Galerie Peter Herrmann

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Due to the Cultural Property Protection Act, which came into force on 6.8.2016, I would like to draw my customers' attention to some important details. (Translated by DeepL free version June 2020)

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Comments on the Cultural Property Protection Act


Collectors and dealers will have to cooperate even more closely in the future to comply with the legislation. Under certain circumstances it is illegal, i.e. punishable by law, to sell objects under the generic term "Old Art from Africa", i.e. to offer them officially. This includes also "private" to "private".

The Cultural Property Protection Act includes an objection period of three years after an object becomes known that does not have a proof of origin or that cannot be credibly shown to have been in a collection for more than 30 years. Until now, as of 2016, the UNESCO Convention recommended, without any actual legal basis, a period of only one year for objection after publication without proof of origin. Since 1995, we have been meeting these requirements for all objects in the gallery as the only gallery worldwide. This form of protection now also applies to the Cultural Property Protection Act. The new legal situation therefore does not affect any of my clients.

As a rule, the publication took place before the sale. Since the end of 2015, even before the ratification of the Protection of Cultural Property Act, Galerie Peter Herrmann has added the date of publication to each acquisition and the accompanying publication, and published objects that could fall under the new Protection of Cultural Property Act as a problem. All objects marked in this way were sent in "Newsletters" as a photo with an explanation, or the newsletter explicitly referred to the place where similar offers are offered, usually on the "News" page. Furthermore, the objects are clearly structured and archived in categories. Objects not marked with a date on the domain have demonstrably been published between 1995 and 2015. Almost all of these objects have been shown in exhibitions, thus presented to a broad public and even partly published in the press.

An exception to all of the objects sold by the gallery are so-called brokerage transactions, in which the gallery did not appear as owner or commission seller, but only settled the account via a brokerage commission or, very rarely, did not appear at all as a favour in accounting terms and only made a non-binding recommendation. Buyers of such objects must explicitly discuss an agreement with Peter Herrmann, so that these objects are published on the domain Galerie-Herrmann.com after purchase, in order to exclude the theoretical possibility of an objection. If a collector fails to do so, he may not sell this object in Europe. If he does so, it must be expressly pointed out, the provider may be liable to prosecution. An age expertise or a proof of purchase from another dealer is no proof of origin.

Our distribution list contains 5,000 recipients worldwide. It contains addresses of art historians, museums and organisations that also deal with restitution issues. Peter Herrmann has been working with the greatest possible transparency since the beginning of the gallery's activities in 1989 and has extensive legal experience. Should, contrary to expectations, an owner of a disputed object require legal assistance, Peter Herrmann is recommended as an expert with experience as an expert for customs, insurance and investigating authorities.

Particularly affected are objects from southern and south-eastern Nigeria of the Benin, Nok, Ife, Ibo and Yoruba cultures, which have been a priority in the discussions about restitution for several years.

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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Law on the Protection of Cultural Property (Kulturgutschutzgesetz - KGSG)
§ 55 Limitation and Limitation of the Right to Restitution
(1) Claims for return shall not be subject to the statute of limitations if they are directed at the return of cultural property which
belongs to public collections as defined in point 8 of Article 2 of Directive 2014/60/EU, or
is included in an inventory of ecclesiastical or other religious establishments in the Member States where it is subject to special protection arrangements under the legislation in force in that Member State.
The rights referred to in the first sentence shall expire 75 years after they have accrued. A right shall not lapse pursuant to the second sentence if the requesting Member State provides in its legislation that such rights of return shall not lapse.
2. Except in the cases referred to in paragraph 1, claims for return shall lapse, regardless of the facts, 30 years from the date on which the cultural object was unlawfully removed from the territory of the requesting Member State or Contracting State.
3. All other claims for the return of cultural property under this Section shall be time-barred after three years.

Act on the Protection of Cultural Property (Act on the Protection of Cultural Property
KGSG) § 56 Start of the limitation period


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