Copyright (c) 2000 Tulane Journal of International and ComPtive Law
Tulane Journal of International and ComPtive Law
COMMENT: A Combined Discovery Rule and Demand and Refusal Rule for New York: The Need for Equitable Consistency in International Cases of Recovery of Stolen Art and Cultural Property
8 Tul. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 483
Meghan A. Sherlock*
In 1998, the heirs of a prominent Jewish art dealer, who fled Paris for the United States during World War II, filed suit in Federal District Court against the Seattle Art Museum to recover a Matisse painting that was confiscated by the Nazis in 1941. 1 This was the first lawsuit against an American museum concerning art stolen by the Nazis, and it illustrates the increasing complexity of suits involving the recovery of stolen artwork.
The problem of stolen art and cultural property has become more frequent and more international in scope in recent years. Rising art prices, primarily resulting from the growing interest in art as an investment, have fueled the trafficking of stolen art and artifacts. 2 When stolen art is actually located, an event quite rare in itself, the ensuing conflict is often one between two innocent parties: the original owner whose property was wrongfully taken, and an innocent purchaser who believed she made a bona fide purchase and subsequently obtained good title.
With many different jurisdictions presiding over international disputes surrounding the recovery of stolen art, the result has been a national common law marred with inconsistencies. Even in New York, the cultural capital of the art trade world, the laws applied in state and federal courts are inconsistent. This Comment will attempt to propose a solution to this complex issue by examining the case law in this area and analyzing the shortcomings of two doctrines, the discovery rule and the demand and ...
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