Proposed Law will Protect International Art Loans from US Court Jurisdiction

According to many museum professionals, certain countries are reluctant to loan works of art to arts institutions in the United States due to ongoing ownership or provenance questions. A recent bill sent to Senate for consideration, the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, would ensure artworks can be loaned across country boarders for exhibition, without being subject to legal ramifications of the United States .

Under certain specifications: “The bill grants a foreign state or certain carriers immunity from federal or state court jurisdiction for any activity in the United States associated with a temporary exhibition or display of a work of art or other object of cultural significance…”

While this has been heavily criticized as a bill protecting plundered work, the opposition argues the bill allows controversial works to continue to travel and be made available to museum visitors as their disputes pan out.

A compromise was negotiated between the conflicting interests. Works looted by the German military or its allies between 1933 and 1945 are exempt from the bill, preventing skeptics from calling the bill a safeguard for owners of Nazi-looted art to profit from the loaning of their works.

Read the bill here: