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News and Conferences

The latest news on restitution claims for cultural property and information on conferences organized by the Art-Law Centre and/or the Art-Law Foundation.

Italian police seizes huge haul of illicit antiquities

Italian police seizes huge haul of illicit antiquities

"More than 500 works, estimated to be worth around €2m and intended for the black market, have been recovered."

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A Legal Defeat for Anne Frank House

A Legal Defeat for Anne Frank House

"In what may prove to be the conclusion to a long and bitter legal battle over control of the legacy of Anne Frank, a district court in Amsterdam (...) ordered the Anne Frank House to return a collection of archives to a foundation in Switzerland."

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Genève restitue au Pérou un vestige archéologique volé

"Un Genevois a tenté de vendre une poterie Chancay sur Internet. La police a localisé le vendeur et le Ministère public a séquestré le vestige."

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On the conservation and display of human remains: "Museums Confront the Skeletons in Their Closets"

On the conservation and display of human remains: "Museums Confront the Skeletons in Their Closets"

The curators of the Museum of Medical History are currently re-evaluating the principle that govern the display of human remains in light of preserving the dignitiy of the dead and restitution claims.

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"The Met Will Return a Pair of Statues to Cambodia"

"The Met Will Return a Pair of Statues to Cambodia"

"The museum said it would repatriate the life-size sandstone masterworks, known as the Kneeling Attendants."

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"Frenchman Will Return to China Prized Bronze Artifacts Looted in 19th Century"

"Frenchman Will Return to China Prized Bronze Artifacts Looted in 19th Century"

"One of France’s wealthiest businessmen has agreed to return to China two bronze animal heads that were looted from the imperial Summer Palace near Beijing by invading French and British troops in the 19th century"

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King Croesus's golden brooch to be returned to Turkey

King Croesus's golden brooch to be returned to Turkey

"The Turkish culture minister, Ertugrul Günay, has announced that German officials have agreed to return the missing artefact, a brooch in the form of a winged seahorse, possibly as early as this year."

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British called upon to stem illicit trade of artefacts

British called upon to stem illicit trade of artefacts

"The head of a new research programme dedicated to combating the illicit trade in cultural objects has made an open call to the art trade and collectors, asking for their co-operation."

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Turkey’s Efforts to Repatriate Art Alarm Museums

Turkey’s Efforts to Repatriate Art Alarm Museums

“Turkish officials are demanding ancient artifacts from Western museums, and aren’t timid about doing so. The museums say their mission to display global art treasures is under siege.”

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How UNESCO's 1970 Convention Is Weeding Looted Artifacts Out of the Antiquities Market

"With the slow but unstoppable force of a juggernaut, the UNESCO Convention for the protection of cultural property, approved on November 14, 1970 — after which year the acquisition of antiquities ceases to be legitimate unless accompanied by an official export license — is reconfiguring the market. Not all nations subscribe to the Convention, and those that do, like the United States, may not enforce all of its provisions. Yet several factors are combining to make the Convention increasingly effective across most Western countries (with some notable exceptions, such as Switzerland). One is the weight of public opinion, led by scholars who deplore the massive loss of historical documentation that the unrecorded looting of archaeological sites entails and the destruction of a huge proportion of buried art treasures resulting from the crude methods to which commercial diggers resort." - Souren Melikian

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Swiss Freeports Are Home for a Growing Treasury of Art

"Simon Studer started his career in a basement vault in a warehouse complex near the heart of this city [...]. He was taking inventory for one of Switzerland’s best-known gallery owners, who rented the space. 'I was checking sizes, condition, looking for a signature', Mr. Studer recalls, 'and making sure the art was properly measured'." - David Segal

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New Case Note on the German-Russian Cultural Stalemate

New Case Note on the German-Russian Cultural Stalemate

A Case Note on the so-called Baldin Collection from the Kunsthalle Bremen is now online. It analyses one of the most debated cases between Russia and Germany that is still ongoing.

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Looted art returned to Afghanistan

"The British Museum has assisted in the return of 843 artefacts to Afghanistan, almost 20 years after they were stolen or smuggled abroad. The items include examples of the Begram Ivories, seen at the British Museum's Afghanistan 2011 exhibition, and an important sculpture of Buddha."

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Stolen Treasures Returned from Germany to Russia

Stolen Treasures Returned from Germany to Russia

"Treasures stolen from a Russian museum during WWII have found their way back home. Two crates with hundreds of rare exhibits stolen in 1941 were voluntarily returned to Russia by a Wehrmacht doctor’s son."

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Italian Court Upholds Claim on Getty Bronze

Italian Court Upholds Claim on Getty Bronze

"An Italian court has upheld an order for the seizure of a masterpiece of the J. Paul Getty Museum's antiquities collection, finding that the bronze statue of a victorious athlete was illegally exported from Italy before the museum purchased it for $4 million in 1976. The ruling Thursday by a regional magistrate in Pesaro will likely prolong the legal battle over the statue, a signature piece of the Getty's embattled antiquities collection whose return Italian authorities have sought for years." - Jason Felch

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Durham University Archaeology Society Conference 2012

Durham University Archaeology Society Conference 2012

Whose Past? An Interdisciplinary debate on the repatriation of artefacts and reburial of human remains Saturday April 28th 2012 10am-5pm Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Dawson Building, Durham University Science Site Durham University Archaeology Society presents a one day interdisciplinary conference to be held at Durham University involving the Archaeology, Anthropology, Philosophy and Law departments from Durham and Newcastle University and selected guest speakers. This year's theme 'Whose Past? An Interdisciplinary debate on the repatriation of artefacts and reburial of human remains' aims to generate a stimulating debate about the ownership and ethical principles associated with two types of archaeological material; artefacts and human remains, with the focus on the repatriation of artefacts and reburial of human remains.

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Stolen Cezanne found by Serbian police

Stolen Cezanne found by Serbian police

"A Cezanne painting stolen in a raid on a Swiss museum in 2008 has been recovered in Serbia. Authorities have not named the painting, but local media have reported it is The Boy in the Red Vest, which was taken from Zurich's Emil Buehrle Collection."

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Jewish Art Dealer’s Heir Settles Nazi-Era Claim With Bonn Museum

Jewish Art Dealer’s Heir Settles Nazi-Era Claim With Bonn Museum

"A Bonn museum settled a claim for a painting by Paul Adolf Seehaus with the heir of Alfred Flechtheim, one of Germany’s most prominent modern-art dealers until he fled Berlin and the Nazis in 1933."

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Nazi-Seized Klee Goes to Court After Munich Rejects Talks

Nazi-Seized Klee Goes to Court After Munich Rejects Talks

"The heirs of a German art historian who emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1927 filed a legal claim against the city of Munich for a Paul Klee painting that they say was stolen from their grandmother by the Nazis."

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Cache of Sunken Coins Returned to Spain

Cache of Sunken Coins Returned to Spain

"The US Supreme Court denied a Florida marine salvage company's appeal over $500m treasure from a sunken Spanish ship. A trove of gold and silver coins valued at $500m has been handed over to Spain following the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an emergency appeal from the Florida-based ocean salvage company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, which had asked the court to block a lower court decision that ordered the company to hand over the treasure. Odyssey had been locked in a legal battle over the cache since it was salvaged from international waters around 100 miles off the Straits of Gibraltar in March 2007." - Emily Sharpe

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