Law, crime and regulation

Legal cases, stolen art, regulation and tax issues remain important part of the art and antiques sector.

This category ranges from the levy of the Artist’s Resale Right to controversies over fakes and forgeries.


A lawyer writes: Hals or not, ‘reasonable and rational’ wins out

20 January 2020

The most interesting recent art world case to find its way to trial, with judgment given in December 2019, was Sotheby’s vs Mark Weiss Limited (‘MWL’) and Fairlight Art Ventures Limited (‘Fairlight’).

Camille Pissarro's  Gelee blanche

Nazi-looted paintings by Pissarro and Signac that entered the Musée d’Orsay to be offered at Sotheby’s

16 January 2020

Three Impressionist paintings believed to be worth over £14m that were taken by the Nazis during the Second World War but recently restituted to the heirs of a French-Jewish art collector will be offered at Sotheby’s in London next month.

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Medieval guide for female hermits blocked from export in hope of finding UK buyer

16 January 2020

The UK government’s arts minister Helen Whately has placed an export bar on a 15th century Middle English manuscript in the hope of finding a buyer to keep it in the UK.

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Carnegie Library rare books theft: men plead guilty in US county court

14 January 2020

Two men pleaded guilty in connection with the theft of rare books and manuscripts from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Elgar Practical Guides

Lawyer’s new book published covering the ‘nuts and bolts’ of art market law

14 January 2020

A recent addition to Elgar Practical Guides – a series of handy, concise and practical guides to a range of legal practice areas – has been penned by Martin Wilson, the chief general counsel at Phillips Auctioneers.

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Anti-money laundering regulation - the art market must begin compliance

10 January 2020

The art market must now comply with the latest anti-money laundering law – despite a lack of clarity around some elements of the regulation.

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Antiques dealer calls on trade to help recover stolen painting after break-in

09 January 2020

An art and antiques dealer in Hastings is hoping fellow members of the trade can help him recover items stolen from his shop during a break-in last month.

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Two dozen vintage enamel advertising signs stolen from railway on the McAlpine estate

08 January 2020

Around 24 enamel advertising signs that were part of a private Victorian steam railway on the McAlpine estate at Fawley Hill in Buckinghamshire have been stolen.

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New anti-money laundering law: trade in paintings must comply, but not furniture, porcelain or books

08 January 2020

The ‘works of art’ covered by revised anti-money laundering legislation coming into effect in the UK this week exclude key collecting areas, after successful lobbying by art market trade bodies.

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US tariffs on Chinese art “diverts market elsewhere”, says Sotheby’s

08 January 2020

Sotheby’s has added its weight to the art market’s response against President Donald Trump’s imposition of import tariffs on Chinese works of art in the US.

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British Museum buys 18th century Indian watercolour miniature to prevent its export overseas

07 January 2020

An 18th century watercolour miniature by one of India’s greatest painters has been saved for the nation by the British Museum.

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Antiques trade welcomes plan to slash some business rates from April

06 January 2020

Trade bodies and dealers with shops have given a collective thumbs-up to the new Conservative government’s pledge to slash small business rates by half.

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Plea for trade and auction houses to spot stolen bassoons and Cartier ring

04 January 2020

A musician is calling on antiques dealers and auction houses to be alert to two stolen bassoons and a Cartier ring that were taken on November 21 from a home in north London.

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Mod Brit artworks gifted to nation will go on display at Hepworth Wakefield gallery

03 January 2020

Three works by Modern British artists will go on display at The Hepworth Wakefield gallery following a donation via the government’s Cultural Gifts Scheme.

‘The mocking of Christ’ by Cimabue

France blocks export of €19.5m Cimabue panel following sale to overseas buyer

03 January 2020

The French government has blocked the export of ‘The mocking of Christ’, a medieval panel by Cenni di Pepo (known as Cimabue) that sold in October for €19.5m plus premium at auction house Actéon.

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Government issues export bar for £8m Gainsborough landscape in hope of finding UK buyer

02 January 2020

The owner of a Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) painting has been temporarily prevented from exporting the picture by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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News in brief

23 December 2019

Sotheby’s has undergone a restructure following the purchase of the auction house by telecoms businessman Patrick Drahi earlier this year.

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2020 vision

23 December 2019

For better or worse, Brexit is finally set to proceed and will be a major factor in the year ahead – as will timed auctions, anti-money laundering rules, the looming prospect of a near-total ivory trade ban, antiquities challenges and a new buying ethos based on cultural sensitivities, changes at major fairs and a growing ‘green’ movement.

HMRC promises guidance ahead of anti-money laundering changes

23 December 2019

HMRC is to update UK art market professionals with guidance and webinars in January ahead of the introduction of new anti-money laundering legislation.

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Loaning art at home and abroad – a check list

23 December 2019

As a collector, there are a number of attractive reasons why you may wish to loan an artwork or antique to an institution, either temporarily or long term, writes Petra Warrington of Hunters Law.

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