Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 September 2010
Some countries' laws favoring good-faith purchasers over the victims of theft make it difficult to recover stolen artworks. Nonetheless, the loan of such artworks for exhibition abroad may create opportunities to utilize the host country's legal system for recovery. This article examines representative cases illustrating legal options available to plaintiffs in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, laws at the federal and state level may prevent the seizure of artworks loaned for temporary exhibition, but recent cases show that immunity is not absolute and that such artworks may be subject to suit in the United States. The United Kingdom recently enacted a similar law. That law, however, has been criticized, and future interpretations by U.K. courts will be needed before its true affect can be seen. The article also discusses the backgrounds against which the U.S. and U.K. laws were enacted, illustrating the link between the laws and Russian concerns about protecting cultural artifacts that were nationalized after the Russian Revolution or taken by Soviet troops during World War II.