Showing results 1 - 12 of 19 for the tag: New York.

September 12, 2018

Heirs of prior owner of Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll claim rebuffed

Posted at 11:26 pm in Similar cases

The National Gallery is trumpetting this decision, but it seems more down to legal technicalities than any judgement of innocence or otherwise

Legal action in restitution cases take many forms. One case that has interested me in the past is that of Agudas Chasidei Chabad v. Russian Federation, et al. As I mentioned at the time, it had commonalities with a potential case I had heard presented relating to the same US court and the Parthenon Marbles.

When trying a case in a foreign court, there are many pitfalls to be aware of, not least the potential difficulties of enforcing any judgement. Another important aspect however in the US courts is that of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). I have heard reasons why both the above cases met (or would meet) the conditions set by the Act – but it is worth bearing in mind that other cases have not been so lucky.

This news story relates to the heirs of a painting by Matisse, which was given by the owners (in Berlin) to someone (in Switzerland) for safekeeping in the chaotic aftermath of World War Two. This presents an interesting case (from a British point of view), in that it neatly avoids the (necessarily specific, but thus rather blunt) definitions of the Nazi Era used the in UK’s Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill. Of course, as this case was tried in a foreign jurisdiction, the aforementioned act would not apply in this case anyway.

The person in Switzerland entrusted with looking after the artwork then sold it and kept the proceeds. The painting eventually ended up in the UK’s National Gallery.

In this case, the Federal Appeals court in New York has rejected the claim, due to the fact that it does not meet the conditions of the FSIA, because the painting was taken by an individual rather than a state.

That said, this is a technical argument that means that the case can not proceed. It in no way endorses (or not) the due diligence by the National Gallery in checking the origins of a work by a well known artist (which has echoes of the Feldmann paintings about it). Possibly another case brought under a different jurisdiction might find differently. With the Feldmann Paintings, while the British Museum claimed that they were acquired in good faith, it now argued that it felt there was an overwhelming moral case for their return. Perhaps the National Gallery should follow suit?

Matisse's Portrait of Greta Moll (1908)

Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll (1908)

From:
The Art Newspaper

Court rejects claim to Matisse owned by National Gallery
Rebuffing heirs, an appeals panel in New York says the court lacks jurisdiction
Nancy Kenney
11th September 2018 18:26 GMT

A federal appeals court in New York has rejected a claim to a 1908 Matisse painting owned by the National Gallery in London by three grandchildren of the muse portrayed in the work.

In demanding the work’s return, the heirs had argued that the painting, Portrait of Greta Moll, was illegally sold by a former art student to whom the painting had been entrusted for safekeeping in the aftermath of the Second World War. The portrait changed hands several times before it was acquired by the National Gallery in 1979.
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February 27, 2015

Bronze Statuette returned to Oliveriano Archaeological museum

Posted at 1:57 pm in Similar cases

A bronze statuette stolen from an Italian museum has been returned after it was identified at an Auction in New York.

Bronze statuette of Hercules from Oliveriano Archaeological Museum in Pesaro

Bronze statuette of Hercules from Oliveriano Archaeological Museum in Pesaro

From:
BBC News

25 February 2015 Last updated at 16:13
Stolen art returned to Italy from New York

An ancient statuette and an 18th Century painting have been returned to Italy, having turned up in New York decades after being stolen.

The painting, The Holy Trinity Appearing to Saint Clement, is by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, a Venetian artist born in 1696.
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August 28, 2014

Ancient coins returned to Greece after New York investigation

Posted at 12:59 pm in Similar cases

As part of a plea bargain, during an investigation into black market trading of rare coins, the collector Arnold-Peter Weiss has agreed to return some of the disputed coins to GReece.

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

From:
Reuters

Ancient coins returned to Greece as part of New York plea deal
05/08/14 12:14 CET

A collection of ancient silver pieces forfeited during an undercover investigation into black-market coin trading in New York City was handed over to the Greek government at a ceremony on Monday, city officials said.

The repatriation of the five coins dating back to 515 BC resulted from a plea agreement by a Rhode Island orthopedic surgeon and longtime coin collector who was convicted of attempted criminal possession of rare stolen coins in 2012.
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March 27, 2012

Asia Society discusses benefits of a “Wikiloot” database

Posted at 1:17 pm in Similar cases

The Asia Society in New York has discussed the benefits of a Wikiloot type database at their most recent meeting.

From:
The Art Newspaper

Asia Society debate: the dos and don’ts of collecting antiquities
Establishing a “Wikiloot” website to track illicitly traded antiquities is among the issues discussed
By Eric Magnuson. Web only
Published online: 22 March 2012

The Asia Society in New York held a panel on collecting ancient art in the 21st century on 18 March along with the American Committee for Cultural Policy.

The first half of the panel primarily covered legal aspects concerning collecting art from China and India. The international art dealer James Lally went into depth about some of the misconceptions that the collecting community has about the memorandum of understanding between China and the US, and Naman Ahuja, a professor of Indian art and architecture from Delhi, spoke adamantly about how he believed that western collectors should help museums from source countries by lending their expertise.
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March 21, 2012

Turkey requests return of eighteen artefacts from New York’s Metropolitan Museum

Posted at 5:45 pm in Similar cases

The return of the Euphronius Krater to Italy a few years ago appears to have been far from the end to the Met’s problems over looted artefacts in their collection.

Further information on this story is available here and a more detailed description of the artefacts involved including photos is here.

From:
Artinfo

More Antiquities Woes for U.S. Museums Loom, As Turkey Demands 18 Artifacts From the Metropolitan Museum
by Benjamin Sutton
Published: March 20, 2012

Former Metropolitan director Phillipe de Montebello famously faced one of the greatest challenges of his career over looted Greek antiquities in the museum’s collection, ultimately diffusing it with his ingenious “returns-for-loans” strategy. Now, new director Thomas Campbell faces a fresh battle over dodgy antiquities, this time from Turkey. And it’s heating up.

At the beginning of the month the Turkish government made aggressive moves to assert its claims on supposedly looted objects, banning its own institutions from loaning antiquities to museums including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Met, until artifacts held in those museums’ collections were returned. While the Art Newspaper reported that 12 unidentified items at the Metropolitan were in dispute, the blog Chasing Aphrodite is now claiming that the number has escalated to 18, and has even offered a specific list of the contested artifacts.
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February 17, 2012

Met Museum to return nineteen artefacts to Egypt

Posted at 2:02 pm in Similar cases

The artefacts that the Met agreed to return in 2010 are now ready to be returned to Egypt.

From:
Reuters

New York’s Met to return 19 artifacts to Egypt: MENA
CAIRO | Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:23am EDT

(Reuters) – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to return to Cairo 19 artifacts dating back to the time of ancient Egypt’s teenage king Tutankhamen, the state news agency MENA said on Saturday.

Egypt has been pushing for the repatriation of major pharaonic treasures it says were plundered by foreign powers, including the Rosetta Stone now in the British Museum and Queen Nefertiti’s bust from Berlin’s Neues Museum.
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February 10, 2011

Should Egypt reclaim Cleopatra’s Needle be reclaimed from Central Park?

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the statements made by Egypt about reclaiming Cleopatra’s Needle, an ancient obelisk, from New York’s Central Park, due to allegations of negligence. Note that, although the obelisk is part of a pair (with the other in London), the claim only relates to the one in New York at present.

From:
Artinfo

Egypt Threatens to Reclaim Cleopatra’s Needle From Central Park, Citing Negligence
Published: January 10, 2011

CAIRO— Zahi Hawass, the ubiquitous, media-savvy Egyptian antiquities director whose blockbuster King Tut exhibition just finished its United States tour over the weekend, cannot be accused of resting on his laurels. After having convinced the Metropolitan Museum of Art to return 19 small artifacts that he said were taken illegally from Egypt, he’s now turning his sights to bigger game in the museum’s backyard — Cleopatra’s Needle, the 3,500-year-old obelisk that resides next to the Met in Central Park, and which Hawass now accuses the Parks Department of failing to properly maintain.

Despite its moniker, the obelisk was not built under the famous Egyptian queen’s reign, but by her predecessor of a century and a half, Thutmose III, around 1450 B.C. Its provenance is not in question — the Egyptian Khedive (or viceroy) first suggested giving it as a gift to New York City in 1869 in honor of the completion of the Suez Canal and the resulting trade relationship between the U.S. and Egypt. The gift became official in 1877, after William Vanderbilt promised the tens of thousands of dollars necessary for transporting the obelisk, and it was erected near the newly-established museum in 1881. But Hawass claims that the city has allowed the monument’s hieroglyphics to deteriorate, LiveScience reported.
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February 9, 2011

Egypt threatens to take back obelisk from New York

Posted at 2:23 pm in Similar cases

In a story that has parallels with the Axum Obelisk in Rome, Egypt has threatened to demand the return of Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park, New York, Because it feels that the obelisk is not being properly looked after there.

From:
Yahoo News

Egypt threatens to take back New York obelisk
By Kristina Cooke – Sun Jan 9, 5:21 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Egyptian government official charged with protecting his country’s ancient monuments is threatening to take back an iconic obelisk in Central Park unless New York City takes steps to restore it.

The stone obelisk “has been severely weathered over the past century” with no effort made to conserve it, Zahi Hawass, secretary general for Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, wrote in a letter this week to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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December 14, 2010

Stolen statue spotted in Manhattan gallery by Italian policeman

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the statue located by chance in a New York gallery thirty years after being stolen from a museum in Rome.

From:
New York Post

Roamin’ cop nabs hot art
Italian sleuth spots statue in NYC gallery
By CLEMENTE LISI
Last Updated: 7:36 AM, November 20, 2010

An eagle-eyed Italian cop was hailed as a hero yesterday for spotting a precious stolen statue in a Manhattan art gallery — leading to the miraculous homecoming of that artifact and another filched sculpture.

The items, stolen in Italy in the 1980s and worth about $680,000 apiece, were unveiled in a small museum outside Rome, thanks to the police art-squad expert who was on vacation when he saw one of them during a stroll up Madison Avenue.
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December 12, 2010

Tutankhamun treasures to be returned to Egypt

Posted at 11:53 pm in Similar cases

Further coverage of the decision by New York’s Metropolitan Museum to return 19 artefacts to Egypt.

From:
The Daily Star (Dhaka)

Friday, November 12, 2010
New York Museum to return artefacts to Egypt

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is returning to Egypt 19 small objects that were entombed for centuries with ancient Egypt’s “boy king,” officials announced Wednesday.

A small bronze dog and a sphinx bracelet-element were attributed with certainty to Tutankhamun’s splendid burial chamber, which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of Kings, the museum and the Supreme Council of Antiques of Egypt said.
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December 9, 2010

Italian policeman locates looted statue in New York

Posted at 2:06 pm in Similar cases

An Italian policeman on holiday in New York spotted a statue stolen from a museum in Rome in 1980.

From:
Agence France Presse

Italian policeman in New York finds stolen statue
(AFP) – Nov 19, 2010

ROME — The return from the United States of a precious Roman artefact stolen from an Italy museum is thanks to an Italian policeman who strolled through New York on holiday this year, officials said on Friday.

Walking down Madison Avenue, the officer from Italy’s cultural heritage police noticed the marble torso on sale for 350,000 dollars (256,000 euros) in a gallery’s display, they said.
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December 6, 2010

The movement for the repatriation of disputed artworks

Posted at 2:15 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The recent agreement by the Metropolitan Museum in New York to return nineteen disputed artefacts to Egypt signifies yet another step in the turning tide against the retention of such pieces by museums.

From:
Periscope Post

Are art museums guilty of stealing?
12 November 2010

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced this week that it is sending 19 items, including a bracelet and a small bronze statue of a dog, excavated from the tomb of of the boy king Tutankhamun, back to Egypt. Art repatriation, it seems, is beginning to pick up steam.

This is not the first time that the Met have returned artifacts to their places of origin. As the Metropolis blog at the Wall Street Journal pointed out, last year the museum returned a granite fragment inscribed with the name of an Egyptian ruler to Cairo, and in 2001, the Met sent back a 19th-Dynasty relief, showing the head of an Egyptian goddess. Other items, such as Euphronios Krater (an ancient Greek vase), the Hellenistic silver collection (an ancient set of 16 silver pieces smuggled out of Sicily), as well as works of art that were looted by the Nazis, have been sent back home.
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