Who We Are
Statement of Purpose
Letter from the President
Pending Legislation
ACCP Action
Emergency and Bilateral Agreements
Laws and Conventions
Background Readings
Photo Credits
Terms of Use & Privacy Policy
Contact Us


The American Council for Cultural Policy is pleased to announce an upcoming event:

China and Cultural Property: Who Owns the Past?
Co-sponsored by The Asia Society, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and the American Council for Cultural Policy

Date: April 3rd
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Location: New York
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York

Cost: $7 students w/ID; $10 members; $15 nonmembers

Phone: 212-517-ASIA

A spirited discussion on art and public policy will take place during the Asian Art Fair in New York City. The Asia Society Museum in New York City will host a timely panel discussion, China and Cultural Property: Who Owns the Past? on Monday, April 3rd, 2006.  This public forum is sponsored by Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University, The Asia Society, and the American Council for Cultural Policy. The inspiration of Dean David Rudenstine of Cardozo Law School, the panel event is envisioned as the first in a series of public symposia on law and cultural heritage, touching on some of the most challenging questions of the day affecting museums and private collectors.

What are the laws governing the current art market and how do they impact the collecting of Asian art? How do you balance the rights of collectors and museums with claims for the repatriation of cultural objects? How do we best protect cultural treasures?

The panel event brings together China experts in archaeology, law, the art trade, and heritage preservation and stewardship. Professor Justin Hughes of Cardozo Law School will act as panel moderator. Guests are Dr. Magnus Fiskesjo, Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University, and formerly director of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, Sweden, the distinguished Asian art dealer James J. Lally; Nancy Murphy, a long-time corporate lawyer in China and owner of WaterMoon Gallery in New York, and Marc F. Wilson, Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

The panelists will discuss threats to Chinese cultural heritage and Chinese and international efforts to ameliorate them, archaeological and preservation activities in China, and current Chinese law governing the sale and transfer of cultural materials. Experts will present the facts on China’s rapidly expanding internal art market. The discussion will also focus on U.S. legal and administrative regimen, particularly the request by the government of the People's Republic of China for a bilateral agreement that would bar the import into the United States of all Chinese antiquities from prehistoric times until 1912. Alternative legal and managerial scenarios from other countries will form part of the discussion. At the close of the panel, there will be a brief summation and question and answer session led by Cardozo Law School adjunct professor and Christie’s head counsel Jo Backer Laird.


LINK TO ORDER THIS BOOK: http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu/ACCP


Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law

"What would America be like without its public and private collections of art, antiquities, ethnological materials, or natural history? What if the only art trade was in contemporary American art? Would we be richer or poorer as a nation? Would US citizens have greater or even less understanding of the world outside our borders?"

Public and private institutions in the United States have long been home to a variety of art works, antiquities, and ethnological materials. For years, these collections have been seen as important archives that allow present and future generations to enjoy, appreciate, and value the art of all cultures. The past decade, however, has seen major changes in law and public policy and an active, ongoing debate over legal and ethical issues affecting the ownership of art and other cultural property.

Contributors to Who Owns the Past? include legal scholars, museum professionals, anthropologists, archaeologists, and collectors. In clear, non-technical language, they provide a comprehensive overview of the development of cultural property law and practices, as well as recent case law affecting the ability of museums and private collectors to own art from other countries. Topics covered include rights to property, ethical ownership, the public responsibilities of museums, threats to art from war, pillage, and development, and international cooperation to preserve collections in the developing world.

Who Owns the Past? will serve as a comprehensive syllabus on developments in US law and ethical practices for students and professionals in the fields of law and anthropology, a survival guide to art litigation and a handbook on responsible collecting for collectors, art dealers and museum professionals. Engaging all perspectives on this debate, Who Owns the Past? challenges all who care about the arts to work together toward policies that consider traditional American interests in securing cultural resources and respect international concerns over loss of heritage.


Who Owns the Past, Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law will be published by Rutgers University Press, Art in the Public Area Series in Fall 2005.

Who Owns the Past? Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law

Kate Fitz Gibbon, Editor
Table of Contents

I. The Laws

Chronology of Cultural Property Legislation - Kate Fitz Gibbon

Cultural Property, Congress, the Courts, and Customs - William Pearlstein

Indian Givers, NAGPRA - Stephen Vincent

International and Domestic Immunity - Rebecca Noonan

A Tale of Two Innocents - Ashton Hawkins, Judith Church

The Schiele Matter - Stephen W. Clark

The Sevso Treasure - Leo Gagion, Harvey Kurzweil, Ludovic de Walden

New British Law Governing the Trade in Antiquities - Anthony Browne, Pierre Valentin

The Elgin Marbles, A Summary - Kate Fitz Gibbon

The Hazards of Common Law Adjudication - Jeremy G. Epstein

II. Collecting and the Trade

History of Collecting Ancient Art - Margaret Ellen Mayo

Museums, Antiquities, Cultural Property, and the US Legal Framework - James Cuno

The Expert and The Object - Ronald D. Spencer

Building American Museums, The Role of the Private Collector - Shelby White

The Trade in Antiquities, Who, What, Where…and How Much? - Arielle Kozloff

Dealers Speak - Peter Marks

ATADA, Building Ethical Consensus through Trade Organization - Ramona Morris

A Modern Challenge to an Age-Old Pursuit: Can Cultural Patrimony Claims and Coin Collecting Coexist? - Peter Tompa, Ann Brose

III. Art in Peril

Archaeology and the Art Market - Clemency Chase Coggins

Observations of a Combatant - Clemency Chase Coggins

Art in Jeopardy - Andrew Solomon

Improving the Odds, Preservation through Distribution - André Emmerich

Subsistence Diggers - David Matsuda

IV. The Universal Museum

A Licit International Trade in Cultural Objects - John Henry Merryman

Alternatives to Embargo - Kate Fitz Gibbon

The Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust - Erich Theophile, Cynthia Rosenfeld

Acquisition and Ownership of Antiquities in Today’s Age of Transition - Emma Bunker

Museums at the Center of Public Policy - ACCP editorial board

V. Appendices and Links

Japan’s Protection of its Cultural Heritage – A Model

Cultural Property Information Resources


Who Owns the Past? Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law



Ann Brose is an associate in the Intellectual Property Department at McDermott, Will, and Emery, Washington, DC. Ms Brose worked in the Rights and Reproductions departments for both the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Anthony Browne is a former Director of Christie’s, London, and Chairman of the British Art Market Federation, established in 1996 to represent the interests of the art trade in discussion with the government and other bodies.

Emma Bunker is an archaeologist, art historian, and scholar specializing in the art of Central Asia, western China, and Southeast Asia. She is presently a consultant to the Denver Art Museum and actively coordinates efforts to revitalize cultural institutions in Cambodia. Dr. Bunker is the author of many books and articles on art and archaeology, her most recent book is Glory and Adoration: The Golden Age of Khmer Art.

Judith Church is counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York and a member of the Corporate Department and Intellectual Property Practice Group.  Ms. Church speaks regularly on intellectual property issues in mergers and acquisitions and has written a number of articles on related topics as well as articles on the protection of cultural property under United States law.  Prior to becoming an attorney she was a painter and printmaker and her work is included in a number of public and private collections. 

Stephen W. Clark is Deputy General Counsel for The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He worked in various capacities at the Museum from 1982 to 1986, and served as Assistant Director of the American Craft Museum in 1986-1987 before returning to MoMA. He is a member of the Art Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and has served as Chairman of the Museum Attorney's Group and as a member of the Steering Committee and faculty for the annual American Law Institute/American Bar Association conference "Legal Problems of Museum Administration." He is President of the Museum Association of New York, an advocacy organization for New York's 1400 museums and historical societies.

Clemency Chase Coggins is Professor of Archaeology and Art History at Boston University. She is a specialist in Ancient Mesoamerica and Andean art and archaeology and has written extensively on archaeology, cultural-property issues and on ethical practices in archaeology, Her published work includes the 1992 Artifacts from the Cenote of Sacrifice, Chichen Itza, Yucatan. Dr. Coggins received the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement from the American Institute of Archaeology in 1997

James Cuno is Director of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Cuno served as the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums and Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard from 1991 to 2002. He was Director of the Courtauld Institute, London from 2003–2004, and has written extensively on the role of art museums in contemporary American cultural policy. Dr. Cuno’s most recent book is Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust.

Ludovic de Walden is a partner in Lane and Partners, London, UK. He specializes in complex commercial litigation and arbitration, and the international art market.

André Emmerich is a retired dealer and specialist in Pre-Columbian art, classical art, and contemporary painting. He is the author of numerous books and articles on art, including Sweat of the Sun and Tears of the Moon and Art Before Columbus.

Jeremy Epstein is a partner in Shearman & Sterling with a specialty in fine arts litigation. Mr. Epstein has been Director of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts since 1998, and has served for many years on the Art Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. His published articles have appeared in The New York Times, National Law Journal, and New York Law Journal.

Kate Fitz Gibbon is a consultant on collections management and cultural-property issues and specialist on Asian art. She is the co-author with Andrew Hale of several books, including Ikat, Silks of Central Asia, which received the George Wittenborn Award for best art book of 1997. Ms Fitz Gibbon served on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the President from 2000 to 2003.

Leo Gagion is a partner specializing in complex commercial litigation and arbitration in the New York offices of Dewey, Ballantine LLP. Mr. Gagion participated in the defense in The Republic of Lebanon v. The Trustee of the 1987 Marquees of Northampton Settlement, (N.Y. Supreme Ct., N.Y. Co.), in which the governments of Lebanon, Croatia, and Hungary each claimed ownership of a collection of Roman silver known as the "Sevso Treasure," owned by a trust controlled by the Marquees of Northampton.

Ashton Hawkins is counsel at Gersten, Savage and Kaplowitz, where he focuses on art law, estates and trusts, international legal questions, and other issues of concern to collectors, philanthropists, museums, and non-profit institutions. Mr. Hawkins was Secretary and Counsel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then Executive Vice President and Counsel to the Trustees. Mr. Hawkins also served as Chairman of the DIA Center for the Arts, the New York-based contemporary-arts organization. He was involved in the drafting of the UNESCO Treaty on International Movement of Works of Art and worked with former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to draft the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.

Arielle P. Kozloff was curator of ancient art at the Cleveland Museum of Art for 20 years. She organized the exhibition and catalogues for Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection; The First 4000 Years: Judaean Antiquities from the Ratner Collection; The Gods Delight: The Human Figure in Classical Bronze (with David Gordon Mitten); Egypt's Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and His World (with Betsy Bryan). From 1997 to 2001, she was vice-president of the Merrin Gallery, and she is now a private consultant to museums and collectors.

Harvey Kurzweil is co-chairman of the Litigation Department of Dewey, Ballantine, LLP, a New York law firm, and a member of the Firm's Executive and Management Committees.  Mr. Kurzweil was lead counsel in The Republic of Lebanon v. The Trustee of the Marquess of Northampton 1987 Settlement. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

David Matsuda is a lecturer in anthropology and human development at California State University, Hayward. He has worked for 15 years on studies of underground economies and their relation to the international antiquities market in pre-Columbian antiquities as well as cross cultural, comparative research on religion, human development, education, and gender. Dr. Matsuda received the Minoru Yasui human rights award for his work with indigenous peoples.

Peter Marks is a painter. For 42 years he owned a New York gallery specializing in the art of South and Southeast Asia. He has written numerous articles on art and cultural property.

Margaret Ellen Mayo was curator of ancient art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, for more than twenty-six years. Among her accomplishments are the ground-breaking 1982 exhibition The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia and its accompanying catalogue. Dr. Mayo is the author of Ancient Art, a handbook of the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She served as a research scholar for Greek vases at Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California and was a Parker Scholar at the Center for Old World Archaeology at Brown University in 1984.

John Henry Merryman is Nelson Bowman Sweitzer and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law, Emeritus and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Art, Emeritus at Stanford University. He was a member of the UNIDROIT Working Group, was an organizer and first President of the International Cultural Property Society, and co-founder of the International Journal of Cultural Property. He has received numerous national and international honors and awards, and is the author of over a dozen books and many articles on comparative and art law.

Ramona Morris is a specialist in Native American art and a former President of the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association, a trade association dedicated to public education and the establishment of ethical standards for dealers in ethnographic artifacts. She has worked as an advisor to several US museums.

Rebecca Noonan is an associate counsel at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, specializing in immunity issues and art law.

William G. Pearlstein is of counsel at Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell and Peskoe LLP. He specializes in art law and is the author of several law journal articles on related issues including Claims for the Repatriation of Cultural Property: Prospects for a Managed Antiquities Market, and Jeanneret v. Vichey: Sales of Illegally Exported Art Under the Uniform Commercial Code.

Cynthia Rosenfeld serves as a development advisor to the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, and has worked extensively in Asia as a writer and travel-industry executive.

Ronald D. Spencer is counsel at Carter, Ledyard & Milburn in New York City. Mr. Spencer serves on numerous art-authentication boards, including the Pollock-Krasner Authentication Board, the Jacob Lawrence Catalogue Raisonné Project, and the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board. A leading authority on art-authentication law, Mr. Spencer is the author of many articles and the editor and principal author of the 2004 book, The Expert Versus The Object: Judging Fake and False Attributions in the Visual Arts.

Andrew Solomon is author of The Noonday Demon: an Atlas of Depression, which has won 11 national awards, including the 2001 National Book Award. Mr. Solomon is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Art Forum, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost and the novel A Stone Boat, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. He serves on the board of the World Monuments Fund and on the Conservators’ Council of the New York Public Library.

Erich Theophile has practiced architecture and historic preservation between Nepal and New York City since 1987. He is co-founder of the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, a non-profit foundation dedicated to safeguarding the architectural heritage of Nepal, and is actively engaged in the restoration of monuments, temples, and architectural landmarks throughout the country. Mr. Theophile is co-editor of The Sulima Pagoda: East meets West in the Preservation of a Nepalese Temple.

Peter K. Tompa is a partner in Dillingham & Murphy, LLP, Washington, DC, focusing on cultural property as well as environmental insurance matters. Mr. Tompa has written a number of law review and magazine articles on cultural property issues. He is a Fellow and Trustee of the American Numismatic Society, a board member of the Ancient Coin Collector’s Guild, a life member of the American Numismatic Association, and a member of the Ancient Numismatic Society of Washington, DC.

Pierre Valentin is a solicitor with the law firm Withers in London where he is head of the firm’s Art and Cultural Assets Group. He was formerly European Counsel at Sotheby’s.

Stephen Vincent is a freelance author writing on arts issues, specializing in cultural policy. He is a frequent contributor to numerous US and international art magazines and author of In The Red Zone: A Journey Into The Soul Of Iraq, 2004.

Shelby White is an author, collector, and philanthropist. She serves on the board of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. White is chair of the White-Levy Program for Archaeological Publications. With her late husband, Leon Levy, Ms. White established the New Initiative Program at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, New Jersey, and the Leon Levy Biogenetics Center at Rockefeller University. Ms. White is a director of Alliance Capital Money Market Funds.