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

Art Law: US Supreme Court on Welfenschatz and Sovereign Immunity

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp (S. Ct. 2021) and today, we have Ted Folkman of Letters Blogatory reviewing it: 

This is the case of the Welfenschatz, the Guelph treasure said to have been stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owners. The claim was that Hermann Göring, one of Hitler’s most powerful ministers, had coerced the Jewish owners of the treasure to sell it for a fraction of its value to the Prussian government in the early 1930s. Continue reading

Art Law: Contact Point for Collections from Colonial Contexts Established

The Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States (Kulturstiftung der Länder) has established a new central port of call for all questions about collections from colonial contexts in Germany: the Contact Point for Collections from Colonial Contexts, or CP3C for short. It became operative this week. Here is from Markus Hilgert, General Secretary of the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States and Director of the CP3C:

“In establishing the Contact Point, the Federal Government, Länder [federal states] and municipalities have put in place an important prerequisite for dialogue in the spirit of partnership with countries and societies of origin concerning how to deal responsibly with collections from colonial contexts. This attests to the unwavering commitment of everyone involved to a joint reckoning with Germany’s colonial history as part of our society’s culture of remembrance.”

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Towards a Restatement of Restitution Rules: Research into the International Practice of Nazi-looted Art Restitution

FPKProfessor Matthias Weller, University of Bonn,  (who has contributed to this blog in the past) hat issued the following press release about an exiting new project, which I would like to share with you:

“In April 2019, research began at the University of Bonn on international practice in the restitution of artworks stolen under the Nazi regime. Head of the research project is Prof. Dr. Matthias Weller, who holds the “Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach professorship for civil law, art and cultural property law”.

The project aims to provide a comprehensive, comparative analysis of international practice in the restitution of Nazi-looted art. It aims to establish a generalized set of rules on how decisions are made based on considerations of fairness and justice.

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