Category Archives: Repatriation

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 […]

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 […]

Michael Steinhardt’s antiquities and the legal/moral divide

Posted on: December 9, 2021 by Alexander Herman

Collector Michael Steinhardt has been in the news this week, and not for the right reasons. On Monday, an agreement was announced whereby the New York DA’s Office would not prosecute Steinhardt for acquiring looted antiquities and, in exchange, Steinhardt would surrender 180 such artefacts to the DA, and these will soon (one hopes) be […]

Restitution – what’s really going on?

Posted on: September 30, 2021 by Alexander Herman

This piece first appeared on The Art Newspaper website on 28 September 2021. *** Much is happening in the global debate over the rightful place of cultural objects. Not a week goes by, it seems, without an important return being announced. Last week it was the return at a ceremony in Washington DC of the ancient […]

July issue of Art Antiquity and Law out now

Posted on: July 27, 2021 by Ruth Redmond-Cooper

The July issue of Art Antiquity and Law has now gone to press and hard copies of the burgundy journal will soon be landing on doorsteps around the world, with digital copies finding their way to inboxes. For those interested in subscribing, please see here. This issue contains articles and case notes on a wide […]

The Benin Bronzes – recent developments

Posted on: May 7, 2021 by Emily Gould

In mid-March this year, the German government announced that it was close to finalising plans to return to Nigeria Benin Bronzes from around 25 of its museums. The statement was swiftly followed by news of proposed returns from corners of the globe as disparate as Aberdeen and  California. Developments were also in evidence in the […]

Macron, restitution and French bureaucracy

Posted on: December 17, 2020 by Alexander Herman

An interesting debate has taken place in France between its two chambers of Parliament: the Senate and the National Assembly. It has arisen in the context of a Bill presented at the National Assembly on 16 July to restitute to the countries of Benin and Senegal a total of 27 items held within French public […]

A tale of two protests: Museum protest then and now

Posted on: November 9, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza (left) is a man on a mission. A prolific protestor at museums in France and the Netherlands, he targets objects on display that originate from Africa, lifts them from their stands and parades them around the galleries while making pronouncements on the crimes of European colonialism. ‘Je part avec à la maison,’ he […]

French law will finally tackle (some) African restitutions

Posted on: July 21, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Last week, the legal review of a bill under consideration by the French government was released. Following President Macron’s statement on the restitution of artefacts to African countries in November 2017 and the release of the controversial Sarr Savoy Report the following year, this is the first we’ve heard about specific legislation on the topic. […]

Fifty years on: the meaning of the 1970 UNESCO Convention

Posted on: June 18, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Amidst the sad turmoil (for some) and the uncertainty (for all) brought on by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown, it is perhaps more forgivable than usual to miss an important anniversary. I am referring here to the fact that 2020 marks 50 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting […]