Art Law and the New German Government: Legislative Goals for Looted Art and Restitution

Featured

Today’s election of Olaf Scholz as Angela Merkel’s successor marks the official start of the new „traffic light“ coalition government. The new government draws its name from the colours traditionally associated with the supporting parties: „red“ Social Democrats, „yellow“ Liberals and the “Green” Party. These three parties have set out their legislative programme in a 177-page coalition agreement (Koalitionsvertrag). Both Nazi looted art and art from a colonial context feature in the Coalition Agreement. Almost inevitably, like in other fields, the Coalition Agreement is short on detail. For Nazi looted art, however, its brevity notwithstanding, the Coalition Agreement defines four concrete legislative goals*. Here they are, with my initial assessment: Continue reading

Art Law: New Recommendation of the Advisory Commission in Grawi vs. Düsseldorf

On 26 March 2021, the Advisory Commission published its recommendation regarding the restitution claim brought by the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi against Düsseldorf. As noted earlier, the Advisory Commission appears to be on track for a new record: It started the year with two recommendations regarding  Max Fischer v. Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, and Heinrich Rieger v. Stadt Köln within a couple of days, and now issued its third decision in 2021. To put this into perspective: From its inception in 2005 until 2020, the Advisory Commission had issued a total of 18 recommendations. With one exception, it never issued more than two recommendations in one year, and never more than three.

In its most recent decisions, the Advisory Commission recommends that the City of Düsseldorf returns the  Franz Marc painting “Füchse” to the heirs of Kurt and Else Grawi. The recommendation was not made unanimously. It was passed by a majority, with six members voting in favour, and three against the recommendation. Continue reading