Quinn Emanuel has the premier practice in the world for art litigation and disputes. We have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in the most complex and high-profile art disputes, and our deep relationships and experiences in the art world give us the unparalleled ability to deliver commercially successful results.
Our art litigation practice covers any dispute that touches the art world in any way. We have represented prominent artists, collectors, art galleries, foundations, museum directors, estates, art investment firms, art dealers, conservators, auction houses, and others involving numerous issues, such as:
- Art Financing Disputes
- Auction-based Disputes
- Authentication Boards and Authentication
- Authenticity Investigations and Disputes
- Bankruptcy Claims
- Catalogues Raisonne Investigations, Disputes, and Risk Management
- Contract and Other Transaction Investigations, Disputes, and Risk Management
- Criminal Forfeiture Proceedings
- Criminal Investigations and Defense
- Employment Disputes
- Estate and Probate Disputes
- Insurance Coverage
- Licensing Disputes
- Provenance Investigations and Disputes
- Slander of Title
- Stolen Artwork
- Title/Ownership Investigations and Disputes
- Visual Artists Rights Act
We have been involved in the most high-profile and significant art litigation matters, including representing the Andy Warhol Foundation in its landmark successful case concerning Warhol’s fair use of source images for his celebrity portraits; representing Morgan Art Foundation in litigation concerning the rights to and legacy of Robert Indiana’s art, including LOVE; defending Ann Freedman and Knoedler Gallery against claims for selling forged artworks by Abstract Expressionist masters including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell; and representing Park West Galleries in litigation concerning the sale and distribution of Peter Max artwork.
Our practice co-chairs, Luke Nikas and Maaren Shah, have been profiled and spoken extensively on art law issues, including by The American Lawyer, which honored them as Litigators of the Week for major victories in two cases involving the artists Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, and by Bloomberg Law. Among several other accolades, both have been recognized in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for their work in Art Law, and a prominent art publication called Luke one of the most “highly influential” art lawyers in the world after he led the defense in an art forgery case dubbed by ArtNews as “The Art Trial of the Century.”
Among several other matters, some of our recent art world engagements include:
- We represented the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a case involving the Academy’s contractual and equitable rights relating to Oscar statuettes. We obtained a complete victory from the California Court of Appeal, which affirmed in a published decision that the Academy has an enforceable right of first refusal to purchase Oscar statuettes before they may be publicly sold. This victory ensures that the Academy can protect and preserve the prestige of its Oscar statuettes.
- We represent Morgan Art Foundation, the long-time patron of the late artist Robert Indiana, famous for his LOVE sculpture, in a lawsuit concerning Morgan Art Foundation’s rights in and protection of Indiana’s artworks and artistic legacy. This case has been described as one of the most significant art cases of 2018.
- We obtained a landmark victory for The Andy Warhol Foundation in copyright infringement lawsuit concerning whether Warhol made fair use of a photograph of the late recording artist known as “Prince” in connection with a series of 16 paintings and drawings of Prince.
- We successfully defended The Andy Warhol Foundation in several lawsuits seeking authentication of artwork, winning complete dismissal and prevailing on appeal.
- We successfully defended Andy Warhol Foundation in defense of a lawsuit relating to the ownership of Warhol works depicting Wayne Gretzky.
- We represented Ann Freedman, former president of Knoedler Gallery, one of the most prominent art galleries in the world before its closure, in ten lawsuits arising from $60 million in sales of forged artwork previously believed to be by Abstract Expressionist artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Clyfford Still, bringing all investigations and cases to a successful ending. We also represented Knoedler Gallery in related claims prior to successful resolution of that case. The trial in the case was called “The Art Trial of the Century.”
- We represent art gallery David Benrimon Fine Art in lawsuit concerning the artworks le Gueridon by Pablo Picasso and Composition avec Profil de Femme by Fernand Leger.
- We successfully recovered an Andy Warhol painting of Elizabeth Taylor for The Andy Warhol Foundation in a lawsuit against Warhol’s bodyguard.
- We successfully recovered a stolen Pablo Picasso painting for art collector Wilma Tisch.
- We represent the estate of a gallery owner and art collector in an action to recover two stolen paintings in proceedings in the U.S. and Hong Kong.
- We represent an art financing fund in litigation concerning a financing deal for the purchase and sale of eight artworks by artists including Keith Haring and Willem de Kooning.
- We successfully represented artist Peter Beard in defense of litigation with celebrity David Spade regarding the authenticity of Beard’s work and the Beard Studio’s authentication practices.
- We represent an internationally recognized artist in copyright disputes stemming from the sale of works in the United States and abroad.
- We represent a Fortune 100 company in copyright litigations involving use of graffiti artworks in social media.
- We represent a significant foundation in litigation related to construction of 180,000 square foot art center.