Lawyer at The Law Office of Frank K. Lord IV, PLLC
2021 has been the year of repatriation headlines. Germany has pledged to return looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria beginning in 2022, and momentum is growing for other countries to do the same.
At the center of this activity is title law, a legal term for ownership, which places property law expert and art historian Frank Lord’s new firm, The Law Office of Frank K. Lord IV, PLLC, in the thick of these debates. Perhaps best known for helping the heirs of the Dutch art dealer Jacques Goudstikker recover 200 works looted by the Nazis during the Second World War, Lord describes the recent attention on property claims as part of a much larger social movement.
“The antiquities and Holocaust-era claims we have seen over the last several decades continue, but increasingly we also see restitution of artworks taken by colonizers,” he told Observer. “This is happening at the same moment when there is a confluence of demands for individuals and institutions to examine, among other things, the legacies of racism, sexism, and imperialism. From a legal perspective, the claims are often seen as distinct or discussed in categories (and there are important reasons for that). From the perspective of history, which allows for a broader view, the property claims start to look like they are part of shifts in power and revisions of damaging entrenched narratives.”
With Lord supporting these necessary revisions, he cements his place in history, and this our list.