Art Law

Eaton & Van Winkle’s lawyers for the creative arts are highly experienced in all aspects of art law. Much of the work we do requires knowledge of applicable foreign laws. Artworks and cultural artifacts are often located outside the United States, involving buyers, sellers, dealers, galleries, collectors, museums and governments. Provenance, authentication, restitution and recovery are important concomitants of the work we do. Issues of title, theft, counterfeiting, forgery and fraud are challenging, and involve working with public agencies, civil and criminal authorities when necessary. Special issues faced by artists, foundations and their officers and directors are important considerations in negotiation, litigation and arbitration arising from art acquisitions, sales and divestitures by institutions as well as individuals.

Appraisal, valuation, trusts and estates and tax-sensitive issues related to insurance, donation and inheritance of fine art by and to corporations, non-profit foundations and museums, and inheritance, and concerns when artworks are auctioned, are aspects of this interesting and rarefied area of today’s legal world. Our art lawyers benefit from our strong intellectual property and commercial litigation departments. Major art collectors, estates, museums and art galleries, auction houses in the U.S. and abroad, as well as foreign governments and cultural institutions have consulted and been advised by our art lawyers.

We are experienced in all aspects of intellectual and cultural property law, here and abroad, including First Amendment Law and Copyright Law. some representative engagements include: representation of a prominent European art gallery in an authentication dispute with an art foundation; art recovery negotiations on behalf of the family of a prominent victim of art confiscation in Italy seeking restitution, defense against a criminal prosecution for trafficking in stolen art involving post-World War II claims of theft of artworks by Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt, Caracci and Van Ruysdael, by the Russian Red Army from a museum in Germany and further theft from a Museum in Baku, Azerbaijan; representation of estate of prominent art dealer against claims brought by the estate of an artist; location and recovery of paintings by Richard Prince and others in a dispute among prominent international collectors, representing a museum in connection with importation and registration of art borrowed from foreign museums and collections with federal, state and local authorities; negotiation with U.S. and foreign customs officials concerning disputed ownership of seized artworks and successfully representing a European sculptor to recover against New York art gallery for fraud.

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