Martha Lufkin

News
Restitution

US Supreme Court agrees to hear Berlin museums' appeal in lawsuit over restitution of medieval treasures to Jewish heirs

Panel will consider museums' argument that a trial over rightful ownership of the Guelph Treasure cannot be heard in American courts

News
Nazi loot

US government recommends that the Supreme Court hear German museums’ appeal on Guelph Treasure claim

The solicitor general’s recent filing suggests the Nazis’ looting of Jewish collections in Germany was a domestic rather than international crime

News
Economics

US coronavirus legislation could do more for the arts, Boston museums say

The coalition is asking for $6bn in federal aid, and to permanently expand the charitable giving deduction to encourage US taxpayers to donate to non-profits

News
Nazi loot

Supreme Court delays Guelph Treasure appeal so US government can add its views to case

The German state museum agency has argued that it cannot be sued in American courts by heirs of Jewish dealers who sold the works during the Holocaust

Archive
Law

Italy sues for return of antique pottery which they claim to own under national law because they are objects of archaeological interest.

The US has filed a complaint in a federal district court to determine who owns 230 antiquities produced in ancient Italian pottery workshops

Archive
USA

US government intervenes as Israel bombing victims issue lawsuit asking for Iranian antiquities from museums

Iran argues that artefacts housed abroad should have immunity since they originate from a foreign sovereign state

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Historians bake sourdough bread with yeast that could date to ancient Egypt

The loaf, made with yeast extracted from an artefact at the MFA Boston, could provide valuable insight into ancient civilisations

Archive
Lawsuits

Collector wins $1.7 million in damages from New York Gallery over violation of lending contract

Jean-Pierre Lehmann was denied “the right of first refusal over everybody”

News
Restitution

Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection can keep a painting that the Nazis stole, US judge rules

The judge says the work should have raised suspicions, but that he must apply Spanish law

News
Law

Protesters, influencers and AI: what museums need to think about today

Legal experts discussed the pressing topics for institutions at a recent conference in Washington, DC

News
McMullen Museum of Art

Boston College mascot identified as Meiji bronze

The monumental bronze eagle was donated in 1954 by a gardener who inherited it from a diplomat and collector

News
Loans

Hermitage and MoMA heads seek end to US-Russian loans freeze

Diplomats hint at future cooperation between the countries at Texas conference

Analysis
Law

Rule of law: Legal tips for art lovers

From new exhibitor regulations at Art Basel in Miami Beach to questions over insurance and taxes

News
Law

Legal battle over Met's famous Picasso reignited by estate

The museum stands by its ownership of The Actor, which it says was never in the hands of Nazis

News

Getty says it will appeal Italian court order to return Victorious Youth

An Italian judge has found that the work was discovered in Italian water, despite decades of rulings to the contrary

News

The dark web, surveillance dolls and Van Gogh’s zombie ear: technology’s role in art debated at Boston conference

While artists and museums embrace futuristic tools, legal experts point to a number of pitfalls with cutting-edge work

News
Law

Rhode Island School of Design denies claim on Picasso by Alphonse Kann heirs

Provenance research commissioned by the university has found that-while the work was once owned by the legendary collector-it was not looted by the Nazis

News
Law

Terror victims cannot seize Iranian antiquities, US Supreme Court rules

A 2008 amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not open a foreign nation's assets to claimants, the justices unanimously decided

News
Tax

How the new US tax law affects the art world

President Trump today signed sweeping changes to the tax system that will impact wealthy individuals, art businesses and museums

News
Law

Supreme Court hears arguments in claim against Iranian antiquities

Victims of a 1997 suicide attack want to seize ancient Persian tablets from a Chicago museum to satisfy a $71m judgment in their favour

News
Obituaries

Vincent Scully, fervent professor of art of architecture, has died, aged 97

His lectures at Yale University inspired generations to think about “the humanity within architecture”, says former student Maya Lin

News
Law

How Trump’s new tax plan could affect the art world

GOP proposal could result in fewer gifts to museums and less art on the market

News
Law

US court to decide on terror victims’ claim on lent artefacts

Eight US citizens injured in a terrorist attack are trying to seize Persian antiquities on loan from Iran to a museum in Chicago

News

Artists’ commissions, tech gifts and guns: the legal issues facing US museums

Delegates at a Smithsonian-sponsored law conference in Dallas heard about the challenges testing institutions as they move into the “new future”

News
Law

From drones to fair use: the hottest topics in museum law

Nationalistic appropriation, brand control in reality TV shows, YouTube take-downs: American Law Institute’s annual course covered it all

News
Law

How to get on with artists, handle mergers and avoid lawsuits

Legal conference tackles issues facing US museums, from commissioning work to developing diversity

Archive
US politics

Married gay couples to get art tax breaks

Museums could benefit, as well as sponsors

Archive
Chicago

Possible US sanctions on Iran could create back door for commandeering of museum antiquities as damages

Persepolis tablets on loan to Chicago's Oriental Institute since the 1930s compromised in lawsuit brought by victims of Jerusalem suicide bombing

Archive
Restitution

Herzog’s heirs given go-ahead to pursue Hungary for Nazi loot

They seek to recover 32 looted works

Archive
Iran

Chicago courts refuse Israel suicide bombing victims request for seizure of antiquities from US museums

Iran was gratified by the ruling that a foreign state's property in the US is exempt from such inquiries

Archive
Alexander Calder

Calder in Chicago’s Willis tower in legal battle

Former owners of the building stake their claim over the 1974 piece Universe

Archive
Restitution

California’s controversial restitution bill

Move to make it easier for claimants to recover looted art is dividing the state

Archive
News

Restored 18th century parlour from Connecticut open for public viewing at Yale University Art Gallery

Yale prepares for the 2012 installation of its decorative arts galleries by reconstructing a period room

Archive
Museums & Heritage

Bringing back the Baroque—colonial style

Yale prepares for the 2012 installation of its decorative arts galleries by reconstructing a period room

Archive
Restitution

Restitution case targets Thyssen museum

But it may not be legally possible to sue Spain in the US courts

Archive
Calder Foundation

Courts cannot dictate authentication board’s decisions, case concerning Calder works finds

Judge says he does not have power over Calder Foundation

Archive
Churches

Vermont Church to sell Tiffany window for the homeless

Unless they find themselves subject to divine miracle

Archive
US politics

Artists and academics fight animal rights activists in Supreme Court

Anti-censorship group believes law against images of cruelty limits artistic freedoms

Archive
diversity

Representation and diversity: America is changing, but are its art museums?

Most major institutions are still run by white people, are supported by them, and tailor their exhibitions to suit them

Archive
Lawsuits

Collector and Madoff associate Ezra Merkin finds himself in court

He is accused of defrauding his investors, which include charities

Archive
Park West Gallery

Park West sued by customers who demand refunds for "fake" works

The gallery dismisses the suit as a “smear campaign”

Archive
Forgeries

New York- and Miami-based dealer Giuseppe Concepcion accused over multiple forgeries

Concepcion is alleged to have sold fake Matisses and Calders among others, complete with forged certificates of authenticity

Archive
Egon Schiele

The increasing role of the market in settling restitution claims

Shakeouts of Nazi-looted occurring increasingly in the marketplace

Archive
Restitution

Minneapolis hands Léger to collector’s family

The painting was stolen from its Jewish owner during the Nazi occupation of France

Archive
News

Artist John Chamberlain can be sued over disputed Warhol, says Judge

Former Factory assistant claims he made the disputed work

Archive
Kazimir Malevich

Stedelijk returns five Malevich works to artist’s heirs

Museum retains 79 works on long-term loan from the City of Amsterdam

Archive
Robert Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg gallery to continue lawsuit after artist’s death

Case seeks to punish defendant for selling works found in trash

Archive
Restitution

Leopold Museum in Vienna accused over Nazi-looted art

Institution says restitution laws don’t apply as it is a private gallery

Archive
Robert Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg sues artist for selling his trash

Robert Francis Montgomery's dumpster diving has landed him in litigation

Archive
Jean-Michel Basquiat

Christie’s hits back over disputed Basquiat

Auction house seeks dismissal of lawsuit

Archive
Restitution

Dutch restitution group to carry on for three more years

Former vice-president of the Dutch Supreme Court is named chairman

Archive
News

Heirs of millionaire art collector at loggerheads

The difficulty has arisen because Mr Eastman left the bulk of his estate in a “marital trust” for his wife

Archive
Restitution

MoMA and Guggenheim file joint appeal against restitution effort

They dispute claims made by Julius Schoeps on Picassos in their collection

Archive
UBS

Swiss bank UBS used Art Basel Miami Beach to entice Americans in tax avoidance scheme

Former employee who facilitated the use of offshore accounts sentenced this month for “conspiracy to defraud” US and Internal Revenue Service

Archive
Lawsuits

Gallery accused of duping collector through operating a “Ponzi” scheme

Salander-O’Reilly denies all charges

Archive
Kazimir Malevich

City of Amsterdam may be sued by the US over lawsuit brought by Malevich heirs

The heirs of Kazimir Malevich are seeking the return of 14 paintings from the Stedelijk Museum, claiming they are not entitled to the paintings

Archive
Art market

“Fake” Picasso is warning to make deals formal

Court to rule on payment “held in trust”

Archive
Goudstikker

Norton Simon Museum of Art and Goudstikker heiress to go to court over fight for Cranachs

Marei von Saher claims they are Nazi loot, while Norton Simon believes it has legal title to the paintings

Archive
Pakistan

Starving Buddha sculpture returned to Pakistan

But leading London expert says it’s a fake

Archive
Collectors

Collector forced to remove Kiefer sculpture from his property after it is legally classified as a 'structure'

Andrew Hall says he will now loan the piece to Mass MoCA

Archive
Discoveries

Stolen art discovered in reclusive collector’s estate

Christie’s and the Stair Galleries both cancelled sales as a result

Archive
Restitution

Auschwitz survivor wants her art back from concentration camp

Roma portraits were made by Jewish prisoner on the orders of Dr Josef Mengele

Archive
News

Nazi war loot held in Austrian museums to be sold if unclaimed

The database of all art with questionable provenance is now online

Archive
May 2006

As US museums face mounting legal issues, an annual conference explores what to do with whistleblowers and dodgy donors

Recent corporate scandals have raised concerns that American charities should be examining their ethics policies

Archive
Iran

Victims of Hamas suicide bombers demand Iranian antiquities from US museums in compensation for injuries

Terrorist attacks in Jerusalem which killed five and injured hundreds were executed with funding from Iran—say plaintiffs in several lawsuits

Archive
Restitution

Books: The view from eastern Europe on restitution

These essays emanate from a series of Polish conferences

Archive
Restitution

Austria must return five Nazi-looted Klimt paintings to the heirs of the Jewish collector Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer

“Morally, this is a gain for Austria” not a loss, says Maria Altmann

Archive
Art market

Debt and legal troubles force Berry-Hill Galleries to file for bankruptcy

Christie’s is owed $14 million and there are over 100 other creditors

Archive
Marion True

Ex-Getty antiquities curator appears in Italian court

Marion True made a surprise appearance on the first day of the trial

Archive
Lawsuits

Collector settles suit with Project gallery over violation of first refusal agreement

The settlement terms remain confidential

Archive
Marion True

Now former Getty antiquities curator Marion True goes on trial this month

Marion True has resigned from the museum and the institution is to return three artefacts to Italy

Archive
Nazi loot

$6.5 million settlement to heir for stolen Picasso

Chicago collector agrees to pay claimant to gain title to the work

Archive
US politics

Amateur painter's Anti-Bush painting in cafeteria exhibition enrages Republicans

But California Attorney General defends freedom of speech

Archive
Kazimir Malevich

US court could hear case against the City of Amsterdam for Kazimir Malevich works of art at the Stedelijk Museum

The heirs of Kazimir Malevich are claiming 14 works which the Dutch institution sent on tour to New York and Houston

Archive
Pablo Picasso

Nazi Loot Picasso case can proceed in California

Marilynn Alsdorf had hoped the case would be thrown out of court

Archive
Pre-Colombian

Respected Pre-Colombian art dealers indicted over fraud

The Merrin brothers are accused of defrauding clients out of millions of dollars

Archive
Lawsuits

Collector sues gallery over right to first choice of artists’ work

He was promised preferential treatment (and paid for it) but was then left out of almost all sales

Archive
Forgeries

The FBI is looking for works faked by the Manhattan dealer Ely Sakhai

Is your painting on their website?

Archive
Harvard Art Museums

Harvard’s barcode revolution: the University makes plans to digitise its huge art collection

By 2007 Harvard will be able to tracks the collection digitally, and everything will be accessible

Archive
Maria Altmann

Struggles continue over Klimt Nazi-loot lawsuit

Maria Altmann had urged an earlier trial date while in dispute with Austrian government

Archive
Art crime

Shell Company Lawsuit: Gagosian and Brant pay $10 million to Uncle Sam in unpaid taxes

The US lawsuit alleged they created a shell company to avoid paying dues

Archive
Restitution

War provenance art: a growing source of supply in the market

Christie’s follows Sotheby’s and appoints a director of restitution

Archive
Lebanese

Lebanese antiquities dealers prosecuted in US and Egypt

Hicham Aboutaam has pleaded guilty in the US to a Customs misdemeanour while his brother, Ali, is seeking to have his conviction by an Egyptian court nullified

Archive
Restitution

Austria aims to dismiss restitution bid: “If you want the Klimts come and claim them in Austria”

Maria V. Altmann is attempting to reclaim 6 Klimt paintings looted by the Nazis

Archive
Maria Altmann

Supreme Court says Austria can be sued in the US over Nazi-loot case

The Justices rule six to three in favour of Maria Altmann. She can now pursue her case in American courts

Archive
Restitution

US Supreme Court hears the Austria Klimt case

The Bush administration argues that Austria cannot be sued in a US court because it would interfere with foreign relations

Archive
Restitution

Malevich heirs claim paintings—again

A suit has been filed in a US federal court for 14 paintings in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

How the contents of Iran’s Western Cave were dispersed

Many of the objects, some extant since the first millennium BC, were looted from the site and entered the international market

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

Antiquities dealer arrested for smuggling Iranian artefact from raided archaeological site into US

Hicham Aboutaam sold the antiquity to a New York buyer for $950,000; the US says it is part of a the looted Western Cave hoard

Archive
Phoenix Ancient Art gallery

How the Aboutaams tried, and failed, to sue the Kimbell Art Museum over a Roman torso

Lawsuit against Kimbell Art Museum was dismissed last November

Archive
Iraq

Military personnel unearth secret hoard of Jewish manuscripts belonging to Saddam Hussein in search for weapons of mass destruction

Found in the headquarters of Saddam’s secret police force in Baghdad, the cache has been transferred to Washington for conservation

Archive
Restitution

Supreme Court to decide whether Austria can be sued in the US

An American citizen is claiming six Klimts from the Nationalgalerie in Vienna alleged to have been seized from her uncle by the Nazis and then unlawfully retained by Austria after the war

Archive
Restitution

The Springfield Museum sues Knoedler over spoliated Bassano

Knoedler's poor provenance research led to the return of a $3 million painting to Italy

Archive
Restitution

Claim for slice of the action at LACMA as new show uses paintings subject to restitution claims

A French plaintiff says he deserves a percentage of exhibition ticket sales at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art because the works on display were taken from his grandfather after the Russian Revolution

Archive
Art market

Art buyers are coming forward to authorities to pay unpaid sales tax following the claim that many buyers have been evading sales tax on art

There have been no prosecutions, but some cases remain in litigation

Archive
Gagosian Gallery

US sues Larry Gagosian seeking back income taxes on art sales

Taxman claims he and others created a shell company to avoid tax

Archive
Restitution

Furniture proves the next frontier in restitution as Fraenkel objects are tracked down

A claim brought against the Musée Carnavalet in Paris has an effect on US museums

Archive
Restitution

Austrian court orders seizure of Nazi-looted Schiele

Heirs will have to sue for the painting, which is currently being held at Dorotheum

Archive
Law

Barbara Kruger case: Art trumps right to privacy

A US Federal court has thrown out the case against artist Barbara Kruger for her appropriation of a 1960 photo, and against the Whitney Museum and LA MoCA for selling goods reproducing the offending image

Archive
Crime

Over 30 Manhattan art collectors have come forward voluntarily to pay $6 million in unpaid State sales tax on works of art

NY District Attorney promises amnesty for those who come forward while corporate executive Samuel Waksal enters a guilty plea for tax evasion