Locke Lord LLP has been advising clients with art-related legal issues for decades. Navigating the legal issues involved in the creation, ownership and transfer of rights in art requires experience in a number of practice areas including: contracts and agreements, tax, not-for-profit governance, intellectual property, insurance, gift and estate-planning, financial transactions, litigation and personal property law. Locke Lord lawyers have measured experience in each of these areas and we have represented museums, universities, and other cultural institutions, galleries and dealers in art, artists, private collectors, insurers and foundations in connection with addressing legal issues unique to art.
We recognize that art takes many forms, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, murals, wall art, frescos, mosaics, mobiles, stabiles, tapestries, posters and even items that have been affixed to, embedded in or attached to buildings as permanent installations forming parts of a building's walls, facade, ceilings and floors. Many of these forms require a multidisciplinary analysis and approach.
There are various laws, both state and federal, that protect the rights of artists, purchasers and sellers of art, regardless of how “art” is defined. Today, the purchase and sale of art often crosses borders and frequently involves tax issues (sales tax, VAT, duty, etc.). For example, the federal Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) protects visual artists' "moral rights" and various state laws and court decisions protect other rights of artists in their works. Court cases have been brought to enjoin developers from razing office, loft and factory buildings that house works of art.