Tag Archives: return

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

Talk by Alexander Herman on museums, ethics and deaccession

Posted on: March 13, 2019 by Kiri Cragin Folwell

Last week, our Assistant Director Alexander Herman gave a talk at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, on the topic of museums, law, ethics, deaccession and restitution. The talk was entitled “Values & Art: Ethics in the Management of Culture” and was part of Ryerson’s Business Ethics speaker series at the Ted Rogers School of Management. […]

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. […]