Last week the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association hosted a terrific two-hour event. Entitled “Rethinking Art Authentication,” the discussion aimed to address a way forward from the problems of fakes, forgeries, and authentication lawsuits that have plagued the art market in recent years. It was a lively and fascinating evening.
Topics: Karl Waldmann, Ceroni, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Leonardo da Vinci, Cady Noland, Knoedler, New York Assembly, Catalogue raisonée, authentication, Dean R. Nicyper, New York University, Colette Loll, Blue Room, Dan Flavin, Dada, Visual Artists Rights Act, Rick Johnson, Rethinking Art Authentication, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduct, Jennifer L. Mass, Art Law Committee, Trial Lawyers Association, Beltracchi, Events, La Bella Principessa, Hyperspectral imaging, Gerhard Richter, New York City Bar Association, Cornell Tech, Rijksmuseum, Cowboys Milking, Andy Warhol, Picasso, New York Senate, Walter Benjamin, Elmyr de Hory, Withers Bergman LLP, Amadeo Modigliani, Amy M. Adler
As the ball teeters above Times Square, and the Glühwein begins to mull on the Art Law Report stove (don’t forget the cinnamon!), a gimmicky but apropos act of reflection is to look back at the biggest stories of 2014, both in art law generally and for yours truly and Sullivan & Worcester LLP. In highly subjective, unverifiable, and immediately criticizeable order, here they are. Thanks as always for reading, and best wishes for in interesting, prosperous New Year. If you agree, disagree, or otherwise, please continue to stay in touch and carry the conversation forward.
Topics: Comedy Central, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Charitable Foundations, National Gallery of Art, Knoedler, Cornelius Gurlitt, Blogs, authentication, authenticity, parody, William Corcoran, Moral Rights, Above the Law, Germany, George Washington University, Glühwein, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Norton Simon, Graffiti Art, Superior Court, Cy Pres, Washington DC, VARA, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Dumb Starbucks, Preemption, Asher Edelman, DIA, Restitution, Marei Von Saher, Artmentum GmbH, Bavaria, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, World War II, Copyright, Times Square, Art Fairs, Kunstmuseum Bern, Corcoran Gallery, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Museums, Raubkunst, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use, Münchner Kunstfund, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, Graffiti, Civil Forfeiture, Art Law Report
At Friday's Art Law Day at the annual meeting of the Appraisers Association of America, Judith Bresler gave the keynote address on the topic of the complications created by prosective liability for authentication experts. As prominent cases ranging from the Knoedler forgeries to the decision by the Warhol Foundation and others to cease authenticating works have shown, the opinion of experts as to whether a work of art is indeed by a particular artist is a recurring and important issue. Not only do transactions worth tens of millions of dollars rest on that authentication, absent a robust exchange of opinions about authorship, frauds and forgeries are actually encouraged. As it stands, many qualified authenticators and experts have simply judged that giving an opinion is too great a risk to facing a defamation, fraud, or negligence claim, on which they will usually prevail but only after great expense. As Bresler said, “when authenticators are afraid to practice their profession, it has a far reaching effect.”
For more than two years now, the collapse of the M. Knoedler & Co. Gallery in New York amidst allegations of forged paintings by well-known 20th Century artists has sent ripples in all directions: legal, art historical, legislative, and connoisseurship. Several recent developments have drawn focus to the likely litigation fallout among those affected by the scandal.
Topics: Andy Warhol Foundation, Daedalus Foundation, William K. Rashabaum, Forgery, Knoedler, Ann Freedman, Wolfgang Belctracchi, Marco Grassi, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Patricia Cohen, The New Yorker, Litigation, Glafira Rosales, New York Times, M. Knoedler & Co., connoisseurship, New York Magazine, National Public Radio
We’ve been following a number of prominent stories for several weeks now and thinking about what they mean in the crossover between art and the law. It’s fair to say that a theme is starting to develop, namely, that after the Beltracchi forgery trial in Cologne, the Warhol Foundation’s decision to close its doors to authentication requests, and the brewing scandal over the authenticity of paintings sold by Knoedler and other galleries, the legal significance of knowing—and even asking—the age-old question from Art History 101—“who made that?”—has come again to the fore.
Topics: Cologne, Forgery, Knoedler, slander, The Art Newspaper, Riah Pryor, Pierre Lagrange, Inc., Degas, Jackson Pollock, libel, catalogue raisonné, Wolfgang Beltracchi, Collections, Francis Bacon, The Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, defamation, Georgina Adam, The Art Law Blog, connoisseurship