Art Law Perspectives

Insights and commentary on art law

Latest from Art Law Perspectives

Street artist Alessia Babrow has sued the Vatican, alleging that the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State copied her artwork without her permission and reprinted it as a stamp. The art was a painting of Jesus by nineteenth-century artist Heinrich Hofmann, to which Ms. Babrow had added the slogan “just use it.” Besides neglecting to request Ms. Babrow’s permission, the Vatican allegedly only credited Hofmann, and not Ms. Babrow, for the derivative…
SCOTUS Sets Precedent on the Expropriation Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Ruling that Germany Cannot Be Sued in the United States for Taking Property from Its Own Citizens   The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Jewish heirs of German art dealers, who in 1935 sold gilded German reliquaries dating back to the 11th to 15th centuries (known as the Guelph Treasure) to the Nazi-controlled Prussian government. The heirs sued Germany in…
UNITED STATES U.S. Supreme Courts Declines Certiorari in the 5Pointz Case Two years ago, in one of the most important decisions applying the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) since its adoption, New York’s Eastern District awarded $6.75 million in statutory damages to 21 street artists whose aerosol works were intentionally destroyed by the owner of the buildings on which they were painted. VARA gives artists the right to sue to prevent the destruction…
UNITED STATES U.S. Senate Subcommittee’s Report Recommends Art Market Regulations As part of its investigation into the effectiveness of sanctions against foreign persons and entities, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the United States Senate issued a report focused on lack of regulation and pervasive secrecy in the art market.…
NORTH AMERICA Disgraced Art Dealer Inigo Philbrick Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges A New York grand jury has indicted art dealer Inigo Philbrick on federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft; Philbrick has entered a plea of not guilty. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District claims that Philbrick defrauded multiple people and businesses in New York between 2016 and 2019 to finance his art business, access valuable art, and obtain sales proceeds,…
Paris Dealer Charged with Fraud and Money Laundering in Sale of Golden Sarcophagus to the Met French art dealer and Mediterranean archeology expert Christophe Kunicki was charged with fraud and money laundering in Paris following an investigation that began after the sale of a golden sarcophagus to New York’s Metropolitan Museum for €3.5 million in 2017.…
UNITED STATES SCOTUS Will Hear Appeal by German Museums over Jewish Heirs’ Claims that the Sale of the Guelph Treasure Was a Genocidal Taking In a lawsuit filed in 2015, Jewish heirs of German art owners who sold the Guelph Treasure (gilded German reliquaries dating back to the 11th to 15th centuries) to the Nazi-controlled Prussian government in 1935, claim that the sale was a “genocidal taking.”…