Category Archives: Stolen Art

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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

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

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

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, 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

Nazi-Looted Art: Cornelius Gurlitt and Toren v. Federal Republic of Germany and Free State of Bavaria

The Third Reich’s policy of seizing works of art to build the collection of a planned Fuhrermuseum to be constructed in Linz, Austria, or (for the modern works the regime deemed “entartete Kunst” (degenerate art)) is, by now, well-known. The Rape of Europa (Lynn H. Nicholas, 1994), The Lost Museum (Hector Feliciano, 1995), and The … Continue Reading
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