Art Law

Collecting art and artefacts can be a lifetime passion. But owning, managing and creating art entail obligations and responsibilities, for example reputation and legacy, the protection of cultural heritage and financial planning.

Art and antiques transcend national boundaries, moving around the world as they are bought, sold, exhibited and loaned. Art provokes political debate and attracts media attention, yet those who handle it are reliant on trust and discretion. The art world is a law unto itself.

Why we are different

In 1995, responding to client demand, Karen Sanig founded our specialist art law group which was the first of its kind. Today, as a leader in this field, we have a presence in almost every conceivable aspect of the art market. Clients include: international collectors, artists, dealers, art institutions, art foundations, museums, galleries, governments and auction houses.

Specialist services range from advice on sale, purchase, loan, consignment and financing of art to exploitation and protection of copyright and cultural heritage issues. Karen has established an extensive international network of art world contacts and a close association with other specialist art lawyers worldwide. Our history of successes in high profile, politically sensitive matters reflects an ability to act swiftly and with the utmost discretion.


  • Dispute resolution in cases of defective title, provenance, authenticity and attribution
  • Art related aspects of estate, wills, trusts and tax issues
  • Creation, management and dissolution of art funds and other art investment structures
  • Advising on criminal and fraud aspects of art, including fakes, forgeries, money laundering and art theft
  • Advising on cultural heritage property claims, including spoliation and restitution.
  • Exploitation and protection of copyright and other intellectual property rights including Droit de Suite (artists’ resale rights)
  • Art import, export and movement
  • Art Insurance
  • Art Sale, purchase loan and consignment
  • Advice on Auctions Law including third party claims and auctioneers responsibilities
  • Art lending


  • Advising the Arab Republic of Egypt in relation to obtaining the return of looted cultural heritage artefacts.
  • Advising a Holocaust survivor in relation to restitution and consignment of Holocaust looted art
  • Advising collectors based in Hong Kong on a claim for negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation against a UK based antiques dealer.
  • Advising a financial institution on legal and due diligence issues arising out of title/provenance of an old master collection to be used as security on a loan
  • Advising a UK based auction house on the consignment, provenance and reputational issues of a "contemporary art" sale including the controversial work of a well known contemporary artist and the controversial sale of renowned London art's club
  • Advising a US Old Master collector in a dispute with a UK art dealer regarding the purchase of a painting attributed to Van Dyck.
  • Advising a Swiss private collector on a claim against an auction house for delivery of a damaged Picasso.
  • Advising a private collector prior to the acquisition of a manuscript collection and negotiating the terms of purchase.
  • Advising a US artist's Foundation on protection of copyright of the artist's work in the UK.
  • Representing the heirs to a French estate to prevent a potential sale at a major auction house of stolen antiquities.
  • Reviewing and amending terms and conditions of sale for large international art dealers.
  • Advising artists on artist’s moral rights and copyright in their work.

Related services