Attribution dispute leads to withdrawal of Bosch paintings

Two paintings by Dutch medieval artist Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516) have been withdrawn from a major exhibition of the artist’s work, which opened in the Netherlands on Saturday (13 February).

Madrid’s Museo del Prado was due to lend ‘The Cure of Folly’ and ‘The Temptation of St Anthony’ for display in ‘Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius’ at the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch (’s-Hertogenbosch). A dispute over the attribution of the works led the Prado to cancel the loans a few short days before the exhibition opened to the public. Continue reading

French court rules against Facebook in censorship dispute

The Parisian school teacher whose Facebook account was suspended after he posted a picture of Gustave Courbet’s “L’Origine du Monde” (“The Origin of the World”) has won the right to have his case heard in France.

On Friday (12 February), the Paris court of appeal upheld a high court judgment in favour of the teacher, Frederic Durand-Baissas, who is claiming €20,000 (£15,521) in damages from Facebook as well as the reinstatement of his account. Continue reading

The Bribery Act – How does it affect my business?

If you want to wine and dine a potential client, or treat an existing client to lunch to thank them for their custom, you may not realise that you could potentially be caught by the Bribery Act 2010 if the gift is deemed to be excessive and go well beyond reasonable efforts to promote your business. While only extravagant and disproportionate gifts are likely to cause an issue, it is worthwhile familiarising yourself with the Bribery Act and the types of activities it covers.

In the second of our series of articles for gallery owners and small businesses, we summarise the main provisions of the Bribery Act 2010 and how it might affect you and your business. Continue reading

$8.3m Rothko forgery brings misery to Manhattan

The Chairman of Sotheby’s Board of Directors, Domenico de Sole, has told a Manhattan courtroom that his wife Eleanore is so devastated by being sold a worthless forgery of a Mark Rothko work that she cries every night.

Mr De Sole was speaking under cross-examination by a lawyer for the Knoedler Gallery after he took the stand in federal court last Wednesday (27 January) during the first week of a forgery trial.   Continue reading

Undercover operation leads police to long-lost Flemish masterpiece

Turkish police have arrested two textile businessmen who attempted to sell what is thought to be a long-lost work by Flemish master painter Anthony van Dyck.

In an elaborate undercover operation, policemen posed as buyers and negotiated a price of 14 million lira (£3.2 million) for the work, which is believed to have been smuggled from Europe. They agreed to meet with the businessmen, Malkhaz Makharadze and Zahir Huseinov, in a luxury hotel room in Istanbul’s Topkapi neighbourhood. When they arrived to collect the sale proceeds, the men fell directly into the trap that had been laid for them. Continue reading

French owner loses case in Monet attribution claim

2015 ended on a bitter note for the owner of a riverscape purportedly by French Impressionist Claude Monet when the Paris Court of Appeal refused his request to force the inclusion of the work in the artist’s catalogue raisonné.

The court reached its verdict in December after a tenaciously contested attribution battle which enlisted the help of experts including Joachim Pissarro, great grandson of Camille Pissarro, and researchers from the BBC’s Fake or Fortune programme.  Continue reading

Will Prince reign supreme once again over US copyright law?

Has appropriation artist and agent provocateur Richard Prince finally crossed the line between fair use and copyright infringement?

One artist is prepared to fight tooth and nail to prove he has. Outraged by Prince’s unauthorised use of his work, photographer Donald Graham filed a complaint against Prince, Gagosian Gallery who represents him and Larry Gagosian, the gallery’s owner,  in New York federal court last month (30 December 2015). Continue reading

£18m art collection at the centre of Monaco divorce proceedings

A few weeks ago our attention was turned to handbags. Now a shoe collection has been admitted into evidence as part of divorce proceedings in which an £18 million art collection is at stake.

When Swiss entrepreneur Maurice Alain Amon filed for divorce from Tracey Hejailan in Monaco in October he presented photographs of his estranged wife’s enviable shoe collection as proof of their settled life there. He  is eager for the case to be heard in Monaco where matrimonial laws would give him sole rights to the couple’s modern art collection. Ms Hejailan counter-sued in New York in November but at a hearing in Manhattan’s Civil Supreme Court on Thursday (10 December 2015), Judge Robert Reed held that the New York matrimonial court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.  Continue reading