Yesterday afternoon saw our second annual event hosted by Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP (MTG) in London. The seminar, entitled ‘International Art Loans’, took up where last year’s ‘International Art Transactions‘ left off: a consideration of the various elements, legal and otherwise, that can affect the temporary disposition of artworks around the world. This of course can cover an array of legal issues, from loan agreements and contractual clauses to conflicts of law and immunity from seizure. By bringing together people from the art and museum worlds with those from law backgrounds the event tried to bridge the gap that too often persists in this area – the one between theory and practice, between law and reality.
After an introduction by MTG founder Richard Turnor, we heard from Hélène Deslauriers on the overarching European Union scheme of ‘art mobility’ (a somewhat overlooked factor, someone noted, in the current Brexit debate) and from MTG partner Ed Powles on jurisdiction and conflict of laws in art loan disputes. Then it was Dutch Foreign Affairs advisor Nout-van Woudenberg on the international acceptance of the immunity from seizure principle for state-owned works of art on loan to foreign countries, a topic he knows well having researched it for four years and published his findings in a book (he prefaced his plug by saying he gets no royalties for book sales!).
Following that was Jane Knowles, Head of Exhibitions at the National Gallery, presenting on the UK government indemnity scheme – and how great it is, comparatively speaking – and Jennifer Emms from MTG speaking on contractual clauses in loan agreements and the issues that every lender and borrower should be wary of. All in all, a successful event.