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27 Jul 2022 Europe

For many years , amongst other fields of law, Polak & Partners Vienna/Austria have developed a substantial practice in a specialty field:  art law. One  recently completed case shows, how interesting  that area of law can be:

Polak & Partners acted for a European head of state, whose private collection includes a 16th century painting, a Venus  by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

When  the Venus was on a loan to a museum  in France  (together with other paintings from the collection), French authorities received an anonymous letter accusing an unknown person to having forged   numerous paintings, amongst which: the Venus. Whereupon the French authorities came to the museum and ,without any warning, seized the painting (which, as the property of a head of state, according to established public international law very arguably actually is immune from seizure).

In the criminal investigation which ensued, the owner joined as a private party to recoup his painting, which according to  the many studies which had been effected  when the painting had been acquired by the collection , was no forgery at all but an authenticated original.   After a five years’ legal battle which went up the courts in France  and numerous  authentication tests which ensued, none of which  showed any proof of the Venus being  a forgery which could be pursued in a criminal case, the painting was returned by France to its rightful owner where it now hangs in a palais in Vienna  and can be admired by the general public again.