July 2019.
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Looking Good
At the Art & Law Reception, Taylor | Graham Gallery.
On the 25th of June, the art law village came together to preview artworks donated to our inaugural benefit auction and to celebrate artists and attorneys who help each other. Big round of thanks due to our incomparable reception host, Taylor | Graham gallery, and our sponsors, Athena Art Finance, Herrick Feinstein LLP, The Art Newspaper, and the Santander Art and Culture Law Review. 

As for the auction...  it is my pleasure to report that it was a great learning and fundraising experience! This important effort would not have been possible without the talented artists, collectors, and friends who donated to the auction. Let's also recognize our multi-talented and inspiring Executive Director, Louise Carron who accepted the idea of hosting an art auction in record time with record results, helped by our 2019 Spring and Summer teams. Finally, thank you all who attended our reception, and congratulations to those who won the artworks! 

For those who could not attend, you can still order the auction catalogue or make a donation below. We are counting on you to help help build the Center's long-term projects. [Think Big. Think - Art & Law Clinic(s)!] 


Irina Tarsis 
Founder and Managing Director
Keep Calm and Support Art Law
On Our Agenda

NEW IVR 2019 Special Workshop: Art, Law and Artificial Intelligence
July 8, 2019
University of Lucerne Faculty of Law (Switzerland)
More information here >>

NEW Preserving Your History: Legacy Planning and Archiving for Artists
July 18, 2019
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NY)
More information here >>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art & Law Workshop: Contracts 101
July 25, 2019
Urban Glass (Brooklyn, NY)
Stay tuned!

More Events
What's New in Art Law
When the Saints Go Marching HomeSotheby's returned a 1450s French sculpture depicting Saint Michael slaying a dragon after British Museum curator, Dr. Lloyd de Beer, discovered the work was stolen from a church in 1969. It was promptly repatriated to France when the owner, who had purchased the piece from Sotheby’s, returned it to the auction house. 

Homeward Bound. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) identified nearly 100 stolen artifacts seized in the U.S., some from the collection of Indian art dealer Subhash Kapoor, as original antiquities of substantial value. Among the seized artifacts include statues stolen from the Suttamali and Sripurantan temples of Tamil Nadu. Alongside these items were also a series of terracotta objects that the Toledo Museum in Ohio voluntarily returned.

Homeward Bound (Part II). Germany agreed to repatriate Dutch master Jan van Huysum’s Vase of Flowers to the Uffizi, following the Italian museum’s call for its return. The painting has remained in the possession of an unidentified German family since a German soldier looted it in 1943. German authorities were initially hesitant to intervene, given the 30-year statute of limitation on crimes, leading Uffizi head Eike Schmidt to call for the end of statute of limitations on Nazi-looted artwork. 

Angling for Angela. A warrant was issued for the arrest of German art collector and heiress, Angela Gulbenkian, after she failed to appear at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London on June 26. Gulbenkian faces two charges of theft totaling $1.38 million, one of which relates to the sale of a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture. 

Art You Sure These Belong to You? A study conducted by the German Lost Art Foundation found that up to eight percent of acquisitions from four German museums in Brandenberg were probably acquired through state-sanctioned seizures and thefts instigated by the East German state. The museums examined in the study included the Viadrina Museum in Frankfurt, and several local museums in the towns of Strausberg, Eberswalde, and Neruppin.

Qui Tacet (Non) Consentire Videtur. Art Basel removed a panel from Andrea Bowers’ Open Secret installation when digital media strategist and writer Helen Donohue discovered that it included photos depicting her physical abuse at the hands of Michael Hafford, a Vice contributor. Donohue demanded that the piece be removed, leading Bowers to issue an apology and to concede that she should have asked for Donohue’s consent.

Judith Will Not Be-Heading to Auction. The Caravaggio-attributed Judith and Holofernes, famously discovered in a Toulouse attic in 2014, was sold to billionaire J. Tomilson Hill ahead of its widely-anticipated auction in June at Marc Labarbe. The painting, valued at $170 million, was expected to set a new auction record for the Italian painter. However, there are still doubts about the painting's attribution.

A Little More Privacy. International auction house, Sotheby’s, was taken private in June after French billionaire Patrick Drahi acquired it for $3.7 billion through his U.S.-based company, BidFair USA. The 275-year-old institution’s return to private ownership after 31 years as a public company is likely to have a ripple effect on the rest of the auction industry. Per the agreement, Sotheby’s shareholders are to receive $57 a share.

Strength in Numbers. The newly-established International Catalogue Raisonné Association (ICRA), which promotes preserving an artist’s body of works, was created in response to recent high-profile lawsuits regarding art authenticity. Membership to ICRA is open to creators of an artist’s catalogue raisonné, and includes access to legal panels, conferences, and networking events. Art lawyer Pierre Valentin, a partner at Constantine Cannon LLP, chairs IRCA’s board.

Dealing with New-Deal Era Murals. The San Francisco school board unanimously voted to cover a 13-panel mural at George Washington High School depicting slaves and European colonists at Mount Vernon walking across the body of a Native American. The mural was painted by Russian-American artist Victor Arnautoff, who sought to provide a critical perspective on American history. Efforts to cover up the mural are expected to exceed $600,000. [We wrote a two-part series of article on that topic: Part I and Part II.]

They Didn't Start the Fire (But They Have to Put it Out). The reconstruction of Notre Dame will not be a topic for discussion at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s 42nd annual meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. France failed to produce a full report on the fire that ravaged the landmark cathedral in time for the meeting, which runs from June 30 to July 10. The French state has pledged to produce a report by December 2019, which is likely to be discussed by the UNESCO committee in June 2020.

No More Hiding. French curator Nicholas Bourriaud’s latest project, the MoCo Hôtel des Collections, seeks to be the solution to several persistent problems by displaying artworks from private collectors, preventing collectors who buy artwork as investments from hiding these “investments” in storage. MoCo also managed to amass a collection without its own fortune.

Last Clear Chance
As we closed out our Art & Law Auction last week, we still need your support to ensure that we end on a strong note. Help us continue providing the programs and services that enable artists, attorneys, students, and others to navigate art law. 
Contact us for more information!
Order your copy of the 'Art & Law' commemorative catalogue!
Case Law Corner
Please note that the Case Law Corner will soon be
a pay-per-view feature of the Art Law Blast. Comments welcomed!

Silver v. Gagosian Gallery, Inc., No. 652090/2018 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed Apr. 12, 2019). In April 2018, Hollywood Producer Joel Silver sued Gagosian alleging the gallery failed to deliver a Jeff Koons sculpture, Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels, which Silver purchased for $8 million in 2014. He sought the return of the $3.2 million he had paid to date, plus interest and fees. In June, the producer dropped his lawsuit after it was revealed that billionaire art collector Ron Perelman - who had previously sued the gallery in 2014 over artwork transactions valued at $45 million - was secretly paying Silver’s legal fees. Gagosian and Silver reportedly reached a settlement in which Silver agreed to move forward with the purchase.

Ciccone v. Gotta Have It! Collectibles, Inc., 2019 Slip Op. 04333 (N.Y. App. Div. June 4, 2019). Last year, Madonna filed for an injunction to prevent Gotta Have It! Collectibles from holding a sale of her personal belongings, which were consigned to the auction house by Madonna’s ex-art advisor, Darlene Lutz. While a temporary injunction was granted in July 2017, the Manhattan Supreme Court reversed in April 2018, lifting the injunction and dismissing the case after finding that Madonna’s claims were time-barred due to the passing of the three-year statute of limitations. On June 4th, the Appellate Division affirmed the decision. The sale of the contested items is scheduled to begin on July 17, 2019.

Shope v. Frida Kahlo Corporation, No. 1:19-cv-01614 (D. Colo. filed June 5, 2019). On May 27, a third controversy arose surrounding the Frida Kahlo Corporation’s (“FKC”) assertion of their trademark rights to the artist’s name and likeness. FKC submitted a “notice of intellectual property infringement” to online arts and crafts retailer Etsy, against the work of folk artist Nina Shope who creates dolls using the likeness and name of Kahlo. The artwork listings reported by FKC were removed by Etsy, though many more of Shope’s Frida Kahlo dolls remain available for purchase. In response, Shope filed suit in the District of Colorado against FKC on June 5th seeking a declaratory injunction of non-infringement. Shope maintains that use of Kahlo’s name and likeness for creation of dolls is not an infringing use. 

Lam v. Mamacha LLC et al, Index No. 653320/2019 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed June 6, 2019). On June 6th, Dallas-based artist Dan Lam sued New York gallery The Hole and Mamacha Cafe for allegedly failing to pay the artist for her artworks following a 2018 exhibition. Lam claims she has been paid only $6,000 out of a total of nearly $36,000 owed for twenty-one artworks. Eight of the artworks were sold, while the others were lost or damaged. The Hole claims that Mamacha is the only party in a fiscal relationship with Lam, but Lam maintains that her works were consigned with both parties and thus both are properly named as defendants in the suit. 

Lehmann Maupin LLC v. Yoo, 1:18-cv-11126-AJN (S.D.N.Y. June 10, 2019). Last fall, Lehmann Maupin Gallery filed suit against former employee Bona Yoo for allegedly stealing Trade Secrets. The gallery accused Yoo of taking confidential client information when she left to become a Sales Director at Lévy Gorvy. In response, Yoo countersued on the basis that the gallery’s suit was filed out of spite and they did not have exclusive rights to the data. On June 10th, 2019, the District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case with prejudice. No comment has been made as to whether the parties reached an out-of-court settlement.  

Philipp v. Fed. Republic of Germany, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 18188 (D.C. Cir. filed June 18, 2019)Last year, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the heirs of the art dealers who sold the Guelph Treasure may pursue their claims against the Federal Republic of Germany and the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz in U.S. Federal Court. On June 18th, the court denied the defendants’ petition for rehearing en banc. The claims against Germany and the SPK were filed under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, on the basis that the forced sales were in violation of international law. This decision confirms last year’s ruling that claimants do not have to exhaust all remedies abroad before pursuing their claims against sovereign defendants in U.S. courts. 

Moi v. Chihuly Studio, Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103576 (W.D. Wash. June 20, 2019). In May 2017, Michael Moi brought suit against Dale Chihuly, claiming he co-authored certain artworks and was thus owed over $20 million dollars from the sales. On June 20th, Chihuly’s motion for summary judgment was granted, thereby dismissing all claims brought by Moi. The District Court for the Western District of Washington held that Moi could not prove joint authorship, independent copyrightable interest, nor did he have a claim under promissory estoppel, and, finally, Moi’s claims were time barred by the three-year statute of limitations for copyright claims. 

Accent Delight Int’l Ltd. v. Sotheby’s, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105864 (S.D.N.Y. June 25, 2019). In October 2018, Russian billionaire and art collector Dmitry Rybolovlev brought suit against Sotheby’s, alleging the auction house materially assisted art advisor Yves Bouvier in defrauding Rybolovlev of approximately $1 billion by overcharging the collector on thirty-eight works of art. Sotheby’s was involved in the sales of 14 of the artworks in question, for which Rybolovlev seeks $380 million in damages. Sotheby’s filed a motion to dismiss the New York lawsuit and to keep certain records sealed. On June 25th, the district court for the Southern District of New York largely denied the motion to dismiss and denied in part and granted in part the motion to seal, meaning this suit can proceed despite the fact that the parties also have ongoing litigations internationally. 

Zuckerman v. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19057 (2d Cir. June 26, 2019). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has prevailed against the heirs of German Jewish businessman Paul Leffman in their claim to the painting The Actor by Pablo Picasso. Leffman sold the painting in 1938 for $12,000, in order to fund the family’s escape from fascist Italy to Switzerland after they had fled Nazi Germany the prior year. The painting was donated to the Met in 1952, but the family did not bring a claim to the painting until 2010. Previously, the District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the family failed to demonstrate the painting was sold under duress. On appeal, the Second Circuit again dismissed the case, this time on the basis that the plaintiff’s claim was time barred under the equitable defense of laches.

The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith et al, No.1:17-cv-02532 (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2019). The District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan ruled on July 1st that Andy Warhol’s use of Lynn Goldsmith’s 1981 photograph of iconic pop singer Prince was fair use, based on a finding that Warhol’s series was “transformative.” The Andy Warhol Foundation’s motion for declaratory judgment was granted and Goldsmith’s countersuit was denied, concluding the litigation that began in 2017. Read our Case Review

Morgan Art Found. Ltd. v. McKenzie, No. 1:18-cv-04438-AT (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2019). Heated legal action has surrounded the estate of Robert Indiana since the day before his death last May. As we reported, the suit was initiated by the Morgan Art Foundation, Indiana’s agent for the past twenty years, against American Image Art, its founder Michael McKenzie, and Indiana’s employee Jamie Thomas, alleging copyright and trademark infringement among other claims. American Image Art and McKenzie filed counterclaims, alleging the Morgan failed to fully pay Indiana royalties and that the Morgan fabricated unauthorized reproductions of his famous sculptures. On July 1st, 2019 the District Court for the Southern District of New York largely dismissed the counterclaims against the Morgan. Then, on July 2nd, attorneys for American Image Art and McKenzie filed to withdraw as counsel. 

A few good firms who participated in our Summer Intern Fund.
Hufnagel, Saskia, Chappell, Duncan (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime (Palgrave Macmillan, July 2019). This handbook showcases studies on art theft, fraud and forgeries, cultural heritage offenses and related legal and ethical challenges. It has been authored by prominent scholars, practitioners, and journalists in the field and includes overviews of specific art crime issues, as well as regional and national case studies. Available here
More Publications
Interesting Finds

Call for Article Submissions

The Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice published by the Oxford University Press is calling submission proposals for articles on image rights. Submissions are due before Monday, September 16th, 2019. More information here.

On the Blog

An Excursion into the Antiquities’ Law of India
By Atreya Mathur. India’s rich cultural legacy is embodied in artworks throughout the country. Whether it is a bronze statue of a goddess, an engraved sculpture at a temple, a Tanjore[1] painting at an old gallery or gold and silver Zardozi embroidery,[2] Indian works of art represent a significant part of the country’s past. To […] 

Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable: Frequently Asked Questions
This is a summary of the Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable hosted by the Artistic Freedom Initiative, the Center for Art Law, and Mana Contemporary on May 8, 2020, where four attorneys addressed recurring pandemic-related legal questions as they pertained to the creative field, ranging from employment, immigration, housing, copyright and contract issues. Tana Forrester Kessler Matura P.C. Employment […] 

Case Review: Allen v. Cooper (2020)
By Alexa Sussmane. Joseph Nicholls, “Capt. Teach alias Black-Beard” (1736), print engraved by J. Basire and reproduced in D. Defoe, A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers, &c. To which is added, a genuine account of the voyages and plunders of the most notorious pyrates (1736), p. […] 

Case Review: Republic of Turkey v. Christie’s
By David Jenkins. In recent years, the Republic of Turkey has displayed a dedication to preserving and repatriating its cultural artifacts and antiquities to be kept by the state.[1] In what the nation itself calls a “cultural war,” Turkey has engaged with countries like the United States, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and more […] 

Market-Ready: Concerns in Authentication and Appraisal of Russian Art
By Yulianna Vertinskaya. In January 2020, art collectors Igor and Olga Toporovski were arrested in Belgium on suspicion of handling stolen goods, fraud and money laundering.[1] The couple came under scrutiny in 2017, due to their involvement in the loan of artworks to the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium for an exhibition entitled “Russian […] 

Commercial Misappropriation: Where Do Street Artists Draw The Line?
By Sara Osinski. There was once a time where the presence of graffiti was perceived as contributing to increased crime rates and decreased property values.[1] Since the 1970’s, graffiti culture and society’s perceptions of graffiti have changed drastically. Society’s tolerance for graffiti and the new wave of street art gradually evolved into praise, which attracted […] 

Klimt in the Wall: An Account of Return
By Alexa Sussmane. Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery, a gallery in a small city of Passerini, Italy, made international news in December 2019 after the unexpected return of a Gustav Klimt painting which had been stolen from the same gallery twenty-three years earlier. Gardeners discovered Klimt’s “Portrait of a Lady” (1916-17) (the “Portrait” or the […] 

It’s A Risky Business: Why Insurance Matters In The Art Industry
By Vivian Costandy Michael, Esq. “Art and insurance” may not roll off the tongue like “art and design” or “art and wine,” but those in the art business should know they are an equally natural pairing. Insurance is a way of managing risk, and no industry, including the art world, is immune from risk. In […] 

Case Review of the 5Pointz Appeal: Castillo et al. v. G&M Realty L.P. (2020)
By Louise Carron. February 20, 2020 will be known in legal art history as the day that street art was affirmed as “a major category of contemporary art.”[1] In Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., which put an end to a 7-year long dispute over the whitewashing of the Long Island City-based “graffiti mecca” known as […] 

Book Review: “Hitler’s Last Hostages” (2019)
By Madhulika Murali. What do art and fascism have in common? More than one might think, as Mary M. Lane details in her thorough exploration of how art came to play a powerful role in the ideology and history of Nazi Germany. In her new non-fiction book entitled Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the […] 

Book Review: “Art and Modern Copyright” (2018)
By Sophie Chung. Pulitzer-winning novelist Pearl S. Buck once said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” Dr. Elena Cooper’s new book Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press, 2019) presents a smart way to understand intellectual property today by studying yesterday. The book examines narratives of copyright […] 

Good Art, Ugly Divorce
By Sophie Chung. In 2019, billionaire Harry Macklowe’s “ugly divorce” put the spotlight on his $700 million art collection and raised the issue of dividing it.[1] In March, Macklowe hung two 42-foot-high photographic prints of him and his new wife, Patricia Landeau, on one of his buildings on Park Avenue where Linda Macklowe was supposed […] 

Book Review: “Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime” (2019)
By Yuchen Xie. “I know of no notable female forgers in the history of forgery.” Noah Charney, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (2015) “There is no doubting that women have been actively involved in art crime.” Penelope Jackson, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (2019) A […] 

Art and Restorative Justice: Transformative Healing Through Expression
By Madhulika Murali. As of 2019, 5% of the world’s population resides on the territory of the United States.[1] However, the US prison population makes up 25% of the world’s prison population, with the country assuming the leader position in global incarceration rates.[2] Since the 1970s, incarceration in America has increased by 700%.[3] It is […] 
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See Art, Think Art Law (TM)
– ongoing and upcoming exhibitions with legal themes –

Street Art

Beyond the Streets
25 Kent Ave (Brooklyn, NY)
Through August 2019

More info...

Art and the Holocaust

Through the Lens of Faith
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum (Oswiecim, Poland)
Through October 31st, 2020.

More info...

Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Laurel Salisbury, Tim Chung, and Jacqueline Crispino. 
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