Art Law Practice
- We advise buyers and sellers, at public and private sales, on title and authenticity questions as well as the substance and form of the agreements by which ownership is transferred, including contractual warranties, representations regarding authenticity and provenance, condition reports, and licensing of images of copyrighted artwork.
- We advise consignors at public auction with respect to important provisions of the auction house consignment agreement, such as the auction house right to rescind an auction sale long after the auction.
- We also advise buyers at public auction concerning their after-purchase rights vis-à-vis the auction house and the consignor, including warranties of authenticity and title.
- We advise art merchants, artists and artists’ estates with respect to their rights and obligations under New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, which establishes distinctive and non-waivable rights for artists.
- Persuading the New York Court of Appeals to reverse a unanimous Appellate Division decision and to reinstate the summary judgment of the Surrogate’s Court awarding ownership of The Cry, a monumental Jacques Lipchitz sculpture, to our client, a Canadian art collector. Mirvish v. Mott, 18 N.Y.3d 510, 942 N.Y.S.2d 404 (2012).
- Obtaining summary judgment in favor of the renowned artist, Robert Indiana, creator of the iconic LOVE sculpture, dismissing Lanham Act and contract claims asserted by an art publisher who claimed the right to produce and sell, as works of Robert Indiana, artwork depicting the Hindi word for “Love” in both the Hindi and English alphabet. This case involved issues relating to how much artist involvement is required to represent sculptures as authentic works of the artist. Gilbert v. Indiana, 2012 WL 688811 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (Judge Katherine B. Forrest).
- Securing dismissal of a related claim against artist Robert Indiana brought by a Monaco art dealer who had purchased the so-called “English Prem” works that were at issue in Gilbert v. Indiana, described above. Successfully removed a case that was initially filed in Maine state court to federal court in Maine, and then successfully moved to transfer to the federal court in the Southern District of New York, where it was decided by the judge who previously dismissed claims relating to the same artwork in Gilbert v. Indiana. Tovar v. Indiana, 2013 WL 182749 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (Judge Katherine B. Forrest).
- Establishing that the standard for evaluating an art merchant’s express warranty of authenticity to a non-merchant in New York State court is whether the representations concerning the artwork had a reasonable basis in fact at the time the representations were made. Christie’s Inc. v. SWCA, Inc., 867 N.Y.S.2d 650 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County 2008) (Justice Charles E. Ramos).
The firm provides sophisticated tax advice to owners on the role of their art collections as part of an estate plan, and on the income and estate tax aspects of lifetime gifts of art to museums, charities and private individuals (including important valuation issues).
- We have advised artists and collectors on establishing art foundations that will serve the client’s estate plan and cultural interests and often hold art as well.
- We advise clients regarding gifts and loans of art to cultural institutions to ensure that the donation is exhibited, used, and acknowledged in accordance with the donor’s wishes.
- We advise foundation clients on their obligations with respect to grants and charitable programs, regulatory and tax compliance, and dealings between the foundation and its officers and other insiders.
- Our extensive contacts in the art market enable us to secure the best specialized non-legal advice for clients in the areas of authenticity, valuation, conservation and collection formation and management.
- Foundations: The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; the (Alexander) Archipenko Foundation; the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation; The Alex Katz Foundation, The Lachaise Foundation, the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation and the Storm King Art Center (New York); the Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust;the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation; the Reversible Destiny Foundation (Arakawa and Madeleine Gins).
- Authentication Boards: The Pollock-Krasner Authentication Board; The Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board (1995-2011); The Matisse Foundation: Yves Tanguy Catalogue Raisonné Project; The Jacob Lawrence Catalogue Raisonné Project; Archivio Alighiero Boetti; The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation; Richard Diebenkorn Catalogue Raisonné Project and The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.
- Artists and Their Estates: Robert Indiana; the Estate of Paul Jenkins; the Estate of Piet Mondrian; the estate of Sam Francis, for art law matters; several prominent modern painters; and two highly regarded contemporary sculptors, whom we have helped to establish foundations to aid sculpture and other visual arts.
- Owners, Buyers and Sellers of Art: Numerous private owners of art, as well as museums and other institutions owning art; and public and private buyers and sellers, art collector-established family foundations, as well as several respected New York art galleries.