Tag Archives: herman

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 […]

British Museum must recognise its own powers

Posted on: June 4, 2019 by Alexander Herman

The following commentary first appeared on The Art Newspaper website on 29 May 2019. The British Museum seems to enjoy telling the world about its statutory restrictions. Whenever would-be claimants approach the museum seeking restitution of an object from the collection, the almost mechanical response from the museum is that its trustees are prevented from doing so, […]

The incredible copyright legacy of Vivian Maier

Posted on: May 24, 2019 by Alexander Herman

For those who haven’t heard of her, Vivian Maier was a secret photographer. She lived and worked in Chicago throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s largely as a nanny in well-to-do suburbs. She had no close family of her own and died in 2009 with little fanfare. But she had spent most of her adult […]

Looking ahead to 2019

Posted on: January 4, 2019 by Alexander Herman

Welcome to 2019. In many ways, this year may reverse some of the developments of 2018 – at least insofar as the art law world is concerned. The reason for this is that a number of important cases decided in 2018 are under appeal, with the appeals to be heard (and likely decided) in the […]

Law, Restitution and the Benin Bronzes

Posted on: December 23, 2018 by Alexander Herman

In 1897, British troops marched on Benin City, capital of the fabled West African kingdom of Benin, ruled over by a powerful Oba. The attack was called a ‘punitive expedition’ because it was a retaliatory response to the Oba having massacred a British delegation of eight officials, two traders and local escorts the previous month. […]

Recent American Restitutions

Posted on: December 14, 2018 by Alexander Herman

American prosecutors have been busy of late. Not only has New York Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos been active over the past 18 months in seeking seizure and forfeiture orders for stolen or looted property, but the US Attorney’s office has been busy as well. Added to this is the favourable stance the US courts […]

Art, AI and copyright

Posted on: November 9, 2018 by Alexander Herman

A big splash was made when a lot sold at Christie’s New York last month for $432,500. That sort of amount is usually small change for the major international auction house, but not when it comes to a particular sort of artwork: one made by artificial intelligence (or AI). In fact, this was reported to […]

Banksy’s latest artwork: self-destruction

Posted on: October 8, 2018 by Alexander Herman

On Friday night in London, Sotheby’s auctioned off a ‘unique’ version of Banksy’s famous image of a young girl reaching for a red balloon. It was the last lot of the Contemporary Art auction in an important week for the London art market, with Frieze London having opened earlier that day. But just as the […]

Court decision on Caillebotte export rocks the boat

Posted on: September 4, 2018 by Alexander Herman

A once-in-a-generation case has caused major ripples in the Canadian museum world. And we’re not talking about the attempted sale of a Chagall by the National Gallery of Canada this spring. No, this was an actual court case, before the Federal Court of Canada, to determine whether the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (the […]

Attributed Giotto now stuck in legal limbo

Posted on: July 24, 2018 by Alexander Herman

Yesterday, an Italian painting with a colourful history had its fate sealed by a UK court. The Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court has decided that Arts Council England (ACE), the delegated authority that issues export licences for cultural property leaving UK shores, was not the ‘competent authority’ to issue an EU licence for […]