Celebrating Kazimir Malevich, a Pioneer in Abstract Art
Howard Spiegler was quoted in The New York Times about exhibitions of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich and the difficulty of determining who has a legitimate claim to owning artwork created during turbulent political eras. In the late 1920s, Malevich brought more than 100 of his abstract pieces to Berlin and appointed two friends to safeguard the works, who then lent them to several museums. Malevich returned to Stalinist Russia, was jailed and died a few years later.
Lawrence Kaye, Howard Spiegler and Frank Lord, along with other members of Herrick’s Art Law Group, later helped Malevich’s heirs recover five of his artworks from the City of Amsterdam, three works from the Museum of Modern Art and the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and one example of his early work from the Kunstmuseum Basel.
Spiegler, commenting on the heirs’ litigation against the City of Amsterdam, told the Times that “heads of state and even government-owned museums like the Stedelijk had traditionally been protected from such lawsuits by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, but that American court rulings had whittled away at that shield.”