Practice Areas & Industries: Withers Bergman LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Our cultural assets and art practice advises art collectors, galleries, museums and art market professionals worldwide on the issues connected with fine and decorative art, antiques and heritage property.

We provide a global service from our offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, Geneva and Milan. Our lawyers are not simply lawyers, they are authors, former general counsel of the main auction houses, and hold public appointment so they have in-depth understanding of the international art.

We act for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. Clients ask us for assistance with cross-border art transactions, dispute resolution, tax planning and regulatory matters (including import/export duties, customs regulations and anti money-laundering compliance). We also advise on the protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

We provide guidance commercial galleries and dealers with all round guidance including advising on consignment, sale and purchase and agency agreements. We assist museums and public galleries with everything from the acquisition of new artworks to matters of governance, gifts and legacies, loans and fund-raising. We act for a number of art investment funds, and advise on securing loans by art in Europe, America and Asia.

Our clients include the World Monuments Funds, the UK Film Council and the Guild of Art Scholars, Dealers and Collectors, foreign governments and state-funded cultural organizations such as the Italian Republic.

Whether a client's needs are large or small, straightforward or highly complex, we provide independent, practical and effective advice, and clear, comprehensible solutions.

Recent work

  • Retained by the Tate Gallery as principal legal adviser.
  • Assisting with the purchase of a (multi-million dollar). painting by de Chirico, sold by a London private museum to a US collector.
  • Recovering several important paintings stolen from the Bakwin family in Massachusetts.
  • Acting for the Archdiocese of Benevento in connection with the recovery of a manuscript that disappeared during the Nazi era and is now at the British Library.
  • Winning significant damages for a Swiss collector whose Anish Kapoor sculpture was lost by a specialist shipping firm.
  • Representing an influential London contemporary art gallery in an appeal against Customs adverse rulings.