Category Archives: United States

New York seizure of a “recovered” Persian artefact

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by Alexander Herman and Holly Woodhouse

Last month, on the 21st of October, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (along with local police) seized an ancient Achaemenid Persian bas-relief from the European Fine Art Fair at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The item was being offered for sale by the London-based art dealer Robert Wace for roughly $1.2 million. The […]

An important step towards asserting graffiti artists’ rights

Posted on: November 21, 2017 by Emily Gould

A recent finding of a jury in a Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York City,[1] has opened the door for greater protection for graffiti artists. At the core of disputes between graffiti artists and the real property owners their works adorn often lies the age-old debate as to whose property rights prevail: those of […]

Last-minute development in Berkshire deaccession dispute

Posted on: November 13, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

The Sotheby’s sale of the Berkshire Museum’s artworks, scheduled for the 13th of November, has now been put on hold following the Massachusetts Appeal Court’s decision reversing the previous judgment by the Superior Court, which had cleared the way for the sale. On Friday the 10th of November, the Court of Appeals granted the Attorney […]

Berkshire decision: Rockwell sales to proceed

Posted on: November 9, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

Judge John J. Agostini of the Pittsfield Superior Court gave his decision on Tuesday in the widely publicised deaccession case brought by the sons of Rockwell and others against the Berkshire Museum. As a brief reminder, the Berkshire Museum’s financial situation had been bleak for many years and wealthy donors had all but disappeared.  The […]

Hearing in the Berkshire Museum deaccession case

Posted on: November 3, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

On 1st November, Judge John Agostini, presiding over the Pittsfield Court remarked that people “don’t often see a large crowd here,” but a large crowd had indeed gathered that day. As previously discussed, the case before him involved two separate hearings for preliminary restraining orders against the Berkshire Museum and its Trustees to stop the sale of a […]

Legal action brought by Rockwell heirs against Berkshire Museum

Posted on: October 25, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

Following our recent post on the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, legal action has now been taken by Norman Rockwell’s heirs against the Museum in relation to the upcoming auction sale of works from the collection. On 20th October, Norman Rockwell’s sons, Thomas, Jarvis and Peter Rockwell, along with other museum members and donors, filed a […]

US leaves UNESCO

Posted on: October 23, 2017 by Emily Gould

Following the series of controversial decisions for which the Trump administration has come to be known, this month the US Department of State has notified the UNESCO Director-General of its decision to withdraw from the organisation. Amongst the reasons presented are ‘concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO’, ‘the need for fundamental reform in the organisation’ […]

Deaccessioning at the Berkshire Museum

Posted on: October 11, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

A storm has been brewing since the summer in the quiet town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  The town’s Berkshire Museum announced in July that it intended to put up 40 works of art for sale at Sotheby’s over a period ranging from November 2017 to March 2018. The Museum justified its decision by its dire financial […]

New IFAR Provenance Guide

Posted on: July 28, 2017 by Hélène Deslauriers

The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) has recently published a Provenance Guide. As set out in the Introduction to the Guide, provenance had historically concerned the attribution and authenticity of a work. The recent wave of claims by Nazi Holocaust survivors, or their heirs, as well as the threat of illegal exports from foreign source […]

Two recent antiquities cases in the US

Posted on: July 7, 2017 by Alexander Herman

A warning for museums? There have been two interesting recent developments relating to antiquities: one regarding allegedly looted antiquities, the other regarding artefacts at the centre of a legal storm that has been brewing for some 15 years; both involve the United States of America. The first is the action brought by US District Attorneys […]