Art Law Report

Gurlitt Taskforce Announces Plan to Post 590 More Works. Choice of Law, Procedure, and Venue for Claims Up in the Air

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 15, 2013 at 6:17 AM

Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, leader of the newly formed federal “Schwabing Art Find” taskforce, announced plans to release information about 590 additional works found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, after the posting earlier this week of 25 works at www.lostart.de. Meanwhile, the heirs of Max Ernst have publicly disclosed (through their attorney Jürgen Wilhelm in Cologne) their claim to certain of the works in the Gurlitt find. The federal authorities appear to be gaining the upper hand for disclosure against the tax investigators in Bavaria who initially seized the collection, which was not a foregone conclusion.

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Topics: Cologne, veschollene Kunst, the Lion Tamer, Lempertz, Cornelius Gurlitt, Schwabinger Kunstfund. Kunstfund München, Max Liebermann, Köln, Gurlitt Collection, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Hildebrand Gurlit, Entartete Kunst, Nazis, Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, Hermann Goring, Michael Hulton, FSIA, Gurlitt, Restitution, conversion, Looted Art, World War II, degenerate art, Altmann v. Republic of Austria, Löwenbändiger, Raubkunst, Alfred Flechteim, Jürgen Wilhelm, Max Ernst

Beltracchi and Forgers Sentenced in Cologne

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 28, 2011 at 5:44 AM

The forgery trial in Cologne ended yesterday with the sentencing of Wolfgang Beltracchi and his co-defendants for their now-infamous forgeries and sale of the fictional "Werner Jäger" collection-the name of his wife's grandfather. Beltracchi was sentenced to 6 years, consistent with the deal struck last month with prosecutors, the other defendants (including his wife) to various lesser terms.

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Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Max Pechstein, Germany, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

Confession in German Forgery Trial

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

On the heels of yesterday's interruption and pressure from the presiding judge to accept a six-year sentence, the accused leader of a forgery ring in Germany apparently confessed today to 14 forgeries. It's been reported that he said that he enjoyed fooling collectors and experts. It is anticipated that the other defendants will receive similar sentences, though it is not yet certain.

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Topics: Forgery, Lempertz, Max Pechstein, Germany, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Restitution, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, intellectual property, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

German Forgery Trial Update-Deal Offered?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

We have been following with interest the trial in Cologne, Germany of four accused forgers. The trial began at the beginning of the month. Wolfgang Beltracchi, 60, is accused of organizing a scam that defrauded art collectors out of millions of dollars. Comedian, actor, and writer Steve Martin is among the most high-profile victims. The 47 forgeries mimicked 20th century paintings by Kees Van Dongen, Max Ernst, Max Pechstein and Heinrich Campendonk.

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Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Lempertz, Van Dongen, Max Pechstein, Germany, Otto Schulte-Kellinghaus, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Restitution, Helene Beltracchi, Heinrich Campendonk, intellectual property, connoisseurship, Max Ernst

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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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