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For a full listing of art law events, please visit Calendar of Events. If you would like us to list your upcoming event please complete the Submission Form online.
*Jan 30-31, 2015 -- The Practice of Law in the International Art World (Sotheby's Institute of Art, Los Angeles, CA) 

This two-day conference gathers together top attorneys and professionals to engage and debate the way law is actually encountered and practiced in the international art world. From estate planning and tax guidance to intellectual property to critical decision-making skills, the conference offers fresh insight into areas of legal and business practice from top professionals with years of experience working with art world clients at the highest levels.

Course fees: $975.00

more details...
*Feb. 3, 2015 --  Commission and Consignment Agreement (VLA Auditorium, New York, NY) 5:30PM-7:30PM

For any visual artist who plans on working with a gallery or is working with a gallery and who plans on taking commissions either from private individuals or for public art installations, VLA is offering a class on how artists can protect themselves through consignment agreements and commission contracts.  Please join to review crucial contract clauses and discuss issues that will help you navigate your relationship with the galleries and commissioning agencies or individuals you work with.

Remember, all Center for Art Law members enjoy the VLA discount on all VLA programs. Contact Luis  Nieto Dickens for details.
*Feb. 16, 2015 --  Dinner & A Movie: Big Eyes @ Angelika (New York, NY) TBD
Whatever happened to the Keanes?! One of the films nominated for the Golden Globe Award this year, is a biopic of Margaret Keane and her struggle to get copyright to the works she created while married to Walter Keane. The film was not picked for the Oscars but it did receive the Best Actress Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Following is an excerpt from the Bankruptcy Court ruling involving the Keanes in early 1990s:

"On November 3, 1988, the court issued an order which, in part, specifically states that it is ordered that:

2. The Debtor, Walter Stanley Keane, shall turn over to the Trustee, within thirty days of the signing and filing of this Order, the following property:
(a) All property listed on the inventory prepared by Walter Keane, a copy of which is attached to this Order;
(b) All greeting cards owned by Walter Keane which are not listed on the above-referenced inventory, e.g., those in possession of the Runswick family, stored at a commercial location known as "Inlite" located in Berkeley, California; or at any other location;
(c) The originals and all prints or lithographs of the following art work (copies of photographs and greeting cards of these paintings are attached to this Order):"
RSVP to participate in the dinner and a movie w/ a mystery guest speaker recollecting the Keanes art law matters.
*Feb. 18, 2015 --  Preserving Art and Cultural Heritage Through International Law (American University, Washington, DC) 3PM -7PM

The preservation of art and cultural property has been made popular by television shows such as White Collar and movies such as Monuments Men, but the international laws that are integral to these issues are not always properly addressed. This symposium will welcome key practitioners and academics in the field of international art and cultural property law for a discussion of the preservation of art and cultural property through international humanitarian, criminal, trade, and general treaty law, among others. The panels will focus on art crimes, moral rights, and art and cultural property trade and sale. The keynote speaker will address the importance of protecting cultural property against destruction during armed conflict.

NOTE: *Events are appearing in the Newsletter for the first time.


What's New: [ka, ka] C
  • Come on over: Center for Art Law has new offices in DUMBO!
  • Claim Something: London-based Art Recovery International introduced their new database, ArtClaim, designed to keep track of lost, stolen and otherwise problematic artworks, antiques and other valuable cultural objects. Free online access is offered for a limited period of time. Create your account and carpe diem!
  • Catalogue Cézanne: Online catalogue raisonné of the works by Paul Cézanne is a poster-child for what a smart, nimble, carefully-designed tool may offer the art world and its affiliates. It is best compared to a well-calibrated swiss watch. When the Bern Kunstmuseum, heir to the Cornelius Gurlitt art trove, published Munich and Salzburg lists of artworks they had to investigate before accessioning them, a quick search in the Cézanne online catalogue for the 1897 Cézanne landscape "Montaigne Sainte Victoire" that appeared on the Salzburg list produced an apparent match marked as "Present whereabouts unknown." Some eager beavers rushed to inform the webmaster and art historians running the site of the match. Since November 2014, the catalogue has been updated.  

Best of 2014
6th Annual LCCHP Conference (Philadelphia, PA)
Upcoming New York Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) program entitled "Commission and Consignment Agreement" is designed for visual artists who plan on working with a gallery or are working with a gallery and contemplate taking commissions either from private individuals or for public art installations. Program will review crucial contract clauses and discuss issues that will help you navigate your relationship with the galleries and commissioning agencies or individuals you work with. Center for Art Law Subscribers Receive the VLA members' discount. Register here.
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We welcome submissions of notable complaints and legal decisions.
  • Phillips v. Macy's, Inc., 1:2015cv10059 (1st Cir. MA, Jan. 9, 2015) --  Award winning sculptor, David Phillips, originally from Flint, MI, brought a copyright infringement claim against Macy's for reproducing one of his iconic Frog's that decorate the Frog Pond in Boston on the Commons. IT
  • Aquino et al v. Zephyr Real Estate LLC, 5:15-cv-00060-NC (N.D. Cal., 6 Jan. 2015) - Amidst mounting tensions over soaring prices and gentrification in San Francisco, eight mural artists filed a complaint against the city's largest independent real estate firm alleging copyright infringement by reproducing their work in a 2013 promotional calendar which advertised "luxury homes." MY
  • Cindy Garcia v. Google, Inc., et al., (9th Cir., Nov. 13, 2014) – J. Thomas presiding, a panel of non-recused judges voted in favor of rehearing the 9th Circuit case that previously held that actress and plaintiff Cindy Lee Garcia had a “copyright interest” in her performance in the film “Innocence of Muslims” which gives her the right to have the video taken offline. JC
  • Polvent v. Global Fine Arts, Inc., 14-21569-CIV-MORENO (S.D. Fla., 18 Sept. 2014) - J. Federico A. Moreno granted a motion to compel arbitration filed by Defendant, American art dealer Global Fine Arts, Inc. in its copyright dispute with Plaintiff, French artist Jacqueline Polvent. The court ruled in favor of arbitration even though the licensing agreement between the parties, which stipulated for a compulsory arbitration in case of a legal dispute, had expired in 2013, an auto-renew provision provided for a successive and consecutive five-year period unless terminated in writing one-year prior to expiration. JC

  • Caraballo, et al. v. The Art Students League of New York, 650522/14 (N.Y.S.2d, July 2014) – Three months after refusing to block the Art Students League of New York's $31.8 million transfer of air rights over its historic West 57th Street building, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice granted summary judgment to the league and its board, finding the 249 petitioner members of the league, who argued that a majority of the league's membership did not approve the transaction and an improper voting process, had raised no triable issue of fact. The judge ruled that the petitioners failed to produce any new evidence to rebut the board's argument that it acted in good faith and with reasonable exercise of its business judgment when it voted to confer the air rights to a real estate development company in 2005. MY

Of Koons, Twombly, Perelman and Gagosian: Lessons to be Learned

No fiduciary duty exists when both sides are sophisticated participants in the art market.
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Rockwell-not Case Review: Knispel v. Gallery 63 Antiques

By Chris Michaels* How much would you pay for a piece of classic Americana? According to a complaint filed on 23 December 2014, twenty years earlier, in 1994 Barry and Isabel Knispel were willing to pay $347,437 for an original Norman Rockwell oil painting titled “Mending His Ways.” In early 2013, however, the Knispels learned that…Read more Rockwell-not Case Review: Knispel v. Gallery 63 Antiques
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Cuba on My Mind: Legal Implications of Accessing Cuban Art

Following the rise to power of Fidel Castro in 1959, a declining economy made preserving Cuba’s cultural property and accessing contemporary artworks increasingly difficult. Because of the Communist regime, the U.S. embargo was ratified in 1962 causing Cuba’s cultural heritage to suffer and art works to be illegally exported into the U.S.
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