Worldwide: Sotheby's Goes Private & More Art World Headlines

The following are summaries of news reports pertaining to art law and art markets, organized by geographic regions for your browsing convenience. Wilson Elser's Art Law practice team will transition this service to our new Art Law Blog, due to launch in the near future. 

UNITED STATES

SCOTUS May Get a Say in the Fate of the Guelph Treasure

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz or SPK), which operates Berlin's state museums, plans to seek review by the United States Supreme Court of the issue of U.S. courts' jurisdiction to hear the case of the 1935 sale of the famed Guelph Treasure by Jewish art dealers to the Prussian government. The Guelph Treasure is a collection of 82 pieces of medieval ecclesiastical art originally housed at Brunswick Cathedral in Braunschweig, Germany. The Treasure is presently dispersed between private and museum collections, including the Bode Museum in Berlin. In 2015, the heirs of the Jewish dealers filed a lawsuit against the German government in the United States, alleging that the 1935 sale occurred under duress. SPK unsuccessfully moved to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds and their appeal was rejected his month when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the petition to rehear en banc.

Federal Court in New York Allows Rybolovlev's Suit Against Sotheby's to Proceed

Russian art collector Dmitry Rybolovlev is suing the auction house for allegedly aiding and abetting his former art adviser, Yves Bouvier, in what he claims was a scheme to overcharge him in the purchase of his world-class art collection. The Rybolovlev/Bouvier dispute spawned civil and criminal litigation in at least five countries, including the United States. This week, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York allowed the suit against Sotheby's to proceed, denying in part the auction house's motion to dismiss.

SCOTUS Rules That "Scandalous" Trademarks May Not Be Denied Registration

The Supreme Court ruled that a federal ban on the registration of "immoral" or "scandalous" trademarks violates the First Amendment, holding that the brand "FUCT" should be allowed to register a federal trademark.

Sotheby's Goes Private Once Again

BidFair USA, owned by entrepreneur and art collector Patrick Drahi, purchased Sotheby's auction house for $3.7 billion dollars. The formerly publicly traded company will now be privately owned, similar to Christie's. Sotheby's previously went private in 1983 before going public in the United States in 1988.

Michael Moi's Lawsuit Against Artist Dale Chihuly Dismissed

Federal court in Seattle, Washington, dismissed the $20 million lawsuit by Michael Moi, a contractor who worked on various paid projects for Dale Chihuly between 1999 and 2014 and claimed that he co-authored 285 artworks on which he worked. Moi claimed that a verbal agreement existed between him and the artist and could not demonstrate that he was not a co-author of the works.

Guggenheim's Employees Seek to Unionize

Following the example of employees at other New York cultural institutions, the art installers and facilities engineers at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York are rallying to unionize through Local 30 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

EUROPE

Italian Court Rules that Ferrari 250 GTO Is a Work of Art

Italian commercial tribunal in Bologna, Italy, found that the Ferrari 250 GTO is a work of art and, as such, is entitled to the same protections from reproductions and imitations. The decision prevents other companies from producing replicas of this automobile icon.

Artists Examine Media Manipulation in "Deepfake" Video of Mark Zuckerberg

Two UK artists, Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, used artificial intelligence "deepfake" technology (a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence), to create a now viral provocative video that manipulates Mark Zuckerberg's image to create a fake video of invented content. In the video, an image of the Facebook CEO appears to thank an ominous "Spectre" for showing him that "whoever controls the data controls the future." The video work was one of multiple similar videos (including videos of Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump) created in reaction to global scandals about data privacy that probe philosophical questions about personal privacy and the need for protections.

Berlin's Humboldt Forum Construction Delayed

Despite plans to open in 2019, construction delays have pushed the opening of the Humboldt Forum to next year. The facility will serve as a grand museum and event space inside Berlin's reconstructed royal palace and was designed to stage around 1,000 cultural events and host three million visitors each year.

German Museum Acquisitions Stolen from Private Citizens

A new German art museum study revealed that up to 8 percent of eastern German museum acquisitions were unethically acquired from private citizens in East Germany. This initial study was limited in scope and is one of several pilot projects designed to help the German Lost Art Foundation develop strategies for deeper provenance research that may lead to restitutions.

The Louvre Brings Virtual Reality to the Mona Lisa in a New Exhibition

While the Louvre has long protected the world-famous Mona Lisa painting behind a thick block of bullet-proof glass, the museum soon will offer a new high-tech experience that will allow viewers to engage with the painting in new ways through the lens of a virtual reality headset.

Three-Year-Old Girl Swats a Fly Sculpture Off Pedestal at Art Basel

A three-year-old child knocked a €50,000 sculpture of a fly entitled Fleige (fly) by the German artist Katharina Fritsch off of its stand at Art Basel. The wings of the sculpture detached during the incident but the work was not damaged, according to a statement by an Art Basel spokeswoman given to The Art Newspaper.

Germany Returns Stolen Sculpture to Italy

A second-century A.D. sculpture discovered in the 1930s during excavation works in Fondi, Italy, was voluntarily repatriated by the German authorities to Italy after it was apparently smuggled out of the country between 1944 and the early 1960s, and ended up first in private hands and later in the collection of the University of Munster's Archaeological Museum.

AFRICA

Amidst Claims that King Tut Sculpture Was Looted, Egypt Seeks to Stop Auction

Egypt's representatives in London are attempting to stop Christie's from auctioning a sculpture of Tutankhamen following a claim by a high-profile Egyptian archaeologist that it was likely stolen from the Karnak Temple. The clock is ticking on the sale of the 3,000-year-old sculpture anticipated to yield more than $5 million at auction. Christie's adamantly defends the legitimacy of the sculpture's recent ownership and the legal right to sell.

ASIA

Hong Kong Art Community Lends Voice to Public Outcry of Planned Extradition Law

Public outcry and massive protests erupted in Hong Kong over recently proposed controversial legislation that would permit the government to extradite fugitives on a case-by-case basis to Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China. Approximately one million protestors rallied in the streets against the planned law that is seen as a serious threat to freedom in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong. Approximately 100 art organizations have lent their voices to the protest.

Restoration Completed at Cambodian Temple at the Angkor Archaeological Park

The World Monuments Fund completed a 10-year, $4.8 million conservation effort at the Phnom Bakheng temple in Cambodia. The structure suffered from water flow damage that required the conservation team to channel the engineering vision of the temple's 9th century pioneers to complete the restoration.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions