Category Archives: Museums

Museums, restitution and the new Charities Act

Posted on: September 25, 2022 by Alexander Herman

An important change to charity law that will affect the ability of museums in England and Wales to return collection items was passed by Parliament in February as part of the Charities Act 2022 and is due to come into force this autumn. Charity law is especially important in the cultural sector because most museums […]

NY Law Calls For Museum Transparency About Nazi-Loot

Posted on: August 22, 2022 by Stephanie Drawdy

From the Adirondacks to the Lower East Side, New York museums face a new legal requirement for their collections – a measure of candor about objects traded during Hitler’s terror reign. On 10 August 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a multi-faceted package of legislation “aimed at honoring and supporting Holocaust survivors”. Effective immediately, […]

Arts Council England releases new guidance for museums on restitution and repatriation

Posted on: August 5, 2022 by Alexander Herman and Emily Gould

Today, Arts Council England released its guidance on restitution and repatriation for English museums. Restitution and Repatriation: A Practical Guide for Museums in England offers guidelines, best practice and case studies for the museum sector, helping institutions act appropriately and considerately in the context of claims for the return of collection objects. It replaces previous […]

Return to donor: Tate to deaccession Bacon archive

Posted on: July 20, 2022 by Joanna Owens

The Tate is to take the unusual step of deaccessioning from its collection and returning to the donor material from the studio of Francis Bacon, once described as the Tate Archive’s most important acquisition ever and suggested to be worth around £20m. The Tate is one of a number of UK National Museums governed by national legislation, whose […]

Benin Bronzes Joint Declaration signed between Germany and Nigeria… but what about the UK?

Posted on: July 5, 2022 by Alexander Herman

At the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on Friday, a joint declaration on the return of the Benin Bronzes was signed by Germany’s Foreign Minister and Commissioner for Culture and Media, and by Nigeria’s Minister of Culture and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. By all accounts, it was an emotional occasion. ‘Today we have […]

Accessory charges brought against former Louvre Director

Posted on: June 10, 2022 by Alexander Herman

“I’m confident in saying there will be more seizures and more prosecutions arising out of this investigation…” Those were the words of Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, speaking to Ben Lewis last year on the Art Bust podcast. He was referring to an antiquities trafficking ring he’d uncovered that had been dealing in artefacts smuggled […]

Belgian restitution: from Nazi-looted art to colonial-era takings

Posted on: April 14, 2022 by Hélène Deslauriers

Let us consider recent developments in Belgium, both in relation to Nazi-looted art and colonial-era collections. First, a recent return of Nazi-looted art. On February 10 the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels returned a 1913 painting by Lovis Corinth, Flowers (left), to members of the Mayer family.  The painting represents a bouquet of […]

Restitution and the ‘return of beauty’ – afterthoughts

Posted on: February 4, 2022 by Alexander Herman

On Wednesday evening, I spoke on an online panel organised by the Universities of Bonn and Tel Aviv entitled The Return of Beauty: Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art in Comparative Perspectives. I was asked to introduce the topic of ‘post-colonial’ claims for the return of cultural objects as a point of comparison with claims for the […]

Court orders Crimean Treasures returned to Ukrainian State

Posted on: October 28, 2021 by Emilie Huisman-van Essen

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal delivered its final decision this week in the much-debated case about the golden treasures that have been in the possession of the Allard Pierson Museum (left) in the Netherlands since 2014. Both the lending Crimean Museums and the Ukrainian State have been demanding the return of the objects following the […]

Important collection of Jerusalem Museum kept intact

Posted on: March 16, 2021 by Emily Gould

Updated 6th April 2021 following costs ruling in favour of Hashava Foundation* Readers may recall the report by Meir Heller and Keren Abelow published earlier this year about the proposed sale of important artefacts from Jerusalem’s L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art. We are very pleased to report that a resolution has been reached in […]