View Poll Results: Who should get the paintings

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  • The descendants of the artist

    3 25.00%
  • The descendants of the slave owner

    7 58.33%
  • Paintings should be sold to a museum and the proceeds split 50/50 b/w the 2 families

    2 16.67%
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Thread: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

  1. #11
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    Quote Originally Posted by WI Crippler View Post
    Does statute of limitations apply in this case?
    It's not clear that there was a crime in re the paintings, imho
    I may be wrong.

  2. #12
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    Who should possess the paintings?

    Quite a question.

    On the one hand, the white family has demonstrated the desire and capacity to care for the paintings well, having preserved them for centuries in good condition for the enjoyment of the public. This, and their current possession, argue that they should retain possession of the paintings.

    If the black family has adequate proof beyond reasonable doubt that they are directly decended from the painter, that is something of a claim... but then again let's consider the classical painters of antiquity, like Da Vinci. They usually worked for a patron, who took possession and control of the art they created in return for financial support. Who owns the roof of the Cistine Chapel? The decendents of the painter or the organization that commissioned the painting and owns the cathedral? The latter.

    If I were judging the matter, I'd be tempted to do a "King Solomon". Let the white family, who has demonstrated themselves good custodians of the art and are currently in possession, retain possession. However, the net profit realized by displaying the art is another matter... I might apportion 25% of it to the black family decended from the painter, if their claims are borne out. Strictly speaking, the white family's possession is lawful, because at the time of the painting the slave owner had ownership of the production of his slaves, in return for which he housed and fed same. We don't know what the slave got in return for being a talented artist... perhaps better food and quarters, or some other mark of favor. Given the laws of the time, it is more legally supportable that the white family retain possession. Modern sensibilities are appalled by anyone profiting from past slavery (despite how difficult it is to quantify and how widespread by some definitions), so the 25% is a pacifier for that outcry.

    My 0.02
    Last edited by Goshin; 06-26-11 at 11:36 AM.

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  3. #13
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    If I were judging the matter, I'd be tempted to do a "King Solomon". Let the white family, who has demonstrated themselves good custodians of the art and are currently in possession, retain possession. However, the net profit realized by displaying the art is another matter... I might apportion 25% of it to the black family decended from the painter, if their claims are borne out. Strictly speaking, the white family's possession is lawful, because at the time of the painting the slave owner had ownership of the production of his slaves, in return for which he housed and fed same. We don't know what the slave got in return for being a talented artist... perhaps better food and quarters, or some other mark of favor. Given the laws of the time, it is more legally supportable that the white family retain possession. Modern sensibilities are appalled by anyone profiting from past slavery (despite how difficult it is to quantify and how widespread by some definitions), so the 25% is a pacifier for that outcry.
    My 0.02
    Tell us o, Suleiman bin Daoud, what would the legal basis of your ruling be? Which law or laws would allow you to make this ruling to apportion part of the proceeds?
    I may be wrong.

  4. #14
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon View Post
    Tell us o, Suleiman bin Daoud, what would the legal basis of your ruling be? Which law or laws would allow you to make this ruling to apportion part of the proceeds?

    None whatsoever, O Sahib. Just throwing some thoughts out there...

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  5. #15
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    This is a very tough question and may be difficult to figure out as far as the Law is concerned requiring the Wisdom of Solomon to come the proper solution.

    Morally I see this as a simple question of right and wrong and whether the current owner should continue to profit from slavery which may have been legal at the time, but has always been wrong.

    I voted split the profits of a sale but that is wrong. The current owner need to give them up.
    Last edited by Councilman; 06-26-11 at 12:43 PM.

  6. #16
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    Similar to another recent thread, this is one with two answers...the legal and therefore 'right' thing and the the human and decent thing. Legally...the paintings belong to the current owners. However the 'right' thing to do would be to negotiate a joint offering from both families to a museum. Profiting off of the work today seems a little repulsive.

  7. #17
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    Re: Who should get the paintings? (See post)

    SPOILER Alert: I'm going to reveal the verdict on the show. Don't read further if you intend to watch it and don't want it spoiled. It's LA Law, Season 7, Episode 19.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Was this a real life case or just a tv show?

    I agree with James - heritage and decendency has no strength in 'who owns it' - who owns it is the person who's in posession of it unless they can make a case of intellectual theft.

    On top of that - can they prove they are his actual decendents?
    It was a TV show. I don't know if it was based on an actual case. I don't think so. On the show, the white family offered to share the profits of a book they wrote about the paintings and the artist, but the black family refused that as a settlement, insisting they were the rightful owners. It was also revealed on the show that the black family had owned some of the artists works, but, not realizing their value, had thrown them out.

    I personally voted for selling the paintings to a museum and then splitting the proceeds. However, that's not based on what the law says; it's only based on my personal feelings as to what's the right thing to do. The verdict on the show was that the white family was to retain full ownership. The reasoning was that at the time the paintings were made, slavery was legal and the master was automatically the rightful owner at the time and then his descendants legally inherited them.

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