Category Archives: Provenance

Guelph Treasure Appeal Pending in U.S. Supreme Court

Posted on: August 21, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

A collection of ecclesiastical art known as the Guelph Treasure (Welfenschatz) is at the center of a U.S. restitution claim brought by heirs of Holocaust victims who sold it during the Nazi reign, previously discussed here. Having held the highly valued collection for approximately six decades, Germany is unwilling to part with what it considers […]

Gurlitt trove eludes restitution efforts owing to unresolved provenance questions

Posted on: July 1, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

The full story of the billion-dollar art collection gathered by Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt during World War II may never be told. After years spent trying to determine the collection’s history, the prior owners of a large majority of those works remain unknown. This is a story we have followed with interest throughout its […]

Recent report on the illicit antiquities trade receives mixed response

Posted on: June 10, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

A UNESCO-backed research project into the illicit trade in cultural property in Germany has recently released its final report. The ‘ILLICID Project’, launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aimed to increase understanding of illicit trafficking networks and financial flows linked to organised crime and terrorism. However, the findings of the final […]

Lessons in Collecting from the Museum of the Bible

Posted on: April 14, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

The Museum of the Bible has been a site of continual controversy since its opening in November 2017. The issues it has faced range from alleged thefts and forgeries to the illicit trade in antiquities. More than anything else, the Museum’s difficulties have demonstrated the importance of careful provenance research before acquiring artefacts for a […]

Heated U.S. restitution suit continues over long-lost Modigliani valued at approximately $30 million

Posted on: February 21, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

Pit a billionaire art collector against a French farmer, add in a mysterious offshore company and a Modernist painting confiscated by the Nazis and missing for over a half-century and – voilà – you have the makings of a highly contentious lawsuit. Those are the facts swirling in an ongoing case involving Seated Man With […]

New issue of Art Antiquity & Law available now

Posted on: January 16, 2020 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

As we leave behind the festive season, the latest issue of Art Antiquity & Law has just been released in time for you to start the new year with the latest in-depth analyses from the world of art and cultural heritage law. Adam Jomeen writes about street photography and compares the legal treatments afforded to […]

Appeal for Restitution of Nazi-Plundered Pissarro Centers on Application of Spanish versus U.S. Law

Posted on: December 24, 2019 by Stephanie Drawdy

A buyer who purchases stolen property does not receive good title – depending on the jurisdiction. The Cassirer family has learned this lesson all too well after nearly two decades attempting to reclaim a Nazi-looted painting by Impressionist Master Camille Pissarro. Earlier this year, a U.S. federal court in California awarded the Pissarro to a […]

By description? Canadian judgment complicates art contracts

Posted on: December 2, 2019 by Charlotte Dunn

Legal cases involving questions of authenticity, attribution and provenance are generally not easily determined. However, in a recent Canadian case, the Court of Appeal for Ontario applied contract law to tackle (or avoid) the issue. The case involved a painting, entitled Spirit Energy of Mother Earth, purportedly by the renowned First Nations artist, Norval Morrisseau. […]

Japanese Museum claims title to the Reynolds painting stolen in UK

Posted on: October 1, 2019 by Makoto Shimada

According to recent articles in the Antiques Trade Gazette, Art Newspaper and several other English papers, a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds stolen in the UK has ended up in Japan at the collection of the Fuji Tokyo Art Museum (“the Museum”). The Museum claims that it purchased the work with valid title. Facts In […]

Dispute over the Isleworth Mona Lisa goes to Italian courtrooms

Posted on: September 25, 2019 by Eleonora Chielli

The Court of Florence is dealing with a case involving the ‘Isleworth Mona Lisa’, a painting attributed to Leonardo, though with some uncertainty. Whilst the question of attribution is not the focus of this post, it should be noted that following a debate lasting for more than a century about the attribution of this painting, […]