With the $19 million settlement for the Leopold Museum’s Schiele, Voice of America profiles the lawyer behind the restitution–and a dean of the art law field–Howard Spiegler:
“I think his legacy is just to set a higher standard and remind the art market and museum world that it’s accountable,” says historian Marc Masurovsky, co-founder of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project, “to accept the fact that many items have come in without clear provenance and are clearly acts of theft.”
Masurovsky often turns to Spiegler to discuss thorny legal and ethical questions. And there are plenty of those, often raised by an artwork’s inadequate “provenance,” or proof-of-origins. In the art world, that’s the paper trail that proves a painting or sculpture is not forged or stolen. Masurovsky says Spiegler’s work has created a new sense of moral and legal responsibility in the art-collecting community . […]
Christopher A. Marinello, general counsel for the Art Loss Register, a private clearinghouse for missing artwork, says Spiegler is uniquely suited for this delicate work.
“It’s Howard’s gentle manner that really is a benchmark for young attorneys entering into art law,” says Marinello. “I mean art law is different. You’ve got different personalities, you’ve got families that have suffered in the Holocaust. And the TV model of the obnoxious New York City lawyer just doesn’t work in the art world.
Fighting for Art Justice (Voice of America)