Collector Resourcefulness in Protectionist Law Backlash

BY Katrina Kufer / Jun 7 2017 / 18:09 PM

How Andrew and Christine Hall work with, or around, Germany’s July 2016 imposed Protectionist Art law

Collector Resourcefulness in Protectionist Law Backlash
© Martine Fougeron
Andrew and Christine Hall

While there was an initial plan to exhibit Georg Baselitz at the German private museum of mega-collectors Andrew and Christine Hall, the recent implementation of Germany’s highly contentious art law had them rethink their programming. “I just don’t want to be the guinea pig,” Andrew Hall stated to the Financial Times. “It’s not a risk I’m prepared to take with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of art.” Instead, they will exhibit a Leo Koenig-curated show honouring recently passed gallerist Barbara Weiss.

Widely regarded as shortsighted, the new legislation requires that collectors with works valued at over €150,000 must obtain an export license for the items to be shipped outside of the EU. This is applicable to all artists, German origin or not. Germany has one of the highest concentrations of contemporary art in the world, and while partially sparked by a state-owned casino’s decision to sell two Andy Warhol works to raise funds, it is “justified” as an effort to keep cultural property inside the country. The results however, have backfired.

With concerns that if works go on show in Germany, they may never be able to leave – as with the Halls, whose estimated 5,000-work collection regularly goes on display globally and recently halted a 140-work Warhol loan – it has instead prompted collectors to keep valuable artworks outside of Germany. “The majority have already shipped the most valuable works outside of the country,” remarked Art Cologne director Daniel Hug, according to artnet News, an observation echoed by Christie’s president Doug Woodham in his publication Art Collecting Today.