Shook’s Art Law team brings together attorneys from across the firm’s practices and locations with a wide spectrum of experience relevant to the art market. Our experience includes representing museums, dealers, collectors, financial institutions, individual artists, auction houses and insurers—among others—on issues related to repatriation and restitution, copyright status, infringement claims and disputes arising from authenticity concerns, sales agreements and contracts, trusts and estates, and insurance coverage. Our work covers both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. The team also advises clients on the use of artificial intelligence to generate new works or designs.

The Art Law Practice is well-versed in the following areas of law: 

  • Restitution and Repatriation | Collectors, dealers, museums and auction houses alike may face claims that art in their possession was confiscated during World War II, unethically removed from the place of origin, looted from archaeological sites, or imported illegally into the United States. We advise clients on developing the appropriate response to such claims, including providing advanced knowledge of the applicable international conventions, domestic law, and evolving policy in the area; assistance with provenance investigations and disputes; litigating civil or criminal forfeiture actions; and negotiating equitable returns of art and cultural property, including under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

  • Art and Intellectual Property | The sale and display of contemporary art frequently involves copyright issues. Our IP attorneys advise clients on copyright status and ownership, licensing disputes, infringement claims arising from appropriation of an image by other artists or by commercial entities, and moral rights protections under the Visual Artists Rights Act that apply when an artist’s work is altered or destroyed. This includes the use of copyright-protected work either under a license or the “fair use” justification. 

  • Art Market | Our Art Law Practice covers all aspects of art market transactions encountered by museums, foundations, auction houses, dealers, collectors, artists and other market participants. We can advise on and litigate matters concerning sales agreements/contracts; charitable donations; artist estate and probate disputes; insurance coverage; title/ownership disputes; art commissions; art financing disputes; ownership rights limited by the artist, his/her estate, or the terms of a restricted gift; appraisal and consignment agreements; authenticity; and catalogues raisonné investigations and disputes.