Category Archives: Restitution

US Supreme Court remands Guelph Treasure case

Posted on: February 12, 2021 by Stephanie Drawdy

The much-anticipated ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in the Welfenschatz (or ‘Guelph Treasure’) restitution case (previously discussed here) was issued on 3 February 2021, rendering precedent on the interpretation of the ‘expropriation exception’ of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).[1] Enacted to lift the “baseline presumption of immunity” given to foreign states under the […]

Report on latest study forum

Posted on: February 10, 2021 by Georgiana Stables

On Saturday 6th February, we hosted our second virtual study forum. It was a full day of captivating and perceptive talks by a range of speakers within the art law field. To kick-start the day, Dr Donna Yates (Associate Professor, Maastricht University) spoke about a Cambodian sculpture stolen from Koh Ker during the Cambodian Civil […]

JUST Act Report surveys efforts at justice for Holocaust survivors

Posted on: January 7, 2021 by Stephanie Drawdy

In March 2020, the U.S. State Department issued the ‘Just Act Report’, a 196-page document with a laudable goal – furthering long-delayed justice for Holocaust victims, survivors and heirs. It is described as an “essential tool” to show the U.S. Congress where restitution efforts are lagging across the globe. The rather disheartening results show a […]

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 […]

Cassirer heirs may challenge ruling favoring Spanish foundation over Nazi-plundered Pissarro

Posted on: October 26, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

The Cassirer heirs recently received another negative ruling in their lawsuit to recover a Nazi-looted painting by French Impressionist Camille Pissarro, but this case has not yet ended. The heirs indicated their intent to request a rehearing of the Ninth Circuit’s holding that, under Spanish law, title to the Pissarro is rightly held by the […]

Latest issue of Art Antiquity & Law available now

Posted on: September 8, 2020 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

We are pleased to announce that the latest issue (Vol XXV, 2) of our journal Art Antiquity & Law is available now, please see below for details on subscriptions and access.  Paul Kearns provides the readers with a comprehensive panorama of the international legal regulations on freedom of artistic expression, a fundamental but much overlooked and […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]