Tag Archives: France

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

New issue of Art Antiquity & Law available now

Posted on: January 16, 2020 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

As we leave behind the festive season, the latest issue of Art Antiquity & Law has just been released in time for you to start the new year with the latest in-depth analyses from the world of art and cultural heritage law. Adam Jomeen writes about street photography and compares the legal treatments afforded to […]

Update on restitution: recent returns

Posted on: November 22, 2019 by Alexander Herman

After my piece last week on restitution, there have been some interesting developments in the area. First of all, a major non-profit organisation, the Open Society Foundations, has pledged US$15 million to assist groups working to restitute African heritage. The money is pledged over a period of four years. As I said when commenting on […]

One year after the Sarr-Savoy report, France has lost its momentum in the restitution debate

Posted on: November 15, 2019 by Alexander Herman

The following commentary first appeared in The Art Newspaper print edition (November 2019) and on The Art Newspaper website on 12 November 2019. A year ago this month, authors Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy submitted their controversial report to French President Emanuel Macron. The report recommended the return of a vast number of Sub-Saharan African artefacts currently in […]

Da Vinci show opens at the Louvre after latest loan issue resolved

Posted on: October 25, 2019 by Charlotte Dunn

This week, the Louvre’s highly anticipated Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, opened its doors to the public. However, the process of negotiating the necessary loan agreements with Italy has been complex and controversial. Just days before opening, the loan of one of Da Vinci’s most famous works, the […]

Eight months on from Sarr Savoy and… still waiting

Posted on: August 7, 2019 by Alexander Herman

Since the release of the Sarr Savoy Report at the end of November (over eight months ago), there has not been the feared avalanche of returns to Africa of artefacts from French public collections. Far from it. In fact, the latest public actions on the part of the French government seem to show a retreat […]