Header graphic for print
Art Law Recent Developments in Art Litigation and Art Finance

Category Archives: Litigation Issues

Subscribe to Litigation Issues RSS Feed

Update – Sotheby’s Fetches $13M USD for Esmerian Collection of Folk Art

Posted in Art Finance, Art Valuation, Litigation Issues, Uncategorized, Valuation

Last month, Sotheby’s sold the art collection of former jeweler to the stars, art collector and former chairman of the Folk Art Museum in New York City, Ralph O. Esmerian.  Fetching $13M USD, the sale has been reported to be the highest for any American folk art collection.  As reported in a previous blog post, Esmerian… Continue Reading

Art of War: Asher Edelman Brings Suit Seeking Over $200 Million in Damages for Alleged Art Fraud

Posted in Art Finance, Art Recovery/Theft, Litigation Issues

The well-known art collector and financier Asher Edelman has instituted a lawsuit in Manhattan claiming that his firm, ArtAssure, was fleeced of over $200 million arising out of an allegedlly fraudulent art transaction. ArtAssure claims that it was fraudulently induced by the Swiss firm Artmentum to believe that Japan’s Hiroshima Art Museum was trying to sell approximately $400… Continue Reading

Update – Metropolitan Museum of Art Prevails on Entry Fee Dispute

Posted in Litigation Issues

As reported in my previous post regarding the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there has been recent litigation over the Met’s ”suggested” $25 admission fee, which many characterize as exorbitant and violative of the 1893 Act which permitted the museum to operate rent free under certain conditions including a primarily free admission policy.  In a recent ruling as reported by Bloomber News,… Continue Reading

Austrian Restitution Law Opens the Door to Return of Valuable Gustav Klimt Work

Posted in Art Recovery/Theft, Art Valuation, Litigation Issues, Valuation

In 2009 the restitution laws of Austria were amended to include works of art that were sold to the government at a discount due to an export ban on art.  In a recent case involving a valuable frieze inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that was crafted by Gustav Klimt in 1902, a panel of art… Continue Reading

Update – Detroit’s Bankruptcy News and the Future of the DIA’s Art Collection

Posted in Art Valuation, Litigation Issues

As a follow-up to my previous post regarding Detroit, many of you may have heard by now that the city filed for bankruptcy in mid-July.  In recent weeks, there is more controversy over Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, which endangers the renowned art collection housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).  The art world has been in a tizzy since news… Continue Reading

Chris Brown’s Goblin Art Update

Posted in Litigation Issues

As a follow-up to the Chris Brown suburban street art saga, according to recent reports the goblins have been removed not because Brown lost his legal battle but because the singer is looking to sell his Hollywood Hills mansion.   

Prominent Manhattan Art Galleries Deceived by New York Art Dealer Accused of Selling Forged Art Works by Acclaimed Artists

Posted in Litigation Issues

A New York art dealer was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on July 17, 2013 on numerous charges, including the sale of 63 works of forged paintings from 1994 to 2009 that the art dealer knew were forged, and false statements that were made regarding the authenticity and provenance of the paintings, as… Continue Reading


Posted in Litigation Issues

In a recent lawsuit, several museum goers, which include foreign tourists, have challenged the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “recommended” admission fee of $25 stating that the admission policy is deceptive and that most visitors do not understand that there is a “pay-as-you-wish (but-you-must-pay-something)” policy for admission to the museum. The Met, which is located at 82nd… Continue Reading


Posted in Litigation Issues

A recent ARTnews investigative article highlights the ongoing legal actions and moral suasion initiated by the well-heeled Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation in an attempt to gain control of a prominent late artist’s legacy.  For many years now, as reported by ARTnews, the Foundation has attempted to police a "murky backwater" of the Salvador Dalí oeuvre:  "the production and sale of sculptures that were commissioned… Continue Reading


Posted in Litigation Issues

With authentication lawsuits becoming more prevalent than ever in recent years, there has been a trend of artist foundations either substantially increasing their liability insurance or entirely dissolving their authentication boards or committees.  The late artist Richard Diebenkorn’s 1971 abstract painting "Ocean Park #48" was sold at a Christie’s auction earlier this month for a… Continue Reading

Shattered Nigerian Artifact Lawsuit

Posted in Litigation Issues

A collector is suing Art + Auction magazine for allegedly shattering her 2,630-year-old Nigerian terracotta sculpture during a May 2011 photo shoot at her Tribeca residence.  According to this article, the collector, Corice Arman says that "they were setting up the shoot and…[she] heard this enormous crash."  The work was appraised after the accident at $300,000… Continue Reading

Battle for the Barnes Continues

Posted in Litigation Issues

According to this article, discussion related to the Barnes Foundation art collection reopened on Monday.  A petition was filed in Montgomery County Orphan’s Court on February 17, 2011 to stop the transfer of the art from its current Lower Merion location to Philadelphia, which is scheduled to be completed next Spring.   The petition was… Continue Reading

Former Salander Associate Convicted

Posted in Litigation Issues

A former art director working for dealer Lawrence Salander was convicted of defrauding four estates out of about $5 million by selling 80 works of art without notifying their owner.  Leigh Morse evaded a full prison sentence, however, according to this article, and will “serve weekends in prison for four months and pay restitution of $1.65… Continue Reading

No Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction for Sotheby’s Claim

Posted in Litigation Issues

Judge Berman in the United States District Court, S.D.N.Y., recently held that there was no federal question jurisdiction in a matter where Sotheby’s sued Modern Art Services Ltd. for negligent mishandling of a statue.  The Court also determined that Sotheby’s claim was not preempted by the Carmack Amendment. The Court noted that absent evidence Congress intended… Continue Reading

Robert De Niro Testifies at Art Trial

Posted in Litigation Issues

According to this article, the famous actor testified in a case against gallery director Leigh Morse, who is accused of involvement in swiping two of De Niro’s father’s paintings to pay off creditors. De Niro said he’d wanted their financial dealings to be "kosher." However, when De Niro tried to continue his testimony, he was cut… Continue Reading

Judge Batts to Richard Prince: I’m Not Impressed

Posted in Litigation Issues

Sometimes the distinctions and nuances omnipresent in conceptual art  simply don’t pass judicial muster. Judge Batts of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York was recently on the bench in a lawsuit where the famous artist Richard Prince was alleged to have wrongfully misappropriated the work of another artist., Patrick Cariou,… Continue Reading

Friends of Barnes Foundation Seek to Reopen Case

Posted in Litigation Issues

According to the Washington Post, opponents of a plan to move The Barnes Foundation’s legendary art collection to Philadelphia are asking a judge to reopen the case. The Friends of the Barnes Foundation want to halt the Barnes’ move from suburban Lower Merion. In court documents filed Thursday, they accuse former Attorney General Mike Fisher… Continue Reading

Hungary to U.S.: Dismiss Holocaust Lawsuit

Posted in Litigation Issues

According to this article,the Hungarian government says it has asked a U.S. court to dismiss a lawsuit by the heirs of a prominent Jewish collector who are seeking the return of art worth over $100 million seized during the Holocaust. The Ministry of National Development said Tuesday that the 2010 suit by the heirs of… Continue Reading