Selected Publications

Books

 

Risques et périls dans l'attribution des oeuvres d'art: de la pratique des experts aux aspects juridiques, Studies in Art Law vol. 27, Schulthess, 2018 (co-editor with Frédéric Elsig).

The Sale of  Misattributed Artworks and Antiques at Auction, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016. This book is the outcome of my PhD Thesis that was co-directed by Professor Marc-André Renold (University of Geneva) and Professor Tatiana Flessas (London School of Economics and Political Science). 

With a foreword by Pierre Tercier.

The book was awarded the Professor Walther Hug Prize 2017.

L'art a-t-il un prix? The Art of Pricing the Priceless - L'évaluation des oeuvres d'art, ses défis pratiques et juridiques / On the Valuation of Art, its Challenges and Liabilites, Studies in Art Law vol. 25, Schulthess, 2014 (co-editor with Pierre Gabus).

La résolution des litiges en matière de biens culturels/Resolving disputes in cultural property, Studies in Art Law vol. 23, Schulthess, 2012 (co-editor with Marc-André Renold and Alessandro Chechi)

Articles

 

The Artist as Philanthropist

in Expert Focus 3/2019 (2019)

Artists and their heirs increasingly dedicate time and resources to establish institutional structures that manage their legacy and estate. Those who decide to do so by means of a philanthropic foundation must navigate through the constraints and challenges of operating a foundation of public benefit, as well as the peculiarities of the art market.

All chapters of the magazine are available here

Fair und gerecht? Bilanz und Lösungsansätze bezüglich der Restitution von Raubkunst in der Schweiz

in Peter Mosimann und Beat Schönenberger (eds.), Art & Law 2018, Berne: Stämpfli Verlag, 2018.

Keine Woche vergeht, ohne dass eine Rückgabeforderung hinsichtlich eines im Zweiten Weltkrieg geraubten Kunstwerks in die Schlagzeilen gerät. In der Schweiz ist die Lage der Nazi-Raubkunst ambivalent. Dies ist zurückzuführen auf die Dichotomie zwischen dem positiven Recht, wie es im Zivilgesetzbuch verankert ist, und dem aktiven Engagement der Museen und Kunstmarktakteure, Raubkunst ausfindig zu machen und diese gegebenenfalls an die ursprünglichen Eigentümer bzw. deren Erben zu restituieren. Der erste Teil dieses Beitrags zieht Bilanz zu den wichtigsten Geschehnissen in der Schweiz seit Unterzeichnung der Washingtoner Richtlinien. Der zweite Teil befasst sich mit der Dichotomie zwischen der Rechtlage und der praktischen Ausgangslage von Nazi-Raubkunstopfern und -eigentümern, welche anhand von aktuellen Beispielen im dritten Teil illustriert wird. Im vierten und letzten Teil dieses Beitrags sind neue Lösungsansätze, wie die Raubkunstproblematik „gerecht und fair“ in Zukunft angegangen werden könnte, formuliert. 

Artists’ rights and responsibilities when authenticating their works of art – A comparative law analysis

in Alessandra Donati, Rachele Ferrario and Silvia Simoncelli, Artists’ Archives and Estates: Cultural Memory between Law and Market, Comparative Art Law Series Vol. 1, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, pp. 42-66.

This chapter assesses the legal privileges and responsibility of artists and their heirs when it comes to deciding over the authenticity and attribution of their works of art. In particular, it seeks to address the following questions: Do artists have a right to decide that a work may or may not bear their name? What are an artist’s rights against fakes and forgeries? What responsibility do artists bear when authenticating works of art? Do artists and their heirs have the obligation to respond to every request for an opinion on a work’s authenticity? May artists or their heirs be compelled to include a specific work in the artist’s catalogue raisonné?

« Sleepers » - la vente aux enchères d’œuvres d’art et d’objets de collection mal attribués sous le regard du droit suisse

in Anne Laure Bandle and Frédéric Elsig (eds.), Risques et périls dans l'attribution des oeuvres d'art: de la pratique des experts aux aspects juridiques, Studies in Art Law vol. 27, Schulthess, 2018

 

Le changement d’attribution d’un sleeper est une procédure laborieuse. Elle implique que l’expert de l’artiste, reconnu comme autorité, accepte au préalable la nouvelle attribution de l’œuvre pour qu’elle soit admise par le marché. Pour des œuvres de grands maîtres tels que Léonard de Vinci, Caravage ou Raphaël, la pluralité d’experts reconnus empêche fréquemment un consensus sur l’attribution d’un sleeper. Dès lors, ces œuvres restent dans l’incertitude et ne peuvent que difficilement, voire pas du tout, être vendues sous leur nouvelle attribution. Ce phénomène fascinant et périlleux, dont sont parfois victimes les sleepers, entraîne des conséquences non négligeables pour les fournisseurs de tels biens, les maisons de ventes aux enchères, le marché de l’art et les tribunaux.

Authentizitätsprobleme bei unvollendeten oder vom Künstler abgelehnten Werken

in Peter Mosimann und Beat Schönenberger (eds.), Art & Law 2017, Berne: Stämpfli Verlag, 2017.

Beim Betrachten eines Kunstwerks will man oftmals wissen, was der Künstler mit dem Werk beabsichtigte, was er damit versucht auszudrücken und welche Geschichte dahinter steckt. Diese Fragen, die ein Kunstwerk aufwerfen kann, sind noch faszinierender, wenn es sich um ein nicht abgeschlossenes oder vom Künstler desavouiertes Werk handelt. Die Unvollendetheit trägt stark auf die Art und Weise bei, wie ein Werk auf den Betrachter wirkt, inwiefern es ausgeführt oder nicht ausgeführt wurde und stellt das eigentlich Dargestellte eher in den Hintergrund. Auch bei desavouierten Werken ist das Dargestellte zweitrangig und wird überschattet durch die Deklassifizierung durch den Künstler. Wieviel Kontrolle hat ein Künstler darüber, ob ein Werk fertiggestellt ist oder nicht, ob es zum Korpus seiner Werke angehört oder nicht? Der nachfolgende Beitrag befasst sich mit diesen Fragen aus der Sicht des Urheberrechts. Dabei wird klar, dass zwischen den diversen Motivationen unterschieden werden muss, welche einen Künstler zur Aufgabe seines Werks bringen. Im ersten und zweiten Teil dieses Beitrags werden Beispiele für unvollendete bzw. desavouierte Werke aufgeführt; der dritte Teil befasst sich mit den urheberrechtlichen Fragen, welche diese Werktypen aufwerfen.

Restrictions on the export of cultural property and artwork

International Bar Association, November 2017.

The International Bar Association has released a questionnaire which analyses the law applying to the import and export of cultural property in about 15 countries worldwide. Bruno Boesch and Anne Laure Bandle wrote the chapter pertaining to Swiss law.

Sleepers at Auction: Boon or Bane?

ArtWatch UK Journal 31, 2017

Each work of art is attributed to an artist, a period and the chain of its previous owners, the so-called provenance. It happens that experts come back on the attribution of a work as recently done by conservators at the Courtauld Gallery in London regarding Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet (1832-1883). Based on a technical analysis, they now consider that this painting is not a copy of the master’s work exhibited at the Louvre, but an authentic preparatory version of the Louvre painting. All at once the value of the work goes from thousands to millions. Such changes in attributions occur regularly and can only delight owners of the given works of art. Conversely, they frustrate sellers who suffer the consequences.

Show me your contract! A look into the legal relationships at art auctions

Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Newsletter of the International Bar Association, August 2016

Art auctions are a fascinating marketplace, gathering collectors from across the globe and offering collectibles for sale which would otherwise only be displayed in museums. Not only for market actors, but also for lawyers auction sales are a unique way of dealing. An auction sale generally involves three parties if not more, commissions on both the consignor’s and the buyer’s side, and specific warranties and disclaimers of liability. Simply characterising the legal relationships that arise at art auction sales may be a challenging endeavour. A recent decision by the Swiss Federal Court shows that the specific circumstances of a consignment may change the characterisation of the legal relationships between the parties. This article provides some insights into the legal relationships that bind the auction house, the consignor and the purchaser at auction.

Fake or Fortune? Art Authentication Rules in the Art Market and at Court

International Journal of Cultural Property, August 2015

This article analyzes the dichotomy between the practices of the art market and of court judges when it comes to the authentication of works of art. While judges very much rely on experts acting in the art market, they may not necessarily pursue the same examination methods and conclusions, which can have serious repercussions on the art object and for its owner. The dichotomy unavoidably leads to the questions of what the correct assessment is and whether court judges should be conducting such examinations.

Taking account of the difficulties judges and legislators face in attempting to interfere with established art market practices, it is suggested that courts are not an adequate forum to resolve authenticity disputes. Instead, scholars and art market actors should adopt improved authentication standards and, in the event of a dispute, refer to alternative means of dispute resolution.

Arbiters of Value: The Complexity and Dealers' Liability in Pricing Art

in Pierre Gabus and Anne Laure Bandle (eds), L'art a-t-il un prix? / The Art of Pricing the Priceless, Studies in art law vol. 25, Geneva: Schulthess, 2014.

Whether a gallery owner seeks to establish an artist’s market value, a dealer advises a collector on the value of a painting in the market, or an auction house assesses an estimate price for a potential consignment – all share the concern of effectively evaluating art objects. Determining the market value of an artwork is a challenging endeavour.

 

It is essential that the appraiser understands the functioning of the international art market, and how prices are made and must be interpreted. The proper determination of the art object’s market value is important to appraisers as they may incur liability for erroneous valuations. In its first part, this chapter aims to shed light on the pricing practices of the art market, and on the market’s understanding of an art object’s value. It further endeavours to explain why some artists are priced higher than others, or more specifically, how preference is created. In its second part, this chapter examines the appraiser’s liability for over- or underpricing art objects in the different evaluation contexts. Finally, it analyses whether these practices of the art market are appropriate in view of the applicable legal setting.

Reparation Art - Finding Common Ground in the Resolution of Disputes on Russian War Spoils and Nazi-Looted Art

in Hildegard Schneider and Valentina Vadi (eds), Art, Cultural Heritage and the Market, Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer, 2014 (together with Raphaël Contel).

The Second World War gave rise to an immense amount of unapproved cultural property transfers. The ongoing emergence of restitution demands related to these transfers shows that time does not heal all wounds. Instead, two types of restitution claims are now the subject of a heated debate: War spoils brought from Germany to Russia in the aftermath of the war and Nazi-looted art held in private and public collections. Notwithstanding the very differing considerations they entail, both restitution contexts are intrinsically tied to the argument of “reparation art” according to which cultural property may serve as compensation for the harm suffered because of the war. Moreover, they both are undergoing regulatory tensions and various initiatives which attempt to put an end to claims resulting from the Second World War.

On the one hand, the Russian–German conflict over war spoils which have been held in Russia since the end of the war has led both countries to enter into peace and cooperation agreements, as well as to develop a collaborative approach on the matter of unlawfully transferred art. However, on the other hand, the supportive relationship between both governments has met with great criticism within Russia. In the end, the Russian Law on Cultural Valuables nationalised all German cultural property that was brought to Russia in the course of the Second World War and is now located on its territory.

Fakes, Fears, and Findings

Transnational Dispute Management (TDM) Journal, vol. 6, 2014.

Authenticity is claimed to be the most important quality of artworks. When authenticating art, experts decide whether a work is of real cultural and economic significance. Given the high stakes involved in art authentication, owners have not refrained from commencing legal proceedings against experts. In doing so, they have attempted to coerce experts to provide or change their opinion as to the work’s authenticity. Most suits fail, but the experts’ fear of becoming entangled in lawsuits has soared, resulting in them becoming increasingly reluctant to deliver opinions. Owners, on the other hand, have to bear the consequences of oscillating attributions and scholarly disagreement. This article aims to investigate why experts have become so fearful, whether their anxiety is well-founded, and how their indispensable activity may be secured for the interests of scholarship and the art market.

The Impact of Politics on Art Restitution Claims

in Marc-André Renold, Alessandro Chechi and Anne Laure Bandle (eds), La résolution des litiges en matière de biens culturels/Resolving disputes in cultural property, Studies in Art Law vol. 23, Geneva: Schulthess, 2012.

Art restitution claims have frequently become a political issue, triggering governments to intervene. The purpose of this paper is to identify the main political stakeholders and the interests they are pursuing when partaking in such claims. While international treaties have recognized the necessity and advantages of governmental intervention in specific contexts, some states have not awaited such legal encouragement for playing an active role in art restitution claims. In the main, this paper elaborates on the means of governmental action and its impact on the settlement of the dispute with regards to priorities and dialogue, flexibility and temporality as well as quality of the obtained solution. It argues that politics are advantaged as they may initiate a dialogue through the diplomatic channel and provide greater as well as more flexible outcomes to a dispute in lesser time. However, political action may also entail certain drawbacks which may have negative repercussions not only on the dispute resolution process, but also on the cultural property object at stake.

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Column on the art market

07 Oct 2019

Dans le cénacle des grands collectionneurs

Jadis, collectionner l’art était l’affaire d’une élite de connaisseurs. Aujourd’hui, il s’agit plutôt d’un sport de compétition dont il faut bien connaître les règles

12 May 2019

La prolifération des faux sur le marché de l’art

L’affaire du «Portrait d’homme», de Frans Hals, a révélé la capacité des faussaires à tromper les plus grands experts

11 Feb 2019

Œuvres d’art: les lourds enjeux de l’authentification

Sans auteur reconnu, et surtout sans la précieuse attribution sous l’œil avisé des experts en art, la valeur marchande de telles œuvres, «orphelines» par définition, est sérieusement compromise. En cause, la singularité du système d’authentification qui, assurément, ne plaît pas aux détenteurs de tels objets. Mais quels sont les facteurs sous-jacents qui règlent le fonctionnement des attributions?

12 Nov 2018

Le marché dans la tourmente des freins à l’exportation

Les biens culturels doivent-ils appartenir à un seul pays et être interdits d’exportation, ou au contraire peuvent-ils traverser librement les frontières selon le bon vouloir du détenteur? Le débat entre nationalisme et internationalisme culturel est loin d'être clos.

11 Jun 2018

L'épineuse question de l'art spolié

La restitution d’œuvres d’art spoliées durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale continue de susciter de vifs débats

12 Mar 2018

Si les salons sont incontournables pour les galeries, ils imposent aussi leurs principes et règles de bonnes pratiques. Une attitude responsable visant à préserver l’intégrité du marché de l’art

11 Dec 2017

Le monde de l’art contemporain fait peau neuve et s’adapte aux nouvelles technologies pour atteindre la jeune génération de collectionneurs. Catalogues et ventes en ligne, expositions virtuelles et images animées s'invitent sur le marché de l’art

11 Sep 2017

Il arrive que de grandes institutions doivent se séparer d’une partie de leurs collections pour assurer leur survie. Mais cela peut parfois se révéler compliqué

Les limites du plagiat artistique

Il y a quelques jours, l’artiste Anka Zhuravleva a publiquement dénoncé la photographie présentée par Alex Andriesi au Sony World Photography Awards comme étant plagiée

Chaque œuvre d’art est attribuée à un artiste, une période et à une provenance, autrement dit l'historique de ses propriétaires. Il arrive que les experts reviennent sur l’attribution d’une œuvre tel que l’ont fait récemment les conservateurs de la Courtauld Gallery à Londres concernant «Le déjeuner sur l’herbe» de Manet

En août dernier, l'œuvre Spy Booth de l'artiste Banksy a disparu du mur qui lui servait de toile pendant plus de deux ans. Très populaire, l'œuvre attirait de nombreux touristes et a été classée par le Council du Borough de Chelthenham. Il ne serait pas étonnant de la retrouver en vente sur le marché.

Lorsqu’il s’agit de convaincre un collectionneur de leur confier la vente de ses œuvres prestigieuses, les maisons de vente aux enchères recourent à plusieurs outils incitatifs.

Œuvres répudiées par leurs créateurs, entre authenticité et droit d’auteur

Les fondations d’artistes sont un phénomène d’importance non seulement par les biens et droits qu’elles détiennent mais la place qu’elles occupent dans le marché de l’art.

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