Monday, March 4, 2024

“When did a law degree become the union card for making judgments on art?”

So asks arts writer, Daniel Grant.

As we all have seen, artwork can generate big money, and where money goes, lawyers and litigation follow. More recent lawsuits, though, are defining what art is, how it can be bought and sold, how literally to follow a donor’s wishes. The meaning of the legal term “due diligence” is far more debated these days than the Abstract Expressionist theory of “push-pull,” particularly when speaking about Abstract Expressionists.

Unfortunately, with so many artists willingly ceding interpretations to critics and lawyers, it’s no surprise ill-equipped judges are making determinations as to what is art.

Worth a read (and not just because I’m quoted).


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments: 1

Leave a reply »

  • I liked the article simply because I enjoyed the discussion of recent important art law cases.

    I do not understand his argument; I can’t tell if he is saying that the court is not the place to discuss art or that he wishes the courts would discuss more about the art itself.

    In either case, art law cases are interesting because they show that art exists within a larger context of law and that applying the law to artwork can be a bit baffling. It also sheds light on the fact that art has aspects of property – I think the property aspect is what is properly at issue in many of these cases. I have no problem with that.

    There are judgments to be made about art that do not revolve solely around aesthetics, but rather around the works’ symbolic and/or economic value. In discussions like that, dealing with aesthetic theories would be a waste of time.

  • Leave a Reply
    Your gravatar
    Your Name


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law,, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.

Switch to our mobile site