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Jana Farmer represents client interests in connection with matters involving copyright; sale and transfer of rights in artworks; protection of valuable creative assets; and general commercial disputes and transactional matters. Jana provides reliable legal counsel to virtually all participants in the creation, licensing, sale, lending, gifting, merchandising and display of art. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Art Law and an active member of the New York State Bar Association's Entertainment Arts and Sports Section and its Fine Art Committee.

BREAKING:

The following summaries of news articles are separated by geographic region for your browsing convenience.

UNITED STATES

Suspected Nazi-Looted Painting Turned Over to FBI by New York Museum
According to the FBI, Gari Melchers’s painting Winter, which was in the collection of the Arkell Museum in New York, was allegedly looted by the Nazis from Jewish media mogul Rudolf Mosse.
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BREAKING:
Italian Appellate Court Allows Loan of Leonardo’s Fragile Vitruvian Man Sketch to Louvre
In early October, in a potential blow to the Louvre’s October 24, 2019, opening of its Leonardo da Vinci retrospective marking the 500th anniversary of his death, an Italian court blocked the loan of Vitruvian Man, after Italia Nostra, an Italian heritage organization, challenged the loan under Italian laws prohibiting museums from loaning works that are “integral to their collections” or works that are “susceptible to damage in transport or when on display in unfavorable environmental conditions.”
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UNITED STATES

Golden Coffin on Display at the Met Is Going Back to Egypt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s golden coffin is worth nearly $4 million and originally held the remains of an influential 1st century BC priest, Nedjemankh. Recent investigations determined that the coffin was stolen from the Minya region in Egypt in 2011 during a political uprising. Smugglers took the object to Germany by way of Dubai, then to France where a Parisian dealer sold it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in July 2017.


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UNITED STATES

Mercedes-Benz Suit Against Street Artists Allowed to Proceed
Mercedes-Benz brought a declaratory judgment action against four street artists who saw their work prominently displayed on social media as background for the automaker’s G-Class track ads. Mercedes is seeking a declaration that its use of the artworks was not a copyright infringement as it was either fair use or because the claim is precluded by the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (1990). 
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UNITED STATES

Local Patrons Donate Impressionist Collection to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta
Doris and Shouky Shaheen donated their collection of Impressionist paintings to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, constituting one of the largest donations in the museum’s history.  The gifted collection includes 24 Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and Modernist paintings, including works by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Édouard Vuillard. The High Museum will open a gallery later this year named after the Shaheens to display the works.


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UNITED STATES

Dealer’s Suit Against Gallery Owners for Declaring Agnes Martin Works Fakes Is Dismissed
New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit by the London-based The Mayor Gallery (The Mayor) against the owners of the Pace Gallery based on allegations that defendants “unlawfully declared that thirteen authentic Agnes Martin artworks are fakes, resulting in a loss … of more than $7 million.” The lawsuit asserted that defendants were financially motivated to exclude the works from their catalogue raisonné.
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The following are summaries of news reports pertaining to art law and art markets, organized by geographic regions for your browsing convenience.

UNITED STATES

Andy Warhol Foundation Wins Copyright Lawsuit Over Prince Portrait
Photographer Lynn Goldsmith sued the Andy Warhol Foundation alleging that Warhol unlawfully used her photograph of Prince in a series of 1984 silkscreen works.


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Just a few days after the Second Circuit held that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art could keep in its collection the monumental work by Pablo Picasso entitled The Actor, New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, upheld the return to the heirs of the original owners of art allegedly looted by the Nazis during World War II. Both of these recent decisions touch upon the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR Act), the 2016 legislation that expanded the timeliness for actions to recover artworks lost during the Holocaust.


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On June 26, 2019, the Second Circuit upheld the 2018 decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that allowed New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Museum) to keep in its collection the monumental work by Pablo Picasso entitled The Actor, 1904−1905. The work was originally owned by Paul Friedrich Leffmann, a successful German-Jewish entrepreneur, who owned a manufacturing business and multiple properties as well as a sizable art collection. In the 1930s, after the newly adopted Nuremberg Laws deprived all German Jews of the rights and privileges of German citizenship, Leffmann was forced to sell his home and business and flee from Germany to Italy.

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UNITED STATES

SCOTUS May Get a Say in the Fate of the Guelph Treasure
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz or SPK), which operates Berlin’s state museums, plans to seek review by the United States Supreme Court of the issue of U.S. courts’ jurisdiction to hear the case of the 1935 sale of the famed Guelph Treasure by Jewish art dealers to the Prussian government. The Guelph Treasure is a collection of 82 pieces of medieval ecclesiastical art originally housed at Brunswick Cathedral in Braunschweig, Germany. The Treasure is presently dispersed between private and museum collections, including the Bode Museum in Berlin. In 2015, the heirs of the Jewish dealers filed a lawsuit against the German government in the United States, alleging that the 1935 sale occurred under duress. SPK unsuccessfully moved to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds and their appeal was rejected his month when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the petition to rehear en banc.


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