Overview

The Art Law Group at Pryor Cashman provides boutique firm specialization within a full-service law firm platform. We represent stakeholders throughout the art market at both the individual and institutional levels, including collectors, family offices, galleries and dealers, advisors and appraisers, auction houses, museums, foundations and artists. We handle hundreds of millions of dollars in art deals each year, and have been responsible for major, precedent-setting legal victories in courts.

Recognized Leaders in Art Law

The members of the Art Law Group are deeply experienced in the field of art law and in the business of art. They are regularly asked to serve on panels and to address professional audiences; they have published numerous relevant scholarly articles; and they have taught at premier institutions. Attorneys in the Group chair Art Law Committees for both the New York County and New York State Bar Associations, and have been recognized by Chambers & Partners “High Net Worth” Guide and the New York Law Journal for providing top and “trailblazing” work in the field of art law. Attorneys in the Group also conceived and led the development of the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA) based in The Hague, which is the first alternative dispute resolution (ADR) forum in the world devoted specifically to art disputes.

Art Transactions & Counseling

Fine art and collectibles are valuable and uniquely vulnerable commodities. We provide a range of specialized services to clients doing business in this unique market, including addressing general corporate and tax needs, papering transactions, and advising on pre-transaction diligence—often drawing on strong relationships with industry partners. We have counseled:

  • A family office in negotiating a nine-figure art collection consignment to an international auction house on favorable commercial terms
  • A major artist’s foundation and other art scholarship non-profits with respect to various corporate governance issues, catalogue raisonné publication, submission and authentication issues
  • Several premier art galleries, including with respect to corporate restructuring and complex tax needs, employment and nondisclosure agreements, and artist representation
  • Top collectors in negotiating international exhibition loan agreements and related coverage under commercial fine art insurance and governmental indemnity schemes
  • A prestigious U.S. museum in assessing the enforceability of a promised gift
  • A renowned art gallery and its represented artist in the negotiation of elaborate sale of artwork with an eight-figure value
  • A major collector in obtaining an eight-figure loan facility secured by art
  • An international auction house in assessing various intellectual property risks and negotiating related image and right of publicity licenses
  • Several popular artists in negotiating gallery representation and exhibition agreements

Art Litigation & Dispute Resolution

The Pryor Cashman Art Law Group is comprised of sophisticated commercial and IP litigation attorneys who have handled some of the most high-profile and precedent-setting cases involving allegedly stolen and fake or forged art, as well as cases involving copyright, artist moral rights, and other issues. We recently represented:

  • An artist’s foundation in helping to expose the largest art fraud in American history; and a related but separate representation of the purchaser of multi-million dollar fake “Mark Rothko” painting from gallery at the center of the fraud (Killala Fine Art Limited v. Weissman; Martin Hilti Family Trust v. Knoedler Gallery LLC)
  • The good faith owner of an Egon Schiele drawing alleged to have been stolen during World War II (Bakalar v. Vavra)
  • An artist’s foundation against the artist’s former studio assistant in claims alleging theft of Robert Motherwell art (Banach v. Dedalus Foundation)
  • A gallery and collector in claims by artist alleging moral rights and copyright violations in connection with restoration of art by Cady Noland (Noland v. Michael Janssen Gallery)
  • The owners of lost or stolen art by Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Motherwell in successful recoveries through coordination with the FBI
  • Good faith owners of paintings by Otto Muëller, Paul Klee, Max Pechstein and Edgar Jene in claims alleging prior theft by alleged former owner’s lover (Frenk v. Solomon)
  • An auction house in claims alleging breach of contract in the context of a private sale (Molis v. Sotheby’s Inc.)
  • Several prominent art galleries in defending against claims alleging that the gallery websites failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
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