Kevin P. Ray

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The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: The Parthenon Debate (Part II)

The Debate over the Parthenon Sculptures Among disputes over removed cultural objects, perhaps few are better known than that concerning what were formerly known as the Elgin Marbles, which even the British Museum now prefers to call the Parthenon sculptures. It is important to note at the outset, however, that even though the Parthenon sculptures … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: The Parthenon Debate (Part I)

This article is the fourth in a five-part series discussing the restitution, repatriation, and return of cultural objects. Each part addresses a different category of return. The first article in the series addressed the restitution of stolen cultural objects. The second article (available here, here, and here) discussed developments in the restitution of cultural objects taken … Continue Reading

Object Lessons: De Sole v. Knoedler & Company (Part I)

In 2011, the 165-year-old Knoedler & Company (“Knoedler”), one of Manhattan’s most venerable galleries, abruptly closed its doors amid accusations that the gallery had been selling fakes for more than a decade.  Ten lawsuits have been filed against the gallery and its former director, Ann Freedman,[1] six of which have ended in settlements. Four suits … Continue Reading

Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation: Application of Spanish Law of Adverse Possession Vests Title to Pissaro Painting in Spanish Museum, Not Original Owner’s Heirs

                In 1926, Lilly Cassirer Neubauer inherited a painting by Camille Pissaro, Rue St. Honore, apres midi, effet de pluie (1897).  As German Jews, Lilly and her husband were subjected to the discriminatory racial laws of the Third Reich.  They fled Germany in 1939, but as a condition … Continue Reading

New York Senate Passes Bill to Protect Art Authenticators

After being subjected for years to ruinous litigation in suits brought by owners of artworks displeased with authentication opinions unfavorable to the owner’s preferred outcome, art authenticators – including artists authentication boards, authors of catalogues raissonne, and scholars – stopped giving authentication opinions.  Even when they ultimately prevailed on the suits, the cost of the … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: House Passes Bill to Coordinate U.S. Cultural Property Protection

This article is the third in a five-part series discussing the restitution, repatriation, and return of cultural objects. Each part addresses a different category of return. The first article in the series (available here) addressed the restitution of stolen cultural objects. The second article (available here, here, and here) discussed developments in the restitution of cultural … Continue Reading

California Cannot Require Resale Royalty on Out-of-State Art Sales, But the Most Important Issues Remain to Be Addressed on Remand

On May 5th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, en banc, issued a long-awaited decision in a suit brought by a group of artists against several major auction houses, [Estate of Graham v. Sotheby’s Inc.; Sam Francis Foundation v. Christie’s, Inc., 860 F.Supp.2d 1117 (C.D. Cal. 2012)] upholding, but narrowing, the District … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: Von Saher: Court Says Statute of Limitations for Recovery of Stolen Art Runs Anew Against Subsequent Purchasers/Transferees

Nearly two decades have passed since more than 40 governments and many international non-governmental organizations gathered in Washington, DC, for the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets (the “Washington Conference”). The states attending that conference endorsed a set of 11 principles, known as the Washington Conference Principles, broadly calling upon states, institutions, individuals, and others to … Continue Reading

Artist Resale Royalty and Artist-Museum Partnership Bills Re-Introduced

In recent weeks, two potentially important bills that would establish significant rights in favor of artists were re-introduced in the United States Congress.  One, the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, would allow artists (as well as writers, composers, and others) to receive charitable tax deductions for donations of self-created work to museums, libraries, and other qualified charitable … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: Restitution of Cultural Objects Taken During World War II (Part II)

This article is the second in a five-part series discussing the restitution, repatriation, and return of cultural objects. Each part addresses a different category of return. The first article in the series available here, addressed the restitution of stolen cultural objects. This article is the continuation of Part 1 and discusses developments in the restitution … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: Restitution of Cultural Objects Taken During World War II (Part I)

This article is the second in a five-part series discussing the restitution, repatriation, and return of cultural objects.  Each part addresses a different category of return.  The first article, available here, addressed the restitution of stolen cultural objects.  This article discusses developments in the restitution of cultural objects taken during World War II.  The remaining articles … Continue Reading

The Restitution, Repatriation, and Return of Cultural Objects: When Objects Go Back

An important and frequently misunderstood development in the law of art and cultural property in recent decades has been the elaboration in national laws, international instruments, and customary international law of the rights of individuals, groups, nations or other entities to obtain the return of cultural objects that were taken from them, their ancestors or … Continue Reading

U.S. Ivory Regulation: A Q&A with Craig Hoover, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In response to concerns that poaching of African elephants is rapidly driving the species to extinction, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued Director’s Order No. 210, which tightened previous practice involving the import, export, and sale of African elephant ivory. The changes met with considerable resistance from a wide range of persons, including … Continue Reading

Botticelli’s ‘Madonna and Child’: The Risks of Art Consignment

More than seven years is a long time to wait for a loaned painting to be returned. But after such a long wait, Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna and Child (1485) is being returned to its owner, Kraken Investments Limited (Kraken).   Kraken had consigned the painting to a gallery for sale, but the gallery’s bankruptcy intervened. … Continue Reading

U.S. Criteria for The Antique Exception to the Ivory Ban

Before the new rule went into effect, objects at least 100 years old that are either made of African elephant ivory or included ivory components were exempt from the general Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ivory prohibition.[1] This changed dramatically under the … Continue Reading

Collateral Damage: Ivory Ban’s Effects on Collectors, Museums, Musicians, and the Art Trade

Earlier this year, in response to concerns that poaching of African elephants is rapidly driving the species to extinction, the U.S. federal government tightened restrictions on the import, export, transfer, and sale of African elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.[1] The revised restrictions followed on President Obama’s July 2013 executive order committing the U.S. to increase … Continue Reading

Authenticity and Attribution

Over the last decade, art authentication experts have left the field at alarming rates, declining to give opinions on works for fear of expensive litigation. The suits brought against them have not only been for negligence or malpractice, but for statements of professional opinion. They may also have liability when stating that a work of … Continue Reading

Authenticity, Fakes and Forgeries

 In the press and in popular culture, art theft and art forgery tend to be linked, and are often glamorized to a greater or lesser extent.1 The reality, however, is usually far more mundane, if not outright seedy (although efforts at recovery often have admirable, even heroic overtones). In recent years, there have been several … Continue Reading

Art Valuation: The Detroit Institute of Arts

As the City of Detroit’s (the City) bankruptcy case enters its final phase, and confirmation of its plan of adjustment seems all but certain, the future of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) appears assured. This has not always been the case, since how the DIA’s valuable art collection would be handled was a key … Continue Reading
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