Frequently Asked Questions
Below are Frequently Asked Questions for the Two New Resources
on IFAR's Web Site
FAQs: THE ART LAW AND CULTURAL PROPERTY DATABASE
Does IFAR plan to augment its Art Law and Cultural Property Database with additional case summaries, statutes, international legislation, and contact names?
Yes. This is a “living” resource. Laws are constantly evolving, names of government officials change, and new issues are tried in court. IFAR designed the Art Law and Cultural Property Database to be updated, revised and supplemented as appropriate. Moreover, the features on the Site will also be expanded.
How up-to-date are the contents of the Art Law and Cultural Property Database?
IFAR strives to keep the contents of the Database current, but we cannot update it daily. Users are encouraged to check court files and other official sources for recent developments.
Can I rely on the Case Law Summaries or Country Summaries for legal advice?
No. The Art Law and Cultural Property Database is an educational resource. As stated in the Terms and Conditions, it is not intended under any circumstances to provide or be considered legal advice. The Case Law Summaries are strictly summaries. They do not, and cannot, reflect the entirety of a court’s decision. IFAR plans in the future to add a link to the full text of the official court decision associated with a case summary. Similarly, the Country Summaries are selected highlights and extracts in English translation from the full texts of that country’s cultural property ownership and export legislation. The available texts themselves are provided via links from the Country Summary. Please consult your attorney for advice on any legal matters relating to the issues on this Site.
Are the translations of foreign cultural property laws “official”?
Most of the English translations in the International Cultural Property Ownership and Export Legislation section of the Database are unofficial, with no legal standing in a court of law. They are provided by IFAR for educational purposes only – to facilitate a general understanding of the law in question. Assume that a translation is official only where that is specifically stated.
In translations included in the International Cultural Property Ownership and Export Legislation section of the Database, I have noticed references to “movable” and “immovable” property. What do those terms mean?
Many civil law jurisdictions, as well as UNESCO, use the terms “movable property” and “immovable property.” The terms are approximately equivalent to “personal property” and “real property,” respectively, under U.S. law – common law. In translating foreign cultural property laws, IFAR has chosen to keep its terminology consistent with that of UNESCO.
Are all the foreign laws in the International Cultural Property Ownership and Export Legislation section of the Database current, that is, still in effect?
IFAR has made every effort to include the current relevant national laws. In addition, as an aide to Users, IFAR also has included several important foreign legislative texts no longer in effect if they were in effect either for a long time or if they factored into a significant legal case. Thus, we have included Mexico’s Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Monuments and Zones of 1972 in its original, unamended version, as well as its current amended version, because the original version factored into the federal court case: United States v. McClain.
What distinguishes the Art Law and Cultural Property Database from other legal databases?
IFAR has selected the contents of the Art Law and Cultural Property Database with great care, providing a user-friendly format that can be navigated by lay people as well as lawyers. Because the Database focuses on topics within IFAR’s expertise – such as the ownership, authenticity, theft and looting of art objects – it is a key resource for museums, collectors, scholars, artists, art lawyers, and other art professionals.
The Database allows easy navigation between case law and related statutes, regulations and international legislation, and provides a legal glossary as well as images of artworks involved in legal disputes. No other database does this. In addition, unlike databases that publish only litigated decisions, the Art Law and Cultural Property Database provides summaries of cases that were resolved through out-of-court settlements. IFAR has collected information relating to those settled cases through years of research and experience in the art world.
How can I search for a particular Case Law Summary?
The Users’ Guide provides detailed instructions about Site navigation, objectives and parameters. But, in brief, to locate a case summary, go to the “Art Law and Cultural Property” main page, and then click on “Proceed to Case Law and Statutes.” The “Case Law and Statutes” page lists eight topical categories representing major areas of focus for IFAR. By clicking on a category, you will be directed to a page linking to key statutes and case summaries within that topic. Then select the case summary you wish to read. Searching for a case summary in this way allows you to see the case in context, along with related cases and statutes. If you click on the “Matrix” view, you will see all the cases in that category listed in alphabetical order, with abbreviated information.
Alternatively, you may do a global key word search using the search bar at the top of each screen. This will lead you directly to the specific case. The “breadcrumbs” on top of the Case Law Summary page will indicate which section of the Site you are in.
Please remember that each Case Law Summary has two tabs at the top of the page – linking to the “Case Law Summary” text page (automatically displayed) and to the “Details” page. By clicking on the latter, you will see additional information, such as the image of the artwork(s) at issue in the case; the jurisdiction in which the case was litigated; the legal claims; and selected relevant newspaper or other articles.
I have used the global search function at the top of the page and did not get any matching results. How can I improve my search?
The search function does not recognize symbols such as quotation marks (e.g., “statute of limitations”) or the section symbol (¶). Try instead searching for a case or statute’s common name (or part of its name) or abbreviation (e.g., NSPA).
How do I restrict the number of results the global search function returns?
To the right of the “Search” box is a box with a pull-down menu that can restrict a search to the categories of “Art Law”, “Catalogues Raisonnés”, or “Publications”. Choose the category within which you would like to limit your search then click on the arrow button.
Why must I register to use the Art Law and Cultural Property Database?
IFAR is a not-for-profit organization. The Art Law and Cultural Property Database was funded in part by grants that required us to evaluate the Site. The Registration Page helps us do this. In addition, registration provides IFAR with helpful user information for improving the Website. IFAR will not use the information for other purposes.
Where can I get additional materials and information?
The official, full text of statutes and reported court decisions can be found in state and federal publications, which are generally available at public law libraries. Federal court records and documents, including reported and unreported court decisions, are available for a fee on the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system (www.pacer.gov ). Various legal resources are also available online, for a significant fee, from private databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw.
For additional information about international cultural property, you may contact the government official listed in the appropriate country summary. Additional online resources include the U.S. State Department website (http://www.state.gov ); the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database (http://www.unesco.org/culture/natlaws/ ); and the website of the Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage (http://www.culturalheritagelaw.org/ ).
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FAQs: THE CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ DATABASE
What is a catalogue raisonné?
A catalogue raisonné is a reasoned and systematic documentation of all works by an artist – the oeuvre – in a given medium (such as painting, sculpture, works on paper) known by the authors at the time the catalogue is prepared.
Which artists and catalogues are included in IFAR’s Catalogue Raisonné Database?
IFAR's Website focuses on catalogues raisonnés dealing with paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and photographs. We have, however, included some catalogues on architecture, design, and graphic works/ prints, the latter particularly for those artists like Rembrandt, Picasso, Chagall, and Miró who worked in a variety of media. A database of print catalogues raisonnés already exists [see www.printcouncil.org], and we did not want to duplicate that effort.
Can I search the Catalogue Raisonné Database using multiple search criteria, e.g., artist’s date and country of origin?
No. IFAR’s Database can only be searched using one of the four search criteria at a time: artist’s name; artist’s country of birth/death; artist’s dates of activity; or author’s name. You can, however, search both databases – Published Catalogues and Catalogues in Preparation – separately or in unison.
Can I purchase catalogues raisonnés through IFAR’s Website?
Yes. IFAR itself does not sell catalogues raisonnés, but for your convenience, we have established links with three booksellers that carry a large inventory of catalogues raisonnés: Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and Alibris.com. You can find the links on the upper right corner of the “Title Display Page” of your search results. Clicking on the link will open a link to the bookseller, where you can search for a book and make a purchase, but you will not leave the IFAR Website.
How can I include my Catalogue Raisonné in Preparation in IFAR’s Database?
If your forthcoming catalogue raisonné is not in our Database, please click on Tell Us about Catalogues Raisonnés on the menu bar on the right side of the Catalogue Raisonné Main Search Page. Please give us your name and contact information so that we may send you our Catalogue Raisonné In-Process Questionnaire.
I know of a published catalogue raisonné that’s not in the Database. What should I do?
If you have information regarding a catalogue raisonné not listed in our Database, please click on Tell Us about Catalogues Raisonnés on the menu bar on the right side of the Catalogue Raisonné Main Search Page. Similarly, if you see an error in any of our entries, or have additional information, please feel free to send that information to us.
My catalogue raisonné project is still in the early stages of preparation. Can I include it in IFAR’s Catalogues Raisonnés in Preparation Database?
Yes. We will include projects in the early stages of preparation. Please provide us with the project scope, contact information and any other details you may have. Please continue to contact us when you have more information so that we may keep our database up-to-date.
I returned my catalogue raisonné questionnaire, but I don’t see my project listed in IFAR’s database.
We enter new information regularly into our internal database, but it is only uploaded to the Website periodically—currently about once or twice a month.
My search of an artist’s name brought up several anomalous artists’ names. Why?
Artists are often known by several names and variant spellings. We have included many of these variations in the search mechanism of our Database, so that searching for any of the variants will find the artist. Sometimes anomalous results occur. For example, a search of “Motherwell” will also bring up “Frankenthaler,” since “Mrs. Robert Burns Motherwell” is a variant name for Helen Frankenthaler. Likewise, the sequence of letters in an artist’s name may also bring up an anomalous result. A search for "Kent" will also yield "Fran[kent]haler”.
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