Art and Cultural Property

Your artwork, collectibles and other cultural property are amongst the most valuable assets in your home – sentimentally as well as financially. How you find them, buy them, transport, protect and dispose of them will be important and unique matters to you.

Our team understands what it means to be passionate about cultural property and the arts and is on hand to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ of legal services for whatever you may need. Our expertise covers all aspects of the law in this area, from the drafting and negotiation of agreements to litigation and the resolution of disputes. Your adviser, Mark Stephens CBE, a former chair of the Contemporary Arts Society with over 30 years experience, is seen as a leading expert in the field. However complex a matter may be, we can work with you to find creative solutions.

We advise on all aspects of commissioning, purchasing and selling of art and cultural property, often with an international element, co-ordinating transactions that involve several jurisdictions. We liaise with brokers, insurers, charterers, auctioneers, galleries and other interested parties to facilitate production of the documentation and information to satisfy registries, lenders and auction houses.

We are regularly asked to advise on the recovery of stolen items of art and cultural property and to provide estate planning for collectors. We have an extensive and exclusive network of contacts and our clients include museums and public collections, galleries and dealers, public art organisations, charities/foundations, collectors, artists and estates, photographers, photo libraries as well as high net worth individuals.

How you deal with art and cultural property in your home can be a very personal matter and you may find that you need legal assistance in relation a wide range of issues, such as:

  • Dealing with acquisitions, disposals and loans
  • Negotiating and drafting agency and partnership agreements
  • Negotiating and documenting artwork commissions and production
  • Dealing with copyright and moral rights, including the collective administration of rights
  • Negotiating gifts in lieu of inheritance tax
  • Confirming provenance and title
  • Dealing with art and cultural property in the context of tax-planning, wills, family trusts and foundations.

In all matters, our experience means that we can be on hand to offer you all the advice and support you need, with sensitivity and discretion.

We are leading experts in helping high net worth clients deal with the full range of issues relating to art and cultural property in their homes.

Our recent work has included:
  • Securing the return of artwork looted during the Holocaust
  • Advising on the repatriation of human remains from the Natural History Museum to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
  • Advising the Republic of Greece on the looting of the Parthenon Marbles
  • Advising gallery’s in relation to touring exhibitions of works created by internationally renowned artists
  • Advising our client about the ongoing dispute with the Italian Governments regarding the unlawful export of a valuable early renaissance painting in Italy, the painting is currently in London and we have advised the client about its permanent export from the European Commission
  • Advising gallery’s in relation to touring exhibitions of works created by internationally renowned artists
  • Acting for an artist in relation to a complex trade mark dispute with his former manager.