Category Archives: Art Museums and Cultural Organizations

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Last Wishes, First Impression: Potential legal issues arise after Munich recluse passes away, bequeathing Nazi-looted art to a Swiss museum

Cornelius Gurlitt’s notarized will, which did not surface until after his unexpected death this past May, lists the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland as the heir to his vast art collection, which included works by Matisse, Dix, and Chagall. The unusual legal issue here: one month before his death, Conelius Gurlitt agreed to return all Nazi-looted … Continue Reading

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: Despite Forgery Scandals, the Fine Art Market is Booming

On January 23rd, in a rare public appearance, Jasper Johns testified against a New York foundry owner, Brian Ramnarine, who was charged with creating unauthorized sculptures, including a fraudulent Johns “Flag” sculpture which Ramnarine allegedly made from the original mold and attempted to sell for $11 million.  Johns testified that the sculpture was not authorized, … Continue Reading

The financial crisis and a new round of deaccessioning debates

When public institutions are suffering from financial deficits, one question is usually raised: can they sell art to survive? In the museum world it is generally understood that you are to deaccession art only if the work is duplicative of another work in the collection, or for similar collections-related reasons, and the sale proceeds are … Continue Reading

Museum Loans – Part Two

Last post discussed the legal issues surrounding museum loan agreements. This post continues the discussion of museum loans with a look at loans coming into the U.S. from abroad. When exhibition descriptions use the phrase “supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities,” or similar language, the organizers have … Continue Reading

Museum Loans

Museum loans have many benefits. Generous lenders serve the public good by making works available for display and exhibition both here and abroad. Lenders should have a passing familiarity with legal issues surrounding museum loan agreements because the agreement is designed to govern all aspects of the loan throughout the specified term. What follows is … Continue Reading

Public Art Programs: 1% for the 99% – Part Three

We conclude our series on public art and percent-for-art programs by focusing on a recent case involving the respected American sculptor, Alice Aycock. The artist’s sculpture, Star Sifter, was created in 1998 for the John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City. The recent lawsuit was prompted by the planned removal, and thereby destruction, of the … Continue Reading

The Year In Review

By Lano Williams and Christine Steiner The past year was packed with litigation that ranged from broad constitutional questions to the ever present scourge of forgeries. Art Law Gallery presents highlights of some of the most important cases:  … Continue Reading

Cherchez les Catalogues Raisonnés

By Tyler Baker and Christine Steiner The success of the art market depends largely on confidence in the authenticity of artists’ works. Traditionally, a work in an artist’s “catalogue raisonné” has been key to confirming the authenticity, and thus value. To that point, a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of … Continue Reading

Authentication Board to Death by Lawsuits

By Lano Williams and Christine Steiner The recent news that the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, Inc. will dissolve in early 2012 brings the role of authentication boards in the art world to the fore once again. The Board, which has been charged with authenticating the works of Andy Warhol since 1996, has been the … Continue Reading

FASHION and CONTEMPORARY ART: an interesting liaison

The liaison between fashion and contemporary art has been continuously growing changing over the years. Painters, photographers, visual artists, illustrators, performers and creative artists, are commissioned by top luxury brands of fashion and trendy stylists to create new collections, to design their websites, to redesign the concept of their stores, to bring elements of innovation to … Continue Reading
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