IFAR Journal

Volume 16, No. 4


ISIS, War and the Threat to Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria
— Richard L. Zettler, Amr Al-Azm, Michael D. Danti, Brenton M. Easter
The edited and illustrated proceedings of an August 2015 IFAR Evening discussing the damage to historic monuments and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria due to war and deliberate ISIS destruction. Also addressed: the extent of the looting and trafficking, who the perpetrators are, and whether the trafficking supports terrorism. The four speakers include three Middle East scholars and a senior special agent in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Monuments and Antiquities of Iraq and Syria -- An Overview
— Richard L. Zettler
The author, the Associate Curator-in-Charge, Near East Section at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum, provides an art historical overview of the antiquities and archaeological sites in northern Iraq and Syria.



Means and Methods of Destruction
— Amr Al-Azm
The author, Associate Professor, Middle East History and Anthropology, Shawnee State University, and Chair, Syrian Heritage Task Force (SHTF) for cultural heritage protection, discusses the three major categories of damage to cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria: opportunistic damage, military operations, and deliberate destruction; the phases of ISIS’ looting; ISIS’ archaeological safe havens; and the motivations behind the destruction and looting.

Recent Cultural Heritage Developments
— Michael D. Danti
The author, Academic Director, American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives (ASOR-CHI), which monitors and evaluates the cultural heritage situation in conflict zones, discusses which cultural heritage sites ISIS targets for destruction and why, and the methods used; who is looting and on what scale; the smuggling routes out of Syria and the items being trafficked; and what recent surveys show about the local awareness (or lack of it) of looting and smuggling.

An HSI Perspective
— Brenton M. Easter
The author, Senior Special Agent in the New York office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), emphasizes HSI’s broad international presence and its interest in cultural property protection and enforcement. He discusses how HSI has changed its approach to cultural property investigations, targeting the transnational criminal organizations behind the looting and trafficking in order to change the culture of looting.

The “Red Flags” Standard: Rationalizing ACA Galleries, Inc. v. Kinney
— Steven R. Schindler and Katherine Wilson-Milne
In a follow-up to a case they analyzed previously in IFAR Journal, the authors, attorneys in a New York law firm, describe an effort by subsequent district courts to rationalize ACA Galleries, Inc. v. Kinney into a “red flags” standard, that is, that a buyer, suspecting forgery, cannot look the other way in the face of obvious red flags in order to get a better price and then later seek rescission of a contract under mutual mistake or fraud.

In Memoriam: Herbert Hirsch (1920-2015)
— Jack A. Josephson
Herbert Hirsch, a member of IFAR's Law Advisory Council for two decades and former Chairman of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, is remembered by IFAR’s Chairman Emeritus for his expertise in art law and his valuable service to IFAR.

News & Updates: Keith Haring Foundation and Condé Nast Both Prevail on Appeals
— Ann-Margret Gidley and Sharon Flescher
An update on two lawsuits previously reported in IFAR Journal. In December 2015, the federal appellate court in New York affirmed the dismissal of Bilinski v. The Keith Haring Foundation. Also in December, a different New York appellate court panel affirmed the dismissal of Biro v. Condé Nast.

News & Updates: Getty Displays Armenian Manuscripts After Legal Dispute is Settled
— Ann-Margret Gidley
A report on the display at the J. Paul Getty Museum of two of eight 13th-century illuminated manuscript pages from the “Zeyt’un Gospels.” The museum purchased the eight pages in 1994 from an Armenian family, but the Armenian Church, which owned the manuscript, claimed that the pages had been stolen in the 1940’s and filed a suit against the museum in 2010 for their return. After the two sides settled in September 2015 and the Getty agreed to pay all legal fees, the Church donated the pages to the museum.

News & Updates: California Resale Royalty Case Thrown Out – Again – After Auction Houses Raised New Challenges
— Ann-Margret Gidley and Sharon Flescher
In an update on a case previously written about extensively in IFAR Journal, the authors, respectively, an IFAR legal associate and the organization’s executive director, report that in January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appellate court decision that limited the California Resale Royalty Act’s (CRRA) reach to within California.

News & Updates: CPAC Activity (Inactivity) – Italy, Cambodia, Belize, Egypt
— Ann-Margaret Gidley
A brief discussion or recent renewals by and requests to the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) for U.S. help in protecting the at-risk cultural heritage of Italy, Belize, Cambodia and Egypt.

News & Updates: Oklahoma University and Holocaust Survivor Settle Pissarro Dispute
— Ann-Margret Gidley and Sharon Flescher
An update on a case, Meyer v. University of Oklahoma, reported previously in IFAR Journal, in which the heir of a Frenchman whose art collection was looted by the Nazis claimed ownership of a Pissarro painting that had been donated to the university in 2000. The two parties settled in November 2015, and the final terms of the unusual agreement were made public in February 2016.

News & Updates: Kirtsaeng Won the Copyright Case – Next Up: Attorney’s Fees
— Ann-Margaret Gidley
An update on a 2013 copyright case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., concerning the legality of copyrighted books purchased at a lower price overseas and then imported and resold at a profit in the U.S. The grad student who was sued by the publishing house, and won, wants his legal fees reimbursed.

Stolen Art
Stolen items include seventeen paintings stolen from a museum in Castelvecchio, Verona, Italy in November 2015; The Triumph of a King by Gregorio Guglielmi, stolen in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in August 2015; five works on paper by Tom Wesselman stolen in New York City in 2010.

Missing Art
Missing items include Woman Drawing by Pablo Picasso, missing at Hamburg Airport in Germany in September 2015; Untitled (Self-Portrait) by Vivian Maier, missing in Los Angeles, CA in August 2015; a Thomas Cole clock lost in a taxi in London in September 2015.

Recovered Art
Recovered items include Portrait of a Gentleman by El Greco, looted in Vienna in 1944; La Porte de St. Denis by Antoine Blanchard, stolen from a New York gallery in 1954-68; Diana, a white marble bust by Jean-Antoine Houdon, looted from the Royal Lazienki Palace in Krakow, Poland in 1940.