Venable LLP Launches Art Law Practice


Harvard Law School library by Samir Luther

Venable has launched a new Art Law Practice Group. The art law group will have an emphasis on artist representation, collector counseling, art licensing, artist and collector estate planning, charitable donations of art, taxes (including sales/use taxes and 1031 free exchange), and business representation of galleries, dealers, appraisers, and agents. They will also focus on contract and auction house negotiations, art book publication, stolen and forged art, artistic infringement, cultural repatriation and war looting, entity formation, and import/export and customs.

It will be led by Partners Joshua Kaufman and Michele Mulrooney who will co-chair the group. Kaufman, who also heads the firm’s Copyright and Licensing Group, counsels and litigates in the fields of copyright, e-commerce, licensing, art, intellectual property, software, on-line issues, trademarks, entertainment, media (including digital), and literary law. Mulrooney focuses her practice on estate planning for high-net-worth individuals, including actors, directors, writers, producers, and artists.

“Art is a passion for many Venable clients, regardless of their field of business or where they are located.  It’s amazing how many of our clients are collectors of or investors in art,” said Mr. Kaufman.

The launch comes from experience and skills developed through decades of counseling clients from all parts of the art world.  The group will include lawyers with backgrounds as artists, dealers, and distributors, who have written extensively on their field and taught art law. Venable count some of the world’s most famous artists among their clients but also plan to represent journeymen and up-and-coming artists.  They have also advised leading art collectors from all around the world on a wide range of art and financial topics, including new entrants into the market.

“With billions of dollars in transactions initiated every year, creating or collecting great art is not enough.  For artists, galleries, agents, and/or collectors to succeed, they need a strong team behind them to advance their careers and protect their interests.  Art professionals run many risks in the day-to-day operation of their businesses and need solid advice to protect themselves from claims and to assist them as they advise their own clients, which is why Venable takes a holistic approach to representing various parties in the art world.  Artists and collectors need a wide range of advice on various art-related topics.  Venable is well suited to serve in this capacity, as it has the experience, expertise, and depth to assist not in just one area, but with the wide variety of questions that arise across the board.” added Kaufman

The group also recently started producing a regular report, Brushstrokes—Reporting on All Facets of the Art World. The report included news and analysis as well as links to other relevant articles, and other helpful resources.