Category Archives: Museums

The perpetual copyright protection of Italian cultural heritage: bypassing the public domain

Posted on: December 2, 2022 by Chiara Gallo

In recent weeks, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus appeared on the headlines of some of the most important news outlets, due to the allegedly ‘unauthorised’ commercial use of the famous masterpiece. The fashion house Jean Paul Gaultier is facing a suit for damages that could exceed £88,000 (€100,000) brought by the Uffizi, the oldest Florentine museum, […]

Latest issue of our journal Art Antiquity and Law available now

Posted on: November 26, 2022 by Ruth Redmond-Cooper

The latest issue of Art Antiquity and Law has now been published and hard copies are being sent to subscribers and members, with the digital version available online to subscribers who have chosen this option. This issue contains a thought-provoking piece by Alexander Herman in which he points out that the recent Charities Act 2022 […]

Attacks on art and the law’s response: what fate awaits the Van Gogh soup throwers?

Posted on: October 17, 2022 by Emily Gould

Protests involving works of art and cultural property are nothing new. From the slashing of the Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery in 1914 to the defacing of a Rothko mural at Tate Modern almost a century later, those seeking to draw attention to a cause have long recognised the publicity value of attacks on […]

The Treasures of Crimea: new documentary launching this Friday

Posted on: October 12, 2022 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

There is a fine balance between unbiased, objective reporting and the dissection of the emotional layers in a subject that is the mark of a great documentary. A new documentary on the epic tale of the Crimean Treasures in a Dutch museum and the ensuing legal disputes managed to strike this fine balance with perfect […]

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 [update, see below]. Charity law is especially important in the cultural sector […]

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 […]