Arts and Cultural Property Law

Wherever an artwork is located in the world and whatever an individual or organisation is seeking to achieve, we believe that art and cultural property should be properly managed and faithfully preserved. The international art world and its markets are complicated and evolving areas. As a firm, we have the expertise and the reputation for excellence required for navigating such complex fields.

We have advised some of the world’s leading art auction houses, galleries, museums, private foundations, trusts and financial institutions.

Our multi-specialist team of art and cultural property lawyers have a wide range of commercial knowledge and expertise. The team includes members of the Institute of Art & Law (IAL), Professional Advisors to the International Art Market (PAIAM) and a Trustee of the British Museum.

Much like the nature of art, our work in this sector has an international dimension. We work closely with leading local counsel and an international network of art world contacts when advising on these matters.

Our services include:

  • Art finance; such as art as collateral for loans
  • Finance and security; including art investment structures, art funds and art insurance
  • Dispute resolution; including authenticity, endangered species, fraud, governing law, illegal export, ownership, valuation, professional negligence, provenance, restitution and spoliation claims and stolen and looted art
  • Intellectual property rights; including copyright (appropriation art, infringement, fair dealing, parody), trade marks and passing off (infringement, registered design), moral rights and The Resale Royalty Right Regulations (2006)
  • Commercial agreements; such as art loan and custody arrangements, auction house terms and conditions, negotiation of public access and transactions such as acquisition and disposals
  • Tax and VAT; including Capital gains and inheritance tax, heritage tax incentives (acceptances in lieu and douceurs) and structures for holding collections
  • Art import and export; including obtaining a licence, Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art (RCEWA) process and Waverley Criteria
  • Corporate strategy and investment
  • Regulatory and compliance; including EU regulation

Partner Contacts

The service is great - the lawyers are knowledgeable and they really know how to take care of you. Chambers UK, 2017

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Our key experience includes advising:

  • an art gallery in connection with a dispute regarding the ownership of certain works of art
  • an international educational institution in relation to provenance issues regarding the sale of a work of art
  • an arts foundation with respect to the export of works
  • an auction house in relation to its consignment agreements
  • an art fair in relation to a strategic partnership
  • an art trust relating to intellectual property matters
  • an art gallery on its contracts with artists
  • a museum in relation to a personal donation