Art Law Report

New Law Requires Museums in New York to Display Information About Nazi Art Looting, May be More Complicated than it Looks

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 17, 2022 at 2:40 PM

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a new requirement requiring museums to indicate publicly any object in their collection that was displaced by the Nazis as part of what Congress has rightly called the largest organized theft of art in human history. The significance of this new rule is clear: New York is the center of the art world, and its museums hold a unique place of prominence. As readers of this blog or of my book A Tragic Fate-Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art know, my view has long been that American museums vary widely in their candor and proactive approach to the issue of Nazi-looted art in their collections. Many have shown admirable initiative in probing their collections, while others have shown a regrettable passivity in waiting to receive and then deflect claims. Whether this bill will move the needle on that balance is the question. Transparency and disclosure have been the defining goals of the modern restitution era. This new law serves many of those ideals, but some unintended consequences may follow.

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Topics: Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Alliance of Museums, Nazi-looted art, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, Supreme Court, Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, AAM, Museum of Modern Art, Nuremberg race laws, Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Stolen Ar, Association of Art Museum Directors, Washington Department of Labor and Industries, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, AAMD, Military Government Law 59, State Department, Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, HEAR Act, A Tragic Fate, Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art, Governor Kathy Hochul, Reich Citizenship Law, Animal House, Kevin Bacon

Legal Issues in Museum Administration, March 19-21, 2014 in Philadelphia

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on February 13, 2014 at 4:25 AM

Registration is open for the annual Legal Issues in Museum Administration conference organized by the American Law Institute’s Continuing Legal Education. Year after year, this conference brings together top practitioners and museum professionals for important updates and presentations, and always engaging discussions. Hope to see you there.

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Topics: Henry S. (Harry) Bryans, Smithsonian Institution, Brendan Connell Jr., India Pinkney, The Frick Collection, Jiyun Cameron Lee, The Barnes Foundation, Dallas Museum of Art, Marianna Horton Mermin, Lawrence H. Berger, Robert W. Clarida, Alison Lonshein, James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology, Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of Miami School of Law, American Alliance of Museums, Stephen W. Clark, Library of Congress, Stephen K. Urice, Yayoi Shionoiri, Michael J. Cooney, Lauryn H. Guttenplan, Karen Coe, Julie Hart, Roger I. Ideishi, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marsha Shaines, Cristina Del Valle, Judith E. Leonard, Eryn Starun, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Nicholas S. Holmes, Temple University, Sara Geelan, The J. Paul Getty Trust, John R. Cahill, Events, Jonathan A. Segal, Rachelle Browne, University of Pennsylvania, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Franklin Institute, Adine Varah, Eric J. Snyder, City and County of San Francisco, C. Brian Rose, National Endowment for the Arts, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Maxwell L. Anderson, Whitney Museum of American Art, Larry Dubinski, Leslie Johnston, Farleigh Earhart

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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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