Law and Art: The Free Movement of Cultural Property
Full course description
In Law and Art - The Free Movement of Cultural Property we take a closer look at the legal dimension of the art trade, the protection of cultural heritage from various threats, and the different points at which law and cultural heritage intersect. Artworks speak to our imagination and either fascinate or irritate (or bore) us. In the public discourse works of art are described and valued for different reasons: their uniqueness, their representation of the artistic genius, expressions of the human condition… These values we ascribe to art can also lead to it being endangered during conflicts, stolen, looted, forged, or even purposefully destroyed.
Beside their artistic and historic value, art works are also goods: material objects that can be valued in money and are traded across the globe. This international element of the trade renders regulation and enforcement across legal borders difficult, and actors in the illicit trade of cultural objects take full advantage of this. Since artworks are relatively easy to take across borders, stolen or looted art objects can show up all over the globe. To add to the difficulties, laws affecting the art trade differ from country to country. This is especially true for export regulations, the rules on the bona fide purchase and limitation periods. For example, the position of the bona fide purchaser is a delicate issue. Who should be protected and for how long? Must a bona fide purchaser return a stolen or looted painting to the original owner? Which law applies if more than one jurisdiction is involved? Which international obligations exit? Are there just and fair solutions for these types of disputes?
These examples show that this course deals with many different areas of law: International and European law, Private and Private International Law, Public as well as Criminal Law and criminology. However, you can easily widen the legal fields having a relation to the art market, such as for example Intellectual Property Law or Tax Law, which will not be addressed directly during the course.
Participants will be assessed on the basis of an exam at the end of the course, as well as a paper on a topic of choice in the area of art law /cultural heritage law. The paper should be written according to academic standards. The paper should include a literature list. References should be in footnote format.
After completing this course, students can:
- identify the special role and treatment of works of art in a variety of related legal issues.
- outline the evolution of international cultural heritage law and summarize its main instruments.
- discuss the legal difficulties of regulating the (i)licit trade in art and the protection of art and cultural heritage from forgeries and destruction.
- analyse the private (international) law issues relevant to artworks.
- rate the compatibility of laws on cultural heritage with European and international standards.
This course is also part of an interfaculty MINOR – Art, Law and Policy Making
Basic knowledge of law is important even if this course is open for students of the faculties of LAW, Arts and Culture and UCM and Erasmus students. Students who have no background in law should in any case read the recommended literature before the course starts.
The course uses a mix of literature which is available through the library and reference list. No additional literature needs to be purchased.
Non-law students are advised to consult the following book: Hage, Jaap, Waltermann, Antonia M., Akkermans, Bram (Eds.), Introduction to Law, Springer 2017, available as ebook in the UM Library.