Last week, I posted on a rather fundamental critique of the Federal Supreme Court in the Hans Sachs Restitution matter published in Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ). The article has now been made available in their free online offering. The illustration to the article is not one of the posters from the Hans Sachs Collection, but a work of Greser & Lenz, the FAZ cartoonists from Aschaffenburg, my home town.
In March 2012, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) found in favour of the heir of Jewish art collector Hans Sachs in a restitution case. In my view it created a new precedent for restitution claims for a large class of lost art. The authors of an op-ed piece in today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung agree, and heavily criticize the judgment of the Federal Supreme Court precisely for that reason – they call it “a wrongly decided and dangerous judgment”.
We did cover the Hans Sachs restitution case earlier in the year. Nicholas O’Donnell at the Art Law Report now reports that the collection will go on sale in New York in January 2013 at Guernsey’s.
The Bundesgerichtshof judgment in the Sachs Art Collection Case (see March 19, 2012 post) is now available online in full. The court based its ruling on the concept that restitution in rem (Naturalrestitution) was to remain the standard remedy, and was to take priority (“das vorrangige Ziel der Naturalrestitution”), over monetary compensation, wherever possible. It was on that basis that the scope of the restitution rules had to be interpreted. Continue reading