Law \ Legal


Spotlight: Swiss Federal Council Approves Creation of an Independent Commission on Nazi Looted Art

screen shot of the official swiss page re nazi era looted art commission

By Nikki Vafai

In September of 2022, the Swiss Federal Council, the executive body of the federal government of the Swiss Confederation, voted to create an independent commission on Nazi looted art. The independent expert commission’s purpose is to make recommendations regarding the return of “cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution.”


The proposal to create this commission was the by-product of ongoing national debate and most recently criticism sparked by the long-term loan display of the Emil G. Bührle collection in the newly opened wing of the Kunsthaus Zürich. Emil G. Bührle (1890-1956) was a German-born art collector, patron, and arms manufacturer. Bührle used slave and child labor in his factories to manufacture weapons and sold these arms to the Nazi regime. With his rapidly growing wealth, during his lifetime, Bührle purchased several works that were looted from Jewish families. As an aficionado of the arts, Bührle did contribute greatly to Kunsthaus Zürich. Bührle was a member of Kunsthaus Zürich’s collection committee, financed an exhibition wing, and in 1952, he donated two large Monet water-lily paintings to the museum. After his death, Bührle’s heirs set up a foundation, the Emil Bührle Collection, which oversees display of a third of the works he collected.

The Emil Bührle Collection claims that none of the items on display were looted from Jewish individuals. However, there are accusations that the provenance of some of the works in the collection may have been whitewashed and that the collection may still include Nazi looted art. The newly installed display of the Emil G. Bührle collection in Kunsthaus Zürich as of 2021 resulted in an online petition, calling for more transparency in the museum’s Bührle displays. The exhibition also drew criticism from former members of the Bergier Commission. The Bergier Commission was an international panel of scholars formed by the Swiss Federal Assembly in 1996 to research Swiss financial dealings before, during, and after the Second World War. The commission dissolved in 2001. Due to the vast amount of criticism, the city of Zürich pledged to conduct an independent investigation of the Bührle Foundation’s provenance research and to work with Kunsthaus Zürich to develop the museum’s Bührle displays.


In response to the Bührle controversy and the resulting public pressure, lawmaker Jon Pult submitted a motion in December of 2021, urging parliament to set up an independent commission to assess claims for “cultural property lost as a result of Nazi persecution.” Such a commission would follow in suit of only a handful of countries, Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, which have created independent panels to make recommendations and assess claims for Nazi-looted art.

In February of 2022, the Swiss Federal Council partially approved a parliamentary motion to establish the independent expert commission to make recommendations on the returning cultural property lost in the aftermath of Nazi persecution. However, concerns were raised with the use of the term “cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution.” Pult expressed concern that the approved but modified motion did not create a strict distinction between “looted art”—art stolen by the Nazis, and “escapee art”—works that Jewish people were forced to sell under duress at low prices. The Swiss Federation of Jewish communities (SIG/FCSI) and the Platform of Liberal Jews in Switzerland (PLJS) joined in Pult’s concerns and they continue to demand the use of the term “Nazi-confiscated cultural property.” The SIG/FCSI and PLJS have also expressed disappointment in the rejection of their proposed framework conditions.

In September, following the National Council of Switzerland (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland), the Council of States of Switzerland (the upper house), adopted a corresponding motion on Monday. However, the motion was shortened and six guidelines for the design of the commission were deleted. The Council of States also decided to establish a national database to collect and research the provenance of artworks traded, collected, or exhibited in Switzerland. Due to the changes to the motion, it must go back to the National Council before the commission can be set up by the Swiss Federal Council.

About the Author: Nikki Vafai is a law student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and holds a B.A. in International Affairs and Art History from the George Washington University. Nikki is a 2022 fall legal intern at the Center for Art Law.



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Book Review: “Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime” (2019) by Penelope Jackson

By Yuchen Xie.

“I know of no notable female forgers in the history of forgery.” Noah Charney, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (2015)

“There is no doubting that women have been actively involved in art crime.” Penelope Jackson, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (2019)

A founding trustee of the New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust, Penelope Jackson is an art historian and curator based in Tauranga, New Zealand, and the author of Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (Palgrave McMillan, 2019). The book unveils the untold history of women in art crime, explores the motives behind their criminal acts, and questions the gendered language associated with the documentation of art crime. The women mentioned in the book include wife of Churchill, Lady Clementine Churchill, notorious art dealers such as Ann Freedman of the Knoedler Gallery, and Tatiana Khan who sold a fake Picasso painting, along with less famous women from a wide range of countries including Japan, France, and Russia, just to name a few. With a comprehensive and detailed account of forgery, theft, and vandalism cases, Jackson demonstrates a keen interest and expertise in the subject.

In Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime, Jackson seeks to “present a more well- rounded balanced history,” as said in her own words, shedding light on women’s role in art crime. In the Introduction to the book, Jackson said she was inspired by Dr. Noah Charney’s The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (Phaidon, 2015), where he noted that “there is a decided lack of female forgers in this book; there are female accomplices and con men, but I know of no notable female forgers in the history of forgery.”[1] Charney’s provocation triggered Jackson to explore and unmask this underrepresented side of art crime. Notably, Jackson inquired deeply into the very reasons behind the omission of women from the history of art crime.

In her book, Jackson explores stories of women who destroyed art (Chapter 2 – Lady Destroyers), women who were involved in art crime as mothers of art criminal sons (Chapter 3 – The Mother of All Art Crimes), women who vandalized art for reasons of drawing public attention and getting into prison to have a place to live (Chapter 4 — She Vandals), women who conned artists and clients (Chapter 5 – The Art of the Con(Wo)man), women who stole artworks (Chapter 6 – The Light Fingered), women who forged art (Chapter 7 – Naming Rights), and women who committed white-collar crime using their professional associations (Chapter 8 – The Professionals).

Chapter Summaries

In Chapter 2 – Lady Destroyers, Jackson offers examples of many women who destroyed valuable artworks for different reasons, particularly discussing in detail the efforts of Clementine Churchill to destroy many paintings of her husband, Sir Winston Churchill. According to her daughter Soames, Clementine Churchill destroyed Walter Sickert’s sketches of Churchill simply because she disliked them. And she “must have felt very strongly about the sketch to destroy it rather than donate it to a public collection,” according to Jackson. Later, Jackson discusses Clementine Churchill’s destruction of two other works, accounting for her efforts to control images of her husband for both present and future generations.

After a discussion on mothers who destroyed artworks in the hope of protecting their criminal sons by eliminating evidence of the theft, Jackson goes into detail in the following chapter on art vandalism. Among these female vandals are British Suffragettes who defaced art in an effort to draw public attention to gender inequality, a Japanese woman who vandalized the Mona Lisa in 1974 to highlight the museum’s unfair policy against disabled people, and an unemployed woman who vandalized a painting by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres at the Louvre in 1907 because she thought ending up in prison would solve her housing problem. Not to excuse, but the circumstances of some criminal act reveal these women’s disadvantaged social status.

In Chapter 5 – The Art of the Con(Wo)man, Jackson discusses the fraudulent art dealing practice of women in the U.S., Australia, and Germany, with a focus on the penultimate director of the Knoedler Gallery, Ann Freedman, who was one of the named defendants in the lawsuits against the notorious gallery for selling dozens of forgeries in the 1990s and 2000s (for a detailed coverage of the Knoedler saga, visit here), and Petra Kujau, Konrad Kujau’s assistant who claimed to be his niece and sold fake Kujau’s “original forgeries” (Konrad Kujau himself was a famous forger whose “original Kujau forgeries” became coveted and obtained great commercial value). After discussing cases involving these women, Jackson raises an interesting point – the fact that “all of the women were middle-aged, or older, when convicted.” Did they build up their reputation of integrity with years of ethical practice only to destroy it with illegal activities? Did their age and experience simply deceive people more easily? Jackson seeks to explain this phenomenon with a discussion on the nature of art dealing and examination of similarities between the cases of Freedman and the other seven conwomen.

The chapter on naming rights contains the story of Margaret Keane, the subject of Tim Burton’s movie Big Eyes (2014). Jackson chronicles how Margaret’s husband Walter Keane sold her works under his name and control and how Margaret finally revealed the true authorship of the big eyes paintings and brought a lawsuit against Walter in 1986 in Honolulu. Further, comparing Margaret Keane with Elizabeth Durack, who forged her identity and sold her works under a different name, Jackson underscores that “something as simple as the name of an artist (and their signature) can create major and irreversible outcomes.”

In the chapter on professionals-turned criminals, after discussing a few women who used their professional status to gain access to art collections in their care, Jackson culminates the cases with the story of the heroic figure, Rose Valland, who documented ownership of many artworks stolen by the Nazis and made post-WWII restitution easier. Valland’s actions while illicit at the time and have been praised in the aftermath. Jackson highlights Valland’s story because “not only did she undertake dangerous work by being an astute unofficial art spy… but she is also a fascinating example of how history has been documented and presented.” On this note, Jackson transitions from the discussion of individual cases to a concluding chapter, reflecting on the gendered language of the history of art crime.

Particularly, she emphasized the “not particularly attractive” appearance of Valland, challenging the false portrayal of her as very feminine and able to seduce men in certain films and literature (she was played by Cate Blanchett in the 2014 movie The Monuments Men). In other films such as Dr. No (1962) and The Train (1964), women are given minor roles and “more often than not, their characters are glamorous and alluring assistants,” says Jackson. The literature on art crime is also marked by a gendered language. For example, Jacqueline Crofton, who threw eggs at a Martin Creed painting at Tate Modern, was referred to as “grandmother,” while Hannelore K. who vandalized a work by Köpcke was referred to by the media as “old lady” and “granny.” We are provoked to ask whether a man, in the same situation, would be referred to as “grandfather” or “old man.” Probably not. Such a difference in the language to describe female and male art criminals reveals an unbalanced account of art crime. While the language has become less gendered, according to Jackson, there is still some distance to go.


Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime is an informative and thorough overview of women in art crime and an interesting read to account for untold stories. Just like the majority of art collections in art repositories worldwide that have an overwhelming representation of male artists, art history accounts tend to feature male protagonists. Jackson’s objective, hopefully, was not to show that there were as many female thieves and forgers but to uncover the underrepresented side of the history of art crime. This easy-to-read book provides us with a new insights into the history of art crime and suggests why and how women’s involvement is omitted from historical documentation.

About the Book’s Author: Penelope Jackson is an art historian and curator based in New Zealand.  A former gallery director, Jackson is a founding trustee of the New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust. She is the author of Art Thieves, Fakers & Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story (2016) and has contributed to the Journal of Art Crime and Art Crime and its Prevention (2016). Jackson has curated major exhibitions, including: award-winning Corrugations: The Art of Jeff Thomson (2013), The Lynley Dodd Story (2015), An Empty Frame: Crimes of Art in New Zealand (2016) and Katherine Mansfield: A Portrait (2018).

About the Book: Penelope Jackson, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) ISBN: 978-3-030-20766-3. Available here.


  1. Noah Charney, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers, London: Phaidon (2015), p.14.

About the Author: Yuchen Xie was a Fall 2019 Intern at the Center for Art Law and is pursuing her M.A. in Arts Administration at Columbia University. She holds her B.A. in Studio Art and French from the University of Virginia (2018). She can be reached at

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Art Law Books

Last updated: Nov. 22, 2022

Books are listed below by author’s last name under the following categories:

The Center for Art Law is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

General Art Law

  • Institute Art & Droit, Marché de l’art et Droit : un ouvrage collectif en l’honneur de François Duret-Robert (June 2021), written in French. This collective publication written by French experts on art market law is published in the memory of François Duret-Robert, major figure in the field. Authors are all specialists, whether academics, attorneys, notaries, and various professionals working in or for the art market. Available here.
  • Allen, Greg (ed.), The Deposition of Richard Prince – In the Case of Prince v. Cariou, et al (March 2013). “Edited by American artist and blogger Greg Allen, this book contains the published transcript of Richard Prince during the copyright infringement case against him by French photographer Patrick Cariou…In the transcripts, which cover several hours of questions and answers between Prince and the attorneys, he must defend and explain his method of working. This involves an in-depth and candid discussion about his career, life, motivations and so on quite an extraordinary encounter, considering that the artist seldom gives interviews.”
  • Andina, Tiziana, Brill Research Perspectives in Art and Law, Bohlin Carr, (Dec. 2015). The interdisciplinary English language journal Art and Law aims to gather contributions to the debate at the intersection of art and law. “The focus of the journal involves all the aspects (philosophical, juridical, sociological, technological and cultural) characterizing the relationship between art and law. Each issue will be intended as a monographic volume devoted to a specific topic.” “The journal is conceived for a specialized audience, both graduate students and scholars working in the areas of law, art, philosophy, art criticism, history of art, cultural criticism, social sciences.” The first issue of the journal was published in 2017, and as of 2018 there will be four issues released each year.
  • Baldini, Andrea, Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (December 2018). What is the relationship between street art and the law? In A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law, Andrea Baldini argues that street art has a constitutive relationship with the law. A crucial aspect of the identity of this urban art kind depends on its capacity to turn dominant uses of public spaces.
  • Ben-Dor, Oren, ed., Law and Art: Justice, Ethics and Aesthetics (August 2011). “In engaging with the full range of the arts, contributors to this volume consider the relationship between law, justice, the ethical and the aesthetic…. The insights presented in this collection disturb and supplement conventional accounts of justice, inaugurating new possibilities for addressing the origin of violence in our world.”
  • Boesch, Bruno and Sterpi, Massimo, eds., The Art Collecting Legal Handbook (May 2013). “Each chapter of The Art Collecting Manual addresses a number of issues from the perspective of a different jurisdiction to help collectors [from] making errors that could be potentially illegal. The format of the chapters follow a question and answer style thus enabling readers to make quick and accurate comparisons in multiple jurisdictions covering property law, insurance, customs, tax, inheritance, intellectual property and more.”
  • Bonadio, Enrico, The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Art and Graffiti (Nov. 2019). This book introduces the number of conflicts related to copyrights in street art and graffiti. A group of experts in this book provides analyses on legal issues regarding street art copyright, such as misappropriations of street art by corporate advertising campaigns and destructions of mural arts.
  • Bregman, Alexandra, The Bouvier Affair: A True Story (Apr. 2019). A new book covers the legal battle between Russian mining oligarch Dmitry Rybolovev and Swiss art warehouse magnate Yves Bouvier, ongoing around the world since Bouvier was first arrested in Monaco in February of 2015. Due to his deceptive commission structure in Rybolovlev’s acquisition of 37 masterpiece paintings?, ?Bouvier stood accused of money laundering and wire fraud. Now, the widely reported series of events has been condensed and dissected in The Bouvier Affair: A True Story.
  • Crawford, TadBusiness and Legal Forms for Illustrators (Feb. 2016). As a handy resource, containing twenty-nine of the most commonly used business and legal forms likely to be used by today’s illustrators.
  • Dietachmair, Philipp, ed., The Art of Civil Action (May 2018) Text by Andrew Barnett, Llorenç Bonet, llya Budraitskis, Giuliana Ciancio, Milena Dragicevic, Pascal Gielen, et al. How the arts can be the spark that fuel the democratic process? The Art of Civil Action takes the view that art helps addressing political and social issues, reveals the potential in democratic societies, and contributes to civil action and initiative. A group of social scientists, artists, and activists explore the intricacies of public domain, civil action, and democracy.
  • DuBoff, Leonard D., Murray, Michael D. & Burr, SherriArt Law: Cases and Materials (Apr. 2010). “Designed as a primary text for courses on Law and the Visual Arts, Cultural Property Law, or Cultural Heritage Law, the three-part framework of this highly readable casebook explores Artists’ Rights, Art Markets, and the International Preservation of Art and Cultural Property. ”
  • Duboff, Leonard D. and Tugman, Sarah. J, The Law (in Plain English) for Collectors: A Guide for Lovers of Art and Antiques (Nov. 2018). The authors provide helpful advice on all things legal when it comes to art, antiques, and other collectibles. Whether readers are into coins or Queen Anne furniture, paintings or vintage books, this guide contains useful and practical information readers need to know to protect and enjoy their collections. Among other important concerns, readers will learn how to navigate purchases and customs, select insurance plans, properly file taxes, loan out pieces to galleries, museums, and shows, and bestow work to future generations.
  • Findlay, Michael, In The Value of Art, internationally renowned art dealer and market expert Michael Findlay offers a lively and authoritative tour of the art world informed by almost a half-century in the business and a passion for great art. With style and wry wit, Findlay explores how art acquires value?both commercial and social?and how these values circulate among the artists, dealers, and collectors that comprise today’s complex and constantly evolving art world. In the process he demystifies how art is bought and sold while also constantly looking beyond sales figures to emphasize the primacy of art’s essential, noncommercial worth. Coloring his account with wise advice, insider anecdotes involving scoundrels and scams, stories of celebrity collectors, and remarkable discoveries, Findlay has distilled a lifetime’s experience in this indispensible guide for today’s art lover.
  • Fine, Gary A., Talking Art: The Culture of Practice & the Practice of Culture in MFA Education (Aug. 2018). The author dives into how today’s contemporary Master’s Degrees in Fine Arts (“MFA”) shifted the goal of creating art away from beauty and toward theory. The book explores the nature, content, and purpose of MFA degrees in the United States and how artists are trained to think rather than be curious.
  • Gayton, C., Guide to Copyrights & Trademarks for CryptoCreatives (Kindle, Jan. 2019). This guide is intended to introduce basic contract, copyright and trademark concepts for the benefit of creatives in the crypto community. It covers the art and music market, provides an introduction to contracts and smart contracts, and briefly explains copyright and trademarks.
  • Gerstenblith, PattyArt, Cultural Heritage, and the Law: Cases and Materials (Jul. 2012). This comprehensive legal casebook “addresses artists’ rights (freedom of expression, copyright, and moral rights); the functioning of the art market (dealers and auction houses, warranties of quality and authenticity, transfer of title and recovery of stolen art works, and the role of museums), and finally cultural heritage (the fate of art works and cultural objects in time of war, the international trade in art works and cultural objects, the historic, archaeological and underwater heritage of the United States, and indigenous cultures, focusing on restitution of Native American cultural objects and human remains, and appropriation of indigenous culture).”
  • Hammer, J., The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts (Simon & Schuster, 2017).“Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey….Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” (The New York Times Book Review) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction.
  • Harston, BarnetThe Trial of Gustav Graef, Art, Sex, and Scandal in Late Nineteenth-Century Germany (November 2017). This book covers the largely ignored “1885 trial of German artist Gustav Graef.” Graef, a celebrated sixty-four-year-old portraitist, was accused of perjury and sexual impropriety with underage models. On trial alongside him was one of his former models, the twenty-one-year-old Bertha Rother, who quickly became a central figure in the affair. The Graef trial, however, was much more than a salacious story that served as public entertainment. The case inspired fierce political debates long after a verdict was delivered, including disputes about obscenity laws, the moral degeneracy of modern art and artists, the alleged pernicious effects of Jewish influence, legal restrictions on prostitution, the causes of urban criminality, the impact of sensationalized press coverage, and the requirements of bourgeois masculine honor.”
  • Herman, Amy E., Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, Eamon Dolan/Mariner Books (May 9, 2017). In her celebrated seminar, The Art of Perception, art historian Amy Herman has trained experts from many fields to perceive and communicate better. By showing people how to look closely at images, she helps them hone their “visual intelligence,” a set of skills we all possess but few of us know how to use effectively. She has spent more than a decade teaching doctors to observe patients instead of their charts, helping police officers separate facts from opinions when investigating a crime, and training professionals from the FBI, the State Department, Fortune 500 companies, and the military to recognize the most pertinent and useful information.
  • Hick, Darren Hudson & Schumücker, Reinold (editors)The Aesthetics and Ethics of Copying (December 2017). Brings the topic of copying into the philosophical domain for the first time, highlighting its philosophical relevance and establishing the aesthetic, ethical, and legal factors underlying the question of copying in the 21st century.
  • Hobbs, S. – Catalogue Raisonné, Thomas Wilmer Dewing: Beauty into Art (2018). A much-needed reference on an important American artist, this beautifully illustrated boxed reference set covers the entirety of Dewing’s life and works.
  • Hoffman-Curtius, Kathrin, Judenmord: Art and the Holocaust in Post-war Germany (2018). In this book originally published in German and now available in English, Hoffman Curtius sheds light on works of German art made 20 years after WWII that address the Holocaust and its aftermath.
  • Huygebaert, S., Martyn, G., Paumen, V., Bousmar, E., Rousseaux, X. (Eds.), The Art of Law: Artistic Representations and Iconography of Law and Justice in Context, from the Middle Ages to the First World War (2018). How have the concepts of law and justice been represented in (public) art from the Late Middle Ages onwards? Justices and rulers had their courtrooms, but also churches, decorated with inspiring images. At first, the religious influence was enormous, but starting with the Early Modern Era, new symbols and allegories began appearing.
  • Iskin, R., Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon: Perspectives in a Global World, (December 2016). In discussions of the canon of art history, the notion of ‘inclusiveness’, both at the level of rhetoric and as a desired practice is on the rise and gradually replacing talk of ‘exclusion’, which dominated critiques of the canon up until two decades ago. Thirteen essays present case studies of consecration in the contemporary art field, and three discussions present diverse positions on issues of the canon and consecration processes today.
  • Jones, Michael E.Art Law: A Concise Guide for Artists, Curators, and Art Educators (June 2016). A practical guide for students and professionals within many disciplines, covering topics such as acquisitions, grants and purchasing.
  • Kaye, Lawrence and Howard Spiegler, eds., The Art Law Review, Law Business Research (Jan. 2021). Co-edited by the “Deans of Art Law,” this is the inaugural edition of The Art Law Review. published with the intention of gathering information from lead art law practitioners from all over the world, including Massimo Sterpi, William Charron, Katharina Garbers-von Boehm, our founder Irina Tarsis and one of our advisors, Yael M Weitz. The Review is divided into two sections, one focusing on select areas of art law, and another focusing on specific jurisdictions (USA, Switzerland, Russia, etc). The field has developed to become a significant specialty in the law, as collectors, galleries, auction houses, museums and everyone else involved with art have expanded their reach throughout the world; this volume compiles many of the advancements in the field. Available here.
  • Kearns, PaulFreedom of Artistic Expression: Essays on Culture and Legal Censure (October 2013). “Paul Kearns explores the problems associated with censorship, both from philosophical and legal perspectives, and focuses on the various ways in which the morality of art is legally regulated in different jurisdictions. US law, English law, French law, the law of the European Convention on Human Rights, EU law, and public international law are all closely scrutinized to discover the extent to which they offer protection for artistic freedom. Kearns also examines domestic and international law in respect to artists’ moral rights, the law of copyright, and related laws.”
  • Kee, JoanModels of Integrity, Art and Law in Post-Sixties America (March 2019). Models of Integrity examines the relationship between contemporary art and the law through the lens of integrity. In the 1960s, artists began to engage conspicuously with legal ideas, rituals, and documents. The law—a primary institution subject to intense moral and political scrutiny—was a widely recognized source of authority to audiences inside the art world and out.
  • Lavizzari, Carlo S. and Viljoen, René, Cross-Border Copyright Licensing, (2018). This legal guide provides a thorough and comprehensive explanation of worldwide legislation and issues related to copyright licensing. It includes key considerations in matters of choice of law, antitrust, and tax law, and it is an essential resource for understanding the legal environment surrounding copyright law in a transnational world, collective societies, and moral rights.
  • Lazerow, Herbert, Mastering Art Law (December 2014). “This book tracks all published art law casebooks. It begins by asking what art is, and why there should be special rules for it.” “This book is part of the Carolina Academic Press Mastering Series edited by Russell L. Weaver, University of Louisville School of Law.”
  • Lerner, Ralph; Bresler, Judith; and Wierbicki, Diana, Art Law: The Guide for Collectors, Investors, Dealers & Artists, PLI Press (5th Ed., Aug. 2020). From artists to auction houses, from attorneys to appraisal experts, from dealers to collectors — every segment of the art world has found practical guidance and crucial insights in the previous editions of Art Law. Now thoroughly revised, updated, and expanded, the new Fifth Edition provides more clear, readable coverage than ever before. GET 25% OFF USING THE CODE PHR0 CAL25.
  • Manderson, DesmondLaw and the Visual: Representations, Technologies, and Critique (May 2018). In Law and the Visual, leading legal theorists, art historians, and critics come together to present new work examining the intersection between legal and visual discourses. Proceeding chronologically, the volume offers leading analyses of the juncture between legal and visual culture as witnessed from the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Editor Desmond Manderson provides a contextual introduction that draws out and articulates three central themes: visual representations of the law, visual technologies in the law, and aesthetic critiques of law.
  • Manderson, DesmondDanse Macabre (April 2019). This vibrantly interdisciplinary book provides close readings of major works by artists from Pieter Bruegel and Gustav Klimt to Gordon Bennett and Rafael Cauduro. At each point, the author puts these works of art into a complex dance with legal and social history, and with recent developments in legal and art theory.
  • Marlow, Elizabeth, Shaky Ground: Context, Connoisseurship and the History of Roman Art (Debates in Archaeology) (2013). This book argues that the current legal and ethical debates over looting, ownership and cultural property have distracted us from the epistemological problems inherent in all ancient artworks lacking a known findspot, problems that should be of great concern to those who seek to understand the past through its material remains.
  • McCutcheon, J. and McGaughey F. (Ed.), Research Handbook on Art and Law (2020)Featuring international contributions, this Research Handbook presents a panoramic view of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law. It provides discussions that bring together multiple perspectives across various manifestations, across diverse legal regimes, fields, contexts, and times.
  • Merryman, John Henry, Urice, Stephen K. &Elsen, Albert E.Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts (January 2007). “This new and newly illustrated, fifth edition, revised in collaboration with Stephen K. Urice, incorporates recent changes in treaty, statutory, and case law. It includes discussion of recent developments from the resurgence of iconoclasm to military conflicts’ depredations on cultural property. As in earlier editions, the authors present legal issues in their historical contexts.”
  • Milosch, Jane and Pearce, Nick, Collecting and Provenance: A Multidisciplinary Approach (October 2019). To promote the study of the history of collecting and collections in all their variety through the lens of provenance and explore the subject as a cross-disciplinary activity, this book draws on expertise ranging from art history and anthropology, to natural history and law, looking at periods from antiquity through the 18th century and the Holocaust era to the present, and materials from Europe and the Americas to China and the Pacific.
  • Mosimann, P. (ed.), Kultur Kunst Recht – Swiss and International Law (2020). The manual fills a gap in the specialist literature. It offers a comprehensive and competent presentation of legal questions in the field of culture and art. A detailed appendix with normative texts, unpublished jurisprudence, newspaper clippings and illustrations of exemplary works increases the practical benefits.
  • New York Foundation for the Arts, The Profitable Artist, (Aug. 2018). The second edition of NYFA’s guide for the profitable artists identifies common problems; examines specialized areas of strategic planning, finance, marketing, law, and fundraising; reflects changes in the legal and financial landscapes, such as the vast shift in the tools and culture of both social media and fundraising; and outlines proven planning methodologies from the startup community.
  • Parisi, Paolo, Basquiat: A Graphic Novel (May 2019). Delve into 1980s New York as this vivid graphic novel takes you on Basquiat’s journey from street-art legend SAMO to international art-scene darling, up until his sudden death. Told through cinematic scenes, this is Basquiat as seen through the eyes of those who knew him, including his father, Suzanne Mallouk, Larry Gagosian and, most importantly, the man himself.
  • Pierrat, E., L’auteur, ses droits et ses devoirs, (May 2020). Censorship, ownership of the original manuscripts, distinction of fiction versus real characters, and a number of other obstacles stand in the way of those who hope to write and be published. This publication discusses the legal issues of the different phases of publishing a work such as the conclusion of the contract, the remuneration of the writer, the risks of defamation, and the adaptations of novels to films.  Written in French.
  • Pintiaux, Alexandre, Code essentiel 2018 – Marché de l’art et secteur culturel, Recueil des textes légaux applicables en Belgique (Oct. 2018). A collection of Belgian rules applicable to the art market and cultural property, including auction houses, contracts, artists’ rights, cultural heritage, copyright, and taxation.
  • Polack, Emmanuelle, Le Marché de l’Art Sous l’Occupation (Feb 2019). German occupation, the art market flourished. Goods are flocking, some of them coming from spoliations of Jewish families. Emmanuelle Polack draws a precise picture of the art market under the Occupation, unfolding an impressive gallery of protagonists – merchants, auctioneers, antique dealers, experts, brokers, buyers, curators.
  • Prowda, Judith B.Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Professionals (Handbooks in International Art Business) (July 2013). The topics addressed include: freedom of expression and controversial art, rights of privacy and publicity, copyright, moral rights, artist resale rights, the artist-dealer relationship, commissions, auctions, expert opinions (appraisal and authentication) and title problems and stolen art.
  • Ragai, J. and T. Shoeib, Technical Art History: A Journey Through Active Learning, WSPC (May 2021). In the last few years, the problems of authenticity in paintings have reached untenable proportions in tandem with a lack of understanding from connoisseurs and collectors of the insights that modern scientific investigation can offer. In some cases, because of this lack of knowledge, the results of scientific analysis are treated with suspicion. The art world has gradually come to realize the need to develop educational programs that aim at improving the technical know-how of collectors, connoisseurs, and young students who seek work as art scientists. As an introductory textbook, Technical Art History is an essential contributor to addressing this need. Available here.
  • Ray, Kevin, Art & Business: Transactions in Art and Cultural Property (August 2017). An expansive (and expensive) examination of today’s art transactions from an art lawyer’s point of view, covering topics such as forgeries, titles and warranties. REVIEWED.
  • ResnikJ., Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms, (January 2011). By mapping the remarkable run of the icon of Justice, a woman with scales and sword, and by tracing the development of public spaces dedicated to justice—courthouses—the authors explore the evolution of adjudication into its modern form as well as the intimate relationship between the courts and democracy.
  • Rimmer, Matthew (editor), Indigenous Intellectual Property (December 2015). This handbook is a compilation of contributions from experts in the fields of Indigenous law and policy with a focus on copyright law, trademark law, patent law, trade secrets law, and cultural heritage. The book examines developments on the national scale in the United States, Canada, South Africa, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. The contributions provide an overview of the historical origins of conflicts over Indigenous knowledge and assess future challenges arising from developments in information technology, biotechnology, and climate change.
  • Roodt, Christina, Private International Law, Art and Cultural Heritage, (June 2015). Covering issues from restitution to material heritage and provenance, the author reveals how private international law can improve methods of dispute resolution. She explores how the law can be better tailored to address issues in illicit trade of cultural objects and title laundering. This book offers unique and refreshing perspectives for international policymakers, adjudicators, law enforcement officials, and legal scholars.
  • Rooney, Sierra Jennifer Wingate, Harriet F. Senie (Eds.), Teachable Monuments: Using Public Art to Spark Dialogue and Confront Controversy, Bloomsbury Visual Arts (2021). The essays included in this anthology offer guidelines and case studies tailored for students and teachers to demonstrate how monuments can be used to deepen civic and historical engagement and social dialogue. Essays analyze specific controversies throughout North America with various outcomes as well as examples of monuments that convey outdated or unwelcome value systems without prompting debate. Available here.
  • Saltz, Jerry, How to Be an Artist, (March 2020). How to Be An Artist is an indispensable book of practical inspiration for creative people of all kinds. Brimming with dozens of brand new rules, prompts, exercises, and tips designed to break through creative blocks, ignite motivation, and conquer bad habits, this book is designed to help artists of all kinds – painters, photographers, writers, performers – realize their dreams.
  • Schrage, Eltjo, Tilleman, Bernard, Verbeke, Alain & Demarsin, Bert (editors) Art & Law (December 2008). The essays in this publication were offered in a course of lectures and seminars at the Catholic University of Louvain by a group of Belgian and Dutch art law experts. These essays offer a perspective on problems old and new confronting those interested in the relationship between art and law. The topics covered extend from preservation of archaeological heritage to droit de suit, artistic freedom, erotic art, art in time of war, the moral rights of artists, and much more.
  • Schrijver, Eric, Copy This Book (March 2019). Copy this Book is an artist’s guide to copyright, written for makers. Both practical and critical, this book will guide artists through the concepts underlying copyright and how they apply in their practice. The book details the concepts of authorship and original creation that underlie our legal system.
  • Scott, KatieBecoming Property, Art, Theory, and Law in Early Modern France, Yale University Press (Nov. 2018). This book investigates the relationship between intellectual property and the visual arts in France from the 16th century to the French Revolution. It charts the early history of privilege legislation (today’s copyright and patent) for books and inventions, and the translation of its legal terms by and for the image.
  • Shing, Liu Heung, A Life in a Sea of Red (Steidl, 2019). This book contains the two most important bodies of work by Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalist Liu Heung Shing: photos of the pivotal decades of Communism in China and Russia, made between 1976 and 2017. The photojournalist was present throughout the protests in Tiananmen Square which began on April 15, 1989 and did not end until June 4th. The images by the artist have never been displayed in China, due to the government’s censorship.
  • Tepper, Stephen Not Here, Not Now, Not That: Protest over Art and Culture in America(July 2011). Utilizing over 71 cases, Stephen J. Tepper puts the microscope on art controversy in the United States in order to pose the question, why do certain works lead to protest? With the defunding of the National Endowment of the Arts a renewed possibility, Tepper’s studies of the local disputes surrounding public funding and exhibition provides an analysis of the local controversies that constitute what we understand as the “culture war” that put public arts in the crosshairs in the ‘90s.
  • Tompkins, ArthurThe Provenance Research Handbook, (Apr. 2020). This is the first accessible reference handbook to cover key aspects of provenance research for the international art market. It guides the reader from a basic introduction to research methods to questions of ethics and the challenges of specific case histories and contexts.
  • Thompson, DonThe $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art (April 2010). Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock’s drip painting No. 5, 1948 sell for $140 million? Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored.
  • Wagner, Ethan and Wagner, Thea Westreich, Collecting Art for Love, Money and More (April 2013). Arranged into ten topics that are approached through a key question and answer format, art advisors Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner offer an accessible yet unrivaled insider’s view into the often opaque world of collecting art, drawing from their extensive experience in working with collectors and institutions of contemporary art.
  • Werbel, Amy, Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (April 2018). Anthony Comstock was America’s first professional censor. From 1873 to 1915, as Secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, Comstock led a crusade against lasciviousness, salaciousness, and obscenity that resulted in the confiscation and incineration of more than three million pictures, postcards, and books he judged to be obscene. But as Amy Werbel shows in this rich cultural and social history, Comstock’s campaign to rid America of vice in fact led to greater acceptance of the materials he deemed objectionable, offering a revealing tale about the unintended consequences of censorship.
  • Werner, Gephart & Jure, Leko (editors), Law and the Arts (May 2017). If we dare to relate law and the arts, we should be aware of the possible danger arising from the commingling of their respective spheres – and yet there are many insights to be gained from confronting them in philosophical-sociological reflection. As the broad topical variety of contributions on literature, visual arts, film, music, and architecture in this volume serves to show, we are thus learning about law from art and acquiring a deeper understanding of the peculiarity of the arts from law.
  • Williams, P.The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy(September 2018). In 2012, a New York auction catalog boasted an unusual offering: “a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton.” In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was over $1 million. This publication explores humans’ relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce
  • Wilson, Martin, Art Law and the Business of Art (November 2019). Art Law and the Business of Art is a comprehensive and practical guide to the application of UK law to transactions and disputes in the art world. Written by Martin Wilson, an art lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in the field, it outlines and explains the relevant law and how the art business operates in practice, as well as offering a discussion of the most pressing ethical questions involving artworks.

Artists’ Rights

  • Bowman, Ethan, NFT & Crypto Art: A Guide for Creating, Selling and Investing in your Digital Collectibles (Independently Published, July 9, 2021). A new title, spotted just in time for our “Some like it Digital” webinars on the subject of digital disruptions of the art world. If you are interested in the digital space and art law, tell us what you think about this self-published text from a digital artist and designer turned writer. For your libraryKindlePaperback.
  • Beckman, MarcThe Comprehensive Guide to NFTs, Digital Artwork, and Blockchain Technology (Dec. 2021).
  • Congdon, Lisa, Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist (Art Books, Gifts for Artists, Learn The Artist’s Way of Thinking) Chronicle Books (Aug. 2014). In this practical guide, professional artist Lisa Congdon reveals the many ways you can earn a living by making art—through illustration, licensing, fine art sales, print sales, teaching, and beyond. Including industry advice from such successful art-world pros as Nikki McClure, Mark Hearld, Paula Scher, and more, Art, Inc. will equip you with the tools—and the confidence—to turn your passion into a profitable business.

Galleries and Private Collections

  • Georgina Adam, The Rise and the Rise of the Private Art Museum, Lund Humphries (Feb. 25, 2022). Finished your backlog of publications and need to get some fresh off the press material? Consider pre-ordering the latest from the prolific art world insider, Georgina Adam. Her newest work is looking at the raison d’être of private museums. Spoiler alert: its about taxes and more. Available here:HardcoverKindle.
  • Adam, GeorginaDark Side of the Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market in the 21st Century (2018)
  • Adam, GeorginaBig Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century (2016)
  • Bowron, Edgar PetersBuying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, Penn State University Press & The Frick Collection (Mar. 2017). This collection of ten essays examines the history and popularity of Italian Baroque art in Americafrom the 18th to the 20th century. “A wide-ranging, in-depth look at the collecting of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian paintings in America, this volume sheds new light on the cultural conditions that led collectors to value Baroque art and the significant effects of their efforts on America’s greatest museums and galleries.”
  • Crawford, Tad & Susan MellonThe Artist-Gallery Partnership (Revised ed., May 2008). This books offers a “clear explanation of the consignment contracts that lie at the heart of the relationship between artists and galleries. Updates include the latest developments in state laws and all of the current statutes in the 32 states that have laws regarding consignment sales. A thorough discussion of the Standard Consignment Agreement, covering agency, consignment, warranties, transportation, insurance, pricing, gallery commissions, promotion, return of art, and more, plus a ready-to-use contract, is included.”
  • Charney, NoahThe Devil in the Gallery: How Scandal, Shock, and Rivalry Made the Art World, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Aug. 2021). This book is a guided tour of the history of art through its scandals, rivalries, and shocking acts, each of which resulted in a positive step forward for art in general and, in most cases, for the careers of the artists in question. In addition to telling dozens of stories, lavishly illustrated in full color, of such dramatic moments and arguing how they not only affected the history of art but affected it for the better, the book also examine the proactive role of the recipients of these intentionally dramatic actions: The art historians, the critics and even the general public. Available here.
  • DuBoff, Leonard D. and Christopher Perea, The Law (in Plain English) for Galleries: A Guide for Selling Arts and Crafts Paperback, Allworth (June 16, 2020). This helpful guide provides clear explanations and examples of real cases to furnish readers with a strong understanding of their obligations and vulnerabilities. Updated to reflect recent changes in the market and technology, this new edition is the go-to guide for all aspects of running a gallery. Available in paperback & on Kindle.
  • Moustaira, Elina, Art Collections, Private and Public: A Comparative Legal Study, Springer (February 2015). This book is a comparative legal study of the private and public art collections in various states of the world, covering the most important issues that usually arise and focusing on the differences and the similarities of the national laws in the treatment of those issues.
  • Rozell, Mary, The Art Collector’s Handbook, Lund Humphries, 2nd ed. (Oct. 1, 2020). Mary Rozell draws on her long experience as an art collection professional and an art lawyer to illuminate some of the myriad issues that arise when owning an art collection. Fully revised since its first publication in 2014 to reflect the many changes which have taken place in the art market, in art law, and in the practice of collecting, it now includes a completely new chapter on private museums. Available here: Paperback and Kindle.
  • Winkleman, Edward, How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery (July 2009). “Winkleman draws on his years of experience to explain step by step how to start your new venture. Chapters detail how to: write a business plan; find start-up capital; find your ideal locale; renovate the space; manage cash flow; promote and grow your new business; attract and retain artists and clients; hire and manage staff; [and] represent your artists.”


  • Amore, Anthony M., The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist, Pegasus Crime (Nov. 10, 2020). This book tells the extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist, from her idyllic upbringing in Devonshire and her presentation to Elizabeth II as a debutante to her university years and her eventual radical lifestyle. Her life of crime and activism is at turns unbelievable and awe-inspiring, and sure to engross readers.
  • Costamagna, Philippe, The Eye: An Insider’s Memoir of Masterpieces, Money, and the Magnetism of Art, (2018) Tr. by Frank Wynne  An insider’s view into the “rarified world of connoisseurs devoted to the authentication and discovery of Old Master art works,” ARTnews calls it a “picaresque tale” by an expert who “has been driven to follow a passion outside the money game of art.” An art adventure story and memoir all-in-one, the book focuses on author’s foray into authentication in the furtherance of both the art market and scholarship. Costamagna is a specialist in 16th century Italian painting and director of the Musée des Beaux Arts in Ajaccio, Corsica.
  • Gaillemin, Jean-Louis, Trop Beau Pour Etre Vrai (Oct. 2019). This book tells the story of fakes, from the Renaissance through recent stories that shake up museums, experts, and the art world, including recognized institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the British Museum, the Louvre Museum and Versailles
  • Gouyette, Cyrille, Sous le Street Art, le Louvre: Quand l’Art Classique inspire l’Art Urbain (Oct. 2019). Classical art has always been a source of inspiration for contemporary creation, especially as reinvented by urban artists. Whether it be for simple allusions, political demands, or social projects, street art appropriates museum collections into a modern take on contemporary problems.
  • Haase, Sven, Biografien Der Bilder: Werke Und Provenienzen Im Museum Berggruen (January 2019). At the end of a three-year provenance research project, the Nationalgalerie and the Zentralarchiv will present an exhibition in the Berggruen Museum, which tells little known biographies of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. How does a work of art become popular? Who were the owners? Under what circumstances did it change its owners?
  • Jandl, Stefanie S. (ed.)Collections and Deaccessioning (Feb. 2021) Collections and Deaccessioning explores the deaccessioning museum practice in a post-pandemic world, and how museums will or must be different after COVID-19. The book consists of three volumes: Conversations with Museum Directors; Towards a New Reality; and Case Studies. Collections and Deaccessioning in a Post-Pandemic World is a major new 950-page resource which draws on the experience and thinking of some of the world’s most experienced and respected museum professionals.
  • Jenkins, Tiffany, Keeping Their Marbles (May 2016). In Tiffany Jenkins’ new strongly-worded essay on repatriation, she traces the sometimes messy histories of how artifacts ended up in Western museums. The book is written amid an increase in repatriation cases over the last few decades, a recent phenomenon that Jenkins assesses. Controversially, Jenkins argues in favor of the museum as crucial centers for knowledge and culture, and for these artifacts to stay in them.
  • Joyner, Andrew (Illustrator), Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum (September 2019). Based on a manuscript and sketches discovered in 2013, this book is like a visit to a museum—with a horse as your guide! Discover full-color photographic art reproductions of pieces by Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc, Jackson Pollock, and many others.
  • Lehmann, W., Museum Administration: Law and Practice, Independently Published (Sept. 2020). This book explores the many areas of law applicable to museums, including governance, personnel, facilities, intellectual property, collections management, and fundraising. Designed as a textbook for use in connection with museums studies programs and law school courses, the book utilizes a “casebook” approach: relevant court decisions and other primary source materials illustrate and enliven the descriptive text. 2nd Ed. Available here.
  • Malaro, Marie C. and Ildiko DeAngelis, A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, Smithsonian Books; 3rd edition (May 8, 2012). This revised and expanded third edition addresses the many legal developments—including a comprehensive discussion of stolen art and the international movement of cultural property, recent developments in copyright, and the effects of burgeoning electronic uses—that have occurred during the past twenty-five years. Available here.
  • Palmer, Norman (ed.), Museums and the Holocaust, Institute of Art and Law (Jan. 2021) 2nd ed. The ways in which museums and governments have responded to the challenges of achieving justice when confronted with claims vary greatly, and this book looks at a representative sample of countries to examine their approaches to this issue and the legislation they have enacted. The book contains chapters on each of the countries with restitution committees (Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), together with a selection of other countries which highlight differences of approach (Australia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland and the United States). Available here.
  • Phelan, Marilyn E., Museum Law: A Guide for Officers, Directors, and Counsel, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 4th Ed. (Apr. 2014). From one of America’s foremost experts in museum and cultural heritage law, here is a comprehensive guide to both U.S. and international laws and conventions affecting museums, art galleries, natural and historic heritage, and other cultural organizations. Available in paperback & on Kindle.
  • Procter, A., The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It (March 2020). How to deal with the colonial history of art in museums and monuments in the public realm is a thorny issue that we are only just beginning to address. Alice Procter, creator of the Uncomfortable Art Tours, provides a manual for deconstructing everything you thought you knew about art history and tells the stories that have been left out of the canon.
  • Stourton, James, Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation (November 2016). This publication provides an in-depth look at the life of Kenneth Clark – director of the National Gallery, art historian and pioneer of British television arts programming – and tells the story of twentieth-century art.
  • Vikan, Gary,  Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director (Sept. 2016). Critically acclaimed already, this 2016 publication is a memoir of an art museum director who looks at the “messy underbelly of museum life: looted antiquities, crooked dealers, deluded collectors, duplicitous public officials, fakes, inside thefts, bribery, and failed exhibitions.” Museum directors come and go, but their journeys are often lesson-forming and memorable. In case of Vikan, his experiences included meeting “the elegant French oil heiress, Dominique de Menil, the notorious Turkish smuggler, Aydin Dikmen, his slippery Dutch dealer, Michel van Rijn, the inscrutable and implacable Patriarchs of Ethiopia and Georgia, and the charismatic President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze—along with a mysterious thief of a gorgeous Renoir painting missing from a museum for over sixty years.”

Cultural Heritage & Property

  • Albright, Evan, The Man Who Owned A Wonder Of The World, The Gringo History of Mexico’s Chichén Itzá, Bohlin Carr, (Dec. 2015). In 2007 the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The honor came with a shocking revelation — Mexico’s greatest archaeological treasure was private property! How could one family come to own one of the archaeological crown jewels of Mexico? The answer was more incredible: they had bought the ancient city from an American, Edward H. Thompson, who had owned Chichén for half a century. Thompson, an archaeologist, explored Chichén and had made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in North America. All it cost him was his reputation, his fortune, and even his life. In this gripping non-fiction narrative, award-winning writer Evan Albright travels to Yucatan to investigate Thompson’s incredible true story and stumbles upon Thompson’s biggest secret–the son he left behind.
  • Blake, JanetInternational Cultural Heritage Law (August 2015). “Providing both a perfect introduction to cultural heritage law and deeper reflection on its challenges, this book should be invaluable for students, scholars, and practitioners in the field. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the development of international cultural heritage law and policy since 1945. It sets out the international (including regional) law currently governing the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage in peace time, as well as international cultural policy-making. In addition to analyzing the relevant legal frameworks, it focuses on the broader policy and other contexts within which and in response to which this law has developed.”
  • Brocas, Sophie, Le Baiser (January 2019). The novel unveils the story of two women in search of justice and independence, questioning the status of works of art, eternal mercantile properties, which are nevertheless the common heritage of humanity.
  • Chechi, AlessandroThe Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes (May 2014). This book “provides a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the issues created by current system governing the settlement of cultural heritage disputes; Examines in detail the applicable legal regimes and dispute settlement procedures, assessing the merits and drawbacks of the governing national and international norms; Offers innovative solutions to the problem of fragmentation within settlements of cultural heritage disputes by focusing on rethinking existing fora and on evolving principles and rules.”
  • Cohen, Monica. FPirating Fictions: Ownership and Creativity in Nineteenth Century Popular Culture (January 2018). Using landmarks in copyright history as a backdrop,  Pirating Fictions argues that popular nineteenth-century pirate fiction mischievously resists the creation of intellectual property in copyright legislation and law. The book demonstrates how literary appropriation was celebrated at the very moment when the forces of possessive individualism began to enshrine the language of personal ownership in Anglo-American views of creative work.
  • Colwell, ChipPlundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture (March 2017). Who owns the past and the objects that physically connect us to history? And who has the right to decide this ownership, particularly when the objects are sacred or, in the case of skeletal remains, human? Is it the museums that care for the objects or the communities whose ancestors made them? These questions are at the heart of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits, an unflinching insider account by a leading curator who has spent years learning how to balance these controversial considerations.
  • Cooper, Elena, Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (September 2018). The book is the first in-depth and longitudinal study of the history of copyright protecting the visual arts. Exploring legal developments during an important period in the making of the modern law, the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, in relation to four themes – the protection of copyright ‘authors’ (painters, photographers and engravers), art collectors, sitters and the public interest. It uncovers a number of long-forgotten narratives of copyright history, including views of copyright that differ from how we think about copyright today.
  • Culture in Crisis: Preserving Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones, (April 2017). Produced by The Antiquities Coalition in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, this book features contributions from students in the conflict management program. Each student explored a specific topic related to looting, trafficking, and destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq. The result is an interdisciplinary look at a wide range of issues in the field from both an academic and practical perspective.
  • Cultural Heritage Law And Ethics: Mapping Recent Developments, Studies in Art Law, vol. 26 (Dec. 2017). Cultural heritage is a unique and important testimony to the history and identity of different peoples and should be preserved in all circumstances. Regrettably, it is increasingly threatened in both peacetime and duringconflict. This topic was discussed during the “Second All Art and Cultural Heritage Law Conference” organised by the Art-Law Centre of the University of Geneva on 24-25 June 2016, and is further examined by the authors of this book. This volume looks at the overall question of how the existing legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage can be improved. To this end, a number of recent legal developments arising from domestic and international legal practice are critically examined. These developments mostly revolve around the question of responsibility for the commission of illicit activities, on the one hand, and the relationship between law and ethics, on the other.
  • González, Pablo Alonso, Cuban Cultural Heritage: A rebel past for a revolutionary nation; foreword by Paul A. Shackel, “Introduction — Negotiating the past, representing the nation: the contested users of heritage during the Republic (1898-1959) — Heritage as passion: the early years of the Cuban Revolution (1959-1973) — The institutionalization of the Cuban heritage field (1973-1990) — The reification of ideology as heritage and the return of the nation between 1990 and 2014 — The office of the city historian of Havana and the nation as heritage after 1990: a path towards reconciliation or towards touristification? –The coloniality of heritage in postcolonial Cuba.”
  • Hadjitofi, Tasoula Georgiou, The Icon Hunter: A Refugee’s Quest to Reclaim Her Nation’s Stolen Heritage (2017). From the publisher: “In this powerful memoir, Tasoula Hadjitofi reveals her perilous journey orchestrating “The Munich Case”?one of the largest European art trafficking stings since WWII. With the Bavarian police in place, the Cypriots on their way, seventy under-cover agents bust into the Munich apartment of a notorious Turkish smuggler suspected of holding looted antiquities. …”
  • Hauser-Schaublin, Brigitta and Prott, Lyndel V. (editors)Cultural Property and Contest Ownership: The Trafficking of Artifacts and the Quest for Restitution (June 2016). This book explores how highly-valued cultural goods are traded and negotiated among diverging parties and their interests. This interdisciplinary volume provides the first book-length investigation of the changing behaviors resulting from the effect of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
  • Hutt, Sherry, Caroline Meredith Blanco, Stan N. Harris, Property Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Management, Protection, and Preservation of Heritage Resources, American Bar Association, 2nd Ed. (Jan. 1, 2017). This publication provides an accessible and objective overview of all major components of an interdisciplinary legal practice that extends from government and tribal management of land to federal underwater resource management to the national and international laws governing museums and the arts marketplace. Available in paperback & on Kindle.
  • Jakubowski, A. (ed.), Cultural heritage in the European Union: a critical inquiry into law and policy (May 2019). This book provides a critical analysis of the laws and policies which address cultural heritage throughout Europe, considering them in light of the current challenges faced by the Union. The volume examines the matrix of organisational and regulatory frameworks concerned with cultural heritage both in the Union and its Members States, as well as their interaction, cross-fertilisation, and possible overlaps.
  • Jakubowski, AndrzejState Succession in Cultural Property (June 2015). This book “provides the first comprehensive analysis of the peculiarities of cultural property as an object of state succession; gives an in depth and broad ranging study of primary sources of international practice of state succession in matters of cultural property; offers de lege ferenda and details of best practice in cultural heritage protection after state succession.”
  • Lagrange, Evelyne, Oeter, Stefan and Uerpmann-Wittzack, Robert eds., Cultural Heritage and International Law: Objects, Means and Ends of International Protection (English and French Edition) (2018) From the publisher: This book explores the objects, means and ends of international cultural heritage protection. It starts from a broad conception of cultural heritage that encompasses both tangible property, such as museum objects or buildings, and intangible heritage, such as languages and traditions. Cultural heritage thus defined is protected by various legal regimes, including the law of armed conflicts, UNESCO Conventions and international criminal law. With a view to strengthening international protection, the authors analyze existing regimes and elaborate innovative concepts, such as blue helmets of culture and safe havens for endangered cultural heritage. Finally, the ends of international protection come to the fore, and the authors address possible conflicts between protecting cultural diversity and wishes to strengthen cultural identity.
  • Losson, Pierre, The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America: Nationalism, Policy, and Politics in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru (Feb. 2022). The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America adopts a new approach when looking at the question of returns and restitutions and is the first publication to examine the domestic policy of claiming countries to better understand who supports certain claims, and why.
  • Meyer, Karl E. & Brysac, Shareen Blair, The China Collectors: America’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures (March 2015). The authors consider whether the century-long treasure hunt in China (from the Opium Wars to Mao Zedong’s ascent) constituted looting or salvaging, and whether it was ethical to spirit these objects westward to be studied and preserved by trained museum personnel. How should the U.S., Canada and their museums act now that China has the means and will to reclaim its lost heritage?
  • Novic, Elisa, The Concept of Cultural Genocide: An International Law Perspective (Cultural Heritage Law and Policy) (2016) From the publisher: Cultural genocide is the systematic destruction of traditions, values, language, and other elements that make one group of people distinct from another.Cultural genocide remains a recurrent topic, appearing not only in the form of wide-ranging claims about the commission of cultural genocide in diverse contexts but also in the legal sphere, as exemplified by the discussions before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and also the drafting of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Niglio, Olimpia, Eric Yong Joong Lee (Eds.), Transcultural Diplomacy and International Law in Heritage Conservation, Springer (2021). This book provides a substantial contribution to understanding the international legal framework for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage. It offers a range of perspectives from well-regarded contributors from different parts of the world on the impact of law in heritage conservation. Through a holistic approach, the authors bring the reader into dialogue around the intersection between the humanities and legal sciences, demonstrating the reciprocity of interaction in programs and projects to enhance cultural heritage in the world. Available here.
  • Ostapkowicz, Joanna and Jonathan A. Hanna, Real, Recent, or Replica: Precolumbian Caribbean Heritage as Art, Commodity, and Inspiration, University of Alabama Press (2021). Real, Recent, or Replica: Precolumbian Caribbean Heritage as Art is the first book-length study of its kind that highlights the commodification of Caribbean Precolumbian heritage. The editors of this volume elaborate on topics such as continued looting of archaeological sites within the region, the imbalance of economic relations and power between producers and consumers of neo-Amerindian art, and the extreme increase of forgeries, which have been occurring since the late nineteenth century. The volume also emphasizes the desire for “authentic” Precolumbian artifacts, providing insight for art historians, museum professionals, archaeologists, and collectors. A discount on the volume can be found here and more information about the book can be found here.
  • Redmond-Cooper, Ruth (editor)Heritage Ancestry and Law: Principles, Policies and Practice in Dealing with Human Remains (May 2015). This topical collection of essays examines such questions as: the extent to which holding institutions should disclose the presence and identity of human remains in their collections; the implications of the discovery and movement of deceased monarchs and other persons of importance; the impact of the ECHR and national legislation on the holding and treatment of human remains; ecclesiastical attitudes; and the obligations of those involved in construction projects where human remains are discovered.
  • Salvatore, C. Lizama (ed.), Cultural Heritage Care and Management: Theory and Practice (2018). This book covers a vast array of components such as landscape, foodways, performance and dance, language, etc. In addition, the tools, technologies, and methodologies for organizing and arranging, cataloging and describing, exhibiting, providing access, and preserving and conserving these components are also covered.
  • Senson, Astrid & Mandler, PeterFrom Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire, c.1800-1940 (July 2013). Details from the publisher: “What was the effect of the British Empire on the cultures and civilisations of the peoples over whom it ruled? This book takes a novel approach to this important and controversial subject by considering the impact of empire on the idea of ‘heritage’.”
  • Stamatoudi, Irini A.Cultural Property Law and Restitution: A Commentary to International Conventions and European Union Law (May 2011). “This book offers a refreshing view on cultural property law and the issue of the restitution of cultural property. The author combines an in depth analysis of the relevant international and European instruments with a clear vision of the purpose and goals of this area of law.”
  • UNESCO, Safeguarding Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Pacific: Report on Good Practice in the Protection and Management of World War II-Related Underwater Cultural Heritage, edited by the Pacific Underwater Cultural Heritage Partnership (2017).On safeguarding underwater cultural heritage (UCH) following WWII in the Pacific region. This publication outlines proper management practices and how protection of underwater cultural heritage can be beneficial to local communities. Through the preservation of UCH, communities can develop sustainability by learning risk reduction strategies. This publication outlines the importance of not only safeguarding UCH but also safeguarding and promoting a sustainable environment.
  • Vadi, ValentinaCultural Heritage Law in International Investment and Arbitration (March 2016). Vadi maps the relevant investor-state arbitrations concerning cultural elements in an effort to show that arbitrators have increasingly taken cultural concerns into consideration in deciding cases brought before them, eventually contributing to the coalescence of general principles of law demanding the protection of cultural heritage.
  • Van Woudenberg, Nout, State Immunity and Cultural Objects on Loan (March 2012). “Cultural objects have been on the move for a long time. Yet there has been no comprehensive survey to date of the current state of affairs with regard to immunity from seizure of foreign cultural objects belonging to foreign States that are on loan for temporary exhibition. This study fills that gap by examining whether there is any rule of (customary) international law stipulating that such cultural objects are immune from seizure, or whether such a rule is emerging.”
  • Watenpaugh, Heighnar Zeitlian, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice (February 2019)This book constitutes a “biography” – not of a person, but of a manuscript that is at the center of the Armenian genocide. From medieval Armenia, the Anatolia killing fields, the Aleppo refugee camps to a Los Angeles courtroom, this manuscript’s story as retold by Watenpaugh explores the brutal costs of war and “persuasively” makes a case for the “human right to art.”

Art Market, Appraisal, and Investment

  • Adam, Georgina, Dark Side of the Boom: The Excesses Of The Art Market In The 21st Century (March 2018). The second part of Georgina Adam’s study of the art market depicts the “dark side” of art transactions, from the purchase of art as an investment to money laundering. “It is a world that is unrecognisable to the millions of people who go to shows, the art lovers who join museums such as the Tate, the thousands of artists, curators, writers and traders who feel privileged to make a modest living in the art world. But it is a world, Adam argues, increasingly distorted as art grows ever closer the luxury goods industry.”
  • Battista, K. (ed.) and Faller, B. (ed.), Creative Legacies: Critical Issues for Artists’ Estates (July 2020). This book is a guide to practical, legal, and financial considerations and best-practice for artists’ estates. For all artists and their estates, art-market professionals and students of the art market, this book offers vital answers to these fascinating and often complex questions of artistic legacy.
  • Bench, AleyaAppraising Art: The Definitive Guide (2013). The fully-updated and color-illustrated soft-covered guide covers everything from theory and methodology, to legal and ethical issues, as well as over 50 connoisseurship areas.
  • Bruins, AnnelienArt: the New Asset Class: For Art Collectors and their Fiduciaries: Wealth Managers, Family Offices and Trust & Estate Attorneys (July 2016). Over the past decades, the exponential increase in art prices combined with ongoing turmoil in the global financial markets have caused many art collectors to start considering art as an investment vehicle, and themselves as investor-collectors.
  • Chamberlain, KevinWar and Cultural Heritage (2nd ed., April 2013). This revised edition contains an article by article commentary on the 1954 Hague Convention and its Two Protocols. The book also analyses other instruments of international humanitarian law relevant to the protection of cultural property. The book takes into account the latest developments regarding the international efforts to secure restitution of Holocaust-looted cultural property, including the work of the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel.
  • Duret-Robert, François, Droit du marché de l’art (2020). The book covers regulations of public auctions and the art market more generally, including gallery sales, expertise, brokers, and catalogue raisonnés. It also describes copyright laws from a fiscal and moral rights perspective, along with the status of auctioneers and other professionals allowed to hold public sales and the role of the State and local governments.
  • Gerlis, MelanieArt as an Investment? (February 2014). “Aimed at collectors and investors, this user-friendly guide explains art’s value as an asset through comparisons with more familiar investments, including property, shares and gold…It offers jargon-free explanations of how the characteristics of blue-chip art can be seen to coincide with and diverge from the fundamental features of more established types of asset.”
  • Hook, Philip, Rogues’ Gallery: The Rise (and Occasional Fall) of Art Dealers, the Hidden Players in the History of Art (October 2017). Philip Hook’s riveting narrative takes us from the early days of art dealing in Antwerp, where paintings were sold by weight, to the unassailable hauteur of contemporary galleries in New York, London, Paris, and beyond, bursting with unforgettable anecdotes and astute judgments about art and artists.
  • Huff, CoreyHow to Sell Your Art Online: Live a Successful Creative Life on Your Own Terms (June 2016). An essential guide for artist that teaches them how to skip the gallery system, find their niche, and connect directly with collectors to profitably sell their art. For years, galleries have acted as gatekeeper separating artists and collectors. But with the explosion of the Internet, a new generation of savvy, independent artists is connecting with buyers and making a substantial living doing what they love.
  • Jovanovich, M. and Renn, M. (eds.)Corporate Patronage of Art & Architecture in the United States, Late 19th Century to the PresentBloomsbury Visual Arts (Ap. 2019). This interdisciplinary collection of case studies rethinks corporate patronage in the United States and reveals the central role corporations have played in shaping American culture. This volume offers new methodologies and models for the subject of corporate patronage, and contains an extensive bibliography on corporate patronage, art collections and exhibitions, sponsorship, and philanthropy in the United States.
  • Pryor, Riah, Crime and the Art Market (June 2016). Taking the perspectives of a journalist and a criminal researcher, Pryor examines high-profile criminal cases, illuminating concerns relevant to the art market’s behavior.
  • Raux, S., Lotteries, Art Markets, and Visual Culture in the Low Countries, 15th-17th Centuries, Brill (Feb. 2018). This book examines lotteries as devices for distributing images and art objects, and constructing their value in the former Low Countries. Alongside the fairs and before specialist auction sales were established, they were an atypical but popular and large-scale form of the art trade. As part of a growing entrepreneurial sensibility based on speculation and a sense of risk, they lay behind many innovations. This study looks at their actors, networks and strategies.
  • Sargent et al., M., Tracking and Disrupting the Illicit Antiquities Trade with Open Source Data (June 2020). The illicit antiquities market is fueled by a well-documented rise in looting at archaeological sites and a fear that the proceeds of such looting may be financing terrorism or rogue states. In this report, the authors compile evidence from numerous open sources to outline the major policy-relevant characteristics of that market.
  • Savoy, B. Acquiring Culture, (2018). As more parts of the world outside Europe became accessible – and in the wake of social and technological developments in the 18th century – a growing number of exotic artifacts entered European markets. This publication provides insights into the methods and places of exchange, networks, prices, expertise, and valuation concepts, as well as the transfer and transport of these artifacts over 300 years and across four continents.
  • Semyonova, Natalya & Iljine, Nicolas V. (editors)Selling Russia’s Treasures: The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art: 1917 – 1938 (November 2013). “This abundantly illustrated oversize volume presents the definitive account of the sale of Russia’s cultural patrimony by the Soviet government in the interwar years.”
  • Shnayerson, Michael, Boom: Bad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art (May 2019). Journalist Michael Shnayerson traces the back-stabbing, money-driven history of the contemporary art market in this engrossing account. Drawing together historic documents and interviews with artists and gallery owners, Shnayerson reveals how colorful dealers propelled the market from one of the love of collecting in the 1940s into today’s “big way that a lot of rich people were going to express themselves.”
  • Thompson, DonThe Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market (September 2017). Within forty-eight hours in the fall of 2014, buyers in the Sotheby’s and Christie’s New York auction houses spent $1.7 billion on contemporary art. Non-taxed freeport warehouses around the globe are stacked with art held for speculation. One of Jeff Koons’ five chromium-plated stainless steel balloon dogs sold for 50 percent more at auction than the previous record for any living artist. A painting by Christopher Wool, featuring four lines from a Francis Ford Coppola movie stenciled in black-on-a-white background, sold for $28 million. In The Orange Balloon Dog, economist and bestselling author Don Thompson cites these and other fascinating examples to explore the sometimes baffling activities of the high-end contemporary art market. He examines what is at play in the exchange of vast amounts of money and what nudges buyers, even on the subconscious level, to imbue a creation with such high commercial value.
  • Van Laar, TimothyArtworld Prestige: Arguing Cultural Value (January 2013). After an initial chapter that develops a theory of prestige and the poignancy of its loss, the book looks at how arguments of prestige function in systems of representation, various media, and art’s relationship to affect. It considers twentieth-century artists who moved not away from, but toward figuration; looks at what is at stake in the recurrent argument about the death of painting; examines the decline and an apparent return of sensual pleasure as a central attribute of visual art; and concludes with a look at the peculiar function of prestige in outsider art.
  • Würtenberger, L., The Artist’s Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs(October 2016). This is the first publication produced by the Institute for Artists’ Estates in Berlin, Germany.  It has received the attention of critics worldwide and is now in its second edition. The handbook provides an overview of approaches for developing and maintaining an artist’s estate, from appropriate financing models to garnering interest from the art market and museums. Through several international examples, Würtenberger makes recommendations on best practices in handling work and archives following an artist’s death.

Attribution and Forgery

  • Beck, James, with Michael DaleyArt Restoration: The Culture, the Business and the Scandal (February 1994). A biographical art history, co-authored by James Beck (1930-2007), an art historian who spoke against restoration work that harmed artworks and cultural monuments.  In the 1990s, Beck was sued for and successfully defended against a criminal libel charge brought by a restorer.
  • Becker, Daniel, Fischer, Annalisa, Niehoff, Simone, Sannders, lorencia , and Schmitz, Yola, Faking, Forging, Counterfeiting (Apil 2017). Based on the concept of mimesis, this volume illustrates that forgeries are not to be understood as a negative copy or disgraced ripoff of an original but as an autonomous aesthetic practice, a creative act in itself. The contributions focus on such different implementations as faked traditions, pseudotranslations, imposters, identity theft, and hoaxes in different arts and historic contexts.
  • Bennett, MichaelPraxiteles: The Cleveland Apollo (October 2013). “The Cleveland Apollo is most likely the only surviving original sculpture by Praxiteles, and the only life-size Greek bronze that can be securely attributed to a Greek sculptor by name. This new focus volume is both a personal account of an acquisition, and a rigorous art-historical re-examination of one of the most significant works to survive from antiquity.”
  • Charney, Noah, The Art of Forgery, (May 2015)The Art of Forgery: Case Studies in Deception explores the stories, dramas and human intrigues surrounding the world’s most famous forgeries – investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike.
  • Dutton, DenisForger’s Art: Forgery and the Philosophy of Art(November 1983). Essays examine art forgery from the perspectives of art history, criticism, aesthetics, and ethics and discuss the connection between authenticity and aesthetic value.
  • Keats, Jonathan, Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age (Oxford University Press). Available HERE.
  • Kline, Fred R.Leonardo’s Holy Child: The Discovery of a Leonardo da Vinci Masterpiece: A Connoisseur’s Search for Lost Art in America, (May 2016). After purchasing a work that was then discovered to be by Leonardo da Vinci, Kline begins a journey “all over the world to [discover] how exactly attributions work with regards to the old masters (most of their works are unsigned). Kline also sheds light on the idea of “connoisseurship,” an often-overlooked facet of art history that’s almost Holmesian in its intricacy and specificity.
  • Lenain, Thierry, Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession (Reaktion). Available HERE.
  • Moses, N. Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds, (February 2020). This book delivers nine fascinating true stories that introduce the fakers, forgers, art authenticators, and others that populate this dark world. What happens when spiritual truth conflicts with historic fact? Can an object retain its essence when most of it was replaced? Why do we find fakes so eternally fascinating, and forgers such appealing con artists?
  • Perenyi, Ken,  Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger (Pegasus). Available HERE.
  • Salisbury, L., Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art (2010). This is the astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to New York, investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the tale of infamous con man and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt.
  • Scott, David A., Art: Authenticity, Restoration, Forgery  (December 2016). Scott delves into a sophisticated and informative account of the authenticity of art from ancient to contemporary times.

Art theft and Nazi-era Looted Art

  • Alford, Kenneth D.Hermann Göring and the Nazi Art Collection: The Looting of Europe’s Art Treasures and Their Dispersal After World War II (April 2012). “This book explores the formation of the Nazi art collection and the methods used by Goring and his party to strip occupied Europe of a large part of its artistic heritage.”
  • Bahrmann, N., Kunstfund Gurlitt: Wege Der Forschung(May 2020). A task force was founded in 2013 to clarify the origin of the works in “Schwabinger Kunstfund,” which were suspected of being “robbery art” connected to the Nazi era. Provenance research was conducted in order to find the origin of individual works, but no basic research investigating the dealer, Gurlitt, was ever considered. This publication outlines additional research and additional provenance findings. Written in German.
  • Barelli, J., Stealing the Show: A History of Art and Crime in Six Thefts, Lyons Press, (August 2019). Focusing on six thefts but filled with countless stories that span the late 1970s on into the 21st century, John opens the files on thefts, shows how museum personnel along with local and sometimes Federal Agents opened investigations and more often than not caught the thief. But of ultimate importance was the recovery of the artwork, including Celtic and Egyptian gold, French tapestries, Greek sculpture, and more.
  • Bohm-Duchen, MonicaArt and the Second World War (January 2014). “In this well-researched, clear-eyed assessment of art’s relationship to the war that ‘has left the darkest and most indelible mark on modern society,’ Bohm-Duchen (After Auschwitz) presents a sobering overview of the official and nonofficial fine art produced in warring nations: Spain (with the civil war treated as a prologue to WWII), England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, America, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, Germany, China, and Japan…”
  • Evelien Campfens (editor)Fair and Just Solutions? Alternative to Litigation in Nazi-Looted Art Disputes: Status Quo and New Developments (January 2015). “This book aims to give an overview of the current status quo in the field, both in countries where special committees have been installed and beyond. Through contributions from leading experts and a discussion amongst stakeholders it explores a way to move forward, a makes a case for international cooperation and neutral and transparent procedures for solving ownership issues.”
  • Chamberlin, Russell, Loot! The Heritage of Plunder (August 1985). This book “examines the looting of major ancient civilizations and of many Third World nations.”
  • Edsel, Robert M., The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (September 2010). “Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.
  • Edsel, Robert M.Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe’s Great Art – America and Her Allies Recovered It (December 2006). “Rescuing Da Vinci… is a crime story, writ so large it covers a continent. It gathers together, for the first time, nearly 500 photos documenting the Nazi theft of tens of thousands of artworks from European museums and private collections. And it details the immense, painstaking, though little-recognized, efforts of Allied armies to recover and return these precious items.”
  • Edsel, Robert M.Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis (May 2013). “Edsel…clearly presents the war in Italy as a battle not just to occupy the land but also to preserve the country’s culture. In urgent and precise prose, he puts the reader in the cockpit, the foxhole, and the cramped offices of those charged with saving the artwork. Most of the pilfering and destruction of art treasures was done by the Nazis, of course, but Edsel points out that the Allies were not blameless, either. This is a must-read for WWII buffs and anyone interested in the fight for art history.”
  • Hay, Bruce L.Nazi-Looted Art and the Law: The American Cases (November 2017). This book offers a clear, accessible account of the American litigation over the restitution of works of art taken from Jewish families during the Holocaust. For the past two decades, the courts of the United States have been an arena of conflict over this issue that has recently captured widespread public attention. In a series of cases, survivors and heirs have come forward to claim artworks in public and private collections around the world, asserting that they were seized by the Nazis or were sold under duress by owners desperate to escape occupied countries. Spanning two continents and three-quarters of a century, the cases confront the courts with complex problems of domestic and international law, clashes among the laws of different jurisdictions, factual uncertainties about the movements of art during and after the war, and the persistent question whether restitution claims have been extinguished by the passage of time.
  • Hickley, Catherine, The Munich Art Hoard: Hitler’s Dealer and His Secret Legacy (September 2015). Available later in the year, this book rushes to deliver the biography of Cornelius Gurlitt. From the editors: “When Cornelius Gurlitts trove became public in November 2013, it caused a worldwide media sensation. Catherine Hickley has delved into archives and conducted dozens of interviews to uncover the story behind the headlines. Her book illuminates a dark period of German history, untangling a web of deceit and silence that has prevented the heirs of Jewish collectors from recovering art stolen from their families more than seven decades ago by the Nazis. Hickley recounts the shady history of the Gurlitt hoard and brings its story right up to date, as 21st-century politicians and lawyers puzzle over the inadequacies of a legal framework that to this day falls short in securing justice for the heirs of those robbed by the Nazis.”
  • Hirsch, Alan, introduction by Noah CharneyThe Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of Art Heist That Shocked a Nation (April 2016). In 1961, a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and pulled off a sensational art heist, stealing Goya’s “The Duke of Wellington”. Despite unprecedented international attention and an unflagging investigation, the case was solved only four years later.
  • Hufnagel, Saskia, Chappell, Duncan (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime (July 2019). This handbook showcases studies on art theft, fraud and forgeries, cultural heritage offenses and related legal and ethical challenges. It has been authored by prominent scholars, practitioners, and journalists in the field and includes overviews of specific art crime issues, as well as regional and national case studies.
  • Jackson, Penelope, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (2019). This book explores the untold history of women, art, and crime. Through a consideration of how we have come to perceive art crime and the gendered language associated with its documentation, this pioneering study questions why women have been left out of the discourse to date and how, by looking specifically at women, we can gain a more complete picture of art crime history.
  • Kater, Michael H., Culture in Nazi Germany(May 2019). Michael H. Kater’s engaging and deeply researched account of artistic culture within Nazi Germany considers how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed when the Nazis came to power. With a broad purview that ranges widely across music, literature, film, theater, the press, and visual arts, Kater details the struggle between creative autonomy and political control as he looks at what became of German artists and their work both during and subsequent to Nazi rule.
  • Kerr, John, The Securitization and Policing of Art Theft: The Case of London (March 2016). Taking a criminologist’s perspective, author John Kerr delves into the various practices accompanying art security and surveillance in the modern age.
  • Lane, Mary M., Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich (2019). A scrupulous account of  Hitler’s abiding obsession with art and Germany’s cultural patrimony, the book reveals the fate of looted works and tells the definitive story of art in the Third Reich and Germany’s ongoing struggle to right the wrongs of the past.
  • Lauterbach, Iris, The Central Collecting Point in Munich: A New Beginning for the Restitution and Protection of Art, (Jan. 2019). Iris Lauterbach’s fascinating history documents the story of the Allies’ Central Collecting Point (CCP), set up in the former Nazi Party headquarters at Koenigsplatz in Munich, where the confiscated works were transported to be identified and sorted for restitution. This book presents her archival research on the events, people, new facts, and intrigue, in the years from 1945 to 1949.
  • Lindsay, IvanHistory of Loot and Stolen Art – From Antiquity Until the Present Day (September 2013). “From the Ancients, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Moors and Charlemagne, the author traces how a lust for pride of ownership and power over the vanquished has driven conquerors, confiscators (the old-fashioned word for looters) and ruthless administrators to grab the valuable possessions of others. The different motivation of the greatest looters in history is a theme which is examined throughout the book.”
  • Löhr, Hanns Christian, Kuns als Waffe: der Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (2018). In his book, Hanns Christian Löhr writes about the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) a special task force of Reichs Minister Rosenberg created in 1940 under Alfred Rosenberg. The task force was responsible for organized looting of paintings and other cultural artifacts. The book is mainly centered on the ERR rather than the distribution and storage of the works as well as their restitution following the end of the war. Also available HERE.
  • Michalczyk, John J. ed., Nazi Law: From Nuremberg to Nuremberg (2017). From the publisher: “A distinguished group of scholars from Germany, Israel and right across the United States are brought together in Nazi Law to investigate the ways in which Hitler and the Nazis used the law as a weapon, mainly against the Jews, to establish and progress their master plan for German society.”
  • O’Connor, Anne-MarieThe Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (February 2012). Described as a “riveting social history; an illuminating and haunting look at turn-of-the-century Vienna; a brilliant portrait of the evolution of a painter; a masterfully told tale of suspense. And at the heart of it, the Lady in Gold–the shimmering painting, and its equally irresistible subject, the fate of each forever intertwined.”
  • O’Donnell, Nicholas MA Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art (August 2017). “The organized theft of fine art by Nazi Germany has captivated worldwide attention in the last twenty years. As much as any other topic arising out of World War Two, stolen art has proven to be an issue that simply will not go away. Newly found works of art pit survivors and their heirs against museums, foreign nations, and even their own family members. These stories are enduring because they speak to one of the core tragedies of the Nazi era: how a nation at the pinnacle of fine art and culture spawned a legalized culture of theft and plunder. A Tragic Fate is the first book to address comprehensively the legal and ethical rules that have dictated the results of restitution claims between competing claimants to the same works of art. It provides a history of Art and Culture in German-occupied Europe, an introduction to the most significant collections in Europe to be targeted by the Nazis, and a narrative of the efforts to reclaim looted artwork in the decades following the Holocaust through profiles of some of the art world’s most famous and influential restitution cases.” REVIEWED.
  • Nicholas, Lynn H.The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (April 1994). “From the Nazi purges of “Degenerate Art” and Goering’s shopping sprees in occupied Paris to the perilous journey of the Mona Lisa from Paris and the painstaking reclamation of the priceless treasures of liberated Italy, The Rape of Europa is a sweeping narrative of greed, philistinism, and heroism that combines superlative scholarship with a compelling drama.”
  • Jonathan Petropoulos, Göring’s Man in Paris, Yale University Press (Jan. 26, 2021). Petropoulos, a historina, a writer, sometimes an expert witness and a professor at Claremont McKenna College, finally presents a biography of a controversial if not to say infamous art dealer Bruno Lohse. Lohse’s story is worse telling; he was appointed by Hermann Göring to aid with art looting and having been denazified in the 1950s continued to trade in art. Following Lose’s death many paintings with unclear provenance surfaced from his Zurich bank vault. Available here: Hardcover and Kindle.
  • Ronald, SusanHitler’s Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe’s Treasures (January 2017). A stranger-than-fiction-tale of Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was an “official dealer” for the Nazis, and stole from Hitler in the name of saving modern art.
  • Sinclair, AnneMy Grandfather’s Gallery: A Family Memoir (September 2014). Sinclair, granddaughter of the great Paris art dealer Paul Rosenberg, “paints a vivid portrait of a moment of exceptional brilliance in French artistic life…the speed and greed with which it was so brutally destroyed, and the efficiency with which these deeds of destruction were covered up and forgotten.”
  • Ulph, Janet and Ian Smith, The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities: International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability (May 2015). “This new text provides practical guidance on the modern law relating to cultural objects which have been stolen, looted or illegally exported. It explains how English criminal law principles, including money laundering measures, apply to those who deal in cultural objects in a domestic or international setting. It discusses the recovery of works of art and antiquities in the English courts where there are competing claims between private individuals, or between individuals and the UK Government or a foreign State. Significantly, this text also provides an exposition of the law where a British law enforcement agency, or a foreign law enforcement agency, is involved in the course of criminal or civil proceedings in an English court. ” Available HERE.

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Book Review: “The Bouvier Affair: A True Story” (2019)

By Jacqueline Crispino.

Beauty will save the world” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “The Idiot” 

Is there a saving grace in the Bouvier Affair? Or is it nothing but scandals and drama? The ownership saga of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is a serious and rather unattractive spectacle. As with many spectacles, this one has only gained media attention, notoriety, and financial value since its discovery in 2005. Many articles and books have been written about it, including the April 2019 article in the New York Magazine and Alexandra Bregman’s new book, The Bouvier Affair.[1] Bregman’s book, which reads like an exposé on Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, one major buyer and seller of the artwork, includes not only Dmitry Rybolovlev’s art dealings and relations with the allegedly fraudulent art dealer Yves Bouvier, but also his personal affairs with Russian models and his lifestyle in Geneva, Monaco, and Cyprus. Each chapter reads with a journalistic flair, with each of them taking on sometimes completely different topics related to the art world, different artists, or players in Rybolovlev’s and Bouvier’s social networks. Ultimately, given that the main discussion is about Rybolovlev, one may wonder why Bregman chose to call the book The Bouvier Affair, after the 2016 New Yorker Article, rather than The Rybolovlev Affair or The Salvator Mundi Affair.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, 2012 (source)

While Bregman touches on the intersection of art and law, the story also delves into an account of the art world’s elite. Chapters two through four, for example, entitled “A Change of Heart,” “The Dark One,” and “Auction,” detail the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi from its 2005 discovery to the 2017 record-smashing sale of the work through Christie’s in New York. Bregman provides an inside view of the 2017 auction with quotes from the auctioneer and the reactions of the audience (the graceful and the ugly). In later chapters, the book details Rybolovlev’s childhood, his time in prison, his divorce and affairs, his relationship with high society in Geneva and Monaco, and finally opines on the collector’s reasons for acquiring artworks. One should note, however, that Bregman does not spend much time on the authenticity debate regarding the Salvator Mundi, which involved claims that the Leonardo is a fake and garnered media attention.[2] She states that, “To the untrained eye, many felt it was not a da Vinci at all,” but that “The experts never doubted it was real.”[3] The author of The Invention of the Salvator Mundi, Matthew Shaer, agrees that “some of the best scholars in the world had determined that the Salvator Mundi was a genuine Leonardo.”[4]

The title of Bregman’s book, The Bouvier Affair, refers to Yves Bouvier, the Swiss art dealer, who bought and sold paintings to Rybolovlev. Bouvier entered the art world as a teenager with no formal training. Instead, he learned about art from experience. He took over his father’s shipping business and re-focused it on shipping art. He eventually expanded his company into buying and selling art to galleries and investors.[5] More specifically, however, the title refers to the art world scandal in which Rybolovlev discovered that Bouvier had been stealing from it. Their business relationship began when Bouvier and Rybolovlev met in Geneva in 2002 after Tania Rappo, a friend of the Rybolovlevs’, introduced them so that Bouvier could help Rybolovlev buy artworks. It later came out, however, that Bouvier promised to give Rappo a “kickback” for all of the deals he made with Rybolovlev since she had introduced them. Rybolovlev also discovered that Bouvier had been taking a larger commission from his sales than the agreed-upon commission of two percent.[6] While Rybolovlev thought he had paid $127.5 million for the Salvatore Mundi in May 2013, Bouvier had actually only paid a reported $80 million for it at the auction at Sotheby’s.[7] Bouvier made $47.5 million off of the sale.[8] Bouvier continued to increase the price of paintings, sometimes raising the cost by as much as 70%.[9] Over the period of their partnership, which lasted until 2015, Bouvier had taken a total of one billion dollars from Rybolovlev.[10]

Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi” (c. 1500). Copyright Salvator Mundi LLC/Photo by Tim Nighswander.

Rybolovlev only realized that he had ove

rpaid for the Salvator Mundi when he read Scott Reyburn’s 2014 New York Times article which stated that the painting had sold for a price between seventy-five and eigh

ty million dollars.[11] Subsequently, both Bouvier and Rappo were arrested in Monaco and charged with money laundering in February of 2015.[12] Bouvier was also charged with fraud. The lawsuit began in January 2015 in Monaco when Rybolovlev’s family trust filed a criminal suit against Bouvier.[13] At one point, Rybolovlev had filed lawsuits in five jurisdictions around the world including Singapore, Switzerland, France, Monaco, and the United States.[14] The suit in Singapore, however, was dismissed in 2017 for lack of jurisdiction, or connection with that location’s courts.[15] As of 2019, lawsuits in Switzerland, France, Monaco, and the U.S. are still ongoing.[16] Rybolovlev even filed a lawsuit against Sotheby’s in 2018 claiming that they “‘materially assisted in the largest art fraud in history.’”[17] Reportedly, he is seeking $380 million in damages, given that the auction house had been involved in almost a third of his sales from Bouvier.[18] In fact, there are documents that show that Sotheby’s increased their valuations after Bouvier bought them so that they matched the price Rybolovlev paid once Bouvier flipped it to him.[19] The legal discovery in the case against Sotheby’s began in August 2019 and comes after a New York Southern Circuit Court judge denied Sotheby’s motion to dismiss evidence and remove the case from New York.[20] When will the lawsuits end? Certainly not in the near future.

Yet, as with all disputes, there are different sides to each story. In an interview with the author, when asked to explain her understanding of the case, Bouvier contends, “there was no commission agreement, no contract, and therefore, the claims against him are completely unfounded, whereas Rybolovlev feels that the money Bouvier took on the back end of each sale constitutes fraud.”[21] Bregman ultimately concludes that it is “up to the reader to decide which side they think is right.” While the cases are pending, the attorneys will have to present evidence and mount their case, and the judges, including U.S. District Court judge Jesse M. Furman, will decide what they think amounts to justice.

When asked about whether she needed assistance to understand the legal aspects of the case, Bregman explained how a Geneva-based lawyer, a Monaco-based lawyer, and five other “individuals involved in litigation” illuminated her understanding of trust law, an integral area of law for the field of art. Bregman told the Center for Art Law that Rybolovlev, for example, “used [trust law] to his great advantage during his acquisition of masterpieces.” While Bregman does not mention these laws in her book, as she is not a lawyer, she provides enough details about Rybolovlev’s life that it is easy to tell why the law might have been useful to him. The legal implications are implicit.

Available for purchase as special print on Amazon, Bregman’s self-published Bouvier Affair certainly is an engaging work, as an international investigation that dives into the lives and stories of billionaires and artworks; in under 200 pages, it is one that provides unique insights into the elite art world. Her detailed caricatures create an easy-to-read narrative into these scandalous lives. Other sources, including Knight’s The Bouvier Affair, do the same in trying to explain the characters and the lawsuit; it appears that the social lives of Rybolovlev and Bouvier are inextricably linked to their legal battle. As a journalist, Bregman focuses less on the artworks and more on the people possessing them; she provides a detailed investigative contribution into the story of the Salvator Mundi as well as other paintings. She devotes a lot of attention to the history of artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Modigliani. The reader gets a view of the affairs on Russian oligarchs’ private yachts in the chapter entitled “Water Serpents” as well as vaults in the Singapore Freeport, of which the book provides pictures taken by the author herself in the chapter titled, “The Safest Place.”[22] It’s sections like these that allow the reader to see the extent of the research that Bregman did all over the world.

One thing worth mentioning: for the cover of her book, the author chose to reproduce a portion of Gustav Klimt’s “Water Serpents II” (1904-06/7), one of more than 35 paintings that Bouvier helped Rybolovlev acquire between 2003 and 2014. The cover depicts beautiful, dreamy and dangerous nymphs. One art critic, Ludwig Hevesi, compared the gold in the painting to coins.[23] Could they be hinting at the seductive and destructive powers that art wields over those who seek to have too much? If so, Bregman may have used the art as a fitting parable to the underlying theme of the scandal. Who should one trust in the art world? What sort of power does art hold over rich investors? Where do the scandal and legal battles end?

About The Bouvier Affair’s Author: Alexandra Bregman, a writer and art specialist, graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has held positions at Christie’s and Gagosian Gallery. This is her debut book, which follows years of traveling and writing for The Wall Street JournalThe Art Newspaper, and The Asian Art Newspaper in London, among other publications. She received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and currently resides in New York.[24]

The Book: Alexandra Bregman, The Bouvier Affair: A True Story (Ingram Content Group, 2019). Available here.

  1. Matthew Shaer, The Invention of the Salvator Mundi: Or How to Turn a $1,000 Art-Auction Pickup Into a $450 Million Masterpiece (New York Magazine, 2019). ?
  2. Shaer, The Invention of the Salvator Mundi. ?
  3. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 7, 9. ?
  4. Shaer, The Invention of the Salvator Mundi. ?
  5. Sam Knight, The Bouvier Affair: How an art-world insider made a fortune by being discreet, (The New Yorker: January 31, 2016). ?
  6. Alexandra Bregman, The Bouvier Affair: A True Story (2019), 174. ?
  7. Ibid, 4, 16. ?
  8. Ibid, 16. ?
  9. Kenneth Rapoza, Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s Lawsuit With Art Dealer Yves Bouvier Puts Sotheby’s in Crosshairs (Forbes: August 8, 2019). ?
  10. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 21. ?
  11. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 16; Knight, The Bouvier Affair: How an art-world insider made a fortune by being discreet. ?
  12. Knight, The Bouvier Affair; Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 181-2. ?
  13. Angel Au-Yeung, The Legal Fight Surrounding the Most Expensive Painting in the World (Forbes: December 5, 2017). ?
  14. Rapoza, Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s Lawsuit. ?
  15. Au-Yeung, The Legal Fight Surrounding the Most Expensive Painting in the World. ?
  16. Jonathan Stempel, Sotheby’s Must Face Russian Billionaire’s Lawsuit Over Art Fraud- U.S. Judge ( June 25, 2019). ?
  17. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is suing Sotheby’s for $380 million ( October 3, 2018). ?
  18. Ibid. ?
  19. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is suing Sotheby’s for $380 million. ?
  20. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is suing Sotheby’s for $380 million. ?
  21. Alexandra Bregman, “Email from July 30, 2019.” ?
  22. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 95, 77. ?
  23. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair, 93-4. ?
  24. Bregman, The Bouvier Affair. ?

Further Reading:


The Author would like to thank Ms. Bregman for answering her questions and providing her with insightful comments about the writing and investigative process spent on writing The Bouvier Affair.

About the Author: 

Jacqueline Crispino was a Summer 2019 intern for the Center for Art Law. She is a recent graduate from Georgetown University with a double major in classical studies and history. She currently attends the University of California, Berkeley Law. Jacqueline can be reached at

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Art Law Journals

  • Art Antiquity and Law (U.K.) A quarterly, which starting in 1996, was designed for all who value the cultural and historical environment. “The principal aim of the Quarterly is to inform. It exists to tell those who work in art and antiquity about the law governing their activities and the policies behind the law. It is founded on the belief, never more confident than today, that cultural life cannot in a legal vacuum. In our conviction, all responsible members of the art and history community should be aware of the role which law plays in shaping cultural policy. To understand law, however demanding the task, is to meet its challenges more effectively.”
  • Cardozo Art & Entertainment Law Journal (U.S.) Founded in 1982, the Cardozo AELJ has routinely published topical legal analyses on arts, entertainment, intellectual property, First Amendment, sports, fashion, cyberlaw, and media and telecommunications law.
  • Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts (U.S.) Founded in 1975, the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts is a quarterly, student-edited publication dedicated to up-to-date and in-depth coverage of legal issues involving the art, entertainment, sports, intellectual property, and communications industries.
  • DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law (U.S.) The DePaul Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law publishes articles by students, practicing attorneys and other professionals that address current and developing legal and policy issues in the cultural heritage, visual and performing arts, technology, and intellectual property fields.
  • Fondation pour le droit de l’art Newsletters (Switzerland) Founded in 1991, The Art-Law Foundation produces a biannual newsletter (in French) which pursues teaching and research activities in the field of art and cultural property law.
  • International Journal of Cultural Property (U.S.) Published for the International Cultural Property Society, this peer-reviewed journal “provides a vital, international, and multidisciplinary forum for the broad spectrum of views surrounding cultural property, cultural heritage, and related issues. Its mission is to develop new ways of dealing with cultural property debates, to be a venue for the proposal or enumeration of pragmatic policy suggestions, and to be accessible to a wide audience of professionals, academics, and lay readers.”
  • Journal of Art Crime (U.S.) The Journal of Art Crime has been published since Spring 2009. Published twice per year on a not-for-profit basis and edited by Noah Charney, Marc Balcells and Christos Tsirogiannis, the JAC contains a mixture of peer-reviewed academic articles and editorials, from contributors both within the Association and external professionals knowledgeable in this sector.
  • The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society (U.S.) The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society is an authoritative resource for the field of performing, visual, and media arts in particular and cultural affairs more generally. Articles, commentary, and book reviews address current and ongoing issues in arts policy, management, law, and governance from a range of philosophical and national perspectives.

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Book Review: “Hitler’s Last Hostages” (2019)

By Madhulika Murali.

What do art and fascism have in common? More than one might think, as Mary M. Lane details in her thorough exploration of how art came to play a powerful role in the ideology and history of Nazi Germany. In her new non-fiction book entitled Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich (PublicAffairs, 2019), Lane writes about Adolf Hitler’s failed career as an artist and underlines the way in which the wider art world served as a political tool for the German government during WWII. The “last hostages,” as the book skillfully charts, are the Nazi-looted artworks that continue to remain unsettled in contemporary German society.


The book opens with a dynamic account of the Cornelius Gurlitt case in 2013. Cornelius Gurlitt was the son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, often referred to as Hitler’s art dealer. German authorities broke into Cornelius Gurlitt’s apartment and subsequently discovered around 1,200 works of art, spanning those by Picasso and Matisse.[1] These artworks were discovered to have been stolen during the Nazi era, including Otto Mueller’s “Portrait of Maschka Mueller” (1925) and Otto Dix’s “Self Portrait Smoking” (c. 1912-14).[2] Lane herself spent several years investigating and reporting on the case and how the German government dealt with the issue of restitution. In order to explore the significance of Nazi-looted art in contemporary German society, she details the influence of art and artists on German politics from the early 1900s through to the 1950s. The conclusion is that art — an obsession of Hitler’s — was a core aspect of how fascism was developed and sustained in Nazi Germany, and its hangover remains today in the inadequacies of the German government’s response to looted art.

More specifically, Lane explores the question of how the art world came to influence Nazi Germany so powerfully in a fulsome, if occasionally confusing, manner. She focuses in-depth on Hitler’s personal journey as a failed artist in order to contextualize his fixation with art that would persist throughout his political career. She also maps the career of German artist George Grosz, whose political art often critiqued or satirized the occurring rise of German nationalism, in order to offer a detailed example of how Hitler and his government suppressed political dissent by classifying such art as “Degenerate Art.” This classification ultimately led to Grosz’s migration to the United States moments before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. Through the targeting and purging of various similar artists by galleries and art dealers, the potential for art to question the status quo was stifled, while art that expressed Hitler’s version of the Aryan ideal was promoted, in which not only the government but also artists, art dealers, curators, gallerists, arts events coordinators participated. Herein lies the central discovery that the art world played a significant role in drawing from and reinforcing Nazi-era fascism. The case Lane makes is convincing, through an extensive narrative of Grosz’s life, allowing the reader to grasp the thematic connection of the various art historical events.

Lane concludes that the art world’s past involvement in Nazi Germany has contemporary significance, exemplified by Germany’s somewhat unsatisfactory response post-Gurlitt. Lane notes the tendency of various German actors, such as government-funded museums, the Culture Ministry, and the legislature, to “point fingers”[3] at each other instead of shouldering responsibility for a “broken restitution system.”[4] Given the injustice of looted art, particularly so when this is contextualized in German history, this is a cause for concern. “The prevailing German attitude was that the Holocaust should be remembered annually in speeches and ceremonies, but its victims should let go of hope that they would recover stolen property,” is her indictment.[5]


Ultimately, the book raises salient questions about the role of art in political life. As the contemporary world has seen, art has played an important role in political activism and social justice movements, spanning artists such as the Guerrilla Girls and Kara Walker. The art world, however, is also known for its undeniable elitism and exclusion, made all the more troublesome by the role played in upholding fascism in 1930s and 1940s Germany, as explained by Lane. Learning from the past would be a welcome endeavor for the art world, in Lane’s eyes. Art does indeed influence public and political life. In that vein, there is no reason why the art world should be above the journey of introspection and self-critique that other public institutions embark on.

About the Book: Mary M. Lane, Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich (PublicAffairs, 2019), ISBN 1610397363, available here.

About Mary M. Lane: Mary M. Lane is a nonfiction journalist and writer. After graduating from Middlebury College, she went on to receive a German Academic Exchange Service Journalism Scholarship in 2010 and a Fulbright Journalism Scholarship for 2010 through 2011. She gained recognition as the chief European Art Reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in which capacity she conducted journalistic work on the Gurlitt trove case.


  1. Hili Perlson, Hildebrand Gurlitt Built a Brilliant Trove of Art Under the Nazis. Two New Exhibitions Show His Taste, and His Duplicity., Art Net (Feb. 19 2020)
  2. Sarah Cascone, The Notorious Collection of Nazi-Looted Art Amassed by Hildebrand Gurlitt Will Travel for an Emotional Show in Jerusalem, Art Net (Feb. 19 2020)
  3. Mary M. Lane, Hitler’s Last Hostages (2019) at 264.
  4. id. at 265.
  5. id. at 246.

About the Author: Madhulika Murali was a Fall 2019 legal intern at the Center for Art Law. She is undertaking a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at New York University School of Law, focusing on how law relates to social justice. She completed her undergraduate law degree at the University of Oxford (U.K.) and specialized in human rights law. Madhulika can be reached at

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Book Review: “The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It” (2020) by Alice Procter

By Amber Lee

In her book The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It, art historian and anthropologist Alice Procter analyzes specific pieces of artworks and archaeological finds and discusses how museums, as well as galleries, have used these remnants of the colonial past to shape narratives that intentionally leave out the voices of many historically exploited peoples. To that end, The Whole Picture is largely a critique of art and cultural institutions and a discussion on their roles in perpetuating racism in our society.

In the introduction of The Whole Picture, Procter discusses the purpose of a museum, drawing the reader’s attention to museums’ failure to represent complete stories through curatorial decisions, which are often politically motivated. She highlights the importance of viewing objects from former colonies more critically as society tends to overlook the legacies of imperial violence.

The Whole Picture is divided into four parts, with each part devoted to a specific type of space: the Palace, the Classroom, the Memorial, and the Playground. The parts are then further subdivided into smaller chapters describing various objects in that particular space.

Part Summaries

Part I—The Palace: In this section, Procter describes a type of gallery space—the “Palace”— called so because royal residences and aristocratic homes were where the idea of the museum first came about. The Louvre, Procter writes, is the “archetypal Palace museum” since it was one of the first Palaces to transition from being a private palace to a public museum. While the objects in this section are not all linked to colonial history, Procter included them because of their significance in demonstrating how the specific tastes of their collectors shaped and influenced the institutions we have today.

For example, Chapter I: Vases and Attitudes recounts how Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy to the Kingdom of Naples in the 18th century, built his private collection of Greek antiquities and had his wife, Emma, reenact scenes from the vases in his collection (essentially adding her to his “collection” and objectifying her in the process). When the British Museum made its first major purchase in 1772, a large portion of the haul came from Sir Hamilton’s collection.

One of the most fascinating chapters of Part I is perhaps Chapter 4: An Offering, where Procter analyzes Spiridione Roma’s allegorical painting, “The East Offering Its Riches to Britannia” (1778), and discusses how the East India Company used this painting to perpetuate the myth of the “benevolent” Company narrative. In this chapter, Procter notes that even though a museum was added to the East India House in 1790 to feature portraits of Company officers and other objects taken from India, most of the East India House–including the Revenue Committee Room where Roma’s painting originally hung–was off-limits to the general public. Procter thus argues that the placement of such art and objects in an intimate setting, as well as the painting’s availability only to a select group (the Company’s members), make the East India House a hallmark Palace.

Roma’s painting was eventually relocated to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which presents yet another set of challenges as it is difficult to see the painting without access to a civil servant. Equally troubling is the fact that this “continuing, insidious story of imperialism” now sits in a building dedicated to foreign policy as a decorative background to the day-to-day running of the office.

Part II—The Classroom: In this section, Procter explores spaces that are more concerned with cataloging than with personal curation, such as fairs and the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations’ (held in London in 1851). Although the goal of the Classroom is to democratize knowledge, Procter notes the objects presented in here are still restricted by the Eurocentric views of many institutions and by hierarchies that define objects as “useful” or “good.” As a result, certain stories and effects of the colonial past are left untold. For example, in Chapter 9: Abolitionists, Procter delves into a discussion on the lack of representation of Black abolitionists in the National Portrait Gallery in London, drawing special attention to Thomas Lawrence’s incomplete 1828 painting of a British abolitionist, William Wilberforce, as a metaphor for how certain marginalized groups have historically been left out of the narrative on the abolitionist movement.

Chapter 11: The Shield is devoted to the discussion on deaccessioning and repatriation of objects that belong to former colonies. Here, Procter highlights some of the difficulties posed by such efforts in England as the British Museum Act of 1963 sets out a rigid and inflexible criterion for deaccessioning objects.

Part III—The Memorial: Procter describes the Memorial as “a place of commemoration, and often of grief.” In this section, Procter introduces her readers to the emotionally evocative and often disturbing displays of people and human remains, human zoos, and of violence.

The collections housed in this space often tell stories of some traumatic past resulting from colonialism. Chapter 13: Mokomokai, for example, recounts how mokomokai—traditionally preserved heads of the Maori people—became collectors’ favorites in Europe, which threatened this sacred funerary practice due to the Maori’s increasing fear that the heads of their relatives might be taken away for sale. Procter also addresses the issues surrounding the repatriation of human remains, as well as the question of whether it is ever appropriate to display human remains in museums.

Chapter 14: Mining the Museum considers Fred Wilson’s 1992 exhibition of the same name in which he reframed the Maryland Historical Society’s collection to highlight narratives on slavery that has often been hidden from view.

Chapter 16: The Coffin took on an even more somber tone as Procter discusses the Emmett Till Memorial—a memorial dedicated to the 14-year-old African American who was lynched in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman and which features Till’s coffin with a photograph of Till’s mutilated face at the head of the coffin. As disturbing as it may be, Procter writes that the display was permitted by Till’s mother, who wanted people to see what she had seen.

Part IV: The Playground: In this final section, Procter explores pieces and installations that are often experiential, interactive, surreal, and even humorous; hence, the name of this gallery—“The Playground.” For example, Chapter 17: Museum Highlights examines two of Andrea Fraser’s performance pieces that aim to criticize the museum as an institution. The title of this chapter, “Museum Highlights,” refers to Fraser’s performance piece in which she impersonated a museum docent on a pretend tour (unbeknownst to the museum patrons) as a form of meta-commentary on the museum and the vanity of collectors and patrons as the supposed gatekeepers of “an ‘enlightened’ space.”

As works in the Playground are not necessarily confined to a traditional gallery space, artists here seem to have more creative leeway to question who gets to speak about history and identity. In Chapter 19: The Ship, Procter discusses the practice of monuments as commemorating certain historical figures to the exclusion of others, drawing specific attention to British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” (2010), a scale model of HMS Victory enclosed in a large glass bottle with sails made of patterned textiles after an Indonesian technique. Here, Procter describes the work and its relocation at length, discussing Shonibare’s attempt to refocus historical narrative that tends to overlook sailors of color in the British Navy by bringing these untold stories to the foreground.

Chapter 20: Sugar Baby considers Kara Walker’s 2014 “A Subtlety,” a large temporary installation in the Domino Sugar Refining Plant, in Brooklyn, New York, of a sugar sculpture depicting a Black woman as a naked sphynx. “A Subtlety” was made as an homage to the exploited artisans of the sugar industry, a final monument to the refinery’s history before the site was redeveloped into a high-end residential space. In this chapter, Procter observes how the audience “misbehaved” by taking selfies and making fun of the sculpture’s body, essentially re-enacting the violation of enslaved women throughout history.


The Whole Picture is a fantastic introduction to how society may reconsider objects that art and cultural institutions hold within their collections and how these objects strengthen specific narratives at the expense of others. Procter challenges her readers to take a deeper look at museum practices and their role in perpetuating racist views through curatorial decisions that are often skewed by political, historical, and personal biases. The book’s discussion on the removal of colonial monuments is also timely considering the renewed wave of civil rights movement in the United States and other parts of the world.

The history of colonialism is a painful subject to tackle. However, the book reminds its readers that — despite the political and legal hurdles that might hinder efforts to decolonize museums and other cultural institutions — museums cannot exist without visitors. In other words, we, as part of the audience, can play a part in finally allowing the stories of those who have been silenced throughout history be heard.

About the Book: Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It (Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, 2020), ISBN 9781 788401555, available here.

About Alice Procter: Alice Procter is a historian of material culture with a B.A. in Art History and an M.A. in Anthropology, and she focuses her research on the intersection of postcolonial art practice and colonial material culture. Additionally, she runs tours, talks, workshops, and podcasts as The Exhibitionist.

  1. Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It (2020).
  2. The Exhibitionist, (last visited July 31, 2020).

About the Author:

Amber Lee was a Summer 2020 Intern at the Center for Art Law. She is in the Class of 2021 at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and received her undergraduate degree in visual arts and emerging media management from the University of Central Florida. She can be reached at

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Book Review: “A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law” (2018)

By Lucy Siegel

In his recent publication, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (Brill Research Perspectives, 2018), philosophy and art theory professor Andrea Baldini questions the dynamic between street art and law, explores questions of illegality, discusses the distinction between art and vandalism, and proposes his ideal for how the law and street art should relate. To start, Baldini sets as the goal to investigate the impact the law has on the illegal nature of street art, specifically intellectual property rights, copyright, and moral rights. Throughout the work, Baldini critiques other legal and philosophical scholars while suggesting alternative theories with logical explanations, and theorizes how illegality impacts society’s understanding and purpose for street art. He mainly draws on American law and examples of street art from the United States while intertwining international examples, laws, and cases.

In his introduction, Baldini aquaints readers with the idea of street art as a subcultural art form. Here, he explores how street art differs from conventional art, and defines street art and its fundamental elements. Baldini denotes street art as subversive, claiming “subversive value is what street artworks share, and is what makes street art the art kind that it is.”[1] Baldini also emphasizes the role street art plays in deconstructing what is appropriate in public spaces, claiming this makes street art inherently anti-capitalist, as public space norms comply with capitalist economies. He goes on to claim this implicit anti-capitalist nature gives street art “aesthetic-political” value. This definition hinges on street art being illegal and does not include public art and murals commissioned by public programs.

Throughout the book, Baldini contemplates the subversiveness of street art and what it means for the legal understanding of street art. In the first chapter, Baldini examines metaphysical issues with the relationship between street art and the law, primarily if illegality is a necessary or sufficient condition of street art. He argues illegality is simply a “salient” property of street art instead of a condition. In the next chapter, Baldini explores the debate over street art as vandalism or art. Baldini determines the binary choices of vandalism or art do not apply to street art, instead suggesting vandalism is an artistic tool used by street artists to give their work meaning. In the final chapter, Baldini questions if legal artistic rights should be afforded to street artists, concluding that extending property rights to street artists is antithetical to the subversiveness of street art and would erase the existence of street art as we know it today.

In his conclusion, Baldini reasserts that copyright laws and moral rights as they stand right now are not the answer to solving the complicated legal relationship between street art and the law. He claims extending property rights to street artists would destroy the subversiveness of street art, one of its already established fundamental properties. Street art is outlaw art according to Baldini, and anything that compromises this undermines the concept of street art. Thus, Baldini instead suggests an alternative approach to redefining the relationship between street art and the law.

Baldini on the 5Pointz Case

Within the discussion about street art and the law in his final chapter, Baldini comments on the ongoing 5Pointz case. This case, Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., resulted in 21 street artists receiving millions of dollars in statutory damages after the property owners of a Long Island City warehouse known as 5Pointz destroyed their works without prior notice, after allowing the artists to use the building as a canvas for a decade.[2] The artists used the Visual Artists’ Rights Act of 1990, better known as “VARA” to argue that the whitewashing was an infringement on their moral rights, which the E.D.N.Y and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with and awarded them with $6.75 million in damages.[3]

Baldini claims “5Pointz bears little relevance for a discussion of street art and the right of integrity.” In his opinion, as the site became a graffiti destination for tourists, it was commercialized in a way that is antithetical to the subversive nature of street art. Since the warehouse transitioned into a spot of authorized and marketed graffiti, the works lost their legitimacy as street art. Thus, Baldini does not see the legal battle between 5Pointz street artists and the property owners as related to his philosophical conversation about the relationship between street art and the law.


A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law is a fascinating exploration of the qualifying elements of street art such as illegality, vandalism, and subversiveness. Baldini effectively argues about the nature of street art in relation to these components, and the impact these aspects have on street art’s relationship with the law. Baldini suggests controversial positions while incorporating scholarship, legal arguments, and philosophical and logical equations to support his claims. This book is a great read for anyone looking to better understand the world of street art or the legal rights afforded to street artists. Baldini’s amicable and conversational tone, coupled with humorous section titles and definitions of all philosophy terms, makes this publication accessible to readers of any background.

While A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law is appealing to any reader, the book is a must read for those interested in art law. Baldini grapples with difficult ideas pertinent to the field, such as how judges have a major say in what is considered art and how ideas of freedom of speech and expression can intersect with property rights. He compares how courts outside of the United States regulate art, and then analyzes why American courts place so much emphasis on the concept of property. In his discussion of the 5Poinz case, he applies his philosophical arguments about illegality and street art. Baldini explores legal precedents related to not just street art, but public commissioned art and copyright law. He studies the field of art law by focusing on the niche subsect of the law and its impact on street art.

A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law also engages many philosophical ideas. Street art is arguably the oldest form of art, dating back parietal art, or “cave art,” from prehistoric times. The legal regulation of such human expression is complicated and requires Baldini’s philosophical approach. The discussion of moral rights, “special rights that authors possess over their respective creations as a consequence of the special relationship connecting creators and their own creations,” demands a philosophical understanding about the innate relationship between art and its creator.

Finally, throughout the book, Baldini includes photographs. Some he collected while doing research for the book, and others include the note: “for ethical reasons, I intentionally withhold sensitive information about photographs.” The photographs depict the stages of street art. Some are artists in the act of painting the side of a building or train car. Others are wide-shots of street art within city landscapes. The photographs help humanize street art and remind the reader how essential the artist is in creating urban visual landscapes.

Street art is not going away. As the law modifies to keep up with street art, the art will evolve to fit with the law. Illegality is a fundamental part of the nature of street art. The relationship between property and street art helps drive the creation of street art laws, and Baldini’s analysis of the philosophical arguments involved is an essential consideration when making these new laws.

About the Book’s Author:

Andrea Baldini, PhD is an associate professor of aesthetics and art theory at the School of Arts of Nanjing University, and director of the NJU Center for Sino-Italian Cultural Studies. He is also the Young Ambassador of the Jiangsu Province, a board member of the Association of Italian Scholars in China (AAIIC), and board and founding member of the Association of Tuscans in China. Baldini was recently elected delegate-at-large of the International Association of Aesthetics (IAA). Baldini has published extensively on street art and its relationship with the law, and is a scholar of philosophical questions surrounding “urban creativity.”

About the Book:

Andrea Baldini, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (Brill Research Perspectives: Art and Law, 2018) ISBN: 9004394036. Available here.


Andrea Baldini, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (BRILL, 2018), p. 5. ↑

Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 18‐498‐cv (2nd Cir. 2020), aff’ing Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 13-CV-05612 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 12, 2018); L. Carron, Case Review of the 5Pointz Appeal: Castillo et al. v. G&M Realty L.P. (2020), Center for Art Law (Mar. 2, 2020). ↑

Id. ↑

About the Author:

Lucy Siegel is a Summer 2020 Intern at the Center for Art Law and a rising junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She is studying art history and government with a concentration in international relations. Lucy can be reached at

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Book Review: “Art and Modern Copyright” (2018)

By Sophie Chung.

Pulitzer-winning novelist Pearl S. Buck once said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” Dr. Elena Cooper’s new book Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press, 2019) presents a smart way to understand intellectual property today by studying yesterday. The book examines narratives of copyright history in order to sharpen the reader’s critical view on contemporary copyright protection.

Dr. Cooper introduces her book as “the first in-depth and longitudinal study of the history of copyright protecting the visual arts” which is noteworthy. There has been a relative scarcity of study about artistic copyright, as research primarily concerns literary copyright. The book focuses on the history of artistic copyright, in the United Kingdom from the Fine Arts Copyright Act 1862[1] to the codification of copyright in the Copyright Act 1911.[2] From the 1850s to 1911, art posed new challenges that literacy copyright protection could not fully cover. Dr. Cooper argues that modern artistic copyright law has developed from addressing these new challenges. The chapters are divided into four themes:

  • The protection of copyright ‘authors’ (painters, photographers and engravers) in Chapter 2 and 3
  • The protection of art collectors in Chapter 4
  • The protection of sitters in Chapter 5
  • The protection of the public interest in Chapter 6

Chapter 2 and 3: The protection of copyright authors (painters, photographers, and engravers) in the period of 1850-1911

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss the history of copyright laws that delineated the rights of photographers and engravers who were less protected under previous laws. During the industrial era, artistic copyright in this period had a dual bases: creative labor as well as mechanical labor. This dual foundation of artistic copyright further stimulated a complex discussion about art and its protection. Painting and literature were considered to share aesthetic equivalence, and painting became the subject of copyright protection in 1862. Meanwhile, there was a newly emerged notion that artistic copyright should be founded on mechanical labor without reference to creative authorship. This idea allowed the laws to expand. For example, photographic practices became a subject matter of artistic copyright protection even though they laid no claim to be art when it was added.

Through tracing the claims and legal debates regarding who are authors for copyright protection, the chapters demonstrate how the subject matter of artistic copyright have extended to a broader area of fine arts. Beyond practices that have aesthetic equivalence with painting or literature, a wide array of artworks became qualified as protectible copyright.

Chapter 4: The protection of art collectors

Laws are introduced as a means of protecting the owners of the physical artworks and also the right of painters to reproduce the subject matter in a painting he or she had already sold. This chapter explores the position of the art collector in artistic copyright debates during the period of 1850 to 1911. The book presents the complex relationship between art and copyright law in the nineteenth century. The introduction of artistic copyright in this period raised issues regarding how rights and interests in physical or intangible work should be reconciled. Art collectors in the nineteenth century first started to utilize copyright as a means of regulating artists and securing the value of the tangible artwork they had obtained. Meanwhile, artists sought to ensure copyright did not restrict their right to reproduce their work even after a painting was sold to collectors. In short, a sharp tension was prevalent in this period. Art collectors regarded painting as a material artifact with uniqueness and financial value whereas artists regarded painting as a repeatable performance. These debates ended in the early twentieth century as it was re-established that a painting was an unrepeatable textured surface.

Dr. Cooper details the history of debates between art collectors and artists in this chapter, and this gives an insight about the ultimate purpose copyright laws should serve. The balance between protecting and regulating artists existed in the 1862 Act which were unrepealed in the later 1911 Act. The tracking of these provisions and analyzing them throughout Chapter 4 presents an opportunity to think how early copyright laws worked as forerunners to modern-day copyright laws which protect the moral rights of artists.

Chapter 5: The Protection of Sitters

Chapter 5 provides historical foundation where the modern-day publicity right. This stemmed from discussion of how copyright laws newly recognized protection of sitters operated in a way akin to modern publicity rights. As surreptitious photography had become popular, the right of people who were depicted without their consent started to be addressed. Different from literary copyright, artistic copyright also protected the privacy and publicity rights of the sitter.

Dr. Cooper talks about how the scheme of legislation, legal process, and trade practices contributed to the development of commercial interests in an individuals’ image during the time period discussed. The 1862 Act contained a provision which granted those who commissioned portraits of themselves the right to control their own image. This functioned as a rough equivalent of a publicity right, and weighed over time as a result of subsequent litigation. Nonetheless, the 1911 Act retained the provision protecting the rights of those who sat for portraits. This supports a conclusion that despite artistic copyright no longer functioned as a right to control one’s own image, sitters still retained certain rights under the 1911 Act.

Chapter 6: the Protection of the Public Interest

In Chapter 6, Dr. Cooper argues that the promotion of art in the 19th century contributed to a broader social support for artistic copyright. The wider discourse on the public benefit of art allowed the idea to emerge that artistic copyright is important as greater protection of art contributes to improvement in public taste and economic prosperity. This chapter explains how social changes and a broadening of appreciation for art facilitated copyright law’s development.

The chapter usedcase law and statutory provisions to discuss the history of copyright infringement and defenses from the perspective of the public interest. Unlike literary copyright, there was an acknowledged societal value to copying works of visual art for study. In the 1860s, concerns emerged that works were being copied in galeries for sale rather than study. The 1862 Act included a penality for infringement that explicitly protected the right to copy work for the purpose of study.

These revealed distinct facets of artistic copyright highlight the importance of the study Dr. Cooper has done in Art and Modern Copyright. While scholars have studied the law heavily in the context of literary copyright there has been less attention paid to the distinct facets of artistic copyright. Dr. Cooper’s survey of the Acts, British Imperial legislation or even gallery regulations in Chapter 6 illuminates the difference in how artistic copyright is different from literary copyright in dealing with infringement.


As the economic and cultural importance of copyright has grown, the legal rules related to artistic copyright have also evolved. In the United States, the debates on an artist’s fair use defense have been simmering catalyzed by the famous the case, Prince v. Cariou[3]. There have been proposed updates to the fair use analysis to accommodate the internet era where people can easily copy works of others only with right-clicks.[4] As Dr. Cooper reveals throughout her book, copyright now and then is sensitive to many factors: technology, culture, economy, and politics. Therefore, tracking the evolving characters of copyright in reaction to its contemporary social context may be of assistance in analyzing modern copyright.

Dr. Cooper’s Art and Modern Copyright (261 pages) elaborates on how changes in technology, aesthetic concepts, or social atmosphere can influence the purposes or functions of copyright laws. Through its thematic breadth, the book meticulously analyzes different aspects of copyright law and its developments. Despite the fact that the book is highly dependent on study about UK law, the book does a great job in unpacking how social and economic context are closely related to the history of artistic copyright in general. For the those interested in investigating what purposes copyright ultimately serves, Dr. Cooper’s “art and Modern Copyright” can be a great guidebook.

About the Book’s Author: Dr. Elena Cooper is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow. Dr. Cooper is a member of the British Art Network and the Institute of Art and Law, and an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Cambridge.

About the Book: Dr. Elena Cooper, Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press, 2018) ISBN: 978-1-107-17972-1. Available here.


  1. 25 & 26 Vict. C. 68 (1862).
  2. 1 & 2 Geo. V. c.46 (1911).
  3. Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2d Cir. 2013).
  4. Burroughs, Scott A. “It’s a Wrap: What to Expect from the Copyright Wars in 2018”. Above the Law. Dec. 2017. Available at

About the Author: Sophie Chung was a fall 2019 intern at the Center for Art Law and is pursuing her M.A. in Arts Administration at Columbia University. She is an attorney admitted in the state of New York and holds her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. Sophie can be reached at

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Book Review: “Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Professionals” (2013)

title page of the book

By Irina Tarsis, Esq.

“I want to do something splendid… I think I shall write books.”

Louisa May Alcott

Historically, introducing art law to lawyers and artists, not to mention law and non-law students, used to be a challenge. The majority of artists and lawyers were perplexed by the idea of ‘art law,’ now an accepted practice area that touches upon private as well as public law, national and international art business, and art making. Therefore, a handful of attorneys have grappled with the task of composing textbooks, which would serve as suitable introduction to the discipline.

The 2013 offering from the former chair of the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, who is a Senior Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art teaching Art Law and Ethics, is an excellent teaching tool to present information about artists’ rights and art market relationships in a clear and engaging tone. Her “Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Professionals” (the “Handbook”) is a comprehensible if not comprehensive primer for the uninitiated. It is part of the Handbooks in International Art Business series. Like an art history work, the Handbook is peppered with the familiar names of Calder, Monet, Schiele, and Serra. Like a law textbook, it is devoid of art reproductions. The only visual decoration that the publisher allowed in this text are the three symbolic images on the cover — Portrait of a Lawyer (1866) by Paul Cezanne, Tilted Arc (1981) by Richard Serra, and Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally (1912). The lack of illustrations is regrettable because an art law textbook, unlike other legal publications, stands to benefit from having reproductions of the works that have shaped and given rise to the discipline. The images used for the cover merely scratch the surface of the wealth of imagery that imbues the art law discipline. Luckily, the attorney who authored this Handbook succeeded in penning a clear bird’s-eye view of the discipline.

In the Handbook, Prowda synthesizes information about the basics of copyright and focuses on issues affecting visual arts, such as moral rights, commissions, auctions, expert opinions and title disputes. Consequently, this publication is best suited for artists, students in art and business management, appraisers and gallery employees as well as members of the general public that wish to learn about different aspects of art market as it is affected by the law. The target audience probably excludes those training for legal practice and the active members of the legal bar who already represent artists and galleries as their clients.

As a self-imposed objective, Prowda wished to “give her reader some “context and insights into the most salient legal issues of the day affecting art.” Therefore she organized the materials in the order of what happens with visual artworks from creation to sale in the primary market and again in secondary market. The structure of each section offers historical foundation and recent manifestations of specific legal issues associated with appraisal, authentication, theft, and auctions.

The Handbook is divided into three sections: 1) Artists’ Rights; 2) Artists’ Relationships; and 3) Commercial Aspects of Art, with twelve chapters unevenly split between these topics.  Contemplated as “a tour d’horizon of the complex questions raised in the field of art law,” with some attention given to the law in different countries — U.K., France, Germany as well as the U.S., in her preface Prowda acknowledges that she is covering the material through a U.S.-trained lawyer’s lens as well as looking at limited number of topics. Prowda revisits many classic legal examples: what is art according to Brancusi v. United States (U.S. 1928), and what is copyrightable per Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony (U.S. 1884). The narrative is easy to follow and it flows well from one example and concept to another. The Handbook tackles the big picture and glosses over nuances and gray areas that emerge in numerous related transactions and disputes.   

First section explores Artist’s Rights, namely freedom of expression, including historical overview of obscenity law, right of privacy and publicity, principles of copyright, including its duration, requirements, exclusive rights, infringements, defenses and spends some time discussing fair use exception, including a brief mention of the recent 2nd Circuit fair use case Cariou v. Prince. Here, Prowda spends considerable time exploring moral rights in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S., dating back to France in the 19th century and moving forward to the 1990 enactment of the Visual Artists Rights Act in the United States, and the case law that emerged subsequently. Repeatedly, the Handbook follows a formula of introducing a concept and explaining its origins, past applications and the current state of applicability. Thus, readers who are interested in limited moral rights in the United States or the variety of fair use cases decided by courts in different jurisdictions would need to go beyond the distilled information offered in the Handbook to learn more about the VARA cases, such as Mass MOCA v. Buchel or the different circuits’ applications of the fair use exception to copyright infringement claims.

Second section of the Handbook is dedicated to the artist’s relationships with dealers, collectors and art commissioners. Here, Prowda focuses on fiduciary duties owed to artists and their heirs; she explains relevant sections of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law that deals with consignment of art for sale. Rarity of written contracts and pitfalls of oral contracts are featured prominently in discussion of disputes related to Georgia O’Keeffe or the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This section certainly would have benefited from offering guidelines for working with attorneys and advisors as well as grant-giving agencies such as the New York Department for Cultural Affairs, which administer public commission. As is, the section is brief and is best summarized as following: due to fact specific and unique relationships between each artist and her dealer or the art commissioner, each negotiation and partnership needs to be carefully reviewed and monitored throughout the relationship.

Third section moves away from the creative process to explore the commercial side of art disposition through the secondary market, collection development, art theft and issues of authenticity. It explores questions surrounding legal title and includes a discussion of good faith purchases of art works. Author underscores the importance of clear and corroborated provenance, duties of different parties involved in art transactions, obligations and rights of creditors, an array of warranties that may accompany change of ownership and technical defenses to combining ownership of art with legal title.

In her treatment of auction houses, Prowda lists various services and duties auctions have to their clients and then she focuses on the seminal 1986 Cristallina v. Christie’s decision that “resulted in significant changes in auction laws and redefined auction practice in New York.” In that case, the auction house was accused of fraudulent misrepresentation in violation of its fiduciary duty to the consigner by failing to assess market conditions. The third section is also used as a vehicle to discuss the antitrust price-fixing scandal that embroiled both leading auction houses in the early 1990s. Prowda briefly introduces the main players and the circumstances of the Sherman Act violations.

The second-to-last chapter of this section explores briefly the subject of expert opinions as they pertain to art appraisal and authentication. In light of the recent legal actions brought against art experts, this section is of great importance to those engaged in creating catalogue raisonnés and labeling art as fakes or forgeries. Prowda explains fiduciary duties owed by experts and explains risks and legal liabilities that may attach to actions of authenticators and appraiser. This section includes discussion of the main legal cases involving opinions on art and its value, including but not limited to the 1929 Hahn v. Duveen decision, as well as Ravenna v. Christie’s (2001) and Double Denied, an antitrust case against the Andy Warhol Foundation decided in 2009.

Finally, the Handbook tackles the temporally, geographically and emotionally-complicated questions regarding title problems related to stolen art, with emphasis on war plunder and Nazi-era looted art. Given the vast body of cases and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms dedicated to solving issues related to Nazi-era looted art, the treatment of this subject in the Handbook merely scratches the surface of the questions and outcomes related to art restitution claims. Prowda chooses to focus on three cases as main illustrations of related issues, specifically U.S. v. Portrait of Wally which was ultimately settled in 2010 for $19 million, Guggenheim Foundation v. Lubel (NY, 1991) and Bakalar v. Vavra (2nd Cir. 2010). However, other important trends affecting the art displaced during the Nazi-period are excluded. For example, the late 1990s and early 2000s case sequence involving American art museums proactively seeking to quiet title through declaratory judgments aimed at keeping possession of once-looted artworks is omitted entirely, as is the discussion of the numerous foreign advisory commissions that review restitution claims brought against public institutions by heirs in France, England, Germany, Austria and so on.

The Handbook ends with an admission that in the 21st century, there are ongoing and profound changes in the production and consumption of art and thus the legal system is continuously tested. The author admits she wanted her readers “to situate themselves within [law, art and commerce] discourse.” She certainly succeeds in giving a long view on perennial important topics even as case law and legislation continue offering new examples and challenges.

Art law is a growing and developing practice area and by definition textbooks and handbooks tend to become outdated as soon as they are submitted to print because of the subsequent developments. This Handbook is no exception. While Prowda talks about Nazi-era looted art, as well as authentication issues such as the threat of litigation that affect authentication boards and commissions, there is understandably no reference to the Gurlitt art trove which was made public in 2013 nor the infamous demise of the Knoedler Gallery in 2011, formerly the oldest art gallery in the United States that was found out as selling forgeries. The first of almost a dozen claims for breach of warranty and negligent misrepresentation against the gallery, its owners and staff were filed as early as 2011; however, the reverberating effect of the downfall was not fully felt until much later. Other materials missing from the Handbook include laws governing the antiquities trade, and questions dealing with import/export of art containing ivory and other problematic materials.

The Handbook would have been more authoritative and easy to use for the legal community if the references and citations were not relegated to endnotes at the end of the volume but appeared at the bottom of the page as footnotes or at least following each chapter. Nevertheless, the Handbook intends to situate its users or reader within various art law related discourse and it accomplishes that task very well. Whether the book inspires students to become art lawyers and thus dive into the specific issues more deeply remains to be seen.

Prowda supplements her writing with a brief bibliography which reads as a “Who is who in Art and Law.” All the usual suspects are represented: Leonard D. DuBoff, Patty Gerstenblith, John Henry Merryman, David Nimmer, Pierre Leval, Judith Bresler, as well as Michael Bazyler, Lawrence M. Kaye and Ronald D. Spencer. Again, just like the Handbook itself, the bibliography offers a sound but basic set of tools. For non-lawyers, the glossary of legal terms is a non-exhaustive list of terms that may or may not need explanation. It includes Latin phrases (e.g., caveat emptor and lex loci), substantive terms (e.g., subpoena and contract), relationships (e.g., fiduciary and agency), causes of action and rights. The concept of due diligence is explained here but good faith purchase is not.

The writer of this review would argue that the subtitle “ Handbook for Professionals” is a confusing description of the text contained within. Perhaps it is the formula imposed by the publisher, however, unlike the guide for collectors, investors, dealers and artists co-authored by Judith Bresler and Ralph E. Lerner, a two-volume $200+ opus akin to Nimmer on Copyright, or Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts volume by John Henry Merryman et all, Prowda’s textbook is a general introduction/a primer for newcomers. It does not bore those lacking the technical training or stamina to work through legal analysis and exhaustively shepardized citations, rather it is a carefully composed teaching tool that ushers its reader at a comfortable pace through fascinating and varied legal history. Professionals would need to dig deeper into each subject; however, given the paucity of affordable basic textbooks for students learning about art law, this volume is an excellent option for any art law professor seeking to introduce countless areas for study and further exploration. Perhaps it should have been titled “A Handbook for Future Professionals.” The Handbook may be coupled with select case decisions and legislative material for an effective introduction to the fascinating field that concerns art, art history and law.

Prowda’s Handbook is a tool designed to further adoption and acceptance of art law, and given its modest price in comparison with other art law publications, it is a worthy addition to any mentor or art law instructor’s reference library. It is a solid stepping-stone to further popularizing the art law discipline.

From the Editors: A copy of this title (hard copy or kindle version) can be ordered here.

Cited Cases:

  • Bakalar v. Vavra, 619 F.3d 136 (2d Cir. 2010).
  • Brancusi v. United States, 54 Treas. Dec. 428 (1928).
  • Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 4 S. Ct. 279, 28 L. Ed. 349 (1884).
  • Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2d Cir. 2013).
  • Cristallina v. Christie’s, 117 A.D.2d 284, 502 N.Y.S.2d 165 (App. Div. 1986).
  • Guggenheim Found. v. Lubell, 77 N.Y.2d 311, 567 N.Y.S.2d 623, 569 N.E.2d 426 (1991).
  • Hahn v. Duveen, 234 N.Y.S. 185, 133 Misc. 871, 133 Misc. Rep. 871 (1929).
  • Lagrange et al v. Knoedler Gallery, LLC et al, 1:2011cv08757 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2011).
  • MA MUSEUM, CONTEMP. ART FOUN. v. Buchel, 593 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 2010).
  • Ravenna v. Christie’s Inc., 289 A.D.2d 15, 734 N.Y.S.2d 21 (App. Div. 2001).
  • Serra v. US General Services Admin., 847 F.2d 1045 (2d Cir. 1988).
  • Simon-Whelan v. Andy Warhol Found. for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2009 W.L. 1457177 (2009).
  • US v. Portrait of Wally, 105 F. Supp. 2d 288 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

About the Author: Irina Tarsis, Esq., specializes in art law, provenance research and cultural heritage law. She may be reached at

Disclaimer: This article presents general information and is not intended as legal advice.

Reprinted with permission from: Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal, Spring 2015, Vol. 26, No. 1, published by the New York State Bar Association, Albany, NY.

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