Contact Information

+44 20 3321 7036

Personal Profile

Karen is a Partner and Head of the firm's Art Law group, which she founded in 1995 in response to a growing demand from clients for a specialist approach to providing advice in this niche sector.  Karen represents clients across the globe, including artists and their estates, collectors, dealers, art charities, auction houses, galleries, museums and governments.  She advises on the sale and purchase of art, artist's rights, disputes over attribution, authenticity and ownership, cultural heritage issues, the return of looted cultural property and taking security over art.

The legal directories describe Karen as pre-eminent in the field of art and cultural property and equally adept at both contentious and non-contentious work in that field.

She is regularly published and provides media commentary on art related legal issues. Karen often features on "Front Row", BBC Radio's flagship culture programme, and has been quoted in the Times and New York Times on attribution issues. She is honorary legal counsel for the Ben-Uri Museum and for the State Hermitage Foundation Museum, Israel. Karen is also an annual contributor to the Deloitte Art & Finance Report.

She is recognised in Citywealth 2016 as a Leading Lawyer for Art Advisory.

Key Experience

  • Advising in relation to Lord Edward Charles Spencer-Churchill v (1) Faggionato Fine Arts Limited (2) Gerard Faggionato (3) Jombihis Corporation (4) Alberto Mugrabi, concerning a title dispute over a Basquiat painting.
  • Acting for the Church Commissioners for England in a complex sale transaction involving artworks and property.
  • Advising the Arab Republic of Egypt in relation to obtaining the return of looted cultural heritage artefacts.
  • Representing the estate of Williams Roberts RA.

Recent speaking engagements include:

  • May 2016, Institute of Art and Law "Repatriation: Bringing an International Restitution Claim Through the Courts".
  • April 2016, IBC Conference, "Considerations for Trustees investing in illiquid assets", April 2016, 
  • April 2016, Hallett Insurance and AXA Art, "Cyber Crime, Accidents, Transit and Law – All in a Day at a Gallery".
  • March 2016, Royal Academy of Arts, "Protecting your Art for the Future".
  • January 2016, ESCP Executive Specialised Master's Programme, "International Wealth Management – Art: Legal & Tax".
  • October 2015, International Fine Art & Specie Insurance Conference, "Adjusting the Fine Art Claim in the World of VARA and Droit Moral"
  • October 2015, Franco-British Lawyers Society "The Art of Advising – Art Law in Practice".
  • March 2015, International Bar Association Conference, "Pure Love of Art versus Mere Investment".
  • November 2014, Art Law Foundation Conference "Risk, Rules & Opportunities in Art Investment".
  • October 2014, Sculpture in the City debate in conjunction with Frieze Art Fair, "(SM)ARTPHONE – The Evolving Ownership of Art in a Digital Age".

Career History

Partner, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Assistant, Mishcon de Reya
Articled Clifford Chance London and Paris