Category Archives: Restitution

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 […]

New Art Antiquity and Law Issue Released

Posted on: May 15, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

The most recent issue of Art Antiquity and Law is now available and, since we all have a little extra time on our hands lately, you can find articles, case notes and book reviews in our journal to help fill those spare hours with fascinating reading. Evelien Campfens gives a detailed exposition of the methods for […]

Multi-million dollar collection remains with the Netherlands after heirs lose U.S. and Dutch claims

Posted on: May 13, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

Updated: May 27, 2020 Efforts to recover an art collection sold in the Netherlands during Nazi reign have met with a fruitless end – yet again. A U.S. District Court recently decided that the sale of the collection constituted a “genocidal taking” involving duress in violation of international law.[1] However, the alleged heir to the […]

Application of HEAR Act brought into question by U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review Picasso restitution case

Posted on: April 17, 2020 by Stephanie Drawdy

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed inclined to fold its arms and look out the proverbial window when it recently refused to review a case that time-barred a restitution claim over a Picasso sold in late 1930s Europe. By its refusal, America’s highest court has raised questions over the application of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery […]

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 […]

Arts Council England appoints IAL to develop new guidance on restitution and repatriation

Posted on: March 19, 2020 by Kiri Cragin Folwell

On Monday 16 March, Arts Council England announced the appointment of the Institute of Art and Law (IAL) to develop new guidance for museums on the restitution and repatriation of cultural objects. The guidance, which will be published in Autumn 2020, will aim to encourage a more proactive and coordinated approach across UK museums by […]

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 […]

Action at last? France renews promise to return looted artefacts to Benin

Posted on: January 23, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

President Emmanuel Macron originally promised to return 26 artefacts, currently held in the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris, to Benin in 2018. These objects were taken as spoils from the Kingdom of Dahomey in 1892, as part of French colonial military action. Macron’s promise was made in response to the publication of the […]

Year in review: recap on 2019

Posted on: December 26, 2019 by Alexander Herman

If nothing else, the end of a calendar year offers the chance to step back and review the larger developments in a particular area or field. This is certainly true about the world of art and cultural heritage law where it can often be hard to see the forest for the trees. So many legal […]