Art Law Report

U.S. Solicitor General’s Office Advocates Broad Impunity for Nazi Art Thefts

Paddle 8 Creditors Battle Over Scope of New York Consignment Law

My column in Apollo Magazine on museums and deaccessioning in crisis

Fate of Museum Collections and Endowments Presents Hard Questions in Hard Times­

The Taxman Cometh­—Christie’s Penalty is the Latest Example of Sales and Use Tax Pitfalls

Ten Years Later—Lessons Learned from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Kokoschka Case

Paddle 8 Bankruptcy a Harbinger in the Time of COVID19 and the Coming Art World Crisis

No Excuses left—SPK Restitutes Han Baldung Grien to Persecuted Artist's Heirs for Reasons that Germany Denies to Jewish Victims

Responsible Art Market Initiative Event in Geneva January 31, 2020—An Art Market in Evolution

In the Great Green Room, There was…a Shocking Theft—Historic Robbery in Dresden at State Art Collections

France Rejects Poland’s Bad Faith Efforts to Extradite Art Dealer Alexander Khochinsky

Heirs of Holocaust Victim Fritz Grünbaum Win Restitution of Nazi-Looted Schiele Drawings

Guelph Treasure Claims to Go Forward

Radio Interview Examines Recent Nazi-Looted Art Court Decisions

Knoedler Gallery Owners May be Liable for Forgery Scandal, Jury Will Decide

Thyssen-Bornemisza Prevails Over Cassirer Heirs' Claim to Pissarro Taken by Nazis Despite Acts “Inconsistent with the Washington Principles”

Building a Responsible Art Market in New York May 23, 2019

The Responsible Art Market Initiative is Coming to New York on May 23, 2019

Germany and its Federal States Announce Collective Declaration with Respect to Colonial Artifacts and Human Remains

Poland Renews Efforts to Extradite Art Dealer Alexander Khochinsky, Whose 2018 Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Poland’s Previous Retaliation for his WW II Restitution Claims

Event: A Responsible Art Market in Practice, February 1, 2019 in Geneva

Planned gifts can lead to hard feelings without careful planning and managed expectations

Event—Global Auction House Summit in London, February 4-6, 2019

Zum Geburtstag Viel Glück? The Washington Principles Turn 20

RESCHEDULED Event: "Looted Art for Sale" at Brandeis University November 6, 2018

Deletion of Grünbaum Works from Lost Art Database Shows Again How German Government Has Lost Its Way on Nazi-Looted Art

Berkshire Museum Tries to End-Run Pending Appeal but Member Plaintiffs Decline to be Bullied

Norton Simon Museum Wins Appeal Over Nazi-Looted Cranach Paintings

Event—The Future of Nazi-Looted Art Recovery in the US and Abroad

Court of Appeals Upholds Claims to Renowned Guelph Treasure Sold Under Duress to Nazi Agents

Au Revoir, Droit de Suite—9th Circuit Narrows California Resale Royalty Act to a Single Year’s Sales

Alexander Khochinsky Files Suit Against Poland for Retaliation Related to WW II Property Claims

Sullivan & Worcester LLP Assists in Relocation of "Digital DNA" from Palo Alto to Harvard

A Step Back from the Brink—Agnes Martin Authentication Board Prevails in Court

Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives Would Impose Money Laundering Reporting Requirements on Art Dealers

New Court of Arbitration for Art to Launch in June, Offers Exciting Opportunity for the Art Market

Event—Deaccessioning: Art, Morals, and the Law

What About Margarethe Mauthner? Van Gogh Once Owned by Elizabeth Taylor Heads to Auction Again with Scant Mention of its Persecuted Former Owner

A Signpost for Artists’ Rights or the Beginning of the End? 5Pointz Damages Award May be A Fork in the Road

Event: "Looted Art for Sale" at Brandeis University March 21, 2018

Members of the Berkshire Museum Ask Supreme Judicial Court to Stop Berkshire Museum’s Deaccession Plan

Members of the Berkshire Museum Pledge to Continue Fight Against Liquidation of the Museum’s Art Collection

"A Tragic Fate" Lecture at DePaul Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law February 26, 2018

Artist Adriana Varella Demands that the City of Palo Alto Halt its Plans to Remove Her Renowned Work "Digital DNA"

Members of the Berkshire Museum File Appeal Papers to Stop Museum's Planned Sale of 40 Works from its Collection

“Building an Art Market 2.0”—Responsible Art Market Initiative Event February 2, 2018 in Geneva

"A Tragic Fate" named to Kirkus Reviews 100 Best of 2017

Injunction Against Berkshire Museum Sale Is Extended

Key Tax Deferral Tool for Art Sales on the Chopping Block in U.S. Legislation Proposals

Something’s Rotten in Düsseldorf—Max Stern Exhibition Cancelled in Response to Restitution Claim

Event—Wealth Management Strategies for Art Collectors

Members of the Berkshire Museum Appeal Ruling on Planned Sale of Critical Pieces of its Collection

Appeals Court Stays Sale of Berkshire Museum Paintings

Massachusetts AG Asks Appeals Court to Halt Monday's Berkshire Museum Sale

Members of Berkshire Museum File Suit Seeking Injunction Against Sale of Art Collection

Germany Identifies Painting from Gurlitt Collection as Nazi-Looted, Progress and Credibility Still Uncertain

Event at DePaul—Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: A New Paradigm.

New York Event—“Off the Wall: Legal Issues Involving Street Art”

When Will We Get There?  The World Gathers in London to Consider the State of Restitution of Nazi-Looted Art.

Rich Man/Poor Man?  The Berkshire Museum and Why Deaccessioning is so Frustrating

“Nazi-Looted Art: From Fair and Just Solutions to Litigation” in London September 13, 2017

Herzog Heirs Win Again in Appeals Court on Jurisdiction Over Hungarian Museums

Review: “Managing Relationships in the Art Market” by Annelien Bruins

Event: "Master Thieves" Author Stephen Kurkjian at the Massachusetts Historical Society July 6

Praise from Kirkus Reviews for "A Tragic Fate"

New Book by Nicholas M. O'Donnell: "A Tragic Fate--Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi Looted Art"

Pissarro from Cornelius Gurlitt’s Salzburg Home Returned to Heirs

This Painting is My Speech, This Painting is Your Speech—Government Scores a Win in Capitol Painting Controversy

Event in Canterbury (UK)—"Cultural Heritage in Danger: Illicit Trafficking, Armed Conflicts and Cultural Diplomacy"

Next week in Vienna: “Accepting and Holding Objects ‘in Trust’—an International and Interdisciplinary Perspective”

McDonald's Beats Graffiti Copyright Claims in California, But Faces New Threat over New York Street Art

“Charging Bull” Sculptor Articulates VARA Complaint, But “Fearless Girl” Still Standing Firm

Nazi-Looting and Forced Sales Support Jurisdiction—Guelph Treasure Ruling Analysis

U.S. District Court Issues First of Its Kind Ruling Against Germany Over Renowned Guelph Treasure

"Fearless Girl" Sculpture Near Wall Street Prompts Copyright Allegation That is More Bull than Bear

Art Advisors and Duty of Loyalty in Focus Again Over Sale of Basquiat

Battle Over Controversial Student Art in U.S. Capitol Lands in Court—First Amendment in Focus Again

Sea Change in Nazi-looted Art Claims? The HEAR Act is Put Into Action

New Publication: Éthique et patrimoine culturel—Regard croisés

Recap and Analysis: Responsible Art Market Initiative Launched in Geneva

Conference in Cambridge—“From Refugees to Restitution: The History of Nazi Looted Art in the UK in Transnational Perspective”

Fake News, Fake Art?  Richard Prince Disavows Work Depicting Ivanka Trump

Geneva Event: Building an Art Market for the Future—Guidelines for Countering Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Threats

Jurisdictional Law Hailed as Impetus to End Russian Art Loan Embargo that is Actually Unaffected by that Law

Gurlitt Bequest to Kunstmuseum Bern is Upheld

Art Advisors are Not Always Fiduciaries—Lawsuit over Cady Noland "Log Cabin" Dismissed

Looted Art Legislation—HEAR Act and Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Clarification Act Set to Become Law

Heirs of Nazi-Persecuted Art Dealer Alfred Flechtheim Sue Bavarian Museums

Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred a Fair Use?

Exhibition Interference Shows That Public Institutions Still Struggle with First Amendment

Changes to Limbach Commission Announced, Real Change Now Seems Out of Reach

Important Changes to HEAR Act Preserve New York’s Demand and Refusal Rule (For Now)

Event: Art Crime Symposium November 1-3, 2016 in New York

New Authentication Lawsuit Filed Against Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné

"Risks in the Attribution of Works of Art": November 8, 2016 in Geneva

Event: DePaul Moot Court Competition in Cultural Property in February

Restitution Claims Resolved in New York and Cologne, New Case Filed Against Germany

Restitution Legislation: HEAR Act and Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Clarification Act Move Forward

Making Sense of the Peter Doig Trial and the Authentication Fallout

Norton Simon Museum Prevails Against Von Saher Claim to Cranachs Looted by the Nazis

More of the Same—Latest Limbach Commission “Reform” is Anything But

Methinks Thou Doth Protest too Much—Bavaria Scrambles Defensively After Revelation of Looted Art Sales to Nazi Families

Another Bombshell in Munich—Bavarian Government Sold Looted Art to Nazi Families

Opportunity Lost: Germany Enacts Revised Cultural Property Export Restrictions

If it Ain’t Broke?…Ninth Circuit Announces Curious Test of “Applied Art” Under VARA

HEAR Act: Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Nazi-Looted Art Statute of Limitations Bill

Event—Second All Art and Cultural Heritage Law Conference in Geneva, June 24-25, 2016

Is Graffiti Ineligible for Copyright Protection Just Because the Act of Tagging is Illegal?

Guelph Treasure Heirs Explain Why Case Belongs in U.S. Court

FBI Returns to House Where it Did Not Find Gardner Museum Art Before, Does Not Find Gardner Museum Art There

Potemkin Village Deferred—Planned Exhibition of Gurlitt Trove is Postponed

Events—Authentication in Art Congress May 11-13, 2016 in The Hague

California Resale Royalty Act Claims Dismissed as Preempted by Copyright Law, Despite 1980 Ninth Circuit Holding to the Contrary

HEAR Act Introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz to Create Federal Standard for Holocaust Art Claims

Don’t Shoot the Messenger—Student Art Removed, First Amendment Notwithstanding

Event—The Perspective of the Art Market in Italy

Herzog Heirs’ Claims Against Hungary Survive Dismissal Under FSIA

Event—“Intersections in Cultural Heritage Law” at Georgetown University Law Center March 29-30, 2016

“Mattress Performance” Title IX Lawsuit Against Columbia Is Dismissed

Germany Relents on Nazi-Looted Art Advisory Commission Jewish Membership

Germany Keeps Digging—Explanation for Excluding Jewish Member from Nazi-looted Art Advisory Commission is Worse than Before

Live from the Oscars! German Cultural Ministry Disparages Possible Inclusion of Jewish Member on Advisory Commission

Events: Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation Conference on Friday, March 25, 2016

Time to Go—Flechtheim Heirs Withdraw from Limbach Commission That Has Outlived its Usefulness

Not Just Germany—UK Imposes Export Ban on (Swiss!) Giacometti Sculpture

Léone Meyer and University of Oklahoma Settle Nazi-looted Pissarro Dispute

Flechtheim Heirs Suspend Limbach Commission Proceedings Over Juan Gris Painting in Düsseldorf

"Rime" Graffiti Case Against Moschino Survives Dismissal

Buyer Beware (Again)—Art Dealer Charged with Selling Forged Paintings

Katherine Craig Files VARA Claim over Illuminated Mural—“Recognized Stature” and Terms of Agreement Will be Critical

Court Enters Final Dismissal of “Monkey Selfie” Case

Gerhard Richter and German Cultural Heritage Protection Law—Brooklyn Law School February 3, 2016

“Final Report” of Gurlitt Task Force Presented to German Government—Process Continues to Raise More Questions Than Answers

Art Finance & Law : Risks, Rules, and Opportunities in Investments in Art, February 12, 2016 in Paris

Supreme Court Declines Review of California Resale Royalty Case

Naruto, We Hardly Knew Ye—Judge Calls Monkeyshines on "Monkey Selfie" Case

Here We Go Again?  Richard Prince Sued By Photographer Over Images of Rastafarian in Instagram Show

Court-Solicited Opinion Reportedly Concludes That Gurlitt Was Competent To Make Will

No Buried Nazi Gold Train After All?

Gurlitt Task Force Issues Fifth Recommendation for Restitution

PETA and Opponents Sling Arguments In “Monkey Selfie” Copyright Case

Recap of “Rethinking Art Authentication” at the New York City Bar

UPDATED­—Rethinking Art Authentication—December 2, 2015 at the NY City Bar Association

Widespread Criticism Continues from Historians Over Germany’s and SPK’s Revisionism Concerning Holocaust and Forced Sales of Art

Rethinking Art Authentication—December 2, 2015 at the New York City Bar Association

Leonard Peltier and Public Displays of Art—The Government Taking Sides on Whose Paintings are Shown Stirs Up First Amendment Problems

Despite Universal Criticism, German Cabinet Approves Stricter Cultural Heritage Law

New VARA Ruling Muddies Analysis on Moral Rights and Significance of “Site Specific” Art

Holocaust Revisionism in German Motion to Dismiss Guelph Claim Elicits Condemnation

Graffiti on the Runway: Street Artist Rime Pursues Lawsuit Against Moschino for Damaging His Street Cred

Bruegel Painting In Vienna Spurs Argument Over Allegations of Nazi Looting in Poland

The New Domestic “Freeports”: Sales and Use Tax Opportunities and Risks

Google Books, Fair Use, and Visual Art—Second Circuit Writes Decision That Would Have Helped Two Years Ago

Gurlitt Collection May be Displayed Next Year, Real Progress Still Elusive as Focus Remains on Public Relations

Art and the Digital Age, Wednesday 10/14 at the Boston Bar Association

In Vino Veritas—Second Circuit Upholds Damages in Counterfeit Wine Koch Brother Case With Implications for Art Sales

Stephan Templ, Chronicler of Nazi Looting in Vienna, Set to Begin Jail Term Over Supposed Omission in His Mother’s Holocaust Restitution Claim

Symposium: "Ethics and Cultural Patrimony - Viewpoints," in Paris October 20-21, 2015

Irony is Dead: PETA Sues for Copyright Infringement on Behalf of the Animal in the “Monkey Selfie”

Anish Kapoor in Versailles: Requiring Removal of Graffiti Turns Into Compelled Speech

Backwards, Not Forwards: German Cultural Ministry Submits Revised Cultural Heritage Protection Law

Restitution of Constable Painting at the Tate Moves Ahead Again

Appraisers Association of America Art Law Day at NYU, November 6, 2015

$43.7 Million Interim Judgment Entered Against Russia for Refusal to Restitute Chabad Library

Seventh Annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition in Chicago

Disputed Baushaus Artist Kurt Waldmann and Concerns of Another Forgery Enterprise in Germany

What to Make of Nazi “Gold Train” Supposedly Buried in Poland

“Between Fairness and Justice for Successors and Possessors”—an Upcoming Conference at the Oskar Reinhart Museum in Winterthur

Anish Kapoor Sculpture Dispute Tests the Legal Utility of Terms Like Plagiarism and Appropriation

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Restitutes Wertinger Painting to Rosenbaum and Rosenberg Heirs, Citing Importance of Blocked Accounts That Also Support Guelph Treasure Claim

"Free Brady" T Shirt Battle and Copyright: Who was First?

Free Brady!—Did Governor Baker’s T-Shirt Have a Copyright Problem?

Man Claims to Know Identity of Gardner Museum Visitor Seen in Surveillance Video

FBI Releases Gardner Video, Suggests Dry Run Like Another That May Have Preceded 1990 Heist

No Extradition to Poland for Dealer Accused of Trying to Sell Nazi-Looted Art

ABA Journal Opens Voting on “Blog 100”—Here Are My Votes

Did Philadelphia Inadvertently Step on First Amendment and VARA in Painting Over Cosby Mural?

Focus of Gardner Investigation Accuses FBI of Entrapment

Senate Appropriations Committee Bill Would Give Strong Backing To State Department on Holocaust-Era Assets

Germany Walks Back On Proposed Cultural Property Law

Boston Globe Publishes Article on Welfenschatz Case

Munich Court Requests Psychological Opinion Concerning Gurlitt’s Competence to Make Will

European Cultural Protection Laws and Export Licenses—the Atlantic Gulf Widens

U.S. Museums and Looted Art—Is it Whether you Win or How you Play?

Museum Denied Exhibition Loan of Byzantine Ivory from British Museum That Should Have Been Permitted

Shepard Fairey Wanted on Vandalism Charge for Street Art in Detroit—Will This be the VARA Test Case?

Always Read Closely: New York Senate Passes Authentication Bill, But Enhanced Burden of Proof Stripped from Earlier Proposal and Fee-Shifting Is Diluted

5Pointz Property Owner Sued Again Over Whitewashing of Graffiti—Measure of Damages Bears Watching

Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Clarification Act and the Immunity from Seizure Act—Status Quo Is Often Misunderstood

Cassirer and the State of Restitution—Takeaways and Next Steps

Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Clarification Act Returns

District Court Dismisses Cassirer Claim for Pissarro against Thyssen Bornemisza Collection by Applying Spanish Law of Adverse Possession

Richard Prince, Social Media and the Public Domain: Reports of Copyright’s Demise are Premature

Fair Use Fool me Twice, Shame on Me—Richard Prince Goes Trolling on Instagram But May Have a More Pedestrian Problem

REMINDER: Art Crime and Cultural Heritage: Fakes, Forgeries, and Looted and Stolen Art at NYU June 4-6

“Copyrights on the Street” at Copyright Society Annual Meeting June 9, 2015

First Painting Restituted from Gurlitt Trove to be Sold; Appellate Court in Munich Breathes New Life Into Will Contest

Order Restored—Copyright Claim to Individual Performance in “Innocence of Muslims” Fails

...or maybe not. Detroit Institute of Arts Backs Off Van Gogh Deaccessioning

Two Works Found With Gurlitt Cleared for Immediate Restitution, Hundreds More Still in Limbo

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About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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