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Article

Laurie A. Morin

Reviser Friederike Gräfin von Brühl

Multilateral treaties and bilateral agreements relating to art, made largely in the latter part of the 20th century. These agreements were set up by nations in response to an unprecedented combination of political, economic, and technological changes affecting the art world, especially the tension between the demand for a free international art market and the need for countries to protect their own resources. This need for regulation is manifested in two important legislative areas: the increasing demand among developed nations for global recognition of their intellectual property rights, and the increasing demand among emerging nations for legislation to protect their cultural properties.

“Intellectual property” is the legal term used to describe statutorily protected intangible rights of artists to their creations. Intellectual property rights are separate from the property rights that are intrinsic to the tangible work (i.e. painting, sculpture, etc.) when it is sold or transferred, and are inalienable from the creator, unless they are expressly transferred. The three most important intellectual property rights are copyright, ...

Article

Copy  

Paul Duro

Manual repetition of another work of art, executed without dishonest intention. The contemporary notion of Authenticity has tended to obscure the fact that the exercise of copying has been a central feature of art practice since antiquity. Unlike the forger, the copyist produces a work that, while taking another work as its point of departure, is not intended to deceive the spectator or the buyer, although such a work may subsequently be identified and sold as an original. This difference in intention distinguishes the copy from the Forgery; the use of any other methodological or aesthetic criterion may risk confusing the two. Although engravings or photographs after another work of art are obviously copies in one sense, as reproductions they employ a mechanical process that separates them from the manual copies under discussion here (see Reproduction of works of art).

The non-fraudulent copy may be divided into three distinct but not necessarily mutually exclusive categories: the copy as a means of duplication; the copy in art education; and the copy as a starting-point for the creation of another art work (often called ...

Article

Forgery  

Thierry Lenain

One of many forms of deceit wherein one attempts to make an object pass for something it is not. Within discussions of art, this object is an artwork intentionally misrepresented so as to appear substantially different from what it actually is. The fraud may affect first-degree properties of the work, such as its material constitution, artistic content, or general appearance, but may also be applied to its historical background. In some cases, part of an existing artwork may be retained while other elements are added or removed. The work as a whole can be altered so as to present an alternate reality: it may be made to appear older, or in a better state of preservation, or to represent a different subject (a royal, rather than a common subject for example), and so forth. A similar end can be achieved through the construction of a completely new object disguised as something else; this is what is usually referred to as ‘forgery’ in the narrowest sense of the word....

Article

Donald Wintersgill

Term applied broadly to whatever of the past is considered to hold cultural significance; closer definition has become contentious in the late 20th century. Architecture, the fine and applied arts, and objects of archaeological interest are frequently the physical objects of heritage (literature, academic learning, music, etc being other aspects), although by no means is every building or work of art regarded as significant. Exactly what is deemed part of heritage and thus worthy of preservation depends on prevailing attitudes to art and the art market, as well as notions of statehood and cultural history, and other issues regarding ownership, such as the public right of access to a particular work. The role of museums and the problems of looting form part of these issues.

Since the mid-20th century the European use of the word ‘heritage’ has taken on greater overtones of ‘nationhood’ than before: heritage is not an issue merely of preserving works, but of keeping them within the borders of the country of origin and acknowledging them as part of the nation’s culture. This concept does not appear to have been so strongly formed in the past in Europe, although the basic sentiment in heritage—that artefacts can have a historic, cultural value—can be traced back over millennia. The acquisition of art as a device of power and empire-building exemplifies the sentiment. Victorious Roman armies took booty as a kind of status symbol: the Emperor Titus, for example, returned from Jerusalem with the treasures of the Second Temple. From the Renaissance onwards, the acquisitiveness of collectors and patrons, particularly for ...

Article

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

Legal doctrine concerning authors’ rights that protects a creator’s personal, as opposed to economic, interests. These protections include the creator’s right to appropriate attribution and the right to have the integrity of one’s work properly maintained (see also Art legislation).

The law governing authors’ rights in the USA reflects an incomplete understanding of the motivations for human artistry. Copyright law, the body of law governing authors’ rights, rewards economic incentives almost exclusively. From the beginning, American copyright law has been designed to calibrate the ideal level of economic incentive to promote creativity. With the exception of a narrow form of protection for certain types of visual art, copyright law in America does not provide authors with legal protection such as the right to have their works attributed to them, or the right to have their works maintained and presented in a manner consistent with their artistic vision. These rights are known, respectively, as the right of attribution and the right of integrity and they are part of the larger doctrine of moral rights law....

Article

Michael Jaffé

Term used for the record of ownership of movable works of art. A complete provenance provides an accurate account of the locations of a work of art from the time and place of its manufacture to the present. The nearer such a pedigree approaches this all too seldom state (due to the vicissitudes of chronicling a rarity), the more secure the attribution of the work is likely to be. To elicit plausible provenances from often confusing data, or lack of data, is a necessary part of the complex history and psychology of collecting and cataloguing art works. Not unusually, it is hampered either by over-ambitious, careless or false claims or by the complete suppression of provenance information, as is often the case with illegally excavated artefacts and smuggled works of art. On occasion, historically quite consistent provenances, not merely fanciful ones, become attached to copies made after the originals have changed addresses or even disappeared from view; for example in ...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...