Tag Archives: Greenberg Traurig

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

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

Determining the IRS’s Fair Share: Considering Discounts to Establish the Value of Interests in Artwork for U.S. Transfer Tax Purposes

Written by William E. Keenen Under U.S. law, a tax generally is imposed whenever one individual gratuitously transfers an interest in property to another. This tax is computed on the value of the property interest transferred, whether during one’s life (to which the gift tax applies) or at one’s death (to which the estate tax applies). … 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

In love with Diego or Frida? A brief look at Mexican art regulations

Written by Hugo López Coll, Luis Torres and Guillermo Miranda* It is impossible not to be deeply moved by Diego Rivera’s Vendedora de Alcatraces, Frida Kahlo’s incredible self-portraits, or José Clemente Orozco’s El hombre en llamas, all of which have become cornerstones of Mexican identity and cultural heritage. However, what people may not realize is … 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

The Rights of Images: Vivian Maier – The Battle for a Photographer’s Legacy

Photographer Vivian Maier posthumously emerged as an important and previously unknown American street photographer after the contents of her storage lockers were sold at auction in 2007.  The storage lockers contained negatives – many negatives.  But the identity of the photographer was not immediately known.  Maier was identified as the photographer shortly before she died in 2009, … Continue Reading

Art Consignment

We typically believe that if we entrust our property to someone else to sell it, the property remains ours until it is sold. However, this may not always be true. If the party into whose hands property has been entrusted files for bankruptcy, the entrusted property may be deemed to be property of the debtor’s … Continue Reading

Export Restrictions: Italian Mid-Twentieth Century Art

At the recent Frieze art fair in London, Italian mid-twentieth century work moved briskly. Sotheby’s Italian and Contemporary sales broke records, including the highest price ever paid for the work of Piero Manzoni, whose “Achrome” sold for £12.6 million. Several galleries focusing on Italian art of the 1950s and 1960s recently opened in London and … Continue Reading

When a Museum Falters: The Corcoran Gallery of Art

In the United States, with a few exceptions, museums are organized as private charitable trusts or charitable corporations. They derive their purpose from their founders’ charitable purposes. When a museum falters (normally when endowment and other income is insufficient to fund the museum’s operations), options may be limited. In the case of the Fresno Metropolitan … 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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