IFAR Journal

Volume 17, No. 1


What the Art World Needs to Know About the Ivory Ban
— Marcus Asner, Ian Wardropper, Craig Hoover, Michael McCullough
The edited and illustrated proceedings and Q&A of a November 2015 IFAR Evening discussing the issues and regulations concerning the importation of and trade in ivory objects. A particular focus is the proposed (and subsequently enacted) change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Endangered Species Act as it affects African elephants. The four speakers were the Chief, Division of Wildlife Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Director of The Frick Collection; and two attorneys, one of whom is on the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.

The Legal and Regulatory Landscape -- An Overview
— Marcus Asner
The author, an attorney and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, discusses the historical importance of ivory and the sea change in our recent attitudes toward the ivory trade. He also discusses the “complicated patchwork” of laws governing trade in ivory, including: the Endangered Species Act and CITES, the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species; the distinction between regulations concerning Asian versus African elephant ivory; and the urgent reasons for stricter regulations regarding African ivory in recent years.

The Impact of the Federal Rule on Museum Quality Ivory Objects
— Ian Wardropper
The author, the Director of The Frick Collection in New York and former Chairman of the department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, discusses the importance of museums in preserving and collecting ivo ry, which, as a medium, has played a significant role in art history. Using the examples of ivory objects acquired or exhibited by American museums, he illustrates how museum acquisitions and exhibitions would be negatively impacted by tougher ivory regulations if there were not a museum exception.

Strengthening U.S. Ivory Controls
— Craig Hoover
The author, the Chief, Division of Wildlife Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, addresses why the U.S. needed to strengthen its ivory trade controls, noting the decimation of the African elephant population and the need to pressure other ivory-consuming countries to take stronger actions by setting an example. He also explains the previous regulatory regime and discusses the comprehensive new national strategy beginning in 2014, as well as the Proposed (and now Final) Rule, involving a near-total ban on the trade in elephant ivory.

Complying wih the Ivory Regulations
— Michael McCullough
The author, an attorney and co-founder of the Art and Antiques Trade Group, which represents the interests of responsible dealers in ivory objects of art historical importance, summarizes some of the federal rules governing ivory and suggests ways to comply with these rules when buying, selling or loaning artworks that contain ivory. He also discusses the strict New York State rules, and explains the distinctions between commercial and non-commercial trade in both African and Asian elephant ivory, and other endangered species, under the Endangered Species Act and also under New York State law.

News & Updates: A Long-Lost Caravaggio? Not So Fast Doubters Say, But France Embargoes Export Just in Case
— Lisa Duffy-Zeballos and Sharon Flescher
The two authors, respectively, IFAR’s Art Research Director and Executive Director, discuss the pros and cons of the claim that a painting of Judith Beheading Holofernes, which was discovered in a house in Toulouse, France in 2014, is a possible Caravaggio and offer comments by Caravaggio specialist, Professor Richard Spear. In March, the French Minister of Culture declared the newly disovered painting a “National Treasure” and imposed a temporary export ban.

News & Updates: Richard Prince – At It Again: What is “Fair Use” in the Age of Social Media?
— Ann-Margret Gidley
A report on a lawsuit Graham v. Prince, wherein the photographer David Graham is suing appropriation artist Richard Prince, alleging that Prince infringed his copyrights by incorporating one of Graham’s photos, copied from Instagram, into the 2014 “New Portraits” exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York. The defendant has cited the “fair use” decision in an earlier lawsuit, Cariou v. Prince, reported on previously in the IFAR Journal.

News & Updates: Another Cambodia Postscript: Denver Museum Returns Khmer Sculpture
— Ann-Margret Gidley
Discussion of the Denver Art Museum’s decision to return a sandstone torso to Cambodia to join several other repatriated sculptures found in the U.S. that had been stolen from a Cambodian temple complex, all of which was covered in the IFAR Journal.

News & Updates: Hear, Hear! Cruz, Schumer and Others Sponsor Holocaust Restitution Bill in Senate
— Sharon Flescher and Ann-Margaret Gidley
Discussion of a bill, the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (HEAR), designed to help claimants recover art stolen or otherwise misappropriated from them or their families during the Nazi era, that was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April 2016 and on which two subcommittees of the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in June. If enacted, the Act would address the myriad state limitations periods by creating a uniform national statute of limitations period regarding Holocaust-era looted art.

News & Updates: Syrian Objects Protected by New Law
— Ann-Margret Gidley and Sharon Flescher
Discussion of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, a bill signed into law in May 2016 designed to prevent the illegal trafficking of cultural objects from Syria and other areas where cultural property is at risk due to political instability, armed conflict, natural disasters, etc.

Stolen Art
Stolen items include seven screenprints from Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I series, stolen from the Springfield Art Museum in MO in April 2016; an Albrecht Dürer woodcut, Die Hure Babylon, stolen in Oberhofen, Switzerland in February or March 2016; a Wendy Klemperer sculpture, Porcupine, stolen from the grounds of the Portland (ME) International Jetport in late March or early April 2016.

Missing Art
Missing items include a Leon Polk Smith painting, Interior in Black and Red, stolen from a museum in Athens, GA in March 2012; an Oskar Schlemmer watercolor on paper, Dark Figure with Red Circle, missing from a museum in Magden, Switzerland in November 2015; a Robert Burle Marx print, Untitled, missing at Heathrow Airport, London in January 2016.

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 between 1954 and 1968; Diana, a white marble bust by Jean-Antoine Houdon, looted from the Royal Lazienki Palace in Krakow, Poland in 1940.