Art law is a term that is used to refer to a multidisciplinary practice area that encompasses laws concerning arts and cultural heritage. In addition to the creation, purchase, loan and sale of art and cultural property, art law deals with matters concerning authenticity, contested property rights, moral rights, and import/export restrictions.

While intellectual property is the area of law that is most closely associated to works of art, other areas are of great importance as well, including the law of personal property, trusts, gifts and inheritances, insurance and import and export controls pursuant to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and the Cultural Property Export Regulations. International conventions such as the 1970 UNESCO Convention of the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the UNESCO Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict can also come into play.

Among the art-specific issues we advise on are:

  • authenticity disputes and provenance
  • creditors’ rights and security interests in works of art
  • consignment agreements
  • respect of moral rights
  • cultural patrimony laws, regulations concerning the import and export of art, and international cultural treaties
  • gifts, acquisitions, dispositions and loans
  • joint ownership of works of art