The Future of Nazi Looted Art Recovery in the US and Abroad, Conference, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA, 26 September 2018

Events and Conferences


It’s nearly 75 years since the end of WWII, yet vast numbers of artworks and valuables stolen during the Nazi-period from Jewish and other victims remain missing. How can they be found? What can be done to get them back?

Today, hundreds of thousands of these artworks and valuables lie scattered across the globe. In many cases, victims and their heirs are unaware of where these objects are. Too often, the tragic histories behind them have also been lost.

The event will address steps Jewish victims and their heirs can still take to find out and recover their past. Among other things, we will discuss:

Topics Include:
  • Finding Nazi Looted Art
  • Navigating the Legal System
  • What Museums Can Do
  • What the Art Market Can Do
  • Negotiation and Settlements

08:00 am Registration/Continental Breakfast

Mix and mingle with registrants like yourself and enjoy some light refreshments and snacks

9:00 am Welcome and Introductions

Daniel McClean, Partner, Cypress LLP (Los Angeles) and Jonathan Neil, Director of Sotheby's Institute of Art (Los Angeles) open the event.

09:30 am Panel 1: Finding and Recovering Nazi Looted Art

This panel addresses the challenges for victims and their heirs in finding Nazi looted artworks and the experience for them in doing this. It looks at the resources that are available for provenance (i.e. history of ownership) research as well as the steps that governments and public museums need to take to improve research into the objects in their collections and to make this research publicly available.

  • Eyal Dolev, Provenance Researcher (Tel Aviv)
  • Simon Goodman, Author, ‘The Orpheus Clock’ (Los Angeles)
  • Professor Jonathan Petropolous, Claremont McKenna College, Author of 'The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany' (Los Angeles)
  • Moderator: Richard Aronowitz-­‐Mercer, Head of Restitution, Europe Sotheby’s (London)

11:00am – 11:30am Coffee Break

11:30 am – 1 am Panel 2: Bringing Claims

This panel addresses the steps that claimants can take to recover Nazi-­‐looted art through litigation and through alternative forms of dispute resolution and the legal and evidential complexities involved. It looks particularly, at recent legal developments in the United States in the wake of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (“HEAR”)(2016) which is designed to help it easier to bring restitution claims here in U.S. courts.

  • Laurence Eisenstein, Partner, Eisenstein Malanchuk LLP (Washington D.C.)
  • Lothar Fremy, Partner, Rosbach & Fremy (Berlin)
  • Nicholas O’Donnell, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester LLP (Boston)
  • Thaddeus Stauber, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP (Los Angeles)
  • Moderator: Mark Labaton, Partner, Cypress LLP (Los Angeles)
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch

 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Panel 3: What Can Museums Do?

This panel addresses the steps that public museums can take to investigate and voluntarily restitute Nazi-­‐looted artworks from their collections. It looks at the restitution initiatives taken in some Western-­‐Europe countries enabling governments to 'ethically' resolve claims relating to looted works held in their national collections.

  • Stephen Clark, General Counsel, Vice President, Getty Institute (Los Angeles)
  • Simon Frankel, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP (San Francisco)
  • Jutta von Falkenhausen, Attorney (Germany)
  • Moderator: Bob Muller, Partner, Cypress LLP (Los Angeles)

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Coffee Break

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Panel 4: What Can the Art Market Do?

This panel addresses the steps that the art market (including collectors, galleries and auction houses) can take to investigate and resolve claims involving Nazi-­‐looted artworks. It looks at how the art market has come to recently exercise greater due diligence in relation to dealing in tainted artworks and how auction houses in particular, can broker settlements between claimants and the possessors of Nazi-­‐ looted artworks.

  • René Gimpel, Art Dealer (London)
  • Lucian Simmons, Senior Vice President, Provenance and Restitution, Sotheby’s (New York)
  • Isabel von Klitzing, Provenance Researcher (Germany)
  • Moderator: Daniel McClean, Partner, Cypress LLP (Los Angeles)

5:30 pm – 5:45 pm Concluding Remarks

Daniel McClean, Partner, Cypress LLP

For further details and registration, please go to the conference website

Media contact:
B. Johnston

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