Friday, June 22, 2018

Fifth-Grader Suspended for Wearing anti-Obama T-Shirt

From Dan Slater at the Wall Street Law Blog:

…11-year-old Daxx Dalton…has been suspended for refusing to remove a homemade t-shirt that reads: “Obama is a terrorist’s best friend.” Dalton’s suspension was reportedly for willful disobedience and defiance, not for wearing the shirt.

The response from Dalton — a fifth grader at Aurora Frontier K-8 School who wore the shirt on a day when students were asked to to show their patriotism by wearing red, white and blue — demonstrated some lawyer promise: “They’re taking away my right of freedom of speech,” he said. “If I have the right to wear this shirt I’m going to use it. And if the only way to use it is get suspended, then I’m going to get suspended.”

E. Christopher Murray, a partner at New York law firm Reisman, Peirez and Reisman and the president of the New York chapter of the Civil Liberties Union, was quoted by the WSJ Blog as saying:

“Students have a constitutional right to express their opinions about politics, and this t-shirt was not vulgar or anything other than a political statement. While the courts have recently cut back on student’s rights of expression, this case clearly seems to be an illegal curtailment of this student’s rights. “


“There is not one document from the foundation purporting to give these gifts…”

From the Cape Breton Post:

New Brunswick’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery is planning a national tour of masterpieces in its collection, including many that are currently at the heart of a bitter and protracted ownership dispute. The principals in the legal tug of war were once again before a judicial panel Monday as the appeal began on an earlier arbitration ruling that gave the bulk of the disputed art treasures to New Brunswick’s provincial art gallery – the Beaverbrook.

At stake are some of the most valuable masterpieces on display anywhere in Canada, including “The Fountain of Indolence,” by British artist J.M.W. Turner, estimated to be worth $25 million, and “Hotel Bedroom” by Lucian Freud, which could fetch at least $5 million.

The Beaverbrook U.K. Foundation, a philanthropic group founded by the press baron, and now run by his grandson, Maxwell Aitken III, claims the works were merely on loan all these years, and now the foundation wants them back.

All of the masterpieces, which include Biotic, Sargents and Hogarths, are estimated to be worth at least $100 million.


Rothko’s Estate, Daughter’s Lawsuit

Last week’s Guardian has a lengthy and moving article on Mark Rothko’s daughter, Kate Rothko Prizel, and her recollection of his suicide and her long legal battle against his estate. Here’s a short excerpt:

Kate and [her brother] Christopher [Rothko] sued the executors of their father’s estate – his accountant, Bernard Reis, the painter Theodoros Stamos, and a professor of anthropology called Morton Levine (Levine was also, until Kate took steps to remedy the situation, Christopher’s guardian) – and his gallery, the Marlborough, claiming that the former had conspired with the latter to ‘waste the assets’ of Rothko’s estate and defraud them of their proper share. The assets were 798 paintings (then estimated to be worth at least $32m). They contended that the three trustees had conspired to sell these Rothkos to the Marlborough at less than their true market value; the gallery had, for instance, got its delighted hands on one group of 100 paintings for just $1.8m, a sum it would pay over 12 years and with no interest, with a down-payment of only $200,000.

The case was to rumble on for more than four years, during which Kate was mostly living in a $90-a-week apartment in Brooklyn, watching what little money she had drain out of her bank account. It was to be seven long years before she had a Rothko of her own; if she wanted to see work by her father, her only option was to visit a gallery.

To everyone’s amazement, Kate and Christopher Rothko won, and the court issued a crushing verdict. The executors were thrown out for ‘improvidence and waste verging on gross negligence’. Reis and Stamos, long-time friends of Mark Rothko, were found to have been in conflict of interest; as executors, they could not negotiate with the Marlborough because the company had both of them on its payroll. All contracts between the Marlborough and the Rothko estate were declared void, and the judge awarded damages of more than $9m against Frank Lloyd, the founder of Marlborough Fine Art, who had laundered art through myriad Liechtenstein holding companies, and the executors.


Gallery Sued Over Stolen Dali Photos

A few days old, but newsworthy nonetheless. From the New York Post:

The heirs of famed photographer Philippe Halsman, who frequently collaborated with the Spanish surrealist, want the Howard Greenberg Gallery to pay them $684,000 for the lost photos, plus damages. Howard Greenberg, the East 57th Street gallery owner who is named in the suit, said that in 2007, 44 works were stolen, 41 of which were Dali/Halsman works, according to the complaint.


Goya Etching Stolen in Colombia

Canada’s CBC reports that last Thursday thieves stole an engraving by Francisco de Goya from a temporary exhibition in Colombia.

The engraving Tristes Presentimientos de lo que ha de acontecer or Sad Premonitions of What Must Happen was one of 80 by the Spanish artist on loan from the Goya Fuendetodos Cultural Corporation of Zaragoza, Spain.

The work, created between 1810 and 1814 in a series Goya called Disasters of War, was part of a temporary exhibition in Bogota’s Gilberto Alzate Avendano museum.

A bit more on this story from the CBC.


Jewish Museum Traces Nazi Looting of Art

The Earth Times reports that:

Nazi seizures of Jewish-owned art from 1933 onwards are described in detail at a special exhibition to open Friday in the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Organizers said Thursday that many of the confiscated paintings and other treasures had still not been recovered by the lawful heirs of the original owners.

Michael Blumenthal, director of the museum, charged that German art collectors, dealers and museums had all profited by being able to purchase art at reduced prices.

He praised modern Germany’s efforts to give back the art, but said he was disappointed there was no absolute right in law for heirs to reclaim the artworks.


Denver Art Museum Under Investigation

It’s been a bit slow artlaw wise lately, and we’ve also been keeping busy trying to figure out how to manage and remaneuver our investments. Speaking of investments and shenannigans, another interesting story from The Art Newspaper:

In April, the Denver Art Museum gave a half interest in its Charles Deas painting Long Jakes (The Rocky Mountain Man), 1844, to local billionaire Philip Anschutz. In exchange Mr Anschutz bought a Western American painting by Thomas Eakins, Cowboy Singing, 1892, and conveyed a half share in it to the museum.

Now the unorthodox arrangement has spurred an enquiry by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) to determine whether the deal meets the organisation’s standards for collection stewardship, deaccessioning and relationships with private collectors. AAMD sets non-binding guidelines for its members, which represent 190 of the most prominent museums in North America.


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law,, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.

Switch to our mobile site