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Category Archives: Art Recovery/Theft

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Using Bioengineered DNA As A Tool For Authenticating Art

Posted in Art Authentication, Art Recovery/Theft

Earlier today the International New York Times reported on a fascinating new authentication system that would allow living artists to “sign” their artworks with very small amounts of synthetic DNA.  Being that my passions include science and art, I couldn’t wait to write up this week’s Art Law blog post on this new scientific marking… Continue Reading

Toledo Museum Of Art To Return Four Antiquities Purchased From Art Dealer Accused Of Smuggling And Providing False Histories Of Provenance To Purchasers

Posted in Art Museums, Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

In a recent press release issued on September 22, 2015 by the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA), the museum announced that it will return four antiquities purchased from Subhash Kapoor, a New York City art dealer currently under investigation by the United States Departments of Justice and Homeland Security for illegally importing and selling stolen… Continue Reading

Restituted $39 Million Klimt Painting Sold at Sotheby’s London In June Will Be On Display For A Short Time Next Year

Posted in Art Museums, Art Recovery/Theft, Art Valuation

As recently reported by Artnet, there has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding the buyer’s identity of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt’s painting entitled Portrait of Gertrud Loew-Felsövanyi (1902) sold at Sotheby’s London back in June for $39 million.  Recent credible reports confirm that the buyer is British billionaire businessman Joe Lewis, who came into… Continue Reading

Germany’s Clandestine Nazi-Era Art Market

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a police raid in Germany that focused attention on an art market where collectors and dealers buy and sell works by artists favored by the Nazis. Read the full article here. In a coordinated raid, German police recently seized nine “lost” Nazi-commissioned sculptures. If the investigation reveals that… Continue Reading

Jasper Johns’ Longtime Assistant Sentenced To Prison For Stealing The Celebrated Artist’s Art Work And Profiting $4M From Same

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

In the art news this week, it was reported that celebrated artist Jasper Johns’ longtime assistant James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months of prison by a Manhattan Federal Judge on Wednesday for stealing and profiting from the sale of 37 of Johns’ art works in excess of $4 million.  Meyer was also ordered to pay… Continue Reading

Seller Be Ware – Valuable Banksy Mural Inadvertently Sold For Only $174

Posted in Art Finance, Art Recovery/Theft, Art Valuation, Litigation Issues

A valuable Banksy mural entitled the Bomb Damage that appeared on the front door wreckage of a home that was bombed in the Gaza Strip is at the center of an ownership dispute.  According to reports, the work, which depicts Niobe, a Greek goddess who weeps for her dead offspring, was painted by Banksy during… Continue Reading

“Restoring A Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures” Exhibit Opens At Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston

Posted in Art Museums, Art Recovery/Theft, Current Art Exhibits

A new exhibition celebrating recent gifts of an exquisite European collection to the Museum of Fine Arts (“MFA”) by the heirs of Bettina Looram de Rothschild, who was a daughter of the original owners Baron and Baroness Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild of Vienna, opened yesterday.  Bettina Looram de Rothschild’s daughter, MFA Trustee Bettina Burr,… Continue Reading

More Trouble for Former Director of the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

Leigh Morse, former director of the now infamous Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, may be incarcerated again for failing to timely pay restitution to the galleries’ defrauded clients, which include celebrity clients like Robert DeNiro.  It has been reported that more than three years have passed since her sentencing but Morse has only paid $22,000 of the $1.73… Continue Reading

Fate Of The Treasured “Cranachs” Continues – Part 2 And The Act Of State Doctrine

Posted in Art Museums, Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

As noted in the below post, last week the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) declined to hear an art provenance case, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena et al. v. Marei Von Saher, which has a rather long history as well as the artworks at issue.  The claims involve the fate of… Continue Reading

California Museum Denied Cert by SCOTUS on Dispute over Looted Art

Posted in Art Museums, Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to deny cert on The Norton Simon Museum’s appeal, Marei Von Saher, descendant of Jewish relatives who fled Holland during the Holocaust, will get another day in court on claims involving the ownership of Renaissance artist, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s, life-sized diptychs of Adam and Eve (circa… Continue Reading

The Art Loss Register: A Significant Deterrent To Art Theft

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft

For those not already familiar with The Art Loss Register (“ALR”), I thought this would be a helpful albeit brief introduction to the ALR and the key services the London-based company, International Art and Antique Loss Register Limited, offers to art dealers, art fairs, auction houses, insurers, law enforcement agencies, museums, and private individuals. The ALR… Continue Reading

Art of War: Asher Edelman Brings Suit Seeking Over $200 Million in Damages for Alleged Art Fraud

Posted in Art Finance, Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

The well-known art collector and financier Asher Edelman has instituted a lawsuit in Manhattan claiming that his firm, ArtAssure, was fleeced of over $200 million arising out of an allegedlly fraudulent art transaction. ArtAssure claims that it was fraudulently induced by the Swiss firm Artmentum to believe that Japan’s Hiroshima Art Museum was trying to sell approximately $400… Continue Reading


Posted in Art Recovery/Theft

George Clooney’s new movie, The Monuments Men, starring Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett, celebrates the legacy of the men and women tasked with recovering and safeguarding Europe’s greatest cultural and artistic treasures during World War II.  The movie, scheduled to debut February 7, 2014, is based on Robert Edsel’s 2009 book, The Monuments Men:… Continue Reading

What Price Art Fraud?

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft

Interesting look here at the other side of the art fraud world.    Forged works often make their way to the market, fooling even the most sophisticated investors and purchaser, but often the HOW the forged work becomes created is not examined. In the article, Pei-Shen Qian, a Chinese national living in the U.S. discusses creating dozens or more forged… Continue Reading

Austrian Restitution Law Opens the Door to Return of Valuable Gustav Klimt Work

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft, Art Valuation, Litigation Issues

In 2009 the restitution laws of Austria were amended to include works of art that were sold to the government at a discount due to an export ban on art.  In a recent case involving a valuable frieze inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that was crafted by Gustav Klimt in 1902, a panel of art… Continue Reading

White House Art Intrigue: The Tangled Tale of Eight Paintings by Post-Impressionist Master Cézanne

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft

An extraordinary bequest of eight French masterpieces created by Paul Cézanne from American collector Charles A. Loeser 85 years ago “to the President of the United States of America and his successors in office for the adornment of the White House” had become diverted more than 60 years ago.  Such bequest certainly would have been… Continue Reading