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Art law

Fieldfisher's art sector specialists have broad experience spanning more than 30 years of advising individuals, institutional collectors, estates and trustees, galleries, art and antique dealers on art law matters.

Our lawyers are spread throughout our European network and advise on domestic and cross-border matters, particularly in Europe, North America and the Middle East but also across the wider and increasingly connected international art world.

Art in Transit

Every now and again art needs to be transported from one location to another. Sometimes the art may need to be moved from one jurisdiction to another. The transportation of art from A to B is fraught with peril as the bulk of art claims arises from loss or damage to the art in transit. Download our full briefing paper

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Security over Art

A number of particular issues and difficulties arise for lenders in taking security over art as opposed to other assets, especially in relation to art owned by natural persons. This briefing paper includes an update to the subject, sets out some of the recent general developments in the art market and highlights some traps for the unwary.

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Our practice experience:

  • Acting for a leading investment bank in respect of a £150 million loan granted to a Swiss entity, secured on a portfolio of artwork. The loan was also guaranteed by two further Swiss entities in the group.
  • Acting for a leading investment bank in respect of a US$60 million revolving loan with accordion option granted to a Jersey trust, secured on a portfolio of artworks. The loan was backed by personal guarantees from the UBOs.
  • Acting for a leading investment bank on amending and restating an existing credit facility to a Cayman SPV by increasing the facility to £80 million, adding to the portfolio of secured art, permitting some art to go on loan to a New York gallery and permitting certain art works to be held in the UBO's UK residence
  • Acting for a leading investment bank on re-documenting an existing credit facility of up to US$200 million to Bahamian entities secured over a portfolio of art mainly located in the US.
  • Acting for a bridge lender in taking security by way of pledge over an artwork held in the UK, dealing with the CPS and obtaining variations to a restraint order, and arranging for the artwork to be sold as part of an enforcement process.

  • Advising on and negotiating long-term contractual arrangements between an artist's studio and a central London gallery in relation to the creation, installation and sale of digital, interactive, and technology-based artworks.
  • Advising the owner of a work by a world-renowned artist in relation to arrangements with the artist's studio for the repair, care and maintenance of the artwork.
  • Acting for a creative agency and technology provider in relation to the provision of augmented and virtual reality solutions to galleries and exhibitions, including Art Basel and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising an industry-leading VR, AR and MR development studio on the creation of a 360-degree virtual reality experience in support of a United Nations project to combat climate change.

  • Advising a collector in a dispute with a gallery over jointly-owned works of art.
  • Representing an offshore trust and obtaining a freezing order against an art adviser in relation to a collection that was stolen.
  • Advising a collector in a dispute with a leading auction house.
  • Advising an artist in connection with a dispute with his former gallery.
  • Acting for a leading international auction house in a dispute with the Netherlands Government.
  • Acting for a large cinema group in the Netherlands regarding its interaction with Pathos and the European Commission.
  • Advising galleries on their insurance cover.

Advising Artists and their personal representatives on the artistic estate particularly:

  • estate planning, including the ongoing arrangements for their artistic or literary estate;
  • available tax and other reliefs such as Business Property Relief on the value of the artist's business, the cultural gift scheme and transferring works of art to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax, including liaising with the Arts Council and HMRC; and
  • maintaining their artistic legacy after death.

Advising Owners of Art on

  • Creating and managing their art collections, including legal and tax considerations when:
    • purchasing art
    • using art as collateral;
    • holding art through trusts and other structures (such as Foundations or special purpose vehicles);
    • relocating art to other jurisdictions for storage or display;
    • lending art for exhibiting;
    • investing in cryptoassets and NFTs;
    • passing art to the next generation; or
    • putting in place consultancy and other agreements
  • UK tax implications of owning and structuring art;
  • Keeping collections together after death; and
  • Transferring artworks to other family members or family structures
We advise individual collectors and investors as well as the family office or trustees of family trusts.

  • Acting for a high-profile London-based art studio in relation to copyright advice in the context of its relationships with printers and distributors.
  • Advising a gallery on the use of copyright-protected images and trade marks in artworks.
  • Advising a Rotterdam art museum in connection with various IP and privacy issues.
  • Advising Amsterdam-based creative guidance agency ENitsua on its terms and conditions.

  • Preparing and negotiating loan agreements on behalf of a major UK charity with the V&A and the University of Kent relating to the loan of certain artwork.
  • Advising a US alcoholic beverage company in relation to the loan of certain historical artefacts relating to the history of the company.

  • Restructuring an artist's business and setting up a holding company.
  • Advising a US musical artist on the sale of their business to a UK media company.

  • Advising a top UK gallery on various property matters.
  • Advising a national UK museum on its acquisition of a London property to provide additonal storage and office space.