Under a new law, museums in England and Wales will soon gain unprecedented powers to deaccession objects in their collections on moral grounds. The important change to charity law was passed in February 2022 and is due to come into force this autumn.Continue reading
London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens will transfer the ownership of 72 objects to the Nigerian government, including its collection of Benin bronzes. The Horniman, which won museum of the year in July, is the first government-funded institution to return artefacts looted by British forces from Benin City.Continue reading
Last week in a ceremony at the Italian Embassy in Madrid, two objects were returned to their rightful country of ownership, Italy. The discovery and restitution of these items was made possible by collaboration between cultural heritage police units in both countries.Continue reading
A new NFT project was released earlier in May which seeks to find an alternative form of restitution of African looted art. The project, titled ‘Looty’, plans to (legally) make NFTs of artifacts known to have been looted from Africa and sell them, with 20% of the proceeds going to a fund to provide a young African artist with a grant.Continue reading
In a rare moment of solidarity in US politics a historic art restitution bill was passed by Congress on Friday (9 December).
Proposed in April this year, the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR) facilitates the restitution process by which Nazi-looted art is returned to its rightful pre-war owners. The bill was backed by Republican senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn together with Democrat Senators Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal. Continue reading
In one of the longest-running art restitution disputes in the US, the descendants of Lilly Cassirer, who fled Nazi Germany with her husband in 1939, are fighting tooth and nail against Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to reclaim Camille Pissarro’s ‘Rue Saint-Honoré dans l’après-midi. Effet de pluie’ (1897).
The Cassirer family claims that Lilly and her husband were forced to trade the £24 million French Impressionist work for their exit visas in order to escape persecution. The painting changed hands between numerous art dealers and collectors over the course of a decade before finally arriving in Spain in 1993. When the Cassirers finally found the painting in a museum catalogue in 1999 they requested its return. The Museum refused and the family filed suit, commencing legal proceedings which have ensued for the past 16 years. Continue reading