Art and cultural property

With over 100 years' experience of advising clients in the art market we provide commercial advice with real authority.
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Our art law team has a deep understanding of the art market. Our lawyers combine extensive experience of advising clients operating in the art market with a passionate interest in art and cultural history. Many in the team have first-hand experience of working within the art industry.

Our team comprises lawyers from all of the firm’s main practice areas and advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters. As well as advising on art and cultural property law issues, we can provide clients with general commercial, tax, employment, real estate and corporate advice. As an international firm, we can also provide clients with a range of local advice.

We act for a diverse range of clients including:

  • artists
  • art advisers and valuers
  • auctioneers
  • collectors
  • dealers
  • financial institutions
  • Government bodies
  • national galleries and museums
  • private galleries
  • trade associations.

We advise on an equally diverse range of matters:

  • acquisitions and disposals of art
  • agency and commission agreements
  • attribution and authenticity disputes
  • borrowing and lending against art
  • CITES regulations
  • criminal law
  • competition law 
  • corporate strategy and investment
  • export licensing
  • insurance claims
  • intellectual property
  • internet trading and distance selling
  • professional negligence disputes
  • regulatory and compliance
  • risk management
  • stolen and looted art
  • standard terms of business
  • tax and VAT
  • title disputes.
Stephenson Harwood fields a "very well-respected and market-leading team that provides great customer service, very good representation and high levels of advice with a great ability to adapt quickly as needed".
The Legal 500 UK 2019
  • Art disputes
  • Commercial advice
  • Regulatory and compliance
  • Intellectual property

Challenge to conditions of sale

Successfully defending a claim challenging the enforceability of an auction house’s conditions of sale.

Alleged breach of a title warranty

Advising dealers in a hotly disputed claim alleging breach of a title warranty.

Bidding dispute

Advising an art collector on a bidding dispute with a major auction house.

Enforcement of an authenticity warranty

Acting in the defence of proceedings seeking to enforce an authenticity warranty in conditions of sale.

Professional negligence dispute

Representing an art dealer in a professional negligence claim in the High Court against its former advisers.

Enforcement of sale contract

Acting in proceedings to enforce a contract for the sale of a sculpture to our client.

Title dispute

Successfully resolving a dispute over ownership of a historically significant object.

Attribution and description dispute

Acting for the sellers of artworks sold through a dealer in a dispute with the buyer regarding the attribution and description of the objects.

Due diligence in art acquisitions

Advising a government institution on best practice due diligence in art transactions.

Purchase agreement

Advising a government institution on a contract for the acquisition of a sculpture.

Digital artworks

Advising collectors on the sale and loan of digital artworks.

Commission agreement

Advising a government institution on the commission of a large piece of public art.

Consumer rights legislation

Advising on issues relating to the EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU.

Standard consignment terms and conditions

Advising a number of dealer organisations on standard consignment terms and conditions.

The Association of Art and Antique Dealers (LAPADA)

Acted for LAPADA in developing the standard terms of sale for use by it's over 600 members.

Export licence application

Advising an overseas art collector in relation to an application to export an artwork which was found by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art to meet the Waverley Criteria.

CITES

Advising in relation to a police investigation and subsequent proceedings relating to the sale of an item containing ivory.

Alleged bribery

Advising dealers in a dispute concerning an alleged secret commission payable on a transaction involving a net return price.

Compliance with court orders

Advising an auction house on compliance with a court order permitting the seizure of consigned goods in its possession.

Copyright infringement

Advising an auction house in relation to disputes relating to a consigned artwork which was alleged to infringe a third party’s copyright.

Art commissions - ownership of copyright

Advising on issues relating to the ownership of copyright in the context of the commission of an artwork.

Artist’s Resale Right

Advising an auction house in relation to whether a particular category of works for sale was subject to the Artist's Resale Right Regulations.

Trademark infringement

Advising an auction house in relation to potential liability for use of a third-party trademark in a catalogue.

Lawyer

Roland Foord Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2315
M:  Email Roland | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

23 Oct 2019

From Insights

Art law - recent developments October 2019

Welcome to the latest issue of our "Art law - recent developments" newsletter in which we discuss legal issues currently affecting the global art community.

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23 Oct 2019

From Insights

Export licensing

In this article, we look at three separate but related aspects of export licensing.

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23 Oct 2019

From Insights

Restitution

There have been a number of interesting recent developments in the area of restitution, from the UK, to Brussels and the West Coast of the United States. In this artic..

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23 Oct 2019

From Insights

Judicial review of the Ivory Act 2018 to be heard this week

In our last newsletter (Ivory Act 2018 – a political triumph at the art market's expense?) had received royal assent and discussed its potential impact on the art mark..

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28 May 2019

From Insights

The Fifth EU Money Laundering Directive and the art market

Despite fierce resistance from the art world, January 2020 is likely to see the Fifth EU Money Laundering Directive take effect in the UK, requiring auction houses and..

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28 May 2019

From Insights

Ivory Act 2018 – a political triumph at the art market's expense?

Amidst government deadlock on Brexit, one piece of legislation did manage to sail serenely through the parliamentary process.

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21 May 2019

From Insights

Art law - recent developments

Welcome to the latest issue of our "Art law - recent developments" newsletter in which we discuss legal issues currently affecting the global art community.

More

21 May 2019

From Insights

Return to sender? Falling foul of cybercrime

The risk of being a victim of cybercrime can often be overlooked or underestimated in the art market.

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04 Oct 2018

From Insights

Specialist Global Arbitration Court for art disputes

The Court of Arbitration for Art ("CAA") opened its doors for the first time this summer.

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03 Oct 2018

From Insights

Copyright in a globalised art market

Whenever art is commissioned, and often when it is sold, it is essential to consider copyright law.

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03 Oct 2018

From Insights

Authenticator liability: New York State Court finds in favour of Catalogue Raisonné

Earlier this year, a New York Supreme Court judge dismissed the London-based Mayor Gallery’s $7.2 million claims against the Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné LLC (AMCR)..

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21 Feb 2018

From Insights

Paris decides "whose right of ownership should prevail?"

Mr Bauer was the owner in France of the Pissarro painting La Cueillette or La récolte des pois. In 1943, on the order of the General Commissariat for Jewish Affairs, t..

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21 Feb 2018

From Insights

Goods Mortgages – revolutionising the business of lending against art?

The Law Commission has published its long-awaited draft of the Goods Mortgages Bill. Put simply, this will better enable individuals to use goods they currently own, s..

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21 Feb 2018

From Insights

Identifying the owner – how shell companies allow anonymity in restitution claims

The ongoing US restitution case, Maestracci v. Helly Nahmad Gallery, Inc., concerns a Modigliani painting allegedly looted by the Nazis.

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21 Feb 2018

From Insights

Export bar on Turner masterpiece

The art market will no doubt be watching closely to see whether "Ehrenbreitstein", painted by an artist who the Tate describes as "the most celebrated painter in Engla..

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02 Nov 2017

From Insights

Largest provider of online bidding platforms in the UK changes practices amid complaints alleging anti-competitive behaviour

The UK's main competition law enforcement authority, the CMA has intervened to resolve competition law concerns in the fast-growing online auction house sector. This i..

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