Author:Scharf, Michael P.
Position:The Art of International Law - Editorial


Anyone who has seen "Monuments Men" starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, or "Woman in Gold" with Helen Mirren, knows that return of stolen art is fodder for great films. But today even more compelling stories at the intersection of art and international law are unfolding across the globe.

The international community is currently struggling with how to deal with actions by ISIS and al-Qaeda to destroy cultural treasures throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile, countries around the world are locked in international disputes about repatriation of famous artworks, ranging from the Parthenon sculptures known as the Elgin Marbles to the relics of Machu Picchu.

Art is big business. Global sales of arts and antiquities surpassed $66 billion in 2014. (3) And art controversies are a growing concern for the international community.

Consequently, on September 16, 2016, Case Western Reserve University School of Law's Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, in conjunction with the celebration of the Cleveland Museum of Art's centennial anniversary, convened a day-long conference with leading scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore topics at the intersection of art and international law. The archived webcast of the Symposium is available for viewing anytime at: sep-2016.

This symposium issue of the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law contains eleven articles generated from the Art of International Law conference. The volume also reproduces the 2016 Klatsky Endowed Lecture in Human Rights, featuring the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, with an introduction commemorating the 15th anniversary of the lecture endowment. In addition, the volume includes a transcript of the "Talking Foreign Policy" broadcast devoted to repatriation and contemporary cultural-property protection efforts. Finally, the volume contains four Notes by student editors of the Journal on current issues in international law.


The volume's symposium content proceeds in four sections, beginning with an article by Margaret M. Miles, Professor of Art History and Classics at the University of California, Irvine, who delivered the Keynote Address. Professor Miles's article traces the theory and practice of restituting cultural objects from ancient times through the present, providing a context for modern-day conversations on the topic.

The second group of symposium...

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