Thursday 13 February 2014

Lawsuit Shows Good Due Diligence Pays

Derek Fincham comments on the lawsuit filed in New York State court against Subhash Kapoor‘s Art of the Past gallery by the Australian museum which purchased a bronze statue known as Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Nataraja) in 2008:
This lawsuit is exactly what should happen when a purchaser with clean hands purchases a work of art from a dealer who knew that a work of art was looted or stolen. I’ve argued before that acquisitions like this defraud the legitimate trade in works of art, and also corrupt our understanding of history.[...] So why haven’t lawsuits like this occurred with more regularity?  [...] They should be happening every time looted art is repatriated. [...] But this has not happened in the antiquities trade for a couple reasons. First, many curators and museum officials had too much knowledge of the illicitness of objects they were acquiring. A lawsuit like this would have embarrased institutions [...] by raising uncomfortable question about what due diligence was taken before an acquisition [...].
Derek Fincham, 'New York Lawsuit shows due diligence pays, as much as $5m', Illicit Cultural Property blog February 12, 2014

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