Art

News & Analysis as of

Katherine Craig Files VARA Claim over Illuminated Mural—“Recognized Stature” and Terms of Agreement Will be Critical

Last year we bemoaned a lost opportunity when a preliminary over a mural on the Prado Dam in California was decided under what seemed to us to be a misunderstanding of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, 17 U.S.C. § 106A...more

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Paint — Sue! VARA Claim Filed Against Detroit Real Estate Company

News of up-and-coming Detroit-based artist, Katherine Craig, splattered across headlines in the art world when she recently filed a lawsuit under Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). The complaint requests injunctive relief...more

“Final Report” of Gurlitt Task Force Presented to German Government—Process Continues to Raise More Questions Than Answers

The chair of the Schwabinger Kunstfund (Gurlitt) Task Force (Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel) presented yesterday a report on behalf of the Task Force to German Minister of Culture Monika Grütters. The larger context of the...more

"New Infringements?" Richard Prince's Latest Collection is the Subject of Copyright Claims

Richard Prince, the controversial appropriation artist, has once again found himself in the crosshairs of the copyright law. On December 30, 2015, Donald Graham filed a copyright infringement suit against Prince in...more

Rights of Visual Artists

The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) is part of the U.S. Copyright Law and is found at 17 U.S.C. §106(A). This law went into effect in 1990 and grants certain rights to visual artists. It is akin to moral rights laws which...more

Art Basel: Tax Ramifications for American and International Art Collectors

Since its launch in 2002, Art Basel in Miami Beach has become what many consider the most prestigious and influential art fair in the Americas. The 2014 fair saw more than 70,000 international visitors descend on Miami for...more

MarkIt to MarketTM - October 2015

The October issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter discusses use in commerce as applied to mobile applications and services, outlines best practices for ensuring your business owns artwork and textual works...more

Politics – The Invisible Force Behind China Artist and Art Market

After a period of significant growth from 2009 to 2014, the Chinese art market has experienced a drastic decline in the first half of 2015 with reports that the fine art auction turnover contracted at 30% less than the 2014...more

Contributions of Art: Elements of a “Boring” Charitable Contribution Deduction

This article highlights some of the more critical income tax issues that taxpayers and their advisors must address when claiming the charitable contribution deduction for the gift of art to art museums. This article does not...more

Crime Doesn’t Pay (as much as it used to) – FBI Cracks Down on Trade of Looted Syrian and Iraqi Cultural Artifacts

In support of the international crackdown on the black market trade of looted cultural artifacts, the FBI recently announced that art dealers may be prosecuted for engaging in the trade of stolen Iraqi and Syrian antiquities....more

Building Industry Challenges Public Art Requirements

The Building Industry Association of the Bay Area has filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California challenging the City of Oakland’s recent adoption of a public art ordinance on constitutional...more

Ryan v. Editions Limited West, Inc. - USCA, Ninth Cir., May 19, 2015

Ninth Circuit holds Copyright Act does not preclude enforcement of contractual attorneys’ fee provision in copyright-based litigation. Artist Victoria Ryan sued Editions Limited West, Inc. (ELW), a publisher of her...more

UK: Media – Sotheby’s auction house wins High Court battle over ‘Caravaggio’ painting

A claim for compensation against Sotheby’s auction house over the sale of a disputed ‘Caravaggio’ painting has been thrown out of the High Court...more

Russian Legislation Update

In This Issue: - Currency Control - Banking - Patronage of Arts - Environment - Employment/Foreign Citizens - Excerpt from Patronage of Arts: On 4 November 2014 the President signed Federal...more

Art Basel Miami Beach Attracts World-Class Hotel Brands

Last week more than 75,000 art aficionados and celebrities from around the globe descended upon Miami for the 2014 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. What began in 2002 as a winter outpost of the original Art Basel in Basel,...more

Forged artwork case illustrates proportionate liability

In McBride v Christie’s Australia Pty Limited [2014] NSWSC 172, the Plaintiff purchased a painting at an auction held by Christie’s Australia Pty Limited (“Christie’s”) through a bidding agent, Vivienne Sharpe. The vendor of...more

Wealth Management Update - November 2014

November Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The November Section 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs,...more

Court Grants 44.75% Fractional Discount in Artwork, but Don't Get Too Excited

An appellate opinion granting a 44.75% discount for a fractional ownership interest in artwork has limited precedential value. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overruled the Tax Court's 10% fractional...more

Fifth Circuit Court Reverses Tax Court Ruling on Fractional Interest Valuation Discounts

On September 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a 2013 Tax Court decision that had allowed only a nominal, 10% fractional interest discount for artwork included in a decedent’s estate....more

French Supreme Administrative Court Rules on the Procedure for Returning Artworks Looted by the Nazis

After World War II, works of art suspected of having been stolen by the Nazis were listed on a special registry called the Musées Nationaux Récupération (MNR registry), and stored in French museums until they could be...more

Last Wishes, First Impression: Potential legal issues arise after Munich recluse passes away, bequeathing Nazi-looted art to a...

Cornelius Gurlitt’s notarized will, which did not surface until after his unexpected death this past May, lists the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland as the heir to his vast art collection, which included works by Matisse, Dix,...more

Appropriation Art As Fair Use Under The Copyright Act

Appropriation art raises special issues of fair use. An appropriation artist takes the work of another artist and modifies it in some fashion and in the process creates a new work of art. Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Can...more

French Court Supports Freedom of Authentication: A Win for Art Experts

Recently, the high court of appeals in Paris upheld an art expert’s right to refuse to authenticate a work of art. While this decision took nine years to come to fruition, it validates an art expert’s freedom to make an...more

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: Despite Forgery Scandals, the Fine Art Market is Booming

On January 23rd, in a rare public appearance, Jasper Johns testified against a New York foundry owner, Brian Ramnarine, who was charged with creating unauthorized sculptures, including a fraudulent Johns “Flag” sculpture...more

Mum’s the Word: New York’s Highest Court Maintains Anonymity in Auction Sales

In late 2012, we reported on a New York Appellate Division order that sent shockwaves and fear of instability through the auction house world. Late last month, the New York Court Appeals issued its opinion in the case of...more

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