Latest IAL News

Whistler’s Woman in White through the lens of copyright history

Posted on: May 16, 2022 by Elena Cooper

In February a new exhibition opened at the Royal Academy of Arts in London about the painter and printmaker James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903): Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan, which runs until 22 May 2022, before moving to the National Gallery of Art, Washington (3 July to 22 October 2022). The centre-piece of the […]

NFTs as property: courts start to rein in the NFT ‘Wild West’

Posted on: May 11, 2022 by Emily Gould

The NFT space is commonly characterised as a ‘Wild West’, where anything goes and legal controls are minimal. A recent decision of the UK High Court suggests that the law’s lasso of control is at least starting to bring some order to the purported chaos. In a case involving the alleged theft of two NFTs […]

Unanimous verdict from US Supreme Court in Nazi-looted art case: the long-running Cassirer case continues

Posted on: April 25, 2022 by Stephanie Drawdy

The seventeen-year title dispute over a Parisian winter streetscape by Camille Pissarro has now tilted in favor of the heirs whose German-Jewish ancestor was forced to part with the masterwork during the Holocaust. On 21 April 2022, the United States Supreme Court unanimously vacated a judgment by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that had […]

US Treasury Study on Money Laundering Risks in Art Trade

Posted on: April 21, 2022 by Alyssa Weitkamp

On February 4, 2022, the United States Treasury Department released its Study on the Facilitation of Money Laundering and Terror Finance Through the Trade in Works of Art. In this Study, the Treasury Department goes through the basics of money laundering in the art world, the particular risks the art world presents for money laundering, […]

Belgian restitution: from Nazi-looted art to colonial-era takings

Posted on: April 14, 2022 by Hélène Deslauriers

Let us consider recent developments in Belgium, both in relation to Nazi-looted art and colonial-era collections. First, a recent return of Nazi-looted art. On February 10 the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels returned a 1913 painting by Lovis Corinth, Flowers (left), to members of the Mayer family.  The painting represents a bouquet of […]

Report on IAL seminar on heritage and sustainability, 29 March 2022

Posted on: April 4, 2022 by Emily Gould

How do we balance the need to protect our inherited past with the demands of contemporary life and the interests of future generations? Can economic imperatives align with sustainability objectives or are they destined always to conflict? These were two of the key questions addressed in the IAL’s first seminar on the theme of sustainability, […]

Church court refuses to allow Jesus College, Cambridge to remove memorial

Posted on: March 28, 2022 by Richard Harwood QC

In The Rustat Memorial, Jesus College, Cambridge [2022] ECC Ely, the college authorities proposed to remove a memorial to a seventeenth century benefactor, Tobias Rustat, from the grade I listed chapel. The concern was Rustat’s involvement in the slave trade, as an investor in two companies, and the effect which retaining his memorial in the […]

A feat of Endurance: lost vessel of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton found 107 years after sinking

Posted on: March 24, 2022 by Paul Stevenson

Media outlets last week revealed that scientists had found the wreck of Endurance more than a century after she sank in the Weddell Sea, a find many had claimed to be impossible. The find has been hailed by marine archaeologists around the world. The BBC reports that Bensun Mound, a member of the expedition team, […]

Foundation’s arguments thwarted in New York case of Nazi-looted Schiele

Posted on: March 17, 2022 by Stephanie Drawdy

Just a year before the Spanish flu claimed him in 1918, Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele used hues of orange and red to portray his wife as she looked away, hands folded (left). Some 20 years later in Nazi-occupied Vienna, this portrait would be looted. And now, over 80 years after that, the work is the […]

Film review – The Duke starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren

Posted on: March 10, 2022 by Geoffrey Bennett

The taking of a major artwork from a national gallery would not normally sound like a promising scenario for an entertaining comedy-drama. Its portrayal in the recently released film The Duke is a testament to the highly unusual story that lies behind it and its central character, the improbably named Kempton Bunton. The film tells […]