Showing results 25 - 36 of 76 for the tag: Legal action.

June 7, 2012

Court orders Flamenbaum family to return Nazi looted artefacts to museum

Posted at 1:27 pm in Similar cases

Some sources have described this situation as restitution in reverse – but it is really only reversed, in terms of the fact that the party the artefact was taken from is a museum & the party that now holds it is an individual. The ruling does nothing to reverse the logical outcome – that the party holding onto the looted artefact is instructed to hand it back to the original owner.

From:
New York Times

Nazi Victim’s Family Told to Return Artifact
By PATRICIA COHEN
Published: June 1, 2012

The decision turns on its head the familiar scenario of Holocaust victims suing to reclaim property stolen or extorted from them by the Nazis. But in this case, according to court papers, the precious 3,200-year-old Assyrian artifact had been looted, not from the survivor, but from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, at the close of World War II.

It is not clear how the survivor, Riven Flamenbaum, came into possession of the tablet after his liberation from Auschwitz in 1945, when he was sent to a displaced persons camp in southeastern Germany.
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May 25, 2012

Dispute over Senate bill S. 2212 over looted artefacts loaned to museums

Posted at 8:07 am in Similar cases

The Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the USA.

Many who have examined the bill (S. 2212) say that despite exemptions in the planned law, it is only really there to protect the interests of the big museums – while reducing the chances of recovering looted artefacts by the original owners (or their descendants).

From:
New York Times

Dispute Over Bill on Borrowed Art
The heirs of Malevich sought to recover paintings, including the ones displayed above center and right.
By DOREEN CARVAJAL
Published: May 21, 2012

The lending and borrowing of famous artworks is the essence of cultural exchange between museums in the United States and abroad. So routine is the practice, and so universally valued, that the American government has traditionally protected it with a law that shields a lent work from being seized by anyone with a claim to legal ownership while the art is on display here.

In recent years, though, American museum directors have come to fear that this safeguard has eroded, and that foreign museums, dreading entanglement in costly ownership battles, are more hesitant to make loans. So they have asked Congress to increase the security for global art swaps.
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May 10, 2012

Who does the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act really protect?

Posted at 1:16 pm in Similar cases

A comment on my earlier post about the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, also known as Senate Bill S. 2212 highlights some more issues with this proposed law.

I’ve copied the information below directly from the comment by Pierre Ciric.

People who are concerned about the potential impact of the act are encouraged to sign the petition here.

As a second generation holocaust survivor, I have concluded that S. 2212, in shielding any government-related foreign institution from ANY liability or suit in the United States for claims for artworks related to cultural exchanges, and subject to pillage, plunder or illegal excavation, is appalling.

In 1998, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and its members promised to perform in-depth provenance research for their entire collections, during hearings held by Jim Leach, Chair of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services.
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May 1, 2012

Questions of provenance arising from destroyed Nigerian Nok statue in New York

Posted at 5:23 pm in Similar cases

The owner of a Nok statue accidentally destroyed by a magazine photographer is suing for the cost of the statue. Other issues remain unanswered in this case though, relating to the exact provenance of the terracotta figure & how it ended up in New York in the first place.

Damage such as this once again raises the issue of whether such artefacts really are in any way guaranteed to be looked after better in the west.

You can read the press coverage of the story, which includes pictures of the statue, here.

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

DAMAGE TO NOK SCULPTURE IN PRIVATE WESTERN COLLECTION. WILL OTHER AFRICAN ARTEFACTS END IN THIS WAY?
1 May 2012.

It has been reported in the New York Daily News that the widow of the French artist Arman, is suing in Manhattan Supreme Court for damage to a Nok sculpture caused during a photo shooting session for an art magazine. The sculpture fell and broke into pieces as shown above. Apparently, assistants of the magazine had moved the sculpture from its usual secure position. Mrs Arman has claimed that the sculpture was worth some $300,000. What will the average Nigerian think of this sum?

A question that will surely be raised is whether the precious object was insured against damage and for how much. If it was not insured, this may well reflect on the value attached to it by the owner.
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April 25, 2012

Egyptian antiquities smuggler Mousa Khouli pleads guilty

Posted at 1:04 pm in Similar cases

The trial of a smuggler of looted Egyptian antiquities is currently ongoing in the USA. Once again, it is great to see real action being taken in such cases, but it serves to highlight the oddity of how artefacts taken using similar means, not that many years ago, are legitimately on display in many museums, with little fear of any sort of legal comeback.

You can read a more in-depth analysis of this case here.

From:
Independent Online

SA Time: 25 April 2012 15:01:30
Dealer admits smuggling Egyptian treasures
April 19 2012 at 12:21pm

New York – An antiques dealer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to smuggling ancient Egyptian treasures, including a coffin, to the United States.

Mousa Khouli, also known as Morris Khouli, aged 38, faces up to 20 years of prison for “smuggling Egyptian cultural property into the United States and making a false statement to law enforcement authorities,” the federal prosecutor’s office in New York said.
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April 23, 2012

Swiss court confiscates ancient Greek coin

Posted at 5:08 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

More coverage of the court ruling concerning a Greek coin in Switzerland. Once again thoguh, this article takes the line that collectors are being unfairly subjected to laws, restricting the free sale of ancient coins.

From:
Numismaster

Swiss Court Confiscates Ancient Coin
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
February 22, 2012

An Associated Press news release of Jan. 12 originating from Thessaloniki, Greece, is worthy of attention not only due to the news of the confiscation of an ancient coin but because of the noticeably nationalistic sympathies reflected in the story.

The coin, described as an octadrachm “coin struck by a little-known Thracian ruler named Mosses around 480 BC, the time of the second failed Persian invasion of Greece,” was confiscated following a ruling by a court in Switzerland. According to the AP story, the coin “was allegedly illegally excavated in northern Greece and sold at auction in Switzerland, Greek and Swiss officials say.”
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March 30, 2012

Trial of Robert Hecht ends with no verdict

Posted at 12:48 pm in Similar cases

The trial in Italy of Robert Hecht, the art dealer suspected of selling many looted artefacts, has ended without verdict. The reasons for this result were similar to those that ended the trial of former Getty curator Marion True in 2010.

From:
Los Angeles Times

Italian case against antiquities dealer ends
January 19, 2012

The trial of Robert E. Hecht Jr., the alleged mastermind of an international black market in ancient art, ended with no verdict this week when a three-judge panel in Rome found the time allotted for the trial had expired.

Hecht, a 92-year-old Baltimore native now confined to bed at his home in Paris, has cut a wide swath through the art world since the 1950s, supplying museums and collectors around the world with some of the finest examples of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan art.
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March 29, 2012

Greece wins court ruling in Switzerland over looted coin

Posted at 1:02 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

As a country rich with archaeological heritage, Greece has always faced problems stopping illegal looting of its ancient sites. The more cases that get stopped before the artefacts can be sold on though, the less incentive there is for people who think that they can excavate illegally without facing any penalties.

From:
Washington Times

Greece wins Swiss court ruling over ancient coin
By Costas Kantouris
Associated Press
Thursday, January 12, 2012

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A Swiss court has ordered the confiscation of a very rare ancient silver coin that was allegedly illegally excavated in northern Greece and sold at auction in Switzerland, Greek and Swiss officials say.

The lawyer representing Greece in the case said Thursday that the ruling in October opens the way for the early 5th century B.C. coin’s return to Greece. The debt-crippled country’s rich cultural heritage has long suffered depredations from antiquities smugglers supplying a lucrative international market.
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March 27, 2012

The problems with the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

Marc Masurovsky has helped me out, by going into some of the issues with the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act.

The bill has now been introduced in the Senate as S. 2212. The worry is, that many of the successful cases that have been brought in the US in recent years, to secure the return of looted cultural property would no longer be possible. For those of you in the USA, the Senators supporting the bill are: Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch. As he points out, Fenstein has many major museums within her community, which includes San Francisco & Los Angeles.

As Marc says “It’s the end of art restitution as we know it.” Supporting such a bill would be a backward step for the country that is currently one of the more forward thinking (well compared to the UK at any rate) in terms of cultural property restitutions & the legal framework that allows them to take place. “After all, once you write a bill that carries with it select exclusions, it implies that you tolerate other forms of looted art to enter the US for display. Hence, the clarification to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act should either be all-inclusive or dropped entirely. It is absolutely critical for source countries to express themselves”.

Doubtless, many organisations such as the AAMD are unlikely to agree with this point of view.

More details of the act can be found in my original post on it.

February 1, 2012

Chasing Aphrodite – Italy’s attempts to reclaim their cultural patrimony

Posted at 5:51 pm in Similar cases

Another review of Chasing Aphrodite – about the Italian’s hunt for looted artefacts in the Getty Museum.

From:
Washington Times

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Chasing Aphrodite’
CHASING APHRODITE: THE HUNT FOR LOOTED ANTIQUITIES AT THE WORLD’S RICHEST MUSEUM
By Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 384 pages, illustrated

The 19th century was the golden age of acquisition. European and American collectors, smitten with the lure of antiquities from Greece, Italy and China, spent recklessly to assemble great collections in London, Paris and New York. No one questioned that marbles from the Parthenon would get more careful attention in London than in Athens.

Then the tide began to turn. Italians became restless at the sight of their “patrimony” being exported abroad. In 1939, Italy passed a cultural property law stating that archaeological objects found after that date were the property of the state. In Athens, Greeks demanded the return of the Elgin Marbles.
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January 26, 2012

What went wrong at the Getty Museum – the hunt for looted antiquities

Posted at 2:16 pm in Similar cases

The Trial (without result) of former Getty curator Marion True has been covered here many times before. The book “Chasing Aphrodite” aims to retell some of this story, as well as the background to it.

From:
New York Review of Books

What Went Wrong at the Getty
June 23, 2011
Hugh Eakin

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum
by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 375 pp., $28.00

1.

On August 5, 70 BC, at 1:30 in the afternoon, a remarkable criminal trial began in Rome. A young prosecutor named Marcus Tullius Cicero was accusing a senior Roman political official, Gaius Verres, of extortion and misrule during Verres’s tenure as governor of Sicily. “For three long years he so thoroughly despoiled and pillaged the province that its restoration to its previous state is out of the question,” Cicero proclaimed in his bold opening statement.
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November 16, 2011

US court rejects Iranian antiquities seizure

Posted at 2:11 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the US Appeal Court verdict on the seizure of Iranian Artefacts from two Chicago Museums.

From:
Tehran Times

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
U.S. court rejects seizure of Iranian antiquities
Tehran Times Culture Desk

TEHRAN — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has rejected confiscation of Iran’s 300 Achaemenid clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute in a session on March 29.

In the ruling, the Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s order that might have handed the artifacts over to several victims of a 1997 terrorist bombing in Israel, the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) reported last week.
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