On the Case: The Real Deal on Authenticity

We need a solution that won’t have a chilling effect on the market.

Our previous article for artnet News concluded with the observation that it is the market—and not the legal system—that decides whose opinion matters in determining whether an artwork is authentic. By “the market,” we meant, of course, that ever-shifting invisible web of transactions occurring every day among art dealers, auction houses, and others. Continue reading “On the Case: The Real Deal on Authenticity”

On the Case: Exploring Real World Art Law Issues

If the experts won’t tell you if your art is authentic, who can tell you?

A perennial problem facing the art market is how to treat legitimate works of art which for one reason or another have not been labeled as “authentic” by past or existing authentication committees —the boards that are often established after a prominent artist’s death to protect his or her legacy. As it happens, this past February and March saw several significant lawsuits involving just such artist authentication committees. Continue reading “On the Case: Exploring Real World Art Law Issues”

Brothers in Law on Corporate Affairs — When Art and Business Mix




Hi, guys! My boss, Herb (copied above), asked if you could give some quick, free legal advice on our corporate art collection. I am running to a deposition, but let me know. Thanks!

INFO@DANZIGER We don’t usually give free advice to nonclients via e-mail, but what’s your question?

JOE@PONZICORP Our SVP of marketing is buying a series of photographs from our company that he originally purchased for our corporate massage room. He offered us the original purchase price, but wouldn’t the photos have appreciated in value since then?
P.S.: No need to loop in Herb (poor guy—he was fired during lunch). Continue reading “Brothers in Law on Corporate Affairs — When Art and Business Mix”

Open Houses

Auctioneers are regulated but the business is not always transparent.

     SHHHH.  DON’T TELL ANYBODY…We first spied our prospective new client in a dark corner of a midtown restaurant.  “The name is Bond,” he lied.  “Seymour Bond.”  Seymour claimed to be a hosiery importer-though he looked more like an aging Navy SEAL-interested in trading in the contemporary art market, where he had dabbled for some time.  Our mission: to enlighten him on the often secret ins and outs of the auction room and other hidden crevices of the art world. Continue reading “Open Houses”

After the Storm

Sandy caused havoc for galleries, artists, and collectors; thousands of works were damaged or destroyed. Now what?

THE SILVER LINING BEHIND writing this column-in addition to the random fan letters we get from bored museum guards and our mother-is receiving interesting questions from our readers.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, queries flowed in concerning the sometimes arcane laws affecting damaged works of art. Continue reading “After the Storm”

A Case of Good Taste

Wine auctions offer great opportunities…if you know what to look for.

OUR BUBBLY LAW-SCHOOL classmate Rose had done very well working at Booz Allen. Now, instead of poring over cases, she wanted to buy and sell cases of wine at auction. As big fans of the wine auction world—with many clients in this area—we were happy to help. Continue reading “A Case of Good Taste”

Apples and Picassos

“Like-kind” art trades may bring tax benefits, but only if carefully executed.

OUR NEW CLIENT Joe was a Wall Street trader and avid collector
of works on paper. Although not all his trades panned out”
(Iceland didn’t want any submarines because it has no navy),
Joe’s tax bill was still high. When he came to us, he reckoned he
had found the perfect solution: “like-kind exchanges” of his
art under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, which
he thought would permit him to defer taxes indefinitely while
allowing him to trade his works for other assets. Although
we see many proposed like-kind exchange transactions, those
that are done correctly in the art world are about as rare as
Icelandic admirals—and so it was with trader Joe’s.

His first brainstorm was to swap some Warhol lithographs
he had inherited for a two-bedroom condo in New York’s
Tribeca neighborhood. The art and real estate were both
worth about $2 million, so he presumed the exchange would
have no tax consequences.

Continue reading “Apples and Picassos”