Gould

As promised in our post last week, having looked at developments in the fight against heritage crime in the UK, we’re now turning our attention to the international context. We were considering in particular a number of interesting developments across a range of disciplines: the law, military practice, technology and community engagement. As regards the […]