Buying and selling art

Collecting art can truly be a lifetime passion but it can also be a very valuable investment.

Our art team has decades of experience advising many of the world’s top collectors, dealers, galleries, museums, charitable organizations and auction houses on an array of legal issues connected with the buying and selling of fine art, antiques and other collectibles at private auction and privately.

Art auctions taking place in salerooms around the world have presented art collectors with more opportunities to buy and sell art on a global platform. We can advise you on the numerous issues that may arise from these international art transactions, including foreign exchange rate issues, tax issues arising from non-US collectors keeping art in the US, as well as tax issues resulting from importing and exporting art across state and national borders.

If reasons arise to sell your works in a collection, e.g. “trading up” by buying a better example, or changing collection focus, or market opportunity to buy or sell, or myriad other reasons, planning can make a substantial difference in the amount of tax that must be recognized upon a sale. By structuring the sale of one work and purchase of another as a like kind exchange that satisfies very specific IRS requirements, you may be able to defer gain recognition from the sale.

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Track record

An art heir

We represented the son and heir of a well-known American painter in cases arising out of a major art fraud worth an estimated $100 million. Our client had been among numerous victims of a Manhattan dealer who had committed the deceit to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

International art lending project

We assisted our client by drafting loan agreements to over 100 museums and institutions both locally and globally and for several renowned New York City museum exhibits.

Art lending

We advised on the establishment of a set of precedents for art lending for a leading clearing bank in the United Kingdom.

USD$100 million Industry-wide art fraud

We represented a major art lender in exposing a dealer who committed an industry-wide fraud, and successfully represented the lender in several follow on cases to clean up multiple competing title claims and insurance recoveries.

Major art forgery

Represented an art collector who purchased what was represented to be a painting by a well-known American painter, but which was revealed to be one of many forged paintings in a major art forgery scandal. In a similar case, Withers London acted for a collector against an auction house when he discovered that they had been selling numerous paintings by the same forger.