Art Law Report

In Vino Veritas—Second Circuit Upholds Damages in Counterfeit Wine Koch Brother Case With Implications for Art Sales

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 1, 2015 at 1:24 PM

Koch brothers David and William are as well known for their art patronage as certain parts of the family are for political activity, and a decision yesterday by the Second Circuit involving William Koch could extend that influence. While the case concerned two dozen bottles of allegedly counterfeit wine, the implications on terms of sale and disclaimers will be felt in sales of fine art in New York as well.

Read More

Topics: David Koch, Château Lafite Rothschild, Auctions, Eric Greenberg, Second Circuit, authentication, Zachys Wine & Liquor Auctions, wine, Pétrus, In Vino Veritas, Koch brothers, Zachys Wine & Liquor Stores, Bordeaux, New York General Business Law § 349, Chateau Latour, punitive damages, fraud, New York General Business Law § 350, William Koch, Uniform Commercial Code, U.C.C.

Books of Note: Visual Arts and the Law by Judith Prowda

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on January 15, 2015 at 6:02 PM

Periodically I like to make note of books about art law that I find exceptional. Art law is many things to many people, and one of the interesting things in surveying the literature is seeing what selection various authors make in terms of their subject matter. I reviewed the excellent Art Collecting Legal Handbook by Massimo Sterpi and Bruno Boesch recently, and the strength of that book was their choice to take a set of questions recurring in art collecting in particular to experts around the world. It’s a fantastic resource for collectors and lawyers.

Read More

Topics: Art Finance, Stropheus, Auctions, Judith Prowda, authentication, droite de suite, Moral Rights, art law, expert opinions, dealers, Restitution, Massimo Sterpi, Art Collecting Legal Handbook, Galleries, Copyright, Books, . Auctions, Sotheby’s Institute, Fair Use, Berne Convention, Bruno Boesch

Changes in U.S. Law Regarding Cuba Will Affect the Arts

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 19, 2014 at 5:39 AM

This week’s biggest news story (apart from Above the Law’s Awesome Law Blogs of 2014) is the historic reopening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba after more than fifty years. Like a coda to the end of the Cold War, we all found ourselves watching the President of the United States describing how there will once again be a U.S. embassy in Cuba. For those of us who have not been alive as long as diplomatic ties have been severed and the Castro regime has been in place, it was a remarkable sight indeed.

Read More

Topics: Castro, Sudan, Gabriela Rangel, Auctions, U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, President of the United States, OFAC, Above the Law, Congress, Art Basel Miami Beach, North Korea, economic embargo of Cuba, Galleries, Wall Street Journal, President Obama, Art Fairs, State Sponsor of Terrorism List, Cuban peso, the Americas Society, 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014, Iran, ArtNet, Syria, Foreign Affairs, Art Law Report, State Department, Cuba, Cold War

Books of Note: "The Art Collecting Legal Handbook" Reviewed

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 18, 2014 at 12:14 PM

In the course of our work here, I like to call out books and articles that I feel are worthy of praise, usually the in the course of a particular post or issue. After a too-long stay on the corner of my desk awaiting time to read it, I finally finished a book published last year that should be an essential for any collector, or lawyer dealing with clients across borders. Entitled The Art Collecting Legal Handbook (Thomson Reuters), the book is edited by Bruno Boesch and Massimo Sterpi, both notable European practitioners in art and cultural affairs law, at Froriep in London and Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati in Rome, respectively.

Read More

Topics: Legislation, The Art Collecting Legal Handbook, the Middle East, looted property, Forgery, Auctions, VAT, Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati, authenticity, London, Sam Keller, Julien Anfruns, droite de suite, Froriep, Moral Rights, Europe, North America, Holocaust claims, California, Fondation Beyeler, Howard Kennedy FSI, Thomson Reuters, Asia, Rome, Restitution, International Council of Museums, Massimo Sterpi, United States, World War II, Sabina von Arx, 1970 UNESCO Convention, Morgan Stanley, Art Fairs, Publications, Litigation, due diligence, Immunity from Seizure Act, Museums, Bruno Boesch, 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Ex, Daniel McClean, New York

Are “Flight Goods” Different than Looted Art? Questions About Fair Value and Duress in Wartime Resonate After Recent Limbach Commission Decision

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 3, 2014 at 8:32 AM

A conference was held last week at the Oskar Reinhart Museum in Winterthur, Switzerland, entitled “Fluchtgut: Geschichte, Recht und Moral” (Flight Goods: History, Law and Morality). The objective conference was described in its program as follows (my translation):

Read More

Topics: Expressionist, Esther Tisa Francini, Allied Collecting Points, Südkurier, Auctions, Florian Weiland, Oskar Reinhart Museum, Dresden, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff, Nazi-looted art, Robert Graetz, Buchholz Gallery, German Advisory Commission for the Return of Cultu, Winterthur, Entartete Kunst, Beratende Kommission, Curt Valentin, Restitution, Melissa Müller, Luzern, Clara Levy, Farm in Dangast, Fluchtgut: Geschichte Recht und Moral, Lucas Elmenhorst, Luxembourg, Looted Art, World War II, Lucerne, Switzerland, degenerate art, Handelsblatt, Lost Lives Lost Art Jewish Collectors Nazi Art The, Galerie Fischer, Imke Gielen, Washingtoner Prinzipien, Jutta Limbach, Washington Principles, Drei Grazien, Flight Goods: History Law and Morality, Lovis Corinth, Monika Tatzkow, Three Graces, Bavarian State Painting Collections, Raubkunst, Hans Posse, Limbach Commission, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

Reactions to Jenack Decision Are Surprisingly Limited So Far

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 19, 2013 at 4:34 AM

Since the Court of Appeals’ decision in William J. Jenack Estate Appraisers and Auctioneers, Inc. v. Albert Rabizadeh was released on Tuesday (a decision that the New York Times noted was “first reported by the Art Law Report blog”), reactions have started to come in to the decision. Somewhat surprisingly, they have thus far been relatively few in number. On the whole, few seem exercised about the decision, and no one is gloating, probably because it restores the age-old status quo to which everyone had become accustomed.

Read More

Topics: Legislation, consignment, New York General Obligations Law § 5-701(a)(6), Appellate Division, Auctions, New York Court of Appeals, Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov, agency, Inc. v. Albert Rabizadeh, New York Supreme Court, Hicks v. Whitmore, Morris Cohon & Co. v. Russell, disclosure, Statute of Frauds, anonymous seller, identity, auction, William J. Jenack Estate Appraisers and Auctioneer

Jenack v. Rabidazeh Decision Reversed: Auction Sellers and Consignors Can Remain Anonymous

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 17, 2013 at 5:39 AM

The New York Court of Appeals reversed this morning the decision in Jenack v. Rabidazeh last fall by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court that had held that an auctioneer must disclose the name of the actual owner who has consigned the work, to enforce that sale consistent with the state’s Statute of Frauds. The court concluded that “there exists sufficient documentation of a statutorily adequate writing” such that the Statute of Frauds was satisfied and the agreement is enforceable against Albert Rabizadeh, the winning auction bidder. The result is a sensible one both for stability in the market—the most important jurisdiction in the United States for that—as well as for anyone concerned about provenance and smuggling, as counterintuitive as that might initially appear. The decision is William J. Jenack Estate Appraisers and Auctioneers, Inc. v. Albert Rabizadeh (still unpublished).

Read More

Topics: Legislation, consignment, New York General Obligations Law § 5-701(a)(6), Appellate Division, Auctions, New York Court of Appeals, Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov, agency, Inc. v. Albert Rabizadeh, New York Supreme Court, Hicks v. Whitmore, Morris Cohon & Co. v. Russell, disclosure, Statute of Frauds, anonymous seller, identity, auction, William J. Jenack Estate Appraisers and Auctioneer

The Auctioneer is the Agent of the Seller in Every Auction: Buyer Gets the Better of Argument in Jenack Appeal Oral Argument. Are Auction Houses Ready if Result Stands?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 19, 2013 at 5:01 AM

The New York Court of Appeals held oral argument last week in the appeal from the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court’s ruling in Jenack v. Rabizadeh that an auctioneer must disclose the name of any owner who has consigned the work for sale, or a sale against a successful bidder cannot be enforced consistent with New York General Obligations law § 5-701, the New York Statute of Frauds (video in Windows Player). The court actively questioned both sides before taking the case under advisement. The view here is that the buyer (Rabizadeh) got the better of the argument, but one has to wonder how the equities will weigh on the court in a case where the winning bidder simply repudiated a voluntary transaction.

Read More

Topics: Legislation, New York General Obligations Law § 5-701, § 5-701(a)(6), Auctions, Jenack v. Rabizadeh, New York Court of Appeals, Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov, Fine Russian Silver/Enamel Covered Box with Gilt I, New York Supreme Court, Chester, Statute of Frauds, 12 Wend. 548, William J. Jenack, Uniform Commercial Code, Hicks v. Wigmore

Jenack Case Set for Oral Argument, Appeal Tests Obligation for Auction Houses in New York to Disclose Seller’s Name

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 22, 2013 at 4:56 AM

The New York Court of Appeals has set a hearing date on the appeal of the William J. Jenack action house of the Appellate Division’s ruling last year that an auctioneer must disclose the name of any owner who has consigned the work for sale, or a sale against a successful bidder cannot be enforced consistent with New York General Obligations law § 5-701 (the New York Statute of Frauds). The oral argument will be on November 13, 2013. The high court of New York elected to accept the appeal earlier this year, following coverage in the New York Times and elsewhere (in which the Art Law Report is quoted).

Read More

Topics: Legislation, consignment, New York General Obligations Law § 5-701, Auctions, New York Court of Appeals, Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov, Statute of Frauds, auction house, William J. Jenack, Hicks v. Wigmore

Lawsuit Against Sotheby’s for Nazi-tainted Art Sale Dismissed; Why it Was Filed in California at all Remains Unclear

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

A federal court in California has dismissed a claim by a buyer against Sotheby’s that alleged that the auction house sold him a work whose title was clouded because Hermann Göring had once owned it. What seemed liked a interesting new theory of liability was dismissed because the buyer had agreed in advance to litigate any disputes from the sale in the United Kingdom. It is somewhat surprising that the buyer even tried.

Read More

Topics: provenance, Louis-Michel van Loo, Auctions, Nazi, California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Christie's, Hermann Goring, Collections, Restitution, section 1750 of the California Civil Code, Allegorical Portrait of a Lady as Diana Wounded by, Sotheby's

About the Blog


The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities.

Meet the Editor

Learn more about our Art & Museum Law practice

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all