Art Law Report

Proposed Legislation in New York Would Help Shield Authentication Experts from Liability

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 11, 2013 at 6:34 AM

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.”

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Topics: Legislation, Knoedler, authentication, Knoedler forgeries, Warhol Foundation, Art Law Day, Appraisal, Appraisers Association of America, New York City Bar Association, Judith Bresler

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