Art Transactions and Litigation

Art law and art litigation involves a mix of contract law, personal property, tax, estate, intellectual property, and tort law which support the purchase, sale, or gifting of fine art, as well as the publication, marketing and exploitation of art. The art business is substantially unregulated, and market habits and industry practice create challenges to collectors, buyers and sellers of fine art, private dealers, auction houses, in what has now become a multi-billion-dollar industry.

For more than 30 years, we have had clients involving most legal issues relating to the domestic and international art world, including the following:

  • We advise major consignors to public auction with respect to key provisions in the terms of business or consignment agreement for auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, including negotiating favorable terms for those consignors such as guarantees and warranties.
  • We advise potential buyers at auction concerning buyers’ premiums, warranties of authenticity, title, and condition.
  • We advise both sellers and buyers in private sales on potential elements of agreements by which ownership and title are transferred, including issues of provenance, authenticity, condition, viewing, proof of funds, and availability of the art.
  • We also advise gallerists, publishers, living artists, and the estates of artists with respect to their rights and obligations under various different contracts with each other or with other third parties.
  • We advise artist estates concerning their moral rights when available and other copyright rights, and assist collectors and clients in the trade with insurance questions and tax questions. Through our experience with art finance, we assist collectors and galleries to utilize art as stored value.

Our clients include collectors, art galleries, art dealers, art brokers, auction houses, artists, artist estates, family offices, insurance companies, art lending funds, publishers, distributors, and private banks.